Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Israel (Part 23)

When God split the kingdom under Solomon's reign, Jeroboam took 10 of the tribes to rule over. He was the first king to turn from the Lord God Almighty to worshiping idols. The kings of Israel after him have followed his example in this wickedness. Israel hasn't had a king that served the Lord during the entire time they've been a nation.
And God was fed up with their idolatry!
II Kings 17:1-2- In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him. 
The next king to ascend the throne would follow in this tradition of idolatry. God was going to make an end of the nation of Israel.
II Kings 17:3-6- Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents. And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
The Lord allowed the king of Assyria to come back. At first, all the king of Assyria wanted was for Hoshea to pledge his allegiance and send gifts to him. But, Hoshea decided that he didn't want to do that, so he tried to make an alliance with the king of Egypt.
The king of Assyria took Hoshea and locked him in a dungeon, and then he waged war on the capitol city of Samaria for three years. When the city was finally taken, the people were brought into Assyria as slaves.
Why would God allow this to happen to His people?
II Kings 17:7-8, 12-14, 18- For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing. Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God. Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.
God allowed this to happen because they kept sinning. God tried to show them that they were sinning. He sent prophets to tell them to turn back to God. He sent enemies to encourage them to turn to back to God. He sent famine and disease and troubles in hopes that they would turn to God during these times. But, they wouldn't listen.
And, God is only longsuffering for so long.
II Kings 17:20- And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.
II Kings 18:12- Because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them.
What happened to the land of Israel, and the city of Samaria?
II Kings 17:24- And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.
The king of Assyria took men from the different places that he ruled and relocated them to the city of Samaria.
These men were just as wicked as the children of Israel had been, so the Lord decided to teach them a lesson.
II Kings 17:25-27- And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them. Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land. Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land.
God sent lions into the land of Israel. These lions caused trouble for the new inhabitants; so much so, that the king of Assyria  commanded that an Israelite priest be sent back to Samaria to teach the people the laws of God.
II Kings 17:28-29, 33- Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD. Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt. They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.
These people's learned the laws of God, but they wouldn't stop worshiping their false idols. They thought that they could serve both the Lord God Almighty and false images.
But, God doesn't want half of your worship. He isn't satisfied with half of your heart.
Deuteronomy 6:5, 14-15- And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Deuteronomy 8:19- And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
He told the children of Israel what He expected way back under Moses. And, He hasn't changed!
Matthew 6:24- No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Jesus said that you can't serve God and the things of the world. You will start to love one for what you perceive it gives you, and hate the other for what you perceive it takes from you.
The Gentiles who came in to dwell in the land of Samaria thought they could do both, and that's what their descendants did.
II Kings 17:41- So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children's children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.
The Jews who were in the land of Israel were taken away in the Assyrian captivity because they wouldn't obey the Lord. In time, the Lord allowed them to come back to their land, but they never became the great nation they had been before.
The people who returned married the Gentiles who lived there, and became known as the Samaritans- half Jew, half Gentile. These Samaritans were treated badly by both the Jews and the Gentiles for years to come!
It wasn't until the Messiah came, the Lord Jesus Christ, that the Samaritans were looked at as anything other than a curse.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Israel (Part 22)

Israel has had many wicked kings during their time as a nation. Almost every time the Lord destroyed a reigning family for wickedness, the next leaders were just as wicked.
II Kings 14:23-24- In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
Jeroboam was the third king in the line of Jehu. God had promised Jehu that his sons to the fourth generation would sit on the throne because he obeyed what God told him to do. But, none of these kings tried to do right in God's sight. They all worshiped the false idols that Solomon's servant had set up so long ago when he began to reign over Israel after the nation was split in two.
God was allowing so much war and devastation to come upon Israel in the hopes that it would turn their heart back to serving Him. But, God was also merciful and helped them to win battles and end the oppression of the wicked, and yet they still wouldn't do right.
II Kings 14:25-27- He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher. For the LORD saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. And the LORD said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.
Not only did God send good times and bad times, but He also sent prophets, like Jonah, to tell the Israelites of their wrong doings and encourage them to repent, but they wouldn't listen.
So, God was going to keep his promise to let four generations sit on the throne, and then He was going to severely punish Israel.
II Kings 14:28-29 - Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? And Jeroboam slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel; and Zachariah his son reigned in his stead.
God was fed up with all this evil. He sent Isaiah the prophet to prophesy of the end of the nation of Israel.
 Isaiah 8:1-4- Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man's pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz. And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah. And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the LORD to me, Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz. For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.
God told Isaiah to name his son that would be born Mahershalalhashbaz, because the son would still be a little child when the Lord sent the nation of Israel into captivity.
So, Jeroboam died, and his son, Zachariah, became the fourth king of the line of Jehu to sit on the throne. But, he wasn't going to be king for long.
II Kings 15:8-12- In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zachariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead. And the rest of the acts of Zachariah, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. This was the word of the LORD which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. And so it came to pass.
Zachariah only rule for half a year, and Shallum killed him and took the throne for his own. The entire land of Israel was going to be in a tumult. Their new king, Shallum would have a shorter rule than the man he murdered.
II Kings 15:13-15- Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the nine and thirtieth year of Uzziah king of Judah; and he reigned a full month in Samaria. For Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, and came to Samaria, and smote Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria, and slew him, and reigned in his stead. And the rest of the acts of Shallum, and his conspiracy which he made, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
Shallum only reigned for one month and then he was murdered.
What do you think the citizens of Israel were thinking? Do you suppose that maybe they thought about asking God to guide them? They didn't. They sinned even more by asking counsel of witches.
Isaiah 8:19-22 - And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.
These people were so far gone in the darkness of their sin that God was going to allow them to be led into slavery. They would soon live in darkness.
II Kings 15:17-20- In the nine and thirtieth year of Azariah king of Judah began Menahem the son of Gadi to reign over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land.
Menahem took the throne from Shallum, and he reigned 10 years. He was just as wicked as the rest of them. And, God sent the king of Assyria against Menahem.
Menahem thought that he could persuade the king of Assyria to leave his kingdom alone by paying him a lot of money. He taxed his people to raise this money and paid the king of Assyria to leave.
The king of Assyria did go away. Perhaps, Menahem thought that he could get away from the prophesy of Isaiah. But, God's Word always comes to pass. Isaiah said that the king of Assyria would come into the land while his son was still a child, and he did. But, the king of Assyria would be back, and he would lead the people of Israel into captivity, just like Isaiah said.
II Kings 15:21-24- And the rest of the acts of Menahem, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? And Menahem slept with his fathers; and Pekahiah his son reigned in his stead. In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
After Menahem, his son Pekahiah took the throne. And, just like his father, and many of the evil kings before them he worshiped false idols. His reign only lasted 2 years.
II Kings 15:25-26- But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king's house, with Argob and Arieh, and with him fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room. And the rest of the acts of Pekahiah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
Pekahiah was murdered by Pekah, one of the leaders of his army. Pekah took the throne and ruled, but he also was an evil man who worshiped the golden calves that had caused Israel to be detested by God.
II Kings 15:27-29- In the two and fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.
This was the beginning of the end of the nation of Israel. The king of Assyria came back and took some of the people into captivity. This was just the beginning.
II Kings 15:30-31- And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah. And the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

