Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Elijah is taken to Heaven in a whirlwind and chariot of fire. Elisha witnesses this and in turn inherits a portion of his spirit. The reading indicates that both of them know beforehand what will happen. Elisha refuses to leave Elijah's side, and Elijah asks Elisha if there is anything he can do for him before he goes. I'm not sure how they know, but its kinda cool that they did.
A few little tidbits of Elisha are shared--he turns a city's water sweet again and has some youths mauled by bears... haha not kidding. They called him a "baldhead" so he called upon the Lord and 2 bears mauled 42 kids...not sure if thats a good lesson to follow, but its a good read so I'll post it below :) He also helps a widow who is left destitute and only has a little bit of oil. Elisha has her gather jars from her neighbors and fill them with the oil she has left--the oil never runs out until the last jar is filled. She is then told to sell the jars, pay off her debts and live off the rest. He raises a boy from the dead, turns a poisonous pot of stew to normal and feeds 100 men with 20 loaves of bread... all in a day's work!
Elisha Is Jeered
23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.
Monday, September 27, 2010
15 "The day of the LORD is near
for all nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you;
your deeds will return upon your own head.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
It amazed me that these people just up and decide "I think I'm going to kill these people" and just go to war... but God protects His people :)
Jehoram comes next and isn't much better than Ahab. He's so evil that tribes start breaking off and making their own kings. He killed his own brothers to keep them from over throwing him and married a daughter of Ahab. God gave him what he deserved though... he came down with an "incurable disease of the bowels" that got so bad, his bowels eventually just fell out and he died. What a terrible way to go.
Ahaziah comes next and is again an evil one. God brings his downfall, but he has a seriously wicked mother who goes crazy and takes over the land. She killed all the princes, some of them her own grandchildren! But one was hidden for 6 years while she ruled the land. In the 7th year, the followers of Judah stage a coup and overthrow her reign by crowning Joash (the hidden child) as king. The devil woman is killed, shrines are torn down, and all is right with the world...
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
God allows a "spirit" to put ideas into another king's head and he asks Ahab to go to war against Ramoth Gilead. Ahab decides to consult with the prophets first, but they are not prophets of God--only Micaiah is left. All 400 prophets tell him to go for it, that God will deliver them into his hand. Micaiah tells him that yes, his people will win, but he will face certain death if he pursues this. Basically, Ahab goes to war, dies in battle, his chariot is cleaned off in the river where prostitutes bathed and his blood is licked up by dogs... nice. Ahab even tries to disguise himself when he goes into battle so the enemy won't know he is the king--he is still struck by a "random" arrow for a perfect kill shot. God always gets His man :)
Another king comes along and does some good by tearing down idols and such, but the natural flow of things happens again and another corrupt king succeeds him and builds it all up again--I'm def seeing a trend.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Ahab gets into a little conflict with another king. Ben-Hadad decides he wants in on what Israel has and threatens to come and take it all. But God is on Ahab's side and grants them victory in battle. Ben-Hadad strikes again and is again subdued. A truce is made between the two. So he did a little good, saved his people and handled matters accordingly, but this is one good drop in a sea of terrible ideas.
Later on, he decides he wants a man's vineyard this is near his palace. The guy won't let him have it, so he sulks and mopes around the palace. Sneaky Jezebel tells him to grow up... she will acquire the vineyard for him. Jezebel writes a letter to the city officials and basically sets it up for the man to be stoned to death. After he's dead, Ahab takes possession of the land. God is not to excited about this and sends Elijah to rebuke him. He threatens horrible death on Ahab and Jezebel for their evil ways. But then Elijah watches Ahab for a time and sees him wearing sackcloth and showing true repentance. God decides to spare him for now, but will show his wrath to Ahab's future generations. This is the second time I've noticed the evil person getting off and his children paying for it... doesn't seem right does it? But who am I to question...
I tell you what,, that Jezebel is a wily temptress!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The woman is distraught and tells him that she only has enough flour and oil to make one last meal and then her and her son will have to starve to death. Elijah gives her confidence and tells her to make him some bread and then some for herself--there will always be enough flour and oil. Just as he says, for days on end there is always enough provisions for all 3 of them to eat. After a while, the lady's son gets ill and dies. She is naturally a little upset about this, but Elijah intercedes and God gives him his life back. The woman is in awe and realizes that he truly is a man of God.
God then sends Elijah for the ultimate showdown---God vs. Baal, Elijah vs. Ahab. They each make an altar and prepare an animal for sacrifice. Ahaband his people cry out for Baal to light the altar on fire for hours and hours=nothing. Elijah then covers his altar with boo-koodles of water and asks God to show his glory=complete incineration.
Jezebel (wife of Ahab) threatens Elijah so he flees. An angel renews his strength with food, water and rest, but he still feels inadequate as he is the only prophet of God left. God personally comes to him, renewing his strength and gives him a plan for new leaders and a successor/protege.
What an amazing testimony to God's provision. Even the most "holy" of men get down on themselves and doubt their purpose... this was such a great encouragement to me!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
In Israel: Baasha killed Nadab and took over the throne, committed all kinds of evil and brought God's wrath upon himself. Elah (Bassha's son) comes next and is killed by Zimri for the throne. Zimri then kills off all of Baasha's family. This is a fulfillment of prohesy since God said Baasha would pay for his wickedness, but I don't think Zimri went about it in the right way. When Israel heard how evil Zimri was and how he got the throne, they named Omri king--Zimri is scared and lost and burns himself alive in his palace.
