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June 13 2017

06:40

Sunday Morning Service (II Kings 5:1-19)

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Audio Access Available Above
“A Tribute To Servants” • 6.11.17 • Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- Throughout these first four chapters, the author of Second Kings has put the spotlight, not upon the Kings of Israel and Judah, but on the ministry and work of Elisha the prophet!
- Elisha's fame has spread far and wide. His work has carried him from the frontlines of a national crisis to the front porch of a destitute widow.
- Despite Israel's apostasy, God has left a shining witness to speak of His reality, in the hopes that His people would turn from their idolatrous ways and return to Him.
- Today, we leave the confines of Israel, where we expect God to move, to a neighboring nation that has no relationship to God. God wants to advertise Himself there as well! Verse 1.
Text
II Kings 5:1 : " Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper. " : At first glance, Naaman is the envy of every Syrian man.
- He is known as a "great and honorable man" who is highly respected by the most highly respected person in the land of Syria! He is famous and incredibly successful.
- The text declares that God had used his battle prowess to bring Syria to victory. Josephus and other extant sources claim that his was the arrow that found Ahab in I Kings 22:34!
- Whether that is the case or not, Naaman is foremost, a Gentile who had been used by God as a tool of discipline against God's rebellious people! Unfortunately, this is where the envy ends.
- He was a brave and might man, but he was a leper! It may be that he had recently developed or been diagnosed with leprosy, or that he had been living with it for some time.
- In the ancient world, there was not a more fearsome condition. Israel knew about leprosy and the Levitical law called for examination and ultimately separation. (Leviticus 13)
- Outside of the commonwealth of Israel, other nations were less vigilant in their treatment. Consequently, it seems that Naaman's leprosy was allowed to progress as he continued to work.
- Leprosy, which scholars believe to be similar to Hansen's Disease today, is a disorder of the nervous system which affects a person's ability to feel pain.
- Before long, infection sets into open sores, which would lead to horrifying disfigurement.
˚ " Its symptoms start in the skin and peripheral nervous system (outside the brain and spinal cord), then spread to other parts, such as the hands, feet, face, and earlobes. Patients with leprosy experience disfigurement of the skin and bones, twisting of the limbs, and curling of the fingers to form the characteristic claw hand. Facial changes include thickening of the outer ear and collapsing of the nose. Tumor-like growths called lepromas may form on the skin and in the respiratory tract, and the optic nerve may deteriorate. "  Dr. Allen Gillen[i]
- No matter how successful, brave, famous or rich Naaman was, he was living under the shadow of a death sentence. Verse 2.
II Kings 5:2,3 : " And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, 'If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.' " : In the meantime, there was a similarly hopeless individual living in the land of Syria. She is a captive from the land of Israel.
- Syria and Israel often fought and traded control over shared territories. Both sides would take captives. Israel was given rules of conduct by God, but Syria did not hold to them.
- This young girl may have witnessed the execution of her parents and male siblings. It wouldn't be surprising to discover that she had also experienced personal trauma as well.
- Aside from her personal tragedies, she finds herself in Naaman's house as his wife's servant.
- She has watched Naaman digress physically and has seen the worry on Mrs. Naaman's face. Despite the potential personal grudges that she might have held onto, she speaks up to help them.
"If Naaman would go to Elisha, he would be healed!" This is incredibly bold! Aside from Moses' sister Miriam, there hasn't been a case of a leper's healing in the record of the Old Testament!
- She is so sincere and so confident! She has no hestitation in her voice. Elisha holds the key to Naaman's healing. With only her word of hope, the wheels are set in motion. Verse 4.
II Kings 5:4-8 : " And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, 'Thus and thus said the girl who is from the land of Israel.' Then the king of Syria said, 'Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.' So he departed and took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. Then he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which said, ' Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.' And it happened, when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, 'Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.' So it was, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, 'Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.' " : Isn't this incredible? The most decorated General in Syria and the King act upon the advice of a Hebrew handmaiden!
- This speaks volumes of the relationship that Syria's King had with his General. This is his value: The King will spend generously at the slightest hint of a possible cure!
- On the other side, look at the value of a faithful captive's words. Her words are not only heard in the capital building, but the government actually enacts her plan!
- She had simply testified confidently and her words moved the heart of the King who immediately pens a letter to King Jehoram, whom he assumes, has Elisha on retainer!
- He has no idea how much Jehoram hates Elisha! When the letter arrives with a gift valued at several millions, Jehoram thinks it's a ploy to engage Israel in a war!
- The King is distraught, but the Prophet is excited! As the man of God! His confidence is in the Lord! He has no qualms about Naaman's condition.
- "Let him come and he shall know there is a prophet in Israel!" I love Elisha's response and would wish that we would all share it!
- "Let them come with their impossible scenario. Let them meet my God and see His power!" Do you have that kind of confidence in your God?
- We're so afraid that He will not meet their need that we fail even to offer His help in prayer! Elisha wanted Naaman to come and couldn't wait to advertise God's greatness. Verse 9.
II Kings 5:9,10 : " Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, 'Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.' " : Naaman made his long journey from Syria to Mount Carmel. He stood at the very door of Elisha's house expecting to meet the prophet face to face.
- Can you imagine his feelings? Was he nervous? Did he think about what he was going to say or wonder what Elisha was going to look like? He knocks on the door and gets quite a surprise!
- When the door opens, it is not only not Elisha, but it one of his lowly messengers who proceeds to let the General know what he must do! "Son, do you know who I am!?"
- Without batting an eye, the messenger tells him to bathe himself in the Jordan river 7 times!
- If he does that, the leprosy will be healed. He will be "clean." That's it? I would be ecstatic and incredibly relieved! Wouldn't that bring you incredible relief? Wouldn't you rejoice?
- Naaman, a man who has traveled thousands of miles, simply can't relate. Verse 11.
II Kings 5:11,12 : " But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, 'Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ Are not the Abanahand the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?' So he turned and went away in a rage. " : Naaman is beside himself with anger! The word speaks of "bursting out into rage." You have to understand that his expectations were high and they have been crushed!
- He expected to see Elisha's face. "He will surely come out to me." Naaman was used to people being impressed with him. Even now as a leper, he expected this from Elisha!
- He wasn't prepared to meet a lowly servant. He came all this way to see the main man!
- Second, he expected an elaborate ceremony. He wanted to see Elisha "do something" for him. He wanted to hear him call on the Name of the Lord with chants and a smoke machine.
- He wanted to see Elisha mystically wave his hand over the leprosy and ultimately, he wanted to see that leprosy that had manifested itself, disappear before his eyes.
- Ironically, this is what the unbeliever has in common with the immature carnal believer: They crave experience! Interesting.
- Naaman wanted an impressive show that rivaled the "World" of religious people in Syria!
- Finally, he had a problem with the locale. The Jordan river was no match for the rivers of Damascus, the Abanah, which the Greeks called "The Gold River" and the Pharpar.
- As believers, we revere the Jordan river. It is significant to Bible believing Christians because God has worked there repeatedly! John the Baptist and Jesus stood there!
- But when you take that away, the Jordan is hardly wide enough to be more than a glorified creek in some places! During the dry season, it can become a bit more like a muddy bog!
- Naaman expectations lead him to believe that if the cure was going to be found in a river, then it ought to be one that is marked by beauty! He's incredibly mistaken! Verse 13.
II Kings 5:13 : " And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, 'My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?' " : You have to love the heart of these servants.
- Look at their posture. They "came near." They didn't say this from an uncaring distance. They were right up next to him. Listen to their affection for Naaman. "My Father."
- These servants loved him and wanted him to listen to reason for the hope he would be cured.
- They reason that if the Prophet would have asked him to stand upon his head and rub his belly, while whistling dixie, he would have done it!
- How many in our world today are walking on hot coals, flagellating themselves, crawling to the top of giant stairwells and kissing remote statutes just for the hope of attaining righteousness?
- His desperation had brought him this far and now, an easy cure lay before him. All he has to do is get in the Jordan river and bathe 7 times! "Why not simply try it? What could be the harm?"
- These are the type of servants that I wish everyone had around them. They speak to him from a heart of love and loyalty, hoping to encourage him toward the best and most hopeful outcome.
- Thankfully, Naaman listens to their pleas and resigns himself to give it a try. Verse 14.
II Kings 5:14 : " So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. " : Here again is the victory: So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan according to the saying of the man of God!
- He didn't stop at three or five. He went down into that river the exact number of times!
- If you have not been with us over the last few chapters, this has been the theme. Elisha, a representative of God via the office of the prophet, declares what must be done.
- Regardless of how unbelieveable or incredible the word is, the people who obeyed saw victory! The army dug their trenches with no sign of rain. The desperate widow gathered empty jars.
- Here, the proud General wades into the humble waters of the Jordan river!
- What would have happened if he had followed his feelings or listened to his instincts? Think about that for a moment.
- Thankfully, his faith prevailed after a period of doubt and disagreement, neither of which hinders or hurts God.
- God is not afraid of our moments of doubt and He cannot be intimidated by our disagreement with His methods. If anything, the hindrance and hurt is our own!
- How often have we hindered our own growth and maturity by doubting God's plan or disagreeing over His proposed method? In the life of an unbeliever, this is a fatal flaw!
- Following your feelings over against God's truth will lead you straight to hell! But there is an equal danger for the the believer to do the same!
- The unbeliever might be headed for hell, but the believer is destined to wander aimlessly!
- How many have sought some other place, some other experience, over what has been established as good ground in their life?
- Those who follow such things are immature, foolish, carnal believers who are destined to follow feelings and experience well into a great wilderness of emptiness!
- If Naaman were present today, he would tell you how glad he was to forego his feelings!
- After he argued, God's curative measure remained in place. Naaman dipped in the Jordan river and his flesh was completely clean!
- He was restored, listen, his flesh was restored as if he had been a baby! His skin was that soft and that pure! The leprosy was gone and Naaman was clear! Verse 15.
II Kings 5:15-19 : " And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, 'Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.'   But he said, 'As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing.' And he urged him to take it, but he refused. So Naaman said, 'Then, if not, please let your servant be given two mule-loads of earth; for your servant will no longer offer either burnt offering or sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord. Yet in this thing may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord please pardon your servant in this thing.' Then he said to him, 'Go in peace.' So he departed from him a short distance. " : After Naaman was clean, he approached Elisha with a much different attitude. His doubts are gone.
- He is still staring at his skin, remembering what he was only minutes ago. He is marveling at how much joy is in his heart! He traded in a death sentence for a real life!
- When he comes before Elisha, he stood before him and testified to the reality of God! There isn't any other God except in Israel! What a statement and what a truth!
- The God of the Bible, the God of Israel, is the only living, true God! When you believe upon Jesus Christ, you begin a relationship with Him through His Son!
- Any other supposed god is either a demonic entity seeking to distract you from the knowledge of the true God or is a manifestation of your own psyche! Take your pick!
- Whatever god Naaman had trusted before had failed to deal with his leprous condition.
- In a world without a cure for leprosy, it was the God of Israel that brought it to pass!
- He declared his faithfulness to this God and then offered a gift to Elisha, which the prophet promptly turned down! He was not willing to receive a single item for his service to the Lord!
- Elisha was not in service for his own benefit. He served God and had God. That was reward enough for him. Truly, there is no greater reward than that!
- As for Naaman, he cannot just walk away without some token of the moment. He takes some of the soil of Israel along with him. Understand that Naaman's faith wasn't perfect. It didn't need to be.
- He displays the average idolator, who believed in "henotheism," essentially that God was only strong in Israel. There's no doubt that he would use the dirt as a point of contact for his faith.
- His faith wasn't perfect and neither was his life. Some of his official duties will still take place within the temple of the Syrian's local deities.
- Some scholars believe that he is asking forgiveness for having done this in the past, but the natural reading of the passage leads us to believe that this is a future conflict.
- The point is that Naaman understands that his faith has implications for his daily life. He cannot simply go back into his old life without having to change some things!
- In his case, the King of Syria would lean upon the General, who would have to bow to help him stabilize on the way down and the way back up from his worship.
- He could be there physically, but his heart wouldn't be affected by it. His heart would remain loyal to the God of Israel. He would be "in the world" but not "of it!"
- Elisha doesn't rebuke him. He tells him to go in peace. It would be equivalent to our saying, "Don't worry about it!" Would Elisha have said this across the board?
- If you had a job that you knew would compromise your own heart, I'm fairly certain Elisha would have given another word.
- This man knew who healed him. He knew that any other temple was represented by falsehood. This man is so satisfied with God that he can stand virtually anywhere and be safe!
- That is the issue: Are you so satisfied with God that your heart wouldn't even think to look another direction? That person is safe anywhere they go!
Conclusion
- What a rich chapter! What a wonderful God who gives His people the chance to follow Him by faith, to trust that His way is more reliable than their feelings!
- May He give you and I the wisdom to proceed in the same manner, repeatedly obedient to His voice! For those outside of the faith, there is also a fantastic illustration here!
- We may be the envy of men or women by the success of our lives, but let it be known that we are indeed lepers!
- We have a sin problem that stems from our heart and is seen in our actions! We're diseased and doomed to die spiritually! God says for you and I to look to Jesus Christ!
- He is the only fountain of eternal life, scorned by the Philosopher and the powerful, but whose life is effective to cleanse the darkest stain according to God.
- You might have come a long way and thought it would take a much more complex process to change a condition as bad as yours. It doesn't.
- Simply put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, signaling that by your repentance from sins and you will find that God is able, not simply to cleanse your skin, but to transform your being!
- The question for all who have ever heard this message is simple: If someone had told you to do something difficult to take care of your desperate condition, wouldn't you do it?
- God says, "Simply look to Jesus and be cleansed for all time!"