Israel's sentence was nearing it's completion. The nation has gone through six different kings in just 23 years! They saw the prophecy of Isaiah come to pass, and they still didn't turn to God. And, God was about to wipe their nation off the map!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Israel (Part 21)

While Joash was reigning in Judah under the guidance of the priest, Jehoiadah, Jehu's son took the throne in Israel.
II Kings 13:1-3- In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days.​
Children tend to follow their parent's example. Jehu obeyed the Lord by wiping out the house of Ahab, and for this the Lord had promised him that four generations of his descendants would sit on the throne. But, Jehu didn't worship the Lord God Almighty, even though he believed in Him. He worshiped the false golden calves that Jeroboam had made. And, his son, also, worshiped them.
This mad God angry, and he sent the kings of Syria after Israel.
Micah 1:5-6- For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem? Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof.
The Lord sent the prophet Micah to tell King Jehoahaz that He was going to keep sending wars down on the capital city of Samaria until it was a big pile of rubble.
This got Jehoahaz' attention.
II Kings 13:4-5- And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them. (And the LORD gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime.
God heard Jehoahaz' prayers and sent someone that would save them from the Syrians. But, this didn't stop them from serving false idols.
II Kings 13:6-7- Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein: and there remained the grove also in Samaria.) Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.
The Syrians had taken the army of Israel and destroyed them! The army that once had hundreds of thousands of soldiers now had only ten thousand, and only 50 horsemen, and only 10 chariots!
That's a terrible legacy for a king. His kingdom was strong, but now it was very weak!
II Kings 13:8-9- Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead.
So, Jehoahaz died, and left this weakened kingdom to his son, Jehoash.
Now, Elisha has been around watching all this the entire time. Maybe he was performing miracles? Or, perhaps, he was traveling throughout Israel telling people what God wanted them to hear. But, now he is a very old man.
II Kings 13:14- Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.
Elisha was about to die, and Jehoash, the king of Israel came down to see him in his final days.
II Kings 13:15-17- And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands. And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD'S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.
Elisha had one last message from the Lord for the king of Israel. He told Jehoash to shoot an arrow out the window, and this was to typify the Lord's delivering them from Syria.
II Kings 13:18-19- And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.
Then, Elisha told the king to hit the arrows on the ground, but he didn't say how many times. The king hit the ground three times with the arrows. Well, this upset Elisha because God had said that however many times Jehoash hit the ground with the arrows was the number of times that he would win a battle against Syria. He would only win three battles.
This was the last message that Elisha gave. He died after this.
Remember, when Elijah went up to heaven? Elisha had asked for a double portion of his spirit. This meant that Elisha would perform twice as many miracles as Elijah had.
When Elisha died, he was one miracle short of the goal. Did this mean that God lied to him? No! God doesn't lie. God was going to give Elisha the number of miracles that He promised.
II Kings 13:20-21- And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.
After Elisha was buried, there were some men out burying their dead friend. While they were headed to the gravesite, they saw some bands of wicked men coming into the land.
They were afraid, and so they threw their dead friend into the first grave they came to- Elisha's grave. And, when their dead friend's body touched Elisha's body, he came back to life!
You see, God always keeps His promises. Even when it seems like there's no way possible. Even if the person who prayed the prayer dies, God will still make sure that His promises are kept!
II Kings 13:22-25- But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet. So Hazael king of Syria died; and Benhadad his son reigned in his stead. And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel.
Just as Elisha said in his last message, Jehoash beat the Syrian army three times.

II Kings 13:10-13- In the thirty and seventh year of Joash king of Judah began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin: but he walked therein. And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, and his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.
Jehoash ruled for only 16 years, and all he was known for was war! When he died, his son Jeroboam was crowned king.