Meanwhile in Judah: Asa is now dead and Jehoshaphat is king. God favored him as he did not consult idols and sent out men into the land to preach the Law. He become widely known and feared and men brought him gifts from all over.
The main lesson for today is something that is reoccurring throughout scriptures... OT leaders who relied on God and trusted in His prophecies thrived... seems like a no brainer to me :)
Monday, September 13, 2010
Asa comes next and does it right. He tears down all the idols and even displaces his own grandmother who was doing evil things. During his first battle, he seeks God and is blessed beyond his wildest dreams. Only in his older years does he begin to stray and rely on his own strength. He uses another army without consulting the Lord to conquer an enemy king and does not ask God for help when his foot becomes severely diseased. He ultimately dies from the foot infection.
I think it just goes to show that no one is perfect and power can make anyone corrupt.
Below is a picture of what an Asherah pole most likely looked like (like the one Asa's grandmother made and he destroyed). The Asherah pole was a kind of idol and was set up in honor of a goddess.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
12 Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the LORD's anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
The head of forced labor gets stoned, and Rehoboam escapes with his life--Jeroboam is crowned king. He doesn't do such a great job either. He gets worried that if the people keep going to Jerusalem and worship God too much, they will want Rehoboam back. He builds 2 idols and puts them in place that are easier to travel to than Jerusalem to seduce the people. He lets just about any become a priest and just has a free-for-all.
God sends a prophet to warn Jeroboam. He tells him that his altars will be split and a new king--Josiah will be brought up. His son becomes ill and he gets even more bad news that his whole world is about to come crumbling down. Not much more is said other than he dies, his son becomes king and there is more history written in the annals of Israel.
During all of this, Judah is the only tribe that remains loyal to the house of David (Rehoboam). They make Rehoboam their king and he continues to do a crappy job and ignores God. He dies and his son Abijah is made king over Judah.
Friday, September 10, 2010
7 "Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD ?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
Wisely spoken. These words and others in chapter 30 are spoken by an oracle who realizes that he truly knows nothing. He knows his place in the universe and knows that only God if infinite. His words are refreshing and really spoke to me.
What stuck out to me in chapter 31 was a "definition" of a good wife. She instills confidence in her husband, works hard, uses her earnings to plant things for herself, helps provide for her family, gives care to the needy, she is strong and excited about things to come, her children love her and she fears the Lord. Honestly, this woman sounds pretty BA to me and has so many qualities I strive to have. I love that the verse does not have a tone that suggests a woman should remain in the shadows and submit. Instead, she is to be at the husband's right hand, earning money of her own and making her own decisions, has wisdom and strength to get through hard times and keeps her family together... this chapter is going in my back pocket for days that I question my purpose :)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Solomon was a baller at this point... he had every covered in gold and made an elaborate ivory and gold throne for himself. His army's shields were made out of gold and is ships brought in gold by that boatloads.
Sadly, Solomon also had a wandering heart and fell in "love" with many women from place that God had advised him not to take wives from. He had 700 freaking wive and 300 concubines... this is why I said he was in "love" haha. Just as God warned, the women led him astray and he started worshiping and making sacrifices/offerings to other gods. God vowed to strip him of the kingdom, but out of compassion decides to not do it during his lifetime--it will happen during his son's lifetime. So the son is basically getting punished for his father's mistake... doesn't seem right does it?
God does raise up adversaries to make the rest of Solomon's life a bit more challenging. Even one of his own officials turns against him. Not much more is said other than Solomon dies and his son Rehoboam gets the kingdom.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Another main lesson from this reading is that no man can know the heart of God. He has a path laid out for us, and who are we to try and guess where it's going? I'm not necessarily saying that God predestines everything we do, but I do think that He knows where it is going and it's foolish for us to worry and stress over every little thing.
Of course there are some Debbie-downer moments... my personal favorite is in chapter 9":9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun— all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun." So encouraging huh? Have fun with your meaningless life, toiling away and just accepting it as fact... woooo....
But it ends with a nice summary and strong charge:
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
Have a blessed holiday weekend!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Just the titles alone for this book are depressing. Every heading starts out with "
Basically, the only thing not meaningless is standing in awe of God. Don't make promises you can't keep and choose your words to God carefully.
The later part of this reading helps to put it all into perspective. The author does not mean to be depressive but to offer wisdom that he has learned. Amassing riches, fame, power, etc. are ultimately worthless when compared to God and the glory to come. Working for something means nothing if it is not for God. Although it does end on a depressing note... I am trying to take it all into stride and understand where he is coming from.
12 For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone?
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
27:17 As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.
19 As water reflects a face,
so a man's heart reflects the man.
20 Death and Destruction are never satisfied,
and neither are the eyes of man.
These are great verses about accountability and using fellow Christians to stay on track. I love the verse about never being satisfied--as humans we are always looking for the next thing and never seem to get our fill.
28:23 He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor
than he who has a flattering tongue.
Basically, its better to tell someone the truth in love, than to lie through your teeth just to be nice. It all goes back to sharpening one another. Allowing a friend to point out your weaknesses can be a painful process, but also an amazing tool in strengthening your relationship with God.