June 05 2017

06:19

Sunday Morning Service (II Kings 4)

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margin:.5in .5in .5in .5in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} </style> --> <div class="chapter-2" style="margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <a href="https://www.mediafire.com/?cdyb2af0pl4au0u"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 16.0pt;">II Kings 4</span> </a> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 16.0pt;"></span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 10.0pt;">Audio Access Available Above </span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 10.0pt;">“The God Who Can't Fail” • 6.4.17 • Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service</span> <span style="font-family: "times"; font-size: 10.0pt;"></span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 10.0pt;">Intro.</span> <span style="font-family: "times"; font-size: 10.0pt;"></span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial";"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The author of Second King has our attention focused upon the work of the prophet Elisha. He is ministering in Israel, among the 10 northern tribes, where the majority of the people are idolators.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial";"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Yet, within that spiritually corrupted place, Elisha continues to come to the aid of God's people, the faithful remnant, who always seem to struggle with survival.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial";"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Our text this week will illustrate just how far God will go to ensure that they do! Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">1</b>.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 10.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Text</span> <span style="font-family: "times"; font-size: 10.0pt; line-height: 150%;"></span> </div><div class="chapter-1" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial";"> <span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:1,2</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-1"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, 'Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-1"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.' </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-2"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So Elisha said to her, 'What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?' And she said, 'Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.'</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : The author takes us from the Kings at the front line of a national battle to the front porch of a woman who is recently widowed. God meets with the privileged and the powerless!</span> </div><div class="chapter-1" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- This woman's husband was one of the sons of the prophets. He was a disciple, a member of the company that Elisha was now overseeing.</span> </div><div class="chapter-1" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Her husband was a good servant with a testimony for having a strong fear of the Lord, but without much in the bank at his death! </span> </div><div class="chapter-1" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Josephus claims that this man is Obadiah, who was known for his fear of the Lord when he hid 100 hundred prophets from Jezebel's murderous campaign. (<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">I Kings 18:3,4</b>)</span> </div><div class="chapter-1" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Whether this is Obadiah's widow or not, a person without means of paying a debt, would be forced into bondservice. If the debt was great, her children would follow. </span> </div><div class="chapter-1" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- According to the Mosaic law, that was a 6 year sentence. (<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Exodus 21</b>)</span> </div><div class="chapter-1" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- While it was not as harsh as other forms of slavery throughout history, it certainly wasn't desirable and this woman's desperation in coming to Elisha reveals that.</span> </div><div class="chapter-1" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Elisha's response is one of warm sympathy. Between his initial reply and his next sentence, I can almost hear God telling him to ask what is in her home.</span> </div><div class="chapter-1" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Judging by her response, she quickly comprehends that Elisha is referring to anything of monetary value. She's tracking with him, but all she is has is one small jar, a flask of annointing oil.</span> </div><div class="chapter-1" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Beside that singular object, she presently asserts that there is nothing with resale value within her home. Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">3</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:3,4</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-3"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Then he said, 'Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-4"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.'</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : Elisha is quick to dispense the Lord's wisdom to the woman. Notice that she will need to act.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- As with the armies in chapter <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">3</b>, who had to dig ditches with no sign of rain, so the woman in chapter <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">4</b> will have to collect vessels with no sign of comparable production.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- She is to borrow empty bowls, jars, pitchers and the like from all of her neighbors, as many as she could procure. Nobody could help in any other way.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- When all was ready, she was to go into her home, alone with her sons and begin to pour that little reserve of oil into the jars, setting aside the ones that were full.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- What would you have said to this man? "How much oil do you think I have Elisha?" "What kind of plan is this?" Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">5</b>. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:5-7</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-5"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-6"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, 'Bring me another vessel.' And he said to her, 'There is not another vessel.' So the oil ceased. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-7"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, 'Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.'</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : Here is the testament to her desperation and indeed to her faith. Three words: "So she went!"</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- She didn't stand and complain at the labor intensity. She didn't raise her voice to argue. She wouldn't dare offer another idea, for she had none! She had come to him!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- When he offered this incredibly difficult to believe, yet, simple to achieve task, she received it as it was intended: A God given order! She has no other recourse but to follow, which she did.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The best of our faith's stories follow this same narrative path. Our heroes are given their orders and with the next available breath, are out the door obeying as they go forward believing!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Would that be your testimony? I pray it would be so! For this woman and her sons, it was her obedience which opened the door for their provision.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Imagine this woman grabbing her boy's hands and looking in their eyes. "I know this seems foolish, but Elisha, God's representative, told us to do this. Let's do this with all our hearts!"</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- To their credit, her boys are right there with her, bringing her every vessel they had until they had no more. When that final vessel reached capacity, the oil stopped. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The miraculous provision was only limited by the amount of jars collected! </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The voice of desperation says, "I have nothing in my house." The Lord reminds us that even if that were the case, He is an expert at making something from nothing!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- God moved in a miraculous way to provide for the widow that cried out to Him! Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">8</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:8-10</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-8"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-9"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And she said to her husband, 'Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-10"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.'</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : On his way inland from Mt. Carmel, Elisha encounters this notable woman. The word refers to nobility or greatness.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- She is living on the other side of the spectrum from the widow of verses <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">1-7</b>. This woman is a woman of means and is both persuasive and powerful.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- She is able to prevail upon Elisha to stop by for some food and then convinces her husband that a room addition was in order! Elisha would stay there many times. Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">11</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:11-17</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-11"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-12"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Then he said to Gehazi his servant, 'Call this Shunammite woman.' When he had called her, she stood before him. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-13"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And he said to him, 'Say now to her, ‘Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> <span class="text2kgs-4-13">She answered, 'I dwell among my own people.'</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-14">So he said, 'What then is to be done for her?'</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-14">And Gehazi answered, 'Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.'</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-15">So he said, 'Call her.' When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. </span><span class="text2kgs-4-16">Then he said, 'About this time next year you shall embrace a son.'</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-16">And she said, 'No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!'</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-17">But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her.</span></span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : Elisha's query to the woman wasn't indicative of a desire to repay her kindness. Elisha simply wanted to bless her back!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He has the capability of talking with Jehoram. That King owes Elisha after chapter <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">3</b>. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Perhaps the last standing captain of the army that Elisha didn't have set on fire could help!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- She's not a woman that has ever had much need. "I dwell among my own people." She has access to everything that she could desire. What do you get someone who has everything?</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Gehazi, whose name is connected with "vision," sees that the woman's unrequested need was a son to take over the family business.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- When Gehazi said this, a light went on for Elisha, who then promises the woman a child. The woman understandably has a hard time believing his promise, especially given her husband's age.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- They have been done for years! But just as Elisha had said, she gave birth to her first and only son. What a fantastic story! The Lord gives the woman an heir. Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">18</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:18-25a</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-18"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-19"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And he said to his father, 'My head, my head!'</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> <span class="text2kgs-4-19">So he said to a servant, 'Carry him to his mother.'</span><span class="text2kgs-4-20"><sup></sup>When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.</span><span class="text2kgs-4-21"><sup></sup>And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. </span><span class="text2kgs-4-22">Then she called to her husband, and said, 'Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.'</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-23">So he said, 'Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.'</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-23">And she said, 'It is well.' </span><span class="text2kgs-4-24">Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, 'Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.' </span><span class="text2kgs-4-25">And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel.</span></span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : The harvest season was in full swing and the woman's child is old enough to "help" Dad. When he complained of a head ache, his Father's servant carried him back to the house.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It apparently wasn't very serious at first glance or the Father was incredibly preoccupied. For the better part of a few hours, Mom watched over her son until he died at noon!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- When he passed, she laid him on Elisha's bed. Generally speaking, a dead body is buried the same day in Israel. Elisha's room would be a good place to hold the body privately.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Not informing her husband gives her the chance to go straight to Elisha to see what he might do or say. She gets on her fastest donkey and makes for Mt. Carmel. Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">25</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:25b-27</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-25"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, 'Look, the Shunammite woman! </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-26"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> <span class="text2kgs-4-26">And she answered, 'It is well.'</span><span class="text2kgs-4-27"><sup></sup>Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, 'Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the </span><span class="small-caps">Lord</span><span class="text2kgs-4-27"> has hidden it from me, and has not told me.'</span></span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : This woman is resolute in her decision to speak only to Elisha. When she sees him it all comes spilling out! </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- She caught him by the feet and would not let him go. Gehazi tries to protect Elisha, but he won't reprimand her. He's surprised that the Lord hadn't revealed this to him before this moment.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Generally, as we have seen, Elisha has an acute sense when it came to hearing the Lord's voice. God wanted Elisha to be completely surprised. Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">28</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:28-31</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-28"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So she said, 'Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?'</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> <span class="text2kgs-4-29">Then he said to Gehazi, 'Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.' </span><span class="text2kgs-4-30"><sup> </sup>And the mother of the child said, 'As the </span><span class="small-caps">Lord</span><span class="text2kgs-4-30"> lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.' So he arose and followed her. </span><span class="text2kgs-4-31">Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, 'The child has not awakened.'</span></span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : All of her feelings, all of her pent up frustration is let out in one moment. She hadn't asked for a child. Why would God give the promise of a son and then rip it away from her.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- This is the voice of pain which exhibits our ability to consider anything other than our own present comfortablity or happiness as a curse! Christianity is all roses and no thorns right!?</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- We wrongfully assume that the blessings of this life are meant to last until some undisclosed time. Children are not supposed to die before their parents. People should live into their 90's.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- This has never been promised to us, but we presume that God must hold to that agreement!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- This woman, rightfully so, is in an incredible amount of pain and anguish. Unfortunately, her words are thoughtless. Elisha doesn't turn her away. He doesn't correct her. He walks with her!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Gehazi is sent to run and when Elisha's instructions prove to be ineffective, he runs back to report the bad news. Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">32</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:32-37</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-32"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-33"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-33"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-34"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-35"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-36"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And he called Gehazi and said, 'Call this Shunammite woman.' So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, 'Pick up your son.' </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-37"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out.</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : Elisha comes into this home that he has entered dozens, maybe hundreds of times over the years.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He comes up to the room that had been built for him and sees his bed occupied by the boy, whose presence he prophecied and whose life he had observed. There he lays dead.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- When he closed the door, he prayed and God instructed that he lay right on top of the child. The first time, the child's body simply warms up.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Elisha took a break and walked around the house for a bit. The Mother and Gehazi are just watching him, wondering what he is doing.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- When he returns to the room, he takes the same action. At this the child sneezed seven times, hopefully with Elisha at a safe distance, and was revived to the elation of his waiting mother!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Instead of a death in the family, there was a resurrection in the family! Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">38</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:38-40</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-38"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And Elisha returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land. Now the sons of the prophets were sitting before him; and he said to his servant, 'Put on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.' </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-39"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered from it a lapful of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, though they did not know what they were. </span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-40"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Then they served it to the men to eat. Now it happened, as they were eating the stew, that they cried out and said, 'Man of God, there is death in the pot!' And they could not eat it.</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : The scene shifts back to Gilgal in the north and the proposed pot-luck of the prophets. The famine is a consequence.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Israel's continued it's loyalty to idolatrous worship, despite it's obvious impotence. Unfortunately, the righteous are not given a pass. They must endure the effects of the famine as well!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- They have to search out their own food just as much as their neighbors.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The scene is fairly comical, in that a stew is ordered, which is flavored by some locally sourced, highly sustainable, herbs and what seem to be a vine of a cucumber like vegetable.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Unfortunately, this is an inedible and incredibly toxic vegetable which has been sliced and poured into the entire stew! Soon, it became clear that there was death in the pot!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:41</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-41"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So he said, 'Then bring some flour.' And he put it into the pot, and said, 'Serve it to the people, that they may eat.' And there was nothing harmful in the pot.</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : Elisha looked into the pot and asked that some flour, some meal be brought to him. When they brought the flour, he introduced that into the pot.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He didn't clear out the contents of the pot or even seek to remove the specific gourds that caused the problem. He just allowed the flour to settle in.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- After a few minutes of watching, the results spoke for themselves. The men were eating and nobody was harmed. The cure is mysterious, but the meaning is clear. Why flour? </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- There isn't anything in flour that can soak up a poisonous agent and render it benign. However, when you introduce the Bread of Life into your sin soaked soup, you get a nourishing life!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- There was death in your proverbial stew. You didn't get better by removing the death. You<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">  </span>were born again and the power of His presence through His life wiped out what was killing you! </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Christianity isn't a religion of subtraction, but addition! Jesus makes all the difference in your life and is the only additive necessary. Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">42</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:42,43</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-42"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Then a man came from Baal Shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley bread, and newly ripened grain in his knapsack. And he said, 'Give it to the people, that they may eat.'</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> <span class="text2kgs-4-43">But his servant said, 'What? Shall I set this before one hundred men?'</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-43">He said again, 'Give it to the people, that they may eat; for thus says the </span><span class="small-caps">Lord</span><span class="text2kgs-4-43">: ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’</span></span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : The town used to simply be called "Shalisha" but Israel's idolatry ruined even this!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">  </span>The word means "thrice great Lord." </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- This man seems to be a faithful man of God, who came with a gift from the beginning of the reaping of his harvest. The law called for this to be brought to the Priests.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Since most of them had relocated to Jerusalem, he brought it to the prophets to supplement their food stores.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It was a gesture of one man's faithfulness, but certainly not enough to feed the 100 men that were gathered. The hundred loaves are better thought of as "buns!"</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Recall also that this is a time of famine. There wasn't much else out there to feed these men with. Elisha received it on the man's behalf and put it on the menu.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Immediately, his servant, presumably Gehazi, said what everyone was thinking. This isn't enough for a hundred men! "A hundred women? Maybe. But not men Elisha!" </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Elisha doesn't respond to the doubt. He simply repeats his command with a little extra information. They'll all be able to eat and there will be some left over. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Is he saying this from self-confidence? Not at all. This verse explains everything else that we have seen. Elisha lived by the Word of the Lord! </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Bring out the food because God says they shall eat and have some left over! This is his disclosure. We can be sure that when he said to fill the pots with the oil, it was the Lord.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- When he laid his body over the corpse that lay in his room, it was the Lord who gave the order to do so! Elisha is only doing what God gave him to do. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- When you live that way, you'll see the results that we see in verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">44</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">II Kings 4:44</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text2kgs-4-44"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So he set it before them; and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text2kgs-4-44"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">.</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : It was just as the Lord had said through Elisha! In the midst of a famine, where will you find satisfaction? At the table that the Lord blesses!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial black";">Conclusion <br /></span> <span style="font-family: "arial";"> <span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">- God meets His people in their time of greatest need. He moves heaven and earth to keep His promise to them. Why? Is it because they are so great? Not at all.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He preserves them to publicize His greatness, His power to provide from the smallest store.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He is the Lord who can make something from nothing! Only He can promise the hope of resurrection to life for those that believe upon Him!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He is the only One whose presence can powerfully offset the death that once consumed you. He is the One that makes very little more than enough!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He is the God of Elisha and He is the God of those that belong to Jesus Christ!</span> <span style="font-family: "arial";"></span> </div><div class="MsoNormal"> <br /> </div>