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Israel (Part 20)

The cruelty of the house of Ahab has reached not only throughout Israel, but also throughout Judah. God wasn't going to let the wickedness of this man spread any further.
Ahab is dead. His son, Ahaziah, is dead. His grandson, Joram, is sitting on the throne.
Jehoshaphat's great grandson, Ahaziah, is now reigning as king in Judah. And, he is married to the daughter of Ahab.
God is going to call a man to wipe out this evil family, not only in Israel, but also in Judah.
God sent word to his prophet, Elisha.
II Kings 9:1-3- And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramothgilead: And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber; Then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not.
Elisha sent a young prophet to anoint a man to be king in place of the grandson of Ahab.
II Kings 9:4-10- So the young man, even the young man the prophet, went to Ramothgilead. And when he came, behold, the captains of the host were sitting; and he said, I have an errand to thee, O captain. And Jehu said, Unto which of all us? And he said, To thee, O captain. And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel. And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel: And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah: And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled.
The young prophet went and anointed a new leader, Jehu, to become king. Then the prophet told him what the Lord's will was for the destruction of the house of Ahab.
While all this was going on, Joram, had gone to battle against Syria.
I Kings 9:14-15- So Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram had kept Ramothgilead, he and all Israel, because of Hazael king of Syria. But king Joram was returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) And Jehu said, If it be your minds, then let none go forth nor escape out of the city to go to tell it in Jezreel.
Jehu got together an army of men who were loyal to him, and they rode to where King Joram was laying sick. They intended to do exactly as the Lord wanted and destroy the house of Ahab.
But, King Joram wasn't alone.
II Chronicles 22:6b-7- And Azariah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab at Jezreel, because he was sick. And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram: for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab.
God had brought Ahab's grandson and his son-in-law together to the very place that Jehu's army was riding towards.
I Kings 9:17- And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace?
As the army approached the city, King Joram sent a messenger out to see if they were coming to help or to fight.
I Kings 9:21- And Joram said, Make ready. And his chariot was made ready. And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out against Jehu, and met him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite.
So, Joram and Ahaziah went out to meet this oncoming army in the same place that Ahab sealed the fate of his family- the field around the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember, Jezebel had hired evil men to lie about Naboth and have him and his sons killed to Ahab could take this man's grape vineyard? Well, God was going to judge the sons of the house of Ahab in the very spot that their destruction was called for.
I Kings 9:22-26- And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many? And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, There is treachery, O Ahaziah. And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot. Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the LORD laid this burden upon him; Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the LORD; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the LORD. Now therefore take and cast him into the plat of ground, according to the word of the LORD.
By the time Jehoram realized that the army was there to destroy him, it was too late. Jehu killed Jehoram with a bow while he was trying to escape in his chariot. The army threw him into the field where his grandfather had murdered Naboth and his sons.
But, the army wasn't done yet.
I Kings 9:27-  But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there.
So, Jehu killed both the kings of Israel and Judah because they had followed in the wicked footsteps of King Ahab.
I Kings 9:30-31- And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window. And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?
Jezebel heard of the approach of Jehu, and she made her self as beautiful as she could. Then she leaned out a window and tried to start a conversation with Jehu. She was hoping that she could remind him of Zimri, who had killed King Baasha for his wickedness. Zimri only lived a few days on the throne before he was deposed and another took his place.
But, Jehu wasn't going to listen to this wicked woman's deceptions.
I Kings 9:32-37- And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot. And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king's daughter. And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.
God knew that this woman was so influential and wicked that she would effect generations to come. He didn't even want her to have a grave for people to come to. Only her name and her wicked deeds would be left!
But, Jehu wasn't done. Ahab's family was quite large.
I Kings 10:1a-  And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria.
Jehu told the people of Samaria to crown one of Ahab's sons as their king and to prepare for battle. None of the people of Samaria wanted a war, so they asked Jehu what to do to avoid a battle.
I Kings 10:6a- Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye be mine, and if ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master's sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to morrow this time.
Jehu said that the only way he wouldn't attack is if the men of Samaria killed all the heirs of Ahab. The men of Samaria knew that Jehu had killed both the king of Israel and the king of Judah. So, they knew a war with Jehu would mean much bloodshed.
The did as Jehu asked and killed all the sons of Ahab.
I Kings 10:11- So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining.
Jehu did everything that the young prophet told him to do. He not only wiped out the house of Ahab, but he destroyed his wicked priests as well.
I Kings 10:18-19- And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much. Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice to do to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal.
Jehu proclaimed a feast to Baal and gathered all the people who worshiped this false god together. He was going to obey God all the way. He not only destroyed the priests of Baal, but he was going to destroy the followers of Baal, too.
I KIngs 10:24-28-  And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that letteth him go, his life shall be for the life of him. And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal. And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them. And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.
Jehu wasn't a godly man. He was just as wicked as some of the other kings of Israel. He didn't worship Baal, but he did worship the golden calves that Jeroboam had made when God took the kingdom from King Solomon's son.
I Kings 10:29- Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan.
Even though Jehu didn't serve the Lord like he should, he had obeyed God's will. And, God always bless when we obey Him.
I Kings 10:30-31- And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.
God promised Jehu that his great grandson would get to sit on the throne of Israel. This promise wasn't because Jehu was a good man or a good king. It was simply because he obeyed God.
I Kings 10:34-36- Now the rest of the acts of Jehu, and all that he did, and all his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? And Jehu slept with his fathers: and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his stead. And the time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty and eight years.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Israel (Part 19)

