June 20, 2017
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, requested that Ahab, king of Israel, would inquire of the LORD before they united to go to war against Syria. Ahab gathered his 400 prophets and they all affirmed the Lord’s support. However, Jehoshaphat was a righteous king and he took note that the prophets were not worshipers of the LORD (In most English translations, all caps “LORD” is used to translate “Yahweh,” while “Lord” is used to translate “Adonai.”). He asked whether Ahab still had a “Yahweh” prophet. Ahab did, but he said that he hated him because the prophet never spoke good for him. Sure enough, when the Yahweh prophet was brought before the kings, he prophesied Ahab’s death, which in fact, came to pass.
The modern reader may consider Ahab foolish for preferring to surround himself with preachers that only encouraged him with lies, while rejecting the one who called him to repentance with the truth. Yet, Ahab’s generation is here today and Ahab’s prophets too. For as the apostle Paul warned, “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (1 Tim. 4:3-4).
June 19, 2017
Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria, thought he had picked a fight with Ahab, king of Israel, but in fact, he had picked a fight with God. Ahab was one of the most wicked kings in Israel’s history, so it seems surprising that the Lord would protect him from the armies of Syria. But the Lord was not defending Ahab. He was defending His own Name. He wanted both Israel and Syria to recognize that He was not some local man-made deity, but the only true God and Creator of all.
His desire has always been that “you shall know that I AM the Lord.”
June 18, 2017
God directed Elijah to anoint a prophet from behind a plow. He didn’t send him to a school for prophets, but to a farm where Elisha was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him. His father must’ve been wealthy to have so many servants plowing with twelve teams. Yet, when Elijah came by and threw his mantle upon him, he left everything to follow. Elisha even made a barbecue of his own oxen team, using the wooden plow for fuel, and fed his father’s servants before leaving. This showed not only his joy at answering God’s call, but also the total relinquishment of his former life, as he left behind plow and primogeniture to follow as Elijah’s servant.
The calling of Elisha is similar to the calling of Jesus’ disciples. They too left everything to follow Jesus and to become His servants. Have you butchered the oxen and burned the plow of your former life, so that you are free to fully follow Christ as His devoted servant?
June 14, 2017
The Judean prophet had clear instructions from the Lord to maintain his fast and return a different way home, but he was deceived by an old prophet’s claim that the Lord had said he could stay and eat with him. He had resisted King Jeroboam’s invitation, but he fell prey to the old prophet’s lie. And while returning to Judah, he was killed by a lion along the way.
This is one of the stranger episodes in the Bible, yet a clear principle might be seen. Obey the Word of the Lord even when a another believer tells you that he has had a fresh revelation on the matter. Especially, when the so-called new word from the Lord makes it easier to give in to your fleshly appetite. Better to fast and live, than to eat and die.
June 12, 2017
After Solomon had completed the Temple, the Lord appeared to him a second time. In this appearance, the Lord repeated the promise that He had made to his father, David, concerning Israel’s throne, namely, that one of his sons would always be king. However, the promise was conditional on Solomon’s integrity and obedience to the Lord. And as Solomon grew older, his many foreign wives “turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been” (1 Kings 11:4).
With the death of Solomon the kingdom fell into two parts. The ten Northern tribes rebelled and established a new Northern kingdom of Israel, which was later conquered by the Assyrians. And the Lord let Solomon’s son keep Judah and the Southern Kingdom for the sake of David, yet even that kingdom eventually fell too.
Solomon’s reign represented the peak of Israel’s power and prestige. Yet, it is a picture of the disappointment that every human government, no matter how promising its beginnings, always ends up bringing. For all humanity longs for the ultimate fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to David of an eternal kingdom established by the Lord. This is the kingdom that was inaugurated by Jesus, Son of David, Son of God, and its fulfillment awaits His return. Until then, we pray, “Thy kingdom come.”
June 7, 2017
David’s last words to his son, Solomon, sound somewhat generic and masculine: “Be strong and prove yourself a man.” Yet, the verses that follow show that what he meant was that Solomon should “be strong” in the Lord and in His promises. And what he meant by “prove yourself a man,” was that Solomon should keep the charge of the Lord and always walk in His ways.
David understood strength and manhood differently than the world. He wanted his son, Solomon, to be strong in the Lord and to walk as God’s man in all His ways. Yet, Solomon would not prove to be the man that David had hoped for, turning away to worship false gods as he grew older.
But God did not forget His promise that David would not “lack a man on Israel’s throne.” He sent His only Son, Jesus, to be born into the line of David, and to establish His eternal kingdom. Jesus was strong in the Lord and proved Himself the Son of Man, who takes away the sins of the world.
As Pilate said, “Behold the man!” (John 19:5).
June 6, 2017
When King David was old, his son Adonijah decided to make himself king. He followed the tactic of his rebellious older brother, Absalom, and started riding around Jerusalem in a chariot with fifty men running before him. As before, David was passive and did nothing to stop his son’s behavior.
Fortunately, Nathan the prophet worked to remind David of his promise to make Solomon king after him. Following a carefully worked out strategy, Nathan and Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, went to David and helped move him to action.
Great leaders and warriors don’t necessarily make great fathers. And they rarely do a good job at preparing their organizations for a smooth and successful succession. Yet, God gave David excellent counselors, such as Nathan, who helped make the transition from David to Solomon the most successful succession in all of Israel’s history.
Starting well is good, but finishing well is even better.
June 18, 2016
Elijah, in the power of the Spirit, called fire down from heaven and defeated the 450 prophets of Baal. He called on God to break a 3-year drought and the rains came pouring down. He pulled up his robe and outran King Ahab’s chariot in sandaled feet. But then, Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, threatened him and he lost heart. He was struck with fear and ran into the wilderness alone and asked God to take his life. He was exhausted, depressed and isolated. He literally went from a mountain top experience to the deepest valley in a day. But God sent an angel to care for him. We must take care after a great success or spiritual experience. Ironically, we are often most vulnerable after a “mountain top” win. And Satan often sends a “Jezebel” to attack us right as we come down from the heights and enter the valley.
June 17, 2016
The prophet Elijah challenged the people of Israel to stop “limping,” or wavering back and forth between “two different opinions.” He called them to choose who they would follow. As Joshua before him had challenged, “Choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Then, Elijah proceeded to challenge the 450 prophets of Baal, to prove whose god was truly God. Regardless of modern thinking, not every religious “opinion” is equal. Some are true and some are false. And Elijah’s God proved Himself true. Are you still “limping” along thinking all paths to God are equal, that all “opinions” are true? How long will you continue wavering with such fallacious thinking? There is only one God, and one way revealed to us to follow Him and that is Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Choose this day whom you will follow.
June 13, 2016
The ten tribes of Israel rebelled against the House of David and rejected his grandson, Rehoboam as king. The author of this book commented that Israel was still in a state of rebellion during the time of his writing. He spoke of a political reality. Yet, his observation was Spirit inspired and had a spiritual fulfillment. For centuries later when it came time for the long awaited Messiah from the House of David to appear, Israel rejected him too. Those, whether Jew or Gentile, who have rejected Jesus as King are in rebellion to this day.