May 22 2017

05:55

Sunday Morning Service (II Kings 2:15-II Kings 3)

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“Elisha's Early Ministry” • 5.21.17 • Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- The last time we were together, we witnessed an incredible scene. Elijah was taken up into heaven by a whirlwind and as Elisha stood watching, the mantle that Elijah wore, fell down upon him.
- Elisha had asked for a double portion, the right of the firstborn prophetic son, to carry on where Elijah was leaving off.
- Elisha provides us with a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus, who, when He was baptized at the Jordan river, was affirmed by God the Father and the Holy Spirit, to be the well pleasing Son.
- In the same way, Elisha goes forward into his public ministry, empowered to speak God's Word to an increasingly apostate nation. What we have before us are his first acts in office. Verse 15.
Text
II Kings 2:15,16a : " Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, 'The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him. Then they said to him, 'Look now, there are fifty strong men with your servants. Please let them go and search for your master, lest perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has taken him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.' " : Immediately, the sons of the prophets identify the mantle that has come to rest upon Elisha, as being symbolic of the spirit of Elijah.
- This was no great deduction on their part, as the Jordan river has just parted before him! Properly, they submit themselves to him, but then offer this strange suggestion.
- They want to begin a search to see if God hasn't deposited Elijah somewhere nearby as He had done in the past. "He could just be over there."
- Even if he was, couldn't Elijah just make it back on his own? Didn't God have a return service? Their zeal is commendable, but it is certainly without knowledge.
- It seems that they are just in a hurry to do something about what they have seen, which is usually a recipe for futility in the Christian life!
II Kings 2:16b-18 : " And he said, 'You shall not send anyone.' But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, 'Send them!' Therefore they sent fifty men, and they searched for three days but did not find him. And when they came back to him, for he had stayed in Jericho, he said to them, 'Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?' " : Elisha repeatedly seeks to dissuade them and with every repitition, they continued to press him! The words speaks of beating a sharp object until it's blunt.
- Their enthusiasm actually caused Elijah to be embarassed! He finally gave in and allowed them to go out on their search party which lasted a full three days. Surprise: No Elijah!
- How often has this been the case with God's people? Certainly, they cannot shame God, but they manage to follow their own course when God communicates a "no" answer.
- Just like the sons of the prophets, you'll come home empty handed! Better to heed the Lord's voice and not go in the first place! The sons of the prophets had to learn the hard way! Verse 19.
II Kings 2:19-22 : " Then the men of the city said to Elisha, 'Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the ground barren.' And he said, 'Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.' So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, 'Thus says the Lord: ‘I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.’ So the water remains healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke. " : Joshua had said of Jericho in Joshua 6:26 that a curse would be upon the man that sought to rebuild the city.
- His sons would die in the effort. This was fulfilled in I Kings 16:34 when Hiel rebuilt the city for King Ahab. We see here that the group that settled here was still struggling in their efforts.
- In spite of it being a good place to live, the city's water supply, kept it from being ideal. The water was bad for drinking and for agriculture, as it kept making the ground "miscarry."
- This is an interesting. Jericho was a city of Israel and was therefore, an idolatrous, rebellious city. It's likely that they have exhausted their Baal and Jeroboam "calf" religion resources.
- How sad is it that the supposed god of fertility was powerless in the face of a simple spring?
- The people of Jericho are coming to Elisha as a last resort. Nobody else has been able to help. These then, are not believers, but their desperation leads them to this action.
- Elisha looks at them and scolds them for their lack of belief! No. He welcomes their respectful request and asks for a bowl of salt, which he poured out at the source of the water.
- There is still a spring that flows into the city of Jericho that is called "Elisha's Spring." Without testing the water, Elisha declares that the Lord had healed it.
- Understand that Elisha could have done a dance or stood on his head. The salt is inconsequential, except for it remaining as a picture for us.
- The fact is that God wanted the people of Samaria to know that it was He and He alone that had the power to overturn death and barrenness! What Baal was powerless to do, He did with ease!
- This is precisely why God allows such goodness to extend to those that are not yet believers.
- He wants an undeniable testimony of His faithfulness to remain as a witness. The people of Jericho could not deny that it was His involvement. And that testimony still remains!
- That water was good at the time that this was written and if you have the chance to visit, you can drink from it to this day! Consider the picture before we move on.
- When God calls a work to be done in your life, it must begin at the source, at the very heart of an individual.
- His presence will heal and cleanse what had brought forth death and fruitlessness in your life! When He does it, it won't be temporary or personal. It will be permanent and public!
- All will be able to drink from what comes from your life and be refreshed!
- The people of Jericho were grateful for Elisha's presence, but that couldn't be said for all the people he encountered. Verse 23.
II Kings 2:23-25 : " Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, 'Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!' So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths. Then he went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria. " : Bethel had been a thriving center for Jeroboam's calf worship. God's hand split it's altar in I Kings 13.
- The arrival of an "anti-calf" prophet was not likely to be well received. The reception was in fact openly hostile! Before entering the city, he is surrounded by a gang of youths will ill-intentions.
- Certain translations intimate that these were young children, despite the same word being used to describe grown men, most notably Rehoboam's friends. (I Kings 12:10)
- These young men relentlessly mocked him and, very likely, were intent upon physically harming the prophet. "Go up you baldhead!"
- This may or may not be descriptive of Elisha's follicals. It may be that they are saying that they have no need to fear Elisha because he did not possess Elijah's hair.
- Ultimately, they don't want him there, but want him to join Elijah! Elisha is done hearing their taunts and pronounces a curse upon them. "Oh, what do we have to fear." Just then, they knew!
- These men have focused their hatred upon God's man and have blasphemed His Name. God allows this to be their final or perhaps, most severe warning!
- You'll note that the author does not report their deaths, but their mauling or their being torn! It seems that they lived to consider their beliefs about God and His man another day.
- You might object to God's action here, but the grace remains the same as in Jericho!
- Jerico's unbelievers saw His kindness. These young men were met with the His severity!
- Both lived to tell a story of the reality of God's presence in their lives! Chapter 3.
II Kings 3:1-7 : " Now Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel at Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord , but not like his father and mother; for he put away the sacred pillar of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he persisted in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin; he did not depart from them. Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheepbreeder, and he regularly paid the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs and the wool of one hundred thousand rams. But it happened, when Ahab died, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. So King Jehoram went out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. Then he went and sent to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, saying, 'The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?' And he said, 'I will go up; I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.' " : Jehoram did evil in the sight of the Lord, but not like his Father and Mother. He was not a follower of Baal, but was still devoted to Jeroboam's religion.
- The imitation of Yahweh worship, the false worship of the true God, is called by the author, evil in God's sight! For those that believe in grading on a spiritual curve, keep this verse in mind!
- Less evil is still evil! Jesus told the people who lived at His time that unless their righteousness exceeded the scribes and Pharisees, they would not enter heaven! (Matthew 5:20)
- Jehoram persisted. He clung to the sins that were associated with this false worship.
- This recounting brings us back to the very first verse of this book. Moab rebelled during Ahaziah's time. His premature death left Jehoram with the problem.
- Moab refused to pay Jehoram from the benefits of his master shepherding industry. When that stopped coming in, the King rightly believed that it was time to deal with Moab.
- He brought all of Israel together and called Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah to come along with him. Jehoshaphat answered just as he had answered Ahab.
- "I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses!" This is incredible. He had exercised God's wisdom in not participating with Ahaziah, but he can't resist now.