Elisha was a well known prophet. He always told the people what God wanted them to her, whether they liked it or not.
Elisha also remembered those who he considered his friends. Do you remember the Shunamite woman? Elisha raised her son from the dead. Well, Elisha didn't want her to go through an awful famine!
II Kings 8:1-2- Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the LORD hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years. And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years.
Elisha knew that a famine was coming to the land of Samaria. This famine would be bad! So, he told the Shunamite woman to take her family out of the land of Israel for seven years until the famine was over.
II Kings 8:3- And it came to pass at the seven years' end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land.
It was a custom back then that when you went away for a long time, that you could go beg the king for you house and lands back. If the king was feeling generous, he would give you back your possession.
Elisha had warned the Shunamite, and so she left her house and lands for seven years. Someone else would have come along and tried to claim them.
Not only, was Elisha looking out for the Shunamite woman, but so was God. Remember, He called her a Great Woman.
II Kings 8:4-5- And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done. And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life.
The king was having a conversation with Elisha's leprous servant about all the miracles that the servant had witnessed. As he was telling the king about the Shunamite woman, she walked into his throne room!
II Kings 8:6- And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.
Not only did the king restore everything that was her, but he also gave her any of the crops that her land brought forth during that time.
She could have told Elisha that she didn't want to leave because she would lose her house and her lands. But, she obeyed instead. And because she obeyed, God made sure that she got back everything she lost as well as what she might have gained by staying.
The king of Israel wasn't the only ruler who listened to Elisha. Remember, the Syrians had become their friends when Elisha blinded them and brought them to Samaria? Well, the Syrian king had learned that Elisha could give answers from God.
II Kings 8:7-10- And Elisha came to Damascus; and Benhadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither. And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God, and enquire of the LORD by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease? So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels' burden, and came and stood before him, and said, Thy son Benhadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease? And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.
The king of Syria sent one of his trusted men to Elisha to ask if he would get better from a sickness. Elisha told the man that the king would die.
II Kings 8:11-13- And he settled his countenance stedfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept. And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child. And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria.
Elisha began to cry in front of this man. The man wondered why Elisha would start crying, but Elisha told him it was because he would become the next king of Syria. Elisha knew that war would start again under this man's rule.
II Kings 8:14-15- So he departed from Elisha, and came to his master; who said to him, What said Elisha to thee? And he answered, He told me that thou shouldest surely recover. And it came to pass on the morrow, that he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead.
You may have wondered why Elisha said to tell the king of Syria that he would recover from his sickness, but then tell the man that came to him that the king would die. It was because Elisha knew that the man was going to murder his king.
The man got back and told his king that he would recover. But, the man suffocated the king so that he could rule in his place.
II Kings 8:16, 28-29- And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign. And he went with Joram the son of Ahab to the war against Hazael king of Syria in Ramothgilead; and the Syrians wounded Joram. And king Joram went back to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.
Elisha had made friends with Syria. That's why Hazael had been so confused when Elisha told him that as king he would be at war with Israel. It's because Ahab's son, Joram started a war with Syria, and he dragged the king of Judah into this war.
God was tired of the sins of Ahab's household, and he was going to punish them.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Israel (Part 18)

There was another time when Israel was at war. It was a very bad war that lasted a long time.
II Kings 6:24-25- And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.
Now, have you ever not had food and thought about eating bird poop? It was so bad in Israel that they were selling that for a lot of money!
II Kings 6:26- And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.
The king was walking along the wall of his city when a woman came up crying to him for help. The king thought that she was asking for food, but she had a request that shocked him.
She and another lady had become cannibals. They had killed and eaten her child one day, but the other lady had hidden her child. She wanted the king to force the other lady to kill her child so they could eat it.
II Kings 6:30-31- And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh. Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.
The king was wearing an itchy material that Israelites wore when they were trying to get God's attention. But, this story put the king into a rage! He decided that it was Elisha's fault that this famine was happening, and he was going to kill Elisha!
Could Elisha make a famine happen? No. Elisha only told the people what God said was going to happen.
II Kings 6:32-33- But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master's feet behind him? And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?
Elisha was warned of God that the king was going to send a man to kill him. Elisha told the people that he was with to grab the man when he came inside. He had a message from God for the king.
II Kings 7:1- Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.
Elisha told the messenger that tomorrow there would be food, and it would sell for cheap.
II Kings 7:2- Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.
One of the people who served the king and ranked very high in his court asked how this could be possible. Didn't these people know they shouldn't question God? Elisha said that he would see the miracle, but he wouldn't get to enjoy it.
How was God going to feed an entire city, and give them enough food to buy and sell when they were in a stuck inside their city with a mighty army surrounding it?
II Kings 7:3-4- And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.
There were four men who had that terrible, deadly disease called leprosy. Because of this disease, they weren't allowed inside the city. They were hanging out by the city gate trying to avoid the army of the Syrians.
They were talking about what to do. If they went into the city, they would starve to death because there was no food. That's a long, painful way to die. If they went to the Syrians, they could be left alone and given food, but if they were killed it would be quick and painless.
They decided to go see how the Syrian army would treat them.
II Kings 7:5-7- And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there. For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us. Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.
When they got to the camp of the Syrian army they found it empty. God had scared off the Syrians. They left in such a hurry that they didn't take anything!
II Kings 7:8-9- And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it. Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household.
The lepers ate what they could, then took and hid some of it so they had more for later. Then, they thought about all those starving people in the capitol city. They knew that God wouldn't be happy with them if they kept all this for themselves.
II Kings 7:10-10-13- So they came and called unto the porter of the city: and they told them, saying, We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were. And he called the porters; and they told it to the king's house within. And the king arose in the night, and said unto his servants, I will now shew you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we be hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city. And one of his servants answered and said, Let some take, I pray thee, five of the horses that remain, which are left in the city, (behold, they are as all the multitude of Israel that are left in it: behold, I say, they are even as all the multitude of the Israelites that are consumed:) and let us send and see.
The lepers told the man who kept the gate. He went and told the king.
The king thought that it was a trap. He thought that the army was hiding and that they would attack once the city gates were opened.
The kings servants were so hungry that they begged the king to let them send out a few people with the remaining horses that were alive and find out. Everything, including the animals, was dying. They needed to know if this was a trap or not.
II Kings 7:14-15- They took therefore two chariot horses; and the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, Go and see. And they went after them unto Jordan: and, lo, all the way was full of garments and vessels, which the Syrians had cast away in their haste. And the messengers returned, and told the king.
The messengers went out, and guess what? It wasn't a trap! They hurried to tell the king.
II Kings 7:16- And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD.
The people got to go out and take all the food and animals and money that the Syrians had left behind.
But, what about the guy who questioned God's ability? Elisha said he would get to see it, but not eat it.
II Kings 7:17-20- And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him. And it came to pass as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be to morrow about this time in the gate of Samaria: And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, if the LORD should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof. And so it fell out unto him: for the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died.
The king told that man to go stand in the gate of the city and make sure that the people were orderly about going out. He saw that there was going to be a large bounty coming into the city.
But, the people were so hungry that they ran out of the city as fast as they could! And, that man who questioned God got ran over!
God says that He can supply our needs. He asks that we trust Him even when it seems impossible!

