June 18, 2020
HAVE YOU BUTCHERED THE OXEN AND BURNED THE PLOW OF YOUR FORMER LIFE? God directed Elijah to anoint a prophet from behind a plow. He didn’t send him to a finishing 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
June 16, 2020
GOD’S DESIRE FOR THE NATIONS After Elijah warned King Ahab about the coming drought in Israel, he fled to the wilderness. Eventually, the Lord sent Elijah out of Israel to the land of Sidon, where God had commanded a widow to provide for his needs. In this way, God both protected Elijah from Ahab and
June 12, 2020
THE CONDITIONAL PROMISE FORESHADOWS THE UNCONDITIONAL ONE After Solomon had completed the building of the Temple, the Lord appeared to him a second time. In this appearance, the Lord repeated the conditional promise that He had made to his father, David. Notice the “if” and the “then” words that mark such a conditional statement. The
June 18, 2019
TWO KINDS OF SPIRITUAL MOUNTAINTOPS After God had used Elijah to win the victory over Baal’s prophets on Mount Carmel, he had no doubt expected a revival to break out in Israel. Instead, he was left spiritually drained, discouraged, and afraid for his life by the renewed threats from Jezebel to kill him. He responded
June 17, 2019
RUNNING LIFE’S RACE WITH GOD’S STRENGTH After using Elijah to defeat the prophets of Baal in a fire from heaven contest, and sending rain in response to the prophet’s prayer, the Lord strengthened Elijah to outrun Ahab’s chariot. Some have suggested that he ran the 16 miles from Mount Carmel to Jezreel before the king’s
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.”