- There are times when you want to reach into the pages of scripture and grab someone by the lapels! God gave you wisdom to get out of trouble. Will you run headlong into it again?
- It's bad enough that he hasn't remembered the lesson that he learned. Worse still, is that fact that he is sinning against a word from Jehu about his participation with the wicked!
- II Chronicles 19:2 records Jehu's rhetorical question for the ages: "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?" The King of Judah hasn't listened. Verse 8.
II Kings 3:8-12 : " Then he said, 'Which way shall we go up? And he answered, 'By way of the Wilderness of Edom.' So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom, and they marched on that roundabout route seven days; and there was no water for the army, nor for the animals that followed them. And the king of Israel said, 'Alas! For the Lord has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab.' But Jehoshaphat said, 'Is there no prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of the Lord by him?' So one of the servants of the king of Israel answered and said, 'Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who 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. " : Jehoshaphat, it seems, concocts the idea to approach Moab by the wilderness of Edom.
- On paper, it's a fair plan, as the wilderness entrance was lightly guarded. An attack from that vantage point would be a great surprise, for a reason!
- It's a seven day journey through wilderness! Nobody could carry that much water. It wasn't long before they were bone dry. The three armies and their animals were about to die of thirst!
- Jehoram is the first to grasp the gravity of the situation. He senses that there is something divine in this planning. He is the most wicked and therefore, the most conscious of his pending doom!
- It's at this point, after hundreds of miles and thousands of empty water jugs that Jehoshaphat has the bright idea to inquire of the Lord! What a great idea and an incredibly strong illustration!
- How many have taken the roundabout way of Christian life, taking journeys that almost cost them everything, only to then look up to ask advice of the Shepherd of their souls?
- Before you judge him too harshly, remember that this is here to remind you and I not to do the same! Paul tells the Corinthians that this is why we have a preserved record. (I Cor. 10:11)
- And may I also add, that the best thing is that he did finally turn to ask the Lord for help!
- The only thing worse than making the same mistake twice is to forget what got you out of that  same mistake the last time! Thankfully, Elisha is providentially in the area. Verse 13.
II Kings 3:13-19 : " Then Elisha said to the king of Israel, 'What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.' But the king of Israel said to him, 'No, for the Lord has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab.' And Elisha said, 'As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, surely were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you, nor see you.But now bring me a musician.' Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.And he said, 'Thus says the Lord: ‘Make this valley full of ditches.’ For thus says the Lord: ‘You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you, your cattle, and your animals may drink.’ And this is a simple matter in the sight of the Lord; He will also deliver the Moabites into your hand. Also you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall cut down every good tree, and stop up every spring of water, and ruin every good piece of land with stones.' " : Elisha is not very hospitable to Jehoram, telling him directly to seek out the prophets of his parents!
- "Be consistent Jehoram! You swear by these other gods! Let them help you!"
- Elisha speaks in the same way that God spoke to the nation of Israel earlier in Judges 10:24. "Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them deliver you in your time of distress!"
- Don't you find it interesting that even the most ardent athiest in the world finds themselves praying during times of personal crisis? Where is their bravado about "God existing" then?
- Elisha assures Jehoram that he wouldn't even acknowledge, much less, listen to him if it wasn't for the presence of Jehoshaphat.
- Elisha is only talking to him because of the presence of David's descendant!
- After a few choruses, Elisha instructs the Kings to have their men dig out ditches in the valley before them. Can you imagine their faces? "The answer is dig a ditch!?"
- Elisha makes it a little worse. There won't be any sign of water, but God would fill the ditches with water! That would be nothing to the Lord. That is an interesting phrase to keep in mind.
- When you are coming to the Lord in your time of distress, are you making the mistake of thinking God is as stressed or as burdened as you are?
- God is never overwhelmed by your circumstance, but will meet the overwhelmed in their circumstance! What a comfort to hear these words and may you say them to yourself!
- "This is a simple matter in the sight of the Lord!" May the Lord comfort you with that knowledge! Beyond their personal needs, God was also going to use this to defeat the Moabites.
- They were not to be forced to be on the defensive. They were to be the aggressors, attacking fortified cities, cutting down green trees and stopping up the water sources. Verse 20.
II Kings 3:20-25 : " Now it happened in the morning, when the grain offering was offered, that suddenly water came by way of Edom, and the land was filled with water. And when all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them, all who were able to bear arms and older were gathered; and they stood at the border. Then they rose up early in the morning, and the sun was shining on the water; and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood. And they said, 'This is blood; the kings have surely struck swords and have killed one another; now therefore, Moab, to the spoil!' So when they came to the camp of Israel, Israel rose up and attacked the Moabites, so that they fled before them; and they entered their land, killing the Moabites. Then they destroyed the cities, and each man threw a stone on every good piece of land and filled it; and they stopped up all the springs of water and cut down all the good trees. But they left the stones of Kir Haraseth intact. However the slingers surrounded and attacked it. " : Edom, known as Petra today, is subject to massive flash floods.
- The wadis that are almost always dry become a free flowing river when the rains hit Edom. They are many miles away and would have no idea it had rained elsewhere!
- The miraculous part of this is that the water reached them right after the morning sacrifice had been offered in Judah! God wants it connected to Him! He brought this about!
- Soon, from their vantage point, they could see the water filling the pits that they had dug the day before! The Moabites however, saw something entirely different.
- The sun shone in the direction of the water, which when combined with the mud, looked as thick and red as blood. They believed that the Kings had turned on each other!
- With any hesitation, they ran out from their fortified position to gather whatever spoil was left. Can you imagine their faces when they ran unarmed into the well armed armies of the three Kings?
- The three Kings followed the Lord's instruction and saw victory over Moab. At this point, we'll see why God wanted to bring Moab down.
- God will not have the Kings believe that the victory was due to their righteousness. Verse 26.
II Kings 3:26,27 : " And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him seven hundred men who drew swords, to break through to the king of Edom, but they could not. Then he took his eldest son who would have reigned in his place, and offered him as a burnt offering upon the wall; and there was great indignation against Israel. So they departed from him and returned to their own land. " : This section is a bit mysterious. What is clear is Moab's defeat. Their last ditch effort, it seems, was to seek asylum with the King of Edom. That failed.
- What is also clear is the King showed why God wanted him delivered. He sacrificed his heir upon the wall, burning him as a sacrifice to Chemosh, the abomination of the Moabites. (I Ki. 11:7)
- The final part is unclear. Were the remaining people of Moab incensed at Israel's actions?
- Was there a great angering in Israel's eyes? Were they so disgusted by what they saw that they just turned around and left? That part is unclear though both are true.
- When the unbeliever sees his doom, he won't simply recant and repent. He will further hate the righteous. Hell is not filled with men who, if given a reprieve, would suddenly change their mind.
- If anything, their torment will only make them more resolved to hate the God that has relentlessly called them to receive His love.
- They weep for their own lost opportunity and gnash their teeth at the One that would have spared them from it!
- On the other hand, the nominally unbelieving, the less evil, the Jehorams of the world, are disgusted by what excesses their false religion leads to.
- They would never sacrifice a human being, but they won't mind sacrificing their own future for a little pleasure. Either way you read this, Israel's force returned home with an unsatisfying victory.
Conclusion
- What amazing lessons for us to learn! What Elisha provides in shadow, Christ provides in totality! His Word and direction will keep you from fruitless searches and lead you to victory.
- His kindness and severity will be lasting reminders of His reality, and glimpses into greater reserves, kindness for the righteous or severity toward the wicked!
- His presence as the greatest descendant of David, allows God to look upon you who believe with favor and you who do not believe with temporal charity.
- How He will address you for eternity will depend upon how you have viewed the Son that He has sacrificed for your sins! Will you enter into fellowship with Him or will you leave disgusted?
- Those that look upon the sacrificed Christ and are disgusted by their own sin will find a fresh and clean spring flowing from their lives! May it be so for all we know!