Matthew 6:31-32- Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Jesus said that God already knows what you need, and not to worry about how you're going to get it. Why shouldn't we worry?
Philippians 4:19- But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
We shouldn't worry because God will use His riches in Heaven to give us what we need.
Do you know how many riches are in heaven? Well, they walk on streets of gold up there! So, there are a lot of riches! And God will make sure we get what we need, because He's always watching.

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Israel (Part 17)

Elisha has been traveling around Israel performing many different miracles and telling people what the Lord God Almighty wants them to know.
He sometimes stops and spends time encouraging young men who are training to be prophets.
II Kings 6:1-4- And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.
The place where the young prophets lived was too small for all of them. They asked Elisha if they could go down to the woods near the river and cut down some trees to build a larger place. And, they wanted to know if Elisha would go with them. He said that was a good idea and that he would go.
II Kings 6:5-But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
When we borrow something from someone we should make sure that it is in working order when we take it and when we give it back. This young prophet borrowed an axe to cut down trees with, but he didn't make sure that the sharp axe head was securely fastened. Someone could have seriously gotten hurt when it flew off the handle!
Now, he is crying to Elisha for help because of his carelessness.
II Kings 6:6-7- And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.
Now, I don't know if you've ever held something made of iron. I have an iron skillet at home for cooking and it is heavy! But, Elisha worked a miracle so that this heavy object floated to the top of the river.
I sure hope the young prophet was a little more careful after that!
Sometimes Elisha lived with the young prophets. Sometimes he stayed in the room that the great woman of Shunem made for him. And sometimes, he lived in the city walls and told the king what the Lord God Almighty wanted him to know.
II Kings 6:8-10- Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.
The king of Syria wanted to defeat the king of Israel. He decided that he would try to send assassins to kill him. But, God didn't want the king of Israel to die yet. So, he told Elisha to warn the king about where the assassins were hiding in wait for him. He saved his life at least three times!
The king of Syria was aggravated that his assassins were found out. He thought that he might have a traitor in his midst.
II Kings 6:11-14- Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber. And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan. Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
One of the king of Syria's men told him that it was the prophet Elisha who was the informant. He said that Elisha could hear the words that the king spoke in his bedroom!
Is this true? Could Elisha hear what the king of Syria was saying behind closed doors? No! But, the Lord God Almighty could. It was the Lord, not Elisha, that was watching the king of Syria's moves.
But, the king of Syria blamed Elisha. He decided to send an army to circle the city that Elisha was staying in. They came with their chariots and horses during the night, and when everyone woke up in the morning the city was surrounded!
II Kings 6:15- And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
Elisha's servant was scared! I bet the people of the city were pretty scared! But, Elisha wasn't afraid.
II Kings 6:16-17- And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
Elisha told the servant not to be afraid because their army was bigger! Perhaps the servant looked around and saw only frightened villagers.
Elisha could see something that no one else could see. Elisha could see how God was protecting them! And, he prayed that God would let his servant see, too!
God allowed this servant to see the Spiritual army that was protecting Elisha and the city. When the servant looked out at the mountains that surrounded the city he saw an army of fire filling them.
Some times we are scared when we don't have to be. If we could see what God sees, we would know that he has a Spiritual army all around us keeping us safe. No one can hurt us unless God says they can.
II Kings 6:18-19- And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.
Elisha asked the Lord to blind the enemy army of Syria. Then he went out and told them that they were in the wrong place, and he led them to the capitol city of Israel.
II Kings 6:20-22- And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them? And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.
The king of Israel wanted to know if he should kill the Syrian army. But, Elisha said that they were captives and not to kill them, but feed them and send them back to Syria.
I'm sure the Syrian army was quite alarmed to find themselves inside of Samaria with the Israelite army all around. But, they weren't attacked like they expected. Instead, they were treated kindly by the ones they were to battle. They were fed and then sent home unharmed.
II Kings 6:23- And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.
What's the best way to end a war? You may think it's killing the enemy army. But, enemies can find armies anywhere. They can get them from other lands that they conquer, or pay for them from another powerful nation. No, killing isn't the best way.
The best way to end a war is to make your enemy your friend. Elisha ended this war by turning the enemy of Israel into a friend.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Israel (Part 16)

Now, during the time that Elisha was working miracles, there was a man in the land of Syria named Naaman.
II Kings 5:1- Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.
Naaman had a terrible disease that would eventually kill him. There was no known cure for this disease. Anyone who got it was doomed to die.
II Kings 5:2-3- And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.
Slavery is not something we see in America, but around the world there are still people who are slaves. It was not uncommon during Elisha's time for people who survived battles to be taken as slaves by the winning army.
Naaman had won many battles, and at one of these battles he had taken a little Jewish girl home to be a slave to his wife. This little Jewish girl told Naaman's wife that there was a prophet in her home country that could cure Naaman.
II Kings 5:4-5- And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
Someone went and told Naaman what the little slave girl had said, so Naaman gathered a present, and got a letter from his king to the king of Israel. He was hoping that once he got to the capitol city of Samaria, that the king of Israel would call the prophet and he would be healed.
II Kings 5:6-7- And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy. And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.
When the king of Israel read the letter from the king of Samaria, he was in a panick! You see, this wicked king had forsaken the Lord God Almighty and was now serving false idols. None of his idols could heal leprosy. The king of Israel thought that Naaman was using this to start a war.
But, God knew what was going on. He got word to Elisha that a Syrian with leprosy had come to Israel to be healed.
II Kings 5:8-  And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
Elisha sent word to the king of Israel telling him that he should send Naaman. Elisha knew that the God who made man could heal man. He was going to show all Israel and Syria what the Lord God Almighty could do!
II Kings 5:9-10- So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. 
Elisha sent a servant out to give some simple commands to Naaman. Go down to the river and wash yourself in it seven times.
II Kings 5:11-12- But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
God always deals with the root of our problems. What was the main problem Naaman had? It was pride! He thought that Elisha would come out and put on a big show. Perhaps he was expecting fireworks.
He didn't want to climb into the dirty Jordan River of Israel and wash himself seven times! That would be embarrassing- taking a bath in front of his men! So, he rode off in a huff!
II Kings 5:13- And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
One of his men came to him and asked him a simple question- if it were some great feat, wouldn't you have tried to do it? Of course he would have! But, a great feat would show Naaman's glory, not God's. God had given him a humbling thing to do so that no one but God would get the glory.
II Kings 5:14- Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
If Naaman had decided to only wash 5 times God wouldn't have healed him. God is very specific about what we should and shouldn't do. God is very specific about how we should obey. God always blesses obedience!
Naaman went into that dirty Jordan River in front of his men and obeyed God. He humbled himself and washed seven times. And when he finished the seventh- he was healed! His skin looked as pretty as a little child. Perhaps, God even healed his scars!
II Kings 5:15-19- And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused. And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD. In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing. And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.
Naaman wanted to give Elisha presents for telling him how to be healed of that terrible disease! But, Elisha wouldn't accept the gifts.
Then Naaman asked Elisha to forgive him for going into the temple of the false idol in his home town. It was Naaman's duty to escort the king into and out of the temple. Naaman now knew that only the Lord God Almighty was the true God.
Elisha sent him away in peace.
But, Elisha had a servant. And this servant had a greedy heart.
II Kings 5:20-24- But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments. And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.
Elisha's servant, Gehazi, made up a story about some other prophets coming to visit Elisha. He said these other prophets needed some of the things that Naaman had offered to Elisha.
Naaman was only too happy to be able to reward the man who had saved his life! He willingly gave the stuff to Gehazi and sent him home.
Gehazi not only lied, but he used the Lord God Almighty and His special servants in order to get what his wicked heart wanted. Do you think God was going to let him get away with it?
II Kings 5:25- But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.
Elisha asked Gehazi what he had been up to, but instead of confessing his sin he lied again!
II Kings 5:26-27- And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
Elisha told Gehazi that he knew what he had done. Gehazi had not only lied, but he had stolen God's glory by allowing Naaman to pay for his healing.
You see, God was trying to show the world something through Naaman. Leprosy is a type of sin. And sin can't be paid for with clothes, or money, or good deeds. Sin can only be paid for by obeying God's Word and washing in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ- this is called salvation.

Gehazi broke this picture of salvation, and for that his punishment was a slow death sentence. Gehazi would now be killed by the very same disease that Naaman had been cured from!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Israel (Part 15)