May 15 2017

03:16

Sunday Morning Service (II Kings 1-II Kings 2:15)

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“Two Men, Two Fates” • 5.14.17 • Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- Second Kings continues right where I Kings left off, so we'll pick it up in verse 1.
Text
II Kings 1:1,2 : " Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab. Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria, and was injured; so he sent messengers and said to them, 'Go, inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury.' " : In the last chapter of I Kings, we learned of Syria's victory over Ahab's Israel. This was the first blow to national security.
- Moab had been a vassal state under the thumb of Ahab's strength. Their rebellion against Israel meant that they would no longer give their promised tax to Israel.
- Syria on the North. Moab to the South. That is trouble from top to bottom! The enemies around the Kingdom are stirring. They are seemingly recovering some of their old strength.
- Meanwhile, within the Kingdom, Ahab's successor has sustained a major injury from what seems to be a freak accident.
- Ahaziah found himself leaning upon the checkered network of his chambers. They didn't use glass or have windows.
- You could see him standing near to look through, only to look a little too hard at what was happening around the corner. The lattice work was unable to hold against his weight!
- When it became clear that his injuries were substantial, Ahaziah sends his messengers to discover what his future held, not from the altar of God, but of Baal-Zebub!
- "Baal-Zebub," a Philistine deity, is literally, the Lord of the Flies! That is who Ahaziah wants wisdom from regarding his fate! Why Baal-Zebub?
- As with Ahab, Ahaziah is uninterested in the truth that God would offer him. Baal-zebub more than likely has a far more comforting message. His lack of interest doesn't deter God. Verse 3.
II Kings 1:3,4 : " But the angelof the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, 'Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’ Now therefore, thus says the Lord : ‘You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’ So Elijah departed. " : Ahaziah has no interest in the God of Israel but He is interested in Ahaziah! This information should be stock to your understanding of the God of the Bible. God binds Himself to His Word!
- Four times in the Pentateuch, God promises to "visit the iniquity of the Father's" upon successive generations, even to the third and fourth. (Ex. 20:5, 34:7, Num. 14:18, Deut. 5:9)
- Without context, it seems as though God is set on punishing future generations for their Father's sins. Some have used these verses to promote the thought of "generational curses."
- That isn't the thought at all! Rather, these verses promise that God will not simply concede a life over to wickedness on account of their Father's, in this case Ahab's, wickedness!
- Instead, He will step in and visit, allow Himself to be known, by the proceeding generations, in order that they might have a chance to turn themselves to Him!
- Here, He calls upon another generation after Ahab and Jezebel, not willing that Ahaziah should go without first having the chance to encounter Him.
- For those that fear a lack of love in God's justice, let them look long at this passage and understand afresh that if a man is lost, he has followed his own choices to perdition!
- Ahaziah sent his servants to Baal-Zebub and God sent His servant Elijah to the King! One cannot claim that God made a half-hearted effort! He sent his very best messenger to the King!
- Elijah met Ahaziah's messengers on their way to Baal-Zebub's temple and pressed the issue: "Is there not a God in Israel who could answer you?" God will not let Ahaziah dismiss Him!
- You would think that a life threatening injury would turn a man to consider his own mortality and the fact that he will have to give account to a righteous God!
- Our bodily pains and sufferings are a reminder of how close we are to draw to Him. The picture of Ahaziah falling through lattice work is ideal for representing how tenuous our position is!
- In spite of his life threatening injury, it seems that Ahaziah had no consciousness of God. He didn't consider seeking Him out. This shouldn't surprise us. The Bible declares that none seek Him!
- God reminds us in this passage that He is in fact the only one that can be called a "seeker!"
- As for Ahaziah, God does not offer him a healing, but the truth that his condition will be terminal. What a gift that God gives him! He is letting him know that he has time to get things right!
- Maybe that's all that Ahaziah needed. Let's take a look at what he did. Verse 5.
II Kings 1:5-10 : " And when the messengers returned to him, he said to them, 'Why have you come back?' So they said to him, 'A man came up to meet us, and said to us, ‘Go, return to the king who sent you, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord: ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’ Then he said to them, 'What kind of man was it who came up to meet you and told you these words?' So they answered him, 'A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist.' And he said, 'It is Elijah the Tishbite.' Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty men. So he went up to him; and there he was, sitting on the top of a hill. And he spoke to him: 'Man of God, the king has said, ‘Come down!’ So Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, 'If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.' And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. " : Ahaziah is surprised by his servant's quick return. Hearing the definitive bad news, it's not long before he guesses who gave it! - The fact that it is to the point and bad let's him know that it can only come from one source! He is the man who is literally "a possessor of hair!"
- Ahaziah forgets all about his own condition. He doesn't ask for healing or forgiveness. He turns what little energy he has left onto an old family grudge and sends a brigade to collect Elijah.
- Elijah is sitting on top of the hill, which some have suggested is actually Mt. Carmel.
- What a bad place to have to collect the prophet! This first captain obviously doesn't remember that fire came from heaven to destroy Ahab's god!
- Sadly, his crew suffered from "burn out" because of his ignorance! It doesn't matter to Ahaziah. He will not be deterred. Verse 11.
II Kings 1:11,12 : " Then he sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty men. And he answered and said to him: 'Man of God, thus has the king said, ‘Come down quickly!’ So Elijah answered and said to them, 'If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.' And the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. " : This second captain is much more aggressive. "You get down here fast Mister Man of God!"
- You must realize that they are certain that Elijah is not a Man of God and that whatever power he is tapped into, is not worth being afraid of.
- They are insulting both the messenger and the Message originator! Additionally, they are promoting the King's idolatrous agenda in seeking to silence the prophet.
- What a bad idea especially in the land of Israel where the law for promoting the worship of another god carried with it, the death penalty!
- Unfortunately, Elijah again reveals his credentials and a second group of men are consumed by the fire of God. They are executed based on the fact that they deny the true God. Verse 13.
II Kings 1:13-18 : " Again, he sent a third captain of fifty with his fifty men. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and pleaded with him, and said to him: 'Man of God, please let my life and the life of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight. Look, fire has come down from heaven and burned up the first two captains of fifties with their fifties. But let my life now be precious in your sight.' And the angelof the Lord said to Elijah, 'Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.' So he arose and went down with him to the king. Then he said to him, 'Thus says the Lord : ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’ So Ahaziah died according to the word of the Lord which Elijah had spoken. Because he had no son, Jehorambecame king in his place, in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? " :
Thankfully, this third captain is unlike his predecessors. He doesn't demand that Elijah come down. He walks up to meet Elijah!
- In complete humility, he gets on his knees before Elijah and begs the prophet to consider all of their lives! He likes his life, he loves his men and he doesn't want to get "fired" from his job!
- Consider his portrait. He comes to THE hill, if it is Carmel, where fire has consumed both the sacrifice of Elijah and the men that came to oppose him. Same manifestation.
- This third captain and his men escape with their lives because they come asking for mercy! Their life is precious, not in Elijah's sight, but in the eyes of the Angel of the Lord! 
- It is the Angel of the Lord that has been Elijah's protection and when He allows Elijah to travel back with the captain, Elijah does and delivers his original message to Ahaziah personally.
- Read these words and consider them: Elijah spoke this message. So Ahaziah died according to the word of the Lord. Think about that room. Look into those dying eyes of the King.
- The best of heaven's servants is standing at his bedside, pleading with him, inviting him to repent. Ahaziah just stares back at the prophet, locked in the prison of pride, until he expires.
- He died with his pride intact and then one second later, faced an eternity of regret! Is your pride worth the cost of your own soul? May the Lord give you His grace to understand.
- As for the throne, Ahaziah leaves command to his brother, who is Jehoshaphat's son-in-law! Governmental transition aside, a prophetic transition is also about to occur. Chapter 2.
II Kings 2:1,2 : " And it came to pass, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Then Elijah said to Elisha, 'Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel.' But Elisha said, 'As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!' So they went down to Bethel. " : Ahaziah is not the only one with knowledge of their fate. Elijah is about to be lifted up from the Earth by a whirlwind.
- He will not die, but will ascend away to heaven on a day that he and everyone else seems to know about! How does he respond? He goes about his regular duties!
- We'll discover that he is making the rounds of the prophetic schools of the area, filled with men who are called the "sons of the prophets."
- Israel had prophetic guilds, schools of men, that could develop their skills. The atmosphere around pagan Israel was still open to these institutions.
- Elijah making a tour around the circuit reminds us of when Samuel did the same thing as noted in I Samuel 7:15-17.
- One might deduce that since Samuel visited Gilgal and Bethel, it may be that Elijah was visiting groups of prophets that had been established hundreds of years earlier!
- Elijah is traveling with Elisha. He will continue to seek to dismiss him, but Elisha will have none of it. There is a prophetic test that is about to play out.
- Elisha doggedly insists that he will accompany him wherever he goes as long as he lives. We begin with a trip from Gilgal to Bethel, nearly an 8 mile journey. Verse 3.
• I I Kings 2:3-6 : " Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, 'Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?' And he said, 'Yes, I know; keep silent!' Then Elijah said to him, 'Elisha, stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Jericho.' But he said, 'As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!' So they came to Jericho. Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, 'Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?' So he answered, 'Yes, I know; keep silent!' Then Elijah said to him, 'Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to the Jordan.' But he said, 'As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!' So the two of them went on. " :
Elisha is not wanting to talk about it Elijah's pending trip. That isn't why he is with him. He is a faithful servant and he loves Elijah, but he won't disclose his purpose to them.
- He just wants to continue on with him, which he did. Verse 7.
II Kings 2:7-10 : " And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, 'Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?' Elisha said, 'Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.' So he said, 'You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.' " : When Elijah left Jericho for the Jordan river, fifty of the sons followed and were able to watch what was about to transpire. Jericho is only a few miles from the Jordan river.
- They watched as Elijah struck the Jordan river for he and Elisha to cross over to the other side. What a picture that must have been for the prophets!
- They had only heard of the river parting and Israel crossing over to begin the battle against the very city that they now stood by!
- They saw what was happening, but we get to hear what was said. On this day, Elisha followed Elijah for this very moment. Elijah finally asks what Elisha wants.
- "Let me have a double portion of your spirit!" So many have used this passage to speak of a double dose of power. That isn't what Elijah is asking.
- His request has to do with the blessing that would be given to the firstborn son, the inheritor of the majority of an estate!
- Elisha had been selected for this ten years earlier and has been a faithful apprentice to Elijah, but the assignment that he asks will require far more than knowledge and experience.
- He wants to be able to serve God's people by being their prophetic voice as Elijah was!
- Elisha knew that this was paramount to his future success. Elijah doesn't make any promises, but lays out the condition for him to receive it.
- If he is there when Elijah is taken up, a double portion of Elijah's spirit will be his. Verse 11.
II Kings 2:11-15 : " Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, 'My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!' So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, 'Where is the Lord God of Elijah?' And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, 'The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.' And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him. " : In a sense, it came out of nowhere.
- We aren't told what they were talking about, but out of nowhere, a chariot of fire complete with horses of fire appeared and separated the two!
- Without having time to blink, a whirlwind carried the chariot back to it's place of origin and Elisha saw it, but he saw Elijah no more!
- Like any person who has lost someone, Elisha gave into his grief. The tearing of the garment is symbolic of the tearing of one's heart and soul. Elisha certainly loved Elijah.
- But it was just as he tore his clothes that Elijah's mantle fell upon him! When he returned to the Jordan river, it acted just as it had when Elijah had struck it!
- Something had changed for sure, as the sons of the prophets confirmed: The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha! They paid their respect to their new master.
Conclusion
- What a contrast! Two men with knowledge of their soon departure from Earth. One carries his pride to the grave, the other is carried from the Earth into heaven, having lived in humble service!
- Both men continue to live as they had, making no change to their schedule. In the case of the King, this issues in eternal regret. In the case of Elijah, eternal reward!
- Both men leave with a successor in place, one who will lead the Kingdom of Israel down the same path and one that will do greater things for the Kingdom of God!
- Both men would face the same God. For the King, the God of fire that consumed his henchmen would soon condemn him as well.
- For Elijah, the God of fire served as His protector and His escort to the heavenly places.
- In truth, all who hear this message are in the same predicament. You are leaning against the lattice work of life. You and I have an appointment with the God who is a consuming fire!
- On the Hill, fire came down and consumed the sacrifice and the people were spared. Those that come up that Hill and look for mercy from the Lord will find their life spared!
- God will include them in the single life that He holds precious: The life of His own Son, Jesus Christ!
- It is He who the Father declared to be His beloved Son. It was He who received, not a double portion of a man's spirit, but the full portion of God's Spirit!
- He is the One we bow to. He is our Master. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

May 08 2017

17:17

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 22)

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“Three Final Kings” • 5.7.17 • Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
Text
I Kings 22:1-6 : " Now three years passed without war between Syria and Israel. Then it came to pass, in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went down to visit the king of Israel. And the king of Israel said to his servants, 'Do you know that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, but we hesitate to take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?' So he said to Jehoshaphat, 'Will you go with me to fight at Ramoth Gilead?' Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, 'I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.' Also Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, 'Please inquire for the word of the L ord today.' Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, 'Shall I go against Ramoth Gilead to fight, or shall I refrain?' So they said, 'Go up, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king.' " : Up until this section, Ahab's treaty with Jehoshaphat had served defensive purposes.
- Three years of peace had also be three years of delay. Ahab feels compelled to reclaim the territory of Ramoth Gilead which had been promised to him by the King of Syria.
- The King of Judah agrees to commit resources to the campaign, noting that he was as Ahab was, and that his force was at Ahab's disposal.
- Jehoshaphat was blessed to such a degree that rival nations feared to come against him, (II Chronicles 17:10) especially since he had an army of mighty men that stood over 1 million! (v.14-19)
- As much as this union emboldened Ahab, it is not clear what Jehoshaphat has to gain. He says that he is as Ahab was, but that was far from the truth.
- Yes, they shared a common heritage and common borders, but Ahab was a wretched idolator. By all accounts, Jehoshaphat was a faithful King in Judah!
- He agrees to enter into a binding relationship with the godless King. That cannot end well!
- Somehow, he agrees to help Ahab, then asks for confirmation. This is not the way that a godly person conducts themselves. We are to ask and then act, not the other way around!
- For Ahab's part, he easily secured the presence 400 prophets to confirm his proposed action.
- The decision to employ so many prophets signals a superficial tolerance of Yahweh worship, which is the least one can do after the debacle on Mt. Carmel.
- With one unified voice, Ahab's "prophets" predictably predict a victory for the two Kings.
  - Something doesn't seem quite right. Jehoshaphat is right to voice his skepticism. Verse 7.
I Kings 22:7-9 : " And Jehoshaphat said, 'Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him?' So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, 'There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord ; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.' And Jehoshaphat said, 'Let not the king say such things!' Then the king of Israel called an officer and said, 'Bring Micaiah the son of Imlah quickly!' " : Jehoshaphat has to clarify. He asked for a prophet of the Lord's, not a prophet of Ahab's!
- We have seen already the re-emergence of true prophets after the confrontation on Mt. Carmel. Here, we see a new phenomena at work: False prophets and Ahab welcomes them!
- As to a true prophet of the Lord, Ahab knew of only one but he was unlike the other prophets that Ahab was accustomed to, who distinguished himself by always prophesying against Ahab!
- While the Kings await his arrival, we are given a little taste of the prophetic environment that the Kings were witnessing. Verse 10.
I Kings 22:10-12 : " The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, having put on their robes, sat each on his throne, at a threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. Now Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made horns of iron for himself; and he said, 'Thus says the Lord : ‘With these you shall gore the Syrians until they are destroyed.’ And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, 'Go up to Ramoth Gilead and prosper, for the Lord will deliver it into the king’s hand.' " : Zedekiah, whose name means "God Is Righteous" is the de facto ring leader. He distinguishes himself by his dramatics.
- He fabricated horns of iron and laid them upon himself, which provided a demonstration of the supposed power of the Lord expressed toward Syria. Israel will gore Syria like a bull!
- All the "prophets" agreed in unison. The King was delighted to listen to this. There was a tremendous spirit of unity among the prophets. Verse 13.
I Kings 22:13-18 : " Then the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, 'Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Please, let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement.' And Micaiah said, 'As the Lord lives, whatever the Lord says to me, that I will speak.' Then he came to the king; and the king said to him, 'Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall we refrain?' And he answered him, 'Go and prosper, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king!' So the king said to him, 'How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord ?'   Then he said, 'I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.’ And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, 'Did I not tell you he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?' " : Ahab's messenger, who is supremely invested in the King's encouragement, makes sure that Micaiah is aware of the concensus.
- His statement is typical of people in the world, who would rather live off of good feeling lies, than hard hitting truth! "Can't you just for once agree with everyone else? Don't be contrary!"
- Micaiah assures the messenger that he will speak whatever the Lord says to Him. Keep this statement in mind when you think about what it means to speak for the Lord!
- That statement is easy for us to read and easy for us to proclaim as we sit together to study this passage. It's quite another to say it on the way to face the King and 400 so-called prophets!
- When the King asks for his prophecy, Micaiah parrots what has been said, but with little sincerity. The King sees right through it and asks for "nothing but the truth!"
- Without needing a second encouragment, Micaiah tells him the unfiltered truth. Israel will be defeated, scattered like sheep on the mountain tops!
- To have sheep without a shepherd indicates clearly that Ahab will not be returning from this battle. What does Ahab do? He says, "I told you so! Micaiah is out to get me!"
- Ahab cannot accept that God would ever have a different plan than the one he wants to enact! Ahab is only willing to beleive that God agrees with him!
- There is room for every religion under the sun when it complements, agrees with, and confirms our plans.
- However, when the God of the universe contradicts our plans, that is an evil that we cannot abide by! Ahab didn't want what was true. He wanted what he thought was good! Verse 19.
I Kings 22:19-23 : " Then Micaiah said, 'Therefore hear the word of the Lord : I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord , and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The Lord said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the Lord said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.' " : Micaiah begins with a vision of God sitting upon His throne and all the armies of heaven standing at attention.
- Ahab, like all human beings, have a tendency to judge situations from the vantage point of their own thrones. They determine their destiny. They are their own masters.
- The first thing that Ahab needs to understand is that there is a God in heaven whose throne is far superior to his and all the strength of heaven waits for His orders!
- From there, this vision depicts God in a meeting, soliciting opinions regarding the best way to make Ahab fall. That's when a certain spirit comes forward to suggest deception.
- There are those who point out that there were spirits on the right hand of favor and left hand of disgrace. These same commentators point out that Satan and his angels had access to heaven.
- Whether this is an angel in good standing or a fallen angel or an elaborate parable, the outcome was the same: A lying spirit had infected the mouths of the 400 prophets.
- Micaiah says, "All you have to do is look around and see for yourself that you are doomed!
- As we say that, understand that Ahab has finally and fully settled himself upon wickedness despite repeated chances to embrace the truth.
- I have said that God never gives up on Ahab's, but I must also say that there comes a time when God must give Ahab's over to their own desires! Only He can judge the point of no return!
- Ahab has rejected the truth of God and has shown by his life, that he will only accept a lie! Since that is what he wants, that is what God will allow him to have!
- Is this not an apt illustration of the truth found in Romans 1? Ahab exchanged the truth of God for a lie. We see the same truth expressed in II Thessalonians 2:9-11.
- Refusal to believe, embrace and love the truth leaves a person in a position of damnation!
- In spite of all the "light" that Ahab had, he chose instead to believe the lie, so, as a function of His wrath, God gave him over to a debased mind! (Romans 1:20,21)
- As for the false prophets, this also presents us with an interesting contemplation. If not from the Lord, where do you think they are getting their "wisdom" from?
- Ahab had been celebrating his prophets' proclamation, but this was his final party. In the meantime, Micaiah's explanation didn't go unnoticed by the false prophet's leader. Verse 24.
I Kings 22:24-28 : " Now Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near and struck Micaiah on the cheek, and said, 'Which way did the spirit from the Lord go from me to speak to you?' And Micaiah said, 'Indeed, you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide!' So the king of Israel said, 'Take Micaiah, and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son; and say, ‘Thus says the king: 'Put this fellow in prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and water of affliction, until I come in peace.' But Micaiah said, 'If you ever return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.' And he said, 'Take heed, all you people!' " : Zedekiah has the right name, "God is righteous," but is on the wrong side. Without any other recourse at his disposal, he resorts to violence!
- Zedekiah is incredibly bold and assertive, but Micaiah sees that in short order, he will be running for his life! Ahab has heard enough.
- He has Micaiah taken to prison, convinced that he will return from this battle despite the prophet's declaration. Micaiah stakes his prophetic credentials upon Ahab's demise. Verse 29.
I Kings 22:29-40 : "   So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, 'I will disguise myself and go into battle; but you put on your robes.' So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle. Now the king of Syria had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, saying, 'Fight with no one small or great, but only with the king of Israel.'So it was, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, 'Surely it is the king of Israel!' Therefore they turned aside to fight against him, and Jehoshaphat cried out. And it happened, when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him. Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, 'Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded.' The battle increased that day; and the king was propped up in his chariot, facing the Syrians, and died at evening. The blood ran out from the wound onto the floor of the chariot. Then, as the sun was going down, a shout went throughout the army, saying, 'Every man to his city, and every man to his own country!' So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria. Then someone washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood while the harlots bathed,according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken.Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, the ivory house which he built and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? So Ahab rested with his fathers. Then Ahaziah his son reigned in his place. " : This section really speaks for itself. Ahab had foolishly gone into battle on the advice of 400 false prophets. That's not surprising.
- What is otherwise shocking is that Jehoshaphat joined with him! What was his rationale? Could it be that he wondered how the truth could be with one man when 400 had a different view?
- Was he simply unable to see Ahab's doom or was he blinded by his own perceived strength?
- Whatever the case, this piece of history does not paint him in the most favorable light!
- Ahab, seeking to avoid his doom, hid himself in plain sight, knowing that he had become a target for the Syrian army. Jehoshaphat nearly loses his life playing the part of the King!
- When the King of Israel is not discovered, the author casts our eyes to an unnamed soldier who drew his bow at random and hit the King with a one in a million shot!
- Ahab was mortally wounded when his chariot returned to Samaria, but was alive to hear Micaiah's word come to pass! Israel was defeated and the dogs licked up his blood!
- What do we learn? 400 false prophets cannot match the power of one man with God's Word and no matter what one does, an unbeliever like Ahab cannot escape God's wrath upon Him!
- You can be assured that God never misses His targets. If you are fooled into believing against the Lord, friend, please understand that there is no way to hide! Verse 41.
I Kings 22:41-47 : " Jehoshaphat the son of Asa had become king over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in all the ways of his father Asa. He did not turn aside from them, doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord . Nevertheless the high places were not taken away, for the people offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. Also Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, the might that he showed, and how he made war, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And the rest of the perverted persons,who remained in the days of his father Asa, he banished from the land. There was then no king in Edom, only a deputy of the king. " : Jehoshaphat, Ahab's partner in crime, is lauded for not turning aside from doing what was right before the Lord.
- Unfortunately, he also turned a blind eye to the ritualistic practices of the people and he made an alliance with the King of Israel. This last part represents the low point in his story.
- As Christians, you can know for certain that nothing good comes from joining ourselves to heathen men and women, who have no concern for God's ways or truth!
- He had many good things going for him in Judah, casting out Sodomites and maintaining control over Edom. It's sad that he didn't heed the wisdom of the Lord relating to Ahab.
- Thankfully, it seems that Jehoshaphat eventually learned his lesson. Verse 48.
I Kings 22:48-50 : " Jehoshaphat made merchant shipsto go to Ophir for gold; but they never sailed, for the ships were wrecked at Ezion Geber. Then Ahaziah the son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, 'Let my servants go with your servants in the ships.' But Jehoshaphat would not. And Jehoshaphat rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David his father. Then Jehoram his son reigned in his place. " : II Chronicles 20:35,36, mention that this dedicated navy was part of an alliance that had been forged between Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah.
- They had 10 ships that were going to cruise the Mediterranean on the hunt for gold from Ophir, something that Solomon had once organized for himself. (I Kings 10:21,22)
- The funny thing is that the ships were wrecked before they ever had a chance to set sail. They were broken in pieces while in the harbor, representing a devastating loss.
- Ahaziah wasn't deterred. He wanted to have his servants join up with Jehoshaphat's servants in an effort to rebuild. Jehoshaphat looked around and took spiritual inventory.
- He remembered Micaiah's warning and had gone to battle anyway. He had listened to Ahab's advice to wear his royal robes and it almost got him killed by the Syrians!
- Now, his ships have been destroyed while in port!? Maybe God is trying to tell me something!
- How much will certain people have to lose before they come to these realizations? How many will ignore God's wisdom and warnings? How many will heed the advice of the godless?
- How many will chase wealth to the ends of the earth, despite God's clear intention for them to pass? It's sad that many will have to lose it all before they are saved from themselves!
- I pray that this will not be said of anyone within the sound of my voice. Verse 51.
I Kings 22:51-53 : " Ahaziah the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. He did evil in the sight of the Lord , and walked in the way of his father and in the way of his mother and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin;   for he served Baal and worshiped him, and provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger, according to all that his father had done. " : As we come to the close of I Kings, we end with King Ahaziah whose reign will be short and evil.
- It will be marked by the influence of his unrepentant Father Ahab and his treacherous Mother, Jezebel. He will further the cause of Jeroboam's and Baal's false religious systems.
- Most importantly, It will again provoke God to anger just as his Father had done.
Conclusion
- As we consider these three Kings, let us consider ourselves. We begin with Ahab, a King who has had a front row seat to the powerful reality of God and yet, chose not to resign himself.
- He would not give himself to God so God honored His choice and gave him up. Somewhere in our lives, there is a point of no return and only God knows.
- If we are holding out, it would be wise to give up and give ourselves to God while we can!
- How about Jehoshaphat? Here is a godly King who can't resist an ungodly partnership. He foolishly commits himself to a doomed enterprise, nearly losing his own life in the process.
- Perhaps it's best to ask God before we go and to say "no" when God says "no!" Thankfully, Jehoshaphat learned, though he unnecessarily lost much in the process.
- Speaking of Kings that never learn, let's consider Ahab's son, King Ahaziah.
- He watched his Father fall to his doom. He saw the futility of false religion and the very likely was able to witness the real response of God. Yet, he continued along in the same way.
- He didn't learn from his Father's mistakes. Instead, he fell forward and eventually fell before the Lord. How many will fall in the exact same way.
- May the Lord grant us wisdom to see ourselves and choose the wisdom He offers us.

May 01 2017

06:22

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 21)