We have been looking at the different miracles that God used Elisha to perform. There aren't many other people in the Bible besides Jesus that brought someone back from the dead. But, Elisha was one of them.
II Kings 4:8- And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. ​
Elisha would often go to a town called Shunem. In this town was a woman that the Bible calls "great". When the Bible mentions someone as being wicked, mighty, great, etc, it is always wise to find out what made that person that way in the Lord's eyes.
This woman always invited Elisha to come eat dinner with her and her husband. She was very hospitable- that means that she would kindly take care of visitors.
II Kings 4:9-10- And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.
This woman was intuitive. She noticed that there was something different about Elisha. She realized that he was a prophet of the Lord.
She was also very generous. She asked her husband to help her make up a place for Elisha to stay every time he came through town. She made him a small room that had everything he needed. A bed for sleeping. A table and chair for eating or studying. And a candle so that he could have light in the darkness when he needed it.
II Kings 4:11-13- And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there. And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him. And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.
Another thing about this woman was that she was humble. Elisha appreciated everything that she went through to make him feel welcome and comfortable. He asked her if she wanted him to mention her to the people in charge, but she didn't want the recognition.
II Kings 4:14-16- And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old. And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door. And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.
Elisha wanted to bless this great woman for all that she had done to bless him. Elisha's servant noticed that her husband was old, and she had no children. Back then, children were considered a blessing from the Lord, and woman usually felt badly when they couldn't have any.
So, Elisha called the woman and told her that the Lord would bless her with a child. I'm sure the woman believed that Elisha was a prophet of the Lord, and she probably worshiped the Lord. But, I think she had a hard time believing what Elisha said because she had probably prayed and asked God for children before. She was afraid to get her hopes up and then not be blessed with a child.
But, the Lord was going to bless this great woman!
II Kings 4:17- And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.
The Shunamite woman had a little boy just like Elisha had told her she would.
The child grew up to be a young boy who started to go out to the field and work with his father on the crops.
II Kings 4:18-20- And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.
Something happened to the boy while he was out in the field. A servant carried him back to his mother, who held him and tried to help him feel better. But, whatever was wrong with him took his life.
II Kings 4:21-23- And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out. And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again. And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.
The woman took the little boy's body and laid it on the bed in the room that she had made for Elisha. Then she asked her husband to send a servant and a donkey for her to go see the Prophet.
The husband didn't know that the boy had died. He was wondering why she wanted to go see the Prophet when it wasn't a holiday. But, here is another reason that the Bible calls this woman great- she knew that everything was going to be okay.
II Kings 4:24-26- Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee. So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite: Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.
The woman told the servant to go as quickly as they could. She didn't want him to stop for anything unless she asked him to.
Elisha saw the Shunamite woman coming, and her sent his servant to see why she was coming to him.
This great woman wasn't going to complain about her problems to anyone and everyone. There was only one person that could help her, and he was the one she was going to talk to.
II Kings 4:27- And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.
The woman caught the Prophet by the feet. This, again, shows how humble she was. She was down on the ground. The servant didn't know what was going on, but Elisha realized that something was wrong.
II Kings 4:28-30- Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me? Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child. And the mother of the child said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.
Elisha sent his servant with his staff. He thought that the servant could use his staff to make the child better. But, the Shunamite woman wasn't going to take any chances. It was the prophet, Elisha, that had told her about the miracle that God performed in giving her a son, and it was the prophet, Elisha, that she wanted to come heal her child.
This woman is great because she was determined to do whatever was needed to get the blessing from God that she so desperately needed and wanted.
II Kings 4:31-32- And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked. And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.
Elisha's servant did what his master commanded, but the Lord didn't work a miracle through the servant. God had promised Elisha that he would get a double portion of Elijah's spirit. It had to be Elisha that worked the miracle.
II Kings 4:33-35- He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
Elisha prayed that the Lord would bring the child back to life. He warmed up the child's body, and then prayed and asked God again to bring the child back to life. Then, he warmed up the child's body again. This time, the boy opened his eyes and sneezed seven times.
I don't know why the boy sneezed seven times, but this must be important to the Lord because he mentions it. The number seven is important to God. There were 7 days of creation. There are 7 years in the tribulation. The Bible mentions 7 specific churches, and many other groups of things that come in sevens.
II Kings 4:36-37- And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son. Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.
The woman came to get her son. She had been granted the miracle that she sought. And, now we see another reason that she was great- She was thankful!
Elisha not only brought someone back to life, but he also performed a miracle that kept people from dying.
II Kings 4:38- And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
A dearth is like a small famine. There is some food, but not much. Elisha went to a place where a bunch of prophets were gathered together. These men were known as the sons of the prophets.
Elisha told his servant to prepare a meal for these men.
II Kings 4:39- And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.
One of the men went out and found a gourd, kind of like a squash plant, and picked some for the soup. He didn't know what type of veggie this was- and we should never eat anything growing in the wild that we don't know what it is! But, this man didn't know that.
He took the gourd and shredded it. He didn't chop it so that it would be easy to pick out of the soup. He cut it into a lot of teeny tiny pieces and then put it in the soup.
II Kings 4:40- So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.
As the sons of the prophets sat down and started eating, something happened. They noticed that they weren't feeling well. Perhaps, some of them started to have an allergic reaction to the wild gourds. They cried to Elisha that the soup was poisoned!
II Kings 4:41- But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.
Elisha used some  course ground flour and threw it into the soup. God used it to work a miracle and it removed the poison. Everyone could eat without getting sick. It probably healed the ones who were already sick.
But, that wasn't the only miracle Elisha did for the sons of the prophets.
II Kings 4:42-44- And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat. And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD.
Elisha performed a miracle that the Lord Jesus Christ also performed. Someone brought some food for the men. Elisha told his servant to pass the food out and let everyone eat.
The servant looked at what was brought, and looked at all the people, and he didn't think there would be enough.
But, Elisha knew that God could use a little to take care of many. He told the servant that there would be enough, and there would be leftovers. Do you remember a story about Jesus performing this miracle?
These are just a few examples of the double spirit of Elijah.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Israel (Part 14)

Now, Elisha had taken over for Elijah as the prophet of the Lord. And, he was promised a double portion of Elijah's spirit by God- this meant that he would perform twice as many miracles as Elijah had.
After the death of Ahab, the King of Moab rebelled against Israel and became their enemy.
II Kings 3:5-7- But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel. And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses.
Now remember, King Jehoram was a wicked king who served false idols. And King Jehoshaphat was a good king who loved the Lord God Almighty. They weren't suppose to make alliances with each other, but this was one mistake that Jehoshaphat could over come.
II Kings 3:8-10- And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom. So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days' journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them. And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!
So, the kings of Israel and Judah, along with the king of Edom, went to war against Moab. After traveling for a week, they got to the place where they were in despair. There was no water, and they were so thirsty!
King Jehoram was sure that this was where they were going to die. But, King Jehoshaphat did what he always did during these times- he sought the Lord.
II Kings 3:11-12- But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah. And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
There was a soldier who knew that Elisha lived near where the armies were. He informed the kings that this was the man who trained under Elijah. Everyone knew who Elijah was! So, they thought that this prophet, Elisha, would know what to do.
II Kings 3:13-14- And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab. And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.
Elisha wasn't happy to see the wicked kings of Israel and Edom. He told them that if Jehoshaphat weren't with them he wouldn't help them. But, because the Lord loved Jehoshaphat he would ask God what they should do.
II Kings 3:15-19- But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand. And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.
God told Elisha what to do after there were songs of praise. This is very important! God wants to hear us sing when things are going well, but also when things are going badly. It pleases Him when we are willing to praise Him no matter what the circumstances are.
God told Elisha that He was going to work a miracle. God wanted the soldiers to dig ditches throughout the valley. There wasn't going to be any storms, or even any rain showers, yet God was going to make the ditches that were digged fill with water.
And, to prove that He was the Lord God Almighty, He also promised to help these three kings win the battle against the King of Moab.
II Kings 3:20-24- And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water. And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armour, and upward, and stood in the border. And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood: And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil. And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country.
In the morning, the ditches were filled with water. The armies of the three kings drank and gave their animals drink.
But, when the enemy army of Moab looked down in the valley, they saw the ditches as if they were blood. They thought that the armies of the three kings had killed each other during the night. They went down not expecting to fight.
God delivered the Moabites into these three kings' hands. They did everything God told them to do. They threw stones in the wells, and pulled down the strong holds, and cut down all the good trees. In doing this, they crippled their enemy.
But, this was only one of the many miracles Elisha performed. There was another time when Elisha helped out a widow woman.
II Kings 4:1- Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
This poor woman was in debt. In so much, that she couldn't pay what was owed. During these times, a person who owed money could have their family put into slavery until the debt was paid. This woman was worried because the people she owed money to said they were going to make her sons slaves.
II Kings 4:2- And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.
Elisha asked the woman what she had. She said that all she had was some oil. God can work with whatever we have if we are willing to obey His commands and surrender our will.
II Kings 4:3-4- Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
Elisha told the widow to go borrow empty vessels from all her neighbors. He said to get a lot of empty vessels, as many as her neighbors would let her borrow. Then, he told her to fill the pots with the oil that she had in the house.
This woman had to do exactly as Elisha said. She had to go ask her neighbors to borrow their empty vessels- this was a very humbling experience. IF she had been prideful, God's grace wouldn't have worked this miracle for her.
II Kings 4:5-6- So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.
The woman went into her house and took her small amount of oil and started to pour it into the empty vessels that she borrowed. To her amazement, the oil kept coming out and filling the vessels. She poured and poured, and it filled all the vessels that she had borrowed!
II Kings 4:7- Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
God had provided this woman with enough oil to sell so that she could make the money to pay her debts. God didn't just miraculously make the money appear- the woman had to work for it. But, we see that when we do what God has asked, He blesses us!