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margin:.5in .5in .5in .5in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} </style> --> <div class="chapter-2" style="margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <a href="https://www.mediafire.com/?fo1f054x7jue4nc"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 16.0pt;">I Kings 21</span> </a> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 16.0pt;"></span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 10.0pt;">Audio Access Available Above </span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 10.0pt;">“Chance After Chance” • 4.30.17 • Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service</span> <span style="font-family: "times"; font-size: 10.0pt;"></span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 10.0pt;">Intro.</span> <span style="font-family: "times"; font-size: 10.0pt;"></span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The northern Kingdom of Israel is once again secure. The Syrian threat, led by Ben-Hadad has been put down and life is getting back to normal.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- We have operated under the premise that God has continually been working behind the scenes to call the King to Himself.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- His mercy has spared his life in spite of his complete acceptance of Baalism and His grace has enriched his life by direct intervention in times of crisis.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- To date, Ahab remains unrepentant and chapter 21 reveals God's next attempts. Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">1</b>.</span> <span style="font-family: "times"; line-height: 150%;"></span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 10.0pt;">Text</span> <span style="font-family: "times"; font-size: 10.0pt;"></span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial";"> <span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 21:1-4</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text1kgs-21-1"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And it came to pass after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel, next to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-2"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, 'Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near, next to my house; and for it I will give you a vineyard better than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money.' </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-3"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">But Naboth said to Ahab, 'The </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-3"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!' </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-4"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, 'I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.' And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food.</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : "After these things" refers to Ahab's recent treaty with the King of Syria and the subsequent displeasure of the Lord.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Ahab was resentful and angry with the Lord's displeasure and is looking for something to bring him some peace. A new royal garden might do the trick!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- One would think that a King could claim eminent domain and make a person surrender their property for any use. From a surface view, Ahab is both cordial and considerate in his request. </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He will give Naboth land or money, whichever was best to him but Naboth wouldn't hear of it! </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- "God forbid that I surrender my family's land to you!" This is a fairly strong response to a real estate proposal. In fact, the strong response provides a clue to the true nature of the question.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Naboth doesn't mention the vineyard. He looks at it as a part of the inheritance of his Fathers. </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- This is far more than familial pride in ownership. Naboth sees this land as God's blessing on His faithful people! Essentially, he believes that this is what God gave his family to steward. </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- As such, Naboth sees himself as the present steward of what God had graciously lent to his family, which he had no right to dispense with. He was not simply being stubborn.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- God had given clear guidelines regarding the use of the land, but especially that it should not be bought, sold or traded for. (<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Leviticus 25:23, Numbers 36:7</b>) </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It was to belong to the people equally and not become a vehicle for personal enrichment.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- In a world ruled by the Ahabs and Jezebels of the world, here stands a man who will not budge from God's decree, who will hold fast to His Word!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Is it true that he could have sold the land and been applauded by the watching heathen world who would likely have done the same? Sure.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Could he have been greatly enriched by the King of Samaria? Absolutely. Naboth chose to make obeying God's Word the source of his true riches!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Are there not so many examples in scripture of the singular holdout or family that bucks all of the downward trends of it's generation?</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Naboth is the next in line, a man who won't surrender what God has given him, even when offered a princely price! Once again, Ahab went away "sullen and displeased!" </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He was resentful and stewing at this rejection by Naboth. This is truly fascinating. Here is a man who has everything, but the one thing that he cannot have makes him feel as if he has nothing!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Aside from that warning to the covetous, we had mentioned last week that the implication of his resentment stemmed from a frustration at God's Word that Ben-Hadad should die.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Ahab made the correct "political" move in securing a treaty with that nation. Here, he is frustrated and resentful again with a man who holds to God's Word, who won't be bought!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Friends, understand that the unbelieving will be frustrated with God because He won't change His mind about their sin. What was sin 1,000 years ago is sin in the eyes of God today!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- But equally frustrating to them is the fact that God's people, the ones they would seek to influence away from their principles, won't move from their loyalty to His Word! </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- "Why won't you change your view to include my lifestyle?" "Why can't you see how narrow you are being!" "Don't you see how everyone else has freedom to enjoy what you limit yourself from?"</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- These will be the words of your friends, who will ever walk away from you resenting your faithful loyalty to God. I think it's a good time to tell you that Naboth's name means "fruits!"</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Those who live out Naboth's example will indeed be fruitful before the Lord and frustrating to the world! That should be an expectation on your part! No man can serve two masters. (<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Matt. 6:24</b>)</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Our lives are best lived by making a marked determination to identify and serve our Master!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- As for the King, he wouldn't get out of bed, acknowledge his servants or eat! What kind of King is this? That's what Jezebel thought! Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">5</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 21:5-7</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text1kgs-21-5"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, 'Why is your spirit so sullen that you eat no food?' </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-6"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">He said to her, 'Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> <span class="text1kgs-21-7">Then Jezebel his wife said to him, 'You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.'</span></span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : Jezebel returns to the forefront to provide a sympathetic ear to her sulking husband.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- She won't have this for a minute! She has no regard for people who care for God's word! </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- "You take care of being the King! Don't worry. I'll get you the vineyard that you want!" What a sweet wife! Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">8</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 21:8-14</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text1kgs-21-8"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-9"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">She wrote in the letters, saying, 'Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth with high honor among the people;</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-10"> <sup> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> </span> </sup> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-10"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, 'You have blasphemed God and the king.' Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-11"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them.</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-12"> <sup> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> </span> </sup> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-12"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">They proclaimed a fast, and seated Naboth with high honor among the people. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-13"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, 'Naboth has blasphemed God and the king' Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-14"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, 'Naboth has been stoned and is dead.'</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : In the King's name, she initiates an assembly which intimates that a divine curse has been placed on the city, which will provide the theater of her great deception.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- She hires these scoundrels, literally, "sons of Belial," to bear false witness against Naboth, not simply to run his reputation, but to incite the people to stone him!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It's a wicked plot, but equally odious is that there are men who are around that will comply!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- When the act was complete, with a dry, haunting, emotionless note, she is informed that Naboth was stoned to death, an innocent man killed because he held onto His Lord's gift to him!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Can you see Jezebel's satisfied face as she receives this news? She is quick to turn around and share it with her sulking husband. Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">15</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 21:15,16 </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">: "</span> <span class="text1kgs-21-15"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, 'Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.' </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-16"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So it was, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : This whole time, Ahab had been in distress, sick at heart because of what he could not have! Imagine his delight as Jezebel told him that the vineyard was his!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- She adds in her own justification. "He refused to give it to your for money." He had his chance. "You had been very reasonable with him."</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Without any concern for human justice, much less, the thought of divine retribution, Ahab walked right over and took possession. He thinks he's getting away with everything. Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">17</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 21:17-19</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text1kgs-21-17"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Then the word of the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-17"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-18"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">'Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who lives in Samaria. There he is, in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone down to take possession of it. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-19"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">You shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-19"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">: 'Have you murdered and also taken possession?' And you shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-19"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">: 'In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood, even yours.'</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : Ahab is busy pulling weeds in his new garden when Elijah shows up. Did you notice where God said he was? He was in the vineyard of Naboth! God keeps perfect records!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- When David moved his whole army to finish his intrigue with Uriah, the world thought Bathsheba to be his wife.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- When God speaks of her, He calls her the wife of Uriah the Hittite! (<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">II Samuel 12:10</b>) God is not confused or blind to injustice. He speaks very plainly through Elijah of his thoughts.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Imagine Ahab's face when he saw Elijah in Naboth's field. Imagine his heart as Elijah speaks the Word, the message of the Lord to him: "Have you murdered and also taken possession?"</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- "You've killed a man and now you are robbing him as well?" <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">II Kings 9:26</b> indicates that Jezebel also killed Naboth's sons, which is how he is "robbing him."</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Elijah pronounces Ahab's sentence, which will take place under the same conditions that Naboth suffered! He will die in the same place and the dogs will have a meal on him! Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">20</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 21:20-24</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text1kgs-21-20"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So Ahab said to Elijah, 'Have you found me, O my enemy?'</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> <span class="text1kgs-21-20">And he answered, 'I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the </span><span class="small-caps">Lord</span><span class="text1kgs-21-20">: </span><span class="text1kgs-21-21">‘Behold, I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel, both bond and free. </span><span class="text1kgs-21-22">I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and made Israel sin.’ </span><span class="text1kgs-21-23">And concerning Jezebel the </span><span class="small-caps">Lord</span><span class="text1kgs-21-23"> also spoke, saying, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall<sup></sup>of Jezreel.’ </span><span class="text1kgs-21-24">The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Ahab and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field.'</span></span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : Ahab interrupted Elijah to make his declaration. In his mind, Elijah is his enemy. Nothing could be further from the truth!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Elijah, like Naboth, is merely the latest witness to stand between Ahab and his utter ruin! The righteous person stands to declare what God says and is often counted as an enemy!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Why should he be thought of as an enemy? Because the King was surrendering himself to perform that which was evil in God's sight.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Why is it that your friends do not turn to the light that is found in Christ and the law of His Word? Because the Bible presents men as loving darkness!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">John 3:19</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men <span class="criteria">loved</span> <span class="criteria">darkness</span>rather than light, because their deeds were evil.</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">"</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Elijah's example is to be noted here. On our part, we are never to be men's enemies, but we are never to be so concerned with their admiration that we neglect to tell them God's truth!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- We must learn to love them, but never sacrifice our love for God or His truth in the process!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The King did evil In God's sight, the only sight that matters! Evil was his goal and because of it, God pronounces that calamity was on it's way.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- God was going to remove every one of his descendants. He was going to treat his house the way He treated Baasha's house which we studied in chapter <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">16</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- God pronounced a judgment that would reflect His abandonment of them. Their bodies would be strewn out in the fields and in the streets, where the birds and dogs would feast upon them!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- God is going to abandon you and your family! Jezebel will get hers as well.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- God is going to allow her to see her final, wretched moments by the city wall that she ruled from! How do you think Ahab responded? Take a look at verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">25</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 21:25-27</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text1kgs-21-25"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-25"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-26"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-26"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> had cast out before the children of Israel.</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> <span class="text1kgs-21-27">So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning.</span></span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : The author has to take a break from the narrative to make sure that we know the truth about Ahab. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- When it came to evil doing, Ahab was at the top of the list. His wife made sure that he stayed on top, stirring him up in things of wickedness.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- She provoked, instigated a pursuit of wickedness and Ahab followed along with all of his heart! Certainly, as we halt here, we would say a Christian person should never have this testimony.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- You should never be an influence over a person's life that inspires wickedness or godlessness! That much should be quite apparent. However, the opposite should be true of us!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Are you one to stir up a gift in another person? (<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">II Timothy 1:6</b>) Are you consistently with the body of Christ to be stirred up to love and good works? (<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Hebrews 10:24</b>)</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Are you one that stirs up another to remember God's word in their lives? (<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">I Peter 3:1,2</b>)</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- If Jezebel excelled at stirring up wickedness the life of Ahab, should we not be in the practice of stirring up righteousness in the lives of those that God has called us to obediently serve!? </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- For Ahab's part, he was a willing participant. The author describes his mentality and then can only describe his behavior as bad enough to be compared with the Amorites!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- They are the ones that God expelled from Israel! The author sets this up to show us the unlikelihood of what he concludes this set of verses with.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- "When Ahab heard these words." It was this very message. It was God's word affirming that he would be treated in the same manner as Baasha was treated.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It wasn't the fire from heaven. It was the flood that felled his chariot. It was the thought that God would abandon him and treat him with contempt at his death.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- For whatever reason, this was the right time, the right combination of circumstance and consideration for Ahab to take on the actions associated with repentance.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He tore his royal clothes and exchanged them for sackcloth. It's comfort, status and pride for discomfort and extreme humility before the Lord!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- This was the external sign of a man who was in deep mourning about his condition before God! What a moment! Look at how God responds. Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">28</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 21:28,29</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text1kgs-21-28"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And the word of the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-28"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-21-29"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">'See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house.'</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : What an interesting turn of events! Elijah gave his message to Ahab and the old discouraged prophet probably gave it without thought to it's success!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- "Certainly, I'm wasting my breath on this guy! He's not going to listen!" How many times have you said these exact words! </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- I love that God stops Elijah and points his attention to Ahab's humility in this moment. "Elijah, are you seeing this?" How gracious is God to give Elijah this task? </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- How refreshing was it for Elijah to see the King come to this place? How much of an encouragement is it to you and I to continue our efforts with the Ahabs in our lives!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- I've repeatedly said that God is never through with Ahabs! It's wrong for us to give up because He doesn't! Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before God?</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He did and because of it, God would delay the judgment that He proposed to another time. Why does he say this? </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Judgment will come at another time because this is sadly a momentary interruption. It could have been the gateway to great blessing.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Imagine if Ahab had gone from a show of great humility to a show of genuine, heartfelt repentance. God would not have simply spared him for the moment, but for eternity! </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It's possible for any human being to come to a place of momentary revelation of the truth that they exist under the wrath of God and feel sorry.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It's quite another to remain impressed by the saving power of God to redeem them from it!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The former requires emotion and a resigned heart. The latter requires determination and a repentant heart! Unfortunately, as the text will reveal, Ahab didn't experience the latter!</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 10.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Conclusion <br /></span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 10.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> <span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;">- We can spend our final moments dwelling upon the failure of Ahab to enter into God's love or we can bask in the faithfulness of God to continually call people to receive it!</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It was our God who took on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ and experienced the height of injustice, being the only person in history who died while truly innocent.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It wasn't a wicked Queen who stirred up false witnesses against him. It was a supposed religious, godly system that sought false accusers to secure His death!</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Like Naboth, Jesus didn't utter a single word in His own defense, but accepted this human injustice in order to satisfy God's perfect justice.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He lived a perfect life and died a sacrificial death, in order to give the Ahabs of the world chance after chance after chance!</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It is God's love wrapped up in Christ's sacrifice that calls all men, not to simply feel bad, but to come to Him with all repentance!</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- God will never be satisfied to simply postpone His judgment as He did in Ahab's life. </span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- For those who will receive His Christ, He delights to say that there isn't any judgment left that Christ hasn't absorbed in Himself! </span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- You tell this to the Ahab in your life and pray that their story ends better! </span> <span style="font-family: "times"; font-size: 10.0pt; line-height: 150%;"></span> </div>

April 24 2017

16:19

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 20)

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Audio Access Available Above
“An Enemy Who Won't Stop And A God Who Won't Lose” • 4.23.17 • Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- When we last studied the book of First Kings, Elijah the prophet, having scored a significant victory over the prophets of Baal, fled Israel at the sight of a note from Queen Jezebel.
- She promised to execute him, which proved to be the last straw for him. He had expected to see the spiritual tide turn and when it didn't, he marched toward the very holiest place imaginable.
- He found himself seeking to confront God in the very same place where Moses received the Law! He has been off the scene for some period beyond 40 days.
- God has him on a journey elsewhere at the moment. In the meantime, the fruit of the Lord's victory is beginning to blossom.
Text
I Kings 20:1-6 : " Now Ben-Hadad the king of Syria gathered all his forces together; thirty-two kings were with him, with horses and chariots. And he went up and besieged Samaria, and made war against it. Then he sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, and said to him, 'Thus says Ben-Hadad:   ‘Your silver and your gold are mine; your loveliest wives and children are mine.’ And the king of Israel answered and said, 'My lord, O king, just as you say, I and all that I have are yours.' Then the messengers came back and said, 'Thus speaks Ben-Hadad, saying, ‘Indeed I have sent to you, saying, 'You shall deliver to me your silver and your gold, your wives and your children'; but I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they shall search your house and the houses of your servants. And it shall be, that whatever is pleasant in your eyes, they will put it in their hands and take it.' " : God's plan to unsettle Ahab from his idolatry began at Mt. Carmel, but has continued through his aggressive neighbor to the North.
- In the political background, Israel has forged a treaty with Judah through the marriage of Ahab's daughter to King Jehoshaphat. We'll learn more about that as we conclude the book.
- To the North of Syria, the Assyrian army is beginning to exert it's strength in the region. Naturally, Ben-Hadad wants to secure a more southern foothold for Syria.
- Ben-Hadad, united together with 32 Kings, came up and laid siege against Samaria. Once the city was surrounded the Syrian King laid out his terms.
- Without any resistance, Ahab quickly agrees to hand over the silver, gold, women and children. Ben-Hadad realizes that he has not asked for enough.
- In fact, he proposes that his army will take a quick tour through the city and take whatever pleases them tomorrow! This is a historical narrative, but there is a true spiritual correlation.
- The enemy of our souls will take what we are willing to give him and then, once we are compromised, is happy to take much more! Verse 7.
I Kings 20:7-12 : " So the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, 'Notice, please, and see how this man seeks trouble, for he sent to me for my wives, my children, my silver, and my gold; and I did not deny him.' And all the elders and all the people said to him, 'Do not listen or consent.' Therefore he said to the messengers of Ben-Hadad, 'Tell my lord the king, ‘All that you sent for to your servant the first time I will do, but this thing I cannot do.’ And the messengers departed and brought back word to him. Then Ben-Hadad sent to him and said, 'The gods do so to me, and more also, if enough dust is left of Samaria for a handful for each of the people who follow me.' So the king of Israel answered and said, 'Tell him, ‘Let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off.’ And it happened when Ben-Hadad heard this message, as he and the kings were drinking at the command post, that he said to his servants, 'Get ready.' And they got ready to attack the city. " : Ben-Hadad didn't expect there to be any resistance, but Ahab wouldn't go above his original agreement.
- Ben-Hadad was not a man to be embarassed in front of his 32 royal friends! He promises to level Samaria and it's people to the ground.
- "After we're through with you, I won't be able to give my men a handful of dust!" Ahab was not to be outdone in this little war of words. He sent back a terse reply.
- "Don't talk like you've already won!" That didn't sit well with Ben-Hadad, who with his consortium of Kings, were already drinking to their victory when the new communique arrived.
- Ahab's words set the enemy into motion and then God sent His people into motion. Verse 13.
I Kings 20:13-16a : " Suddenly a prophet approached Ahab king of Israel, saying, 'Thus says the L ord : ‘Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand today, and you shall know that I am the L ord .’ So Ahab said, 'By whom?' And he said, 'Thus says the Lord: ‘By the young leaders of the provinces.’ Then he said, 'Who will set the battle in order?' And he answered, 'You.' Then he mustered the young leaders of the provinces, and there were two hundred and thirty-two; and after them he mustered all the people, all the children of Israel—seven thousand. So they went out at noon. " : Part of Elijah's complaint stemmed around the fact that he was the only prophet left in Israel. (I Kings 19:10,14)
- "Suddenly a prophet approached Ahab." Isn't it funny how wrong our "facts" can be when we are exhausted and spent!? May we be wise not to trust in what we do not know!
- Thiis prophet is unknown, but he has access to King Ahab! When Elijah left his post, he didn't get to see the fruit of his victory at Mt. Carmel.
- It seems that the Lord's victory galvanized the prophets and Elijah missed it! This prophet gets to tell Ahab that God is about to deliver Syria into Israel's hands!
- Ahab is not sure of who to task with this, as if there was anyone other than himself!
- The prophet makes sure that he sets them in order under the leadership of the young leaders of the various provinces.
- When he gathered the children of Israel to fight, isn't it a tremendous coincidence that there are 7,000!? The Lord had given this exact number to Elijah while in Horeb!
- I Kings 19:18 tells us that these 7,000 hands bowed their knees to Baal and their mouths had not kissed him. These set out at noon, a very peculiar time to begin a battle. Verse 16b.
I Kings 20:16b-22 : " Meanwhile Ben-Hadad and the thirty-two kings helping him were getting drunk at the command post. The young leaders of the provinces went out first. And Ben-Hadad sent out a patrol, and they told him, saying, 'Men are coming out of Samaria!' So he said, 'If they have come out for peace, take them alive; and if they have come out for war, take them alive.' Then these young leaders of the provinces went out of the city with the army which followed them. And each one killed his man; so the Syrians fled, and Israel pursued them; and Ben-Hadad the king of Syria escaped on a horse with the cavalry. Then the king of Israel went out and attacked the horses and chariots, and killed the Syrians with a great slaughter. And the prophet came to the king of Israel and said to him, 'Go, strengthen yourself; take note, and see what you should do, for in the spring of the year the king of Syria will come up against you.' " : Ben-Hadad is certainly not getting himself into battle condition. Verse 12finds him drinking. Verse 16 finds him getting drunk!
- His response only makes sense when one applies a drunk man's voice to it!
- Israel would win the day, largely because of the leadership void left by Ben-Hadad's drunkenness!
- Israel routed the Syrians with the King of Syria in full retreat but are warned not to become to comfortable for the King of Syria regroup and attack again.
- Most of us believe that the enemy permanently retreats from us when we have scored a single victory. That is never the case!
- Ahab, you don't have time to revel in your victory. Go now and strengthen yourself! Do what it takes to fortify your position, to equip your servants and to improve your defenses.
- He would have until spring. You will remember those fateful words from II Samuel 11:1. The spring was when Kings went to war! It offered the best weather conditions and food stores were high.
- Ben-Hadad would accept defeat today that He might live to attack another time! When Jesus successfully defeated Satan in the wilderness, he also withdrew for a strategic reason.
- Luke 4:13 tells us that the enemy "departed from him until an opportune time." When you experience a victory, I'd advise you to take the Prophet's advice: "Get ready for another attack!"
- In the historical case of Ahab, it's unclear what he might have done militarily. I imagine the Prophet would have instructed him along a spiritual line.
- Just as an aside, I'd say to you that your prayer life should be in order. Your intake of God's Word should be at a maximum. The voices that you are heeding should be trusted and godly.
- You should commit to being where you should be and avoiding where you shouldn't be! These are some of the keys to victory that I have found most helpful.
- As we return to the passage, listen to the enemy's rationale, as they assess their next course of action. Verse 23.
I KIngs 20:23-25 : " Then the servants of the king of Syria said to him, 'Their gods are gods of the hills. Therefore they were stronger than we; but if we fight against them in the plain, surely we will be stronger than they. So do this thing: Dismiss the kings, each from his position, and put captains in their places; and you shall muster an army like the army that you have lost, horse for horse and chariot for chariot. Then we will fight against them in the plain; surely we will be stronger than they.' And he listened to their voice and did so. " : Ben-Hadad formed a committe to explain their defeat and this was their conclusion: "Their gods are gods of the hills."
- The Syrians assumed that Israel's gods were stronger in certain areas than they were in others. This is called "Henotheism."
- To make up for that contingency, Syria would have to force a conflict that would take place in the plains, where presumably, Syrian gods and chariots would have the advantage.
- Additionally, Ben-Hadad needed to surround himself with experienced soldiers and not Kings as himself. Military personnel would respond with better tactical options.
- Of course, they would have to replace everything that they had lost, both horse and chariot. This seems like a solid plan to Ben-Hadad! Verse 26.
I Kings 20:26-30 : " So it was, in the spring of the year, that Ben-Hadad mustered the Syrians and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. And the children of Israel were mustered and given provisions, and they went against them. Now the children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of goats, while the Syrians filled the countryside. Then a man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, 'Thus says the Lord: ‘Because the Syrians have said, 'The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,' therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ And they encamped opposite each other for seven days. So it was that on the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed one hundred thousand foot soldiers of the Syrians in one day. But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; then a wall fell on twenty-seven thousand of the men who were left. And Ben-Hadad fled and went into the city, into an inner chamber. " : Israel looks like two small flocks of goats out on the plains. There is hardly a better picture of vulnerability than that! Flocks in the open are open prey.
- When you have two flocks, that isn't better than one. They won't defend each other. The more that they are spread out, the more likelihood there is of heavy losses!
- Of course, on the opposing side, there are numbers for days! The Syrians mounted a force that could be seen in every direction, a numerous horde!
- This is the way that it always seems to be! God has a remnant, a small group, a normal sized human being. The enemy has combatants to spare, a large group and giants at his disposal!
- In this battle, God announces through yet ANOTHER man, that He has been offended by the Syrians rationale! He will defeat them in the plain, just to show them His superiority!
- God is literally fighting this battle to teach the watching world that His power extends to any arena at any time! He is zealous in this instance for the sake of His own reputation!
- As Christians, I pray that we might take a cue from this. Are we zealous for the Name, the reputation, that which is believed about our God? We should be!
- When He is misrepresented, it should offend our sensibilities. This doesn't give us the right to be offensive in His Name, but it certainly calls us to defend His honor when opportunity arises.
- Through the Lord's power, Israel was able to kill a hundred thousand men in a single day! When they remaining opposition fled into the walled city of Aphek, thinking that they were safe.
- That is, until the wall that they hid behind fell upon 27 thousand more! God made sure that they knew that He was directly responsible for their demise!
- Israel had done it's part and what it could not do, He did personally! Verse 31.
I Kings 20:31-34 : " Then his servants said to him, 'Look now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please, let us put sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will spare your life.' So they wore sackcloth around their waists and put ropes around their heads, and came to the king of Israel and said, 'Your servant Ben-Hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’ And he said, 'Is he still alive? He is my brother.' Now the men were watching closely to see whether any sign of mercy would come from him; and they quickly grasped at this word and said, 'Your brother Ben-Hadad.' So he said, 'Go, bring him.' Then Ben-Hadad came out to him; and he had him come up into the chariot. So Ben-Hadad said to him, 'The cities which my father took from your father I will restore; and you may set up marketplaces for yourself in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.' Then Ahab said, 'I will send you away with this treaty.' So he made a treaty with him and sent him away. " : After Ben-Hadad's defeat, his servants proposed a posture of surrender based upon the reputation of Israel's Kings for mercy. The first servants went out to gauge Ahab's response.
- Ahab says, "Is he still alive? He's my brother?" What is he thinking? As I noted earlier, the political landscape is changing and Ahab believes that his strength will be in numbers!
- It's amazing to think that you could trust in an ally that was just defeated before you!
- The King of Syria offered him both the cities that had once been his, as well as the ability to do business in Damascus! It means nothing to us, but this was a lucrative deal for Ahab.
- WIth the treaty in place, Ahab sent Ben-Hadad away. God was far from pleased with what has transpired. Verse 35.
I Kings 20:35-40 : " Now a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his neighbor by the word of the Lord , 'Strike me, please. And the man refused to strike him. Then he said to him, 'Because you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord , surely, as soon as you depart from me, a lion shall kill you.' And as soon as he left him, a lion found him and killed him. And he found another man, and said, 'Strike me, please.' So the man struck him, inflicting a wound.Then the prophet departed and waited for the king by the road, and disguised himself with a bandage over his eyes. Now as the king passed by, he cried out to the king and said, 'Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and there, a man came over and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Guard this man; if by any means he is missing, your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’ While your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.' Then the king of Israel said to him, 'So shall your judgment be; you yourself have decided it.' " : The moral of the story is, when a prophet asks you to hit, you hit him and leave a mark! This was not a random person.
- Other translations affirm this to be "another" signifying that that man was also a prophet, who should have known better. The second man, perhaps seeing the first, made sure that he didn't miss!
- The prophet is playing the part of a man who has made an oath to watch over a man at the cost of his own life. In the play, he had been negligent and had lost the man in question.
- The King heard the case and with no compassion, declares his judgment. The man is guilty and his life is to be lost! Ahab has no idea what is about to hit him! Verse 41.
I Kings 20:41-43 : " And he hastened to take the bandage away from his eyes; and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. Then he said to him, 'Thus says the Lord : ‘Because you have let slip out of your hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people.’ So the king of Israel went to his house sullen and displeased, and came to Samaria. " : There is no reason to believe that this isn't yet a third unknown prophet from a group recognized by King Ahab as one of the prophets!
- This entire chapter is filled with prophets acting on God's behalf and not one is known to us!
- Ahab learns from this unknown servant of God that the little play that the prophet acted out was symbolic of his own responsiblity toward Ben-Hadad!
- God had delivered the Syrian King into his hand and he let God's prisoner go. Now, Ahab would surrender his own life and the life of his people for the sake of his ill-advised mercy.
- Ahab believed that he was making the politically expedient move. This would strengthen him