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Kingdom Divided- Israel (Part 13)

During the time of the kings of Israel, Elijah has been preparing his successor, Elisha, to take over for him. And, now the time was nearing when Elisha would be alone.
II Kings 2:1- And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
​Now, there are a few men in the Bible who have something special happen to them. One man was Enoch who didn't die. Enoch lived before the flood, and one day God changed Enoch from a regular human into something eternal and took him to live in heaven.
Another man that something special would happen to is Elijah. Elijah wasn't going to die here. Elijah was going to be taken by God to heaven, but he isn't going to become eternal. You see, Elijah is going to come back in the future. When future Elijah shows up, he will be Moses who will be resurrected. Together these two men will face the AntiChrist- Satan in flesh. And the AntiChrist will kill them.
Elijah knows that he isn't going to die just yet.
II Kings 2:2-3-  And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
Not only does Elijah know he won't die, but so do the other prophets. Elisha knows, and so do the prophets who dwell at Bethel.
II Kings 2:4-5- And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
The prophets who lived in Jericho also knew that Elijah was in his last day. The Bible doesn't say how they all know that Elijah won't die, or how they know that this day would be the day. But, Elisha isn't going to let his mentor out of his sight!
II Kings 2:6- And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.
So, both Elijah and Elisha go to the Jordan River, and they are followed by some of the other prophets.
II Kings 2:7-8- And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
It seemed that Elijah didn't want anyone to see how he left the earth. He left the city, and crossed the large river of Jordan. Just like when Moses parted the Red Sea for the children of Israel when they left Egypt, Elijah parter the river of Jordan. Only Elisha was with him.
II Kings 2:9-10- And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
Elijah asked Elisha what it was that he wanted. Elisha said that he wanted a double portion of Elijah's spirit- he wanted to do twice as much as Elijah had done while he was living. Elijah said that if Elisha saw God take him to heaven that he would have his request answered.
II Kings 2:11- And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Suddenly, as they were walking and talking a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire drove between them. Elijah was pulled into the chariot and then the flaming horses pulled it and Elijah into a whirlwind that went up into heaven.
Can you imagine what Elisha must have felt like? To have seen flaming horses would be unimaginable! But, to watch those horses taxi your friend off into eternity?!?!
II Kings 2:12-15-  And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.
Elijah picked up the mantle that fell off of Elijah. He used this coat-like piece of clothing on the Jordan River just as he had seen Elijah do. And, just like it did for Elijah, the river parted and Elisha crossed on dry ground.
The prophets that had been by the river when Elijah crossed over with Elisha were still waiting. They saw Elisha come back the way he had left, and they knew that Elisha had the same spirit that Elijah had. God had answered Elisha's request.
II Kings 2:16-18-  And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send. And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?
The prophets wanted to go look for Elijah, but Elisha knew he was no longer on the earth. They pestered Elisha so much that he finally told them they could go look. But, they didn't find him!
When they came back, they had a problem that they were hoping Elisha could help them with.
II Kings 2:19- And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren.
The city had a well, but the water was bad. It wouldn't help plants to grow.
II Kings 2:20-22- And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.
Elisha asked for a vessel with salt in it. He went out to where the waters were and cast the salt into the waters- and this healed them. The waters were now good to drink and would help plants grow.
This was the first miracle Elisha did. He helped the town be able to live.
His second miracle wouldn't be so wonderful.
II Kings 2:23-24- And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
God tells children to obey their parents and those who rule over them. He also expects children to be respectful of their elders. On Elisha's way home, there were some naughty children who came out and started to make fun of him because he was bald.
Elisha called a curse down on them in the name of the Lord, and two bears attacked them. God doesn't think it's funny to be disrespectful!
Elisha's first miracle brought life; his second miracle brought death. He was going to have a double portion of everything that Elijah had done. Elijah had 14 miracles happen while he was alive- they brought both life and death. Elisha was going to have 28!

II Kings 2:25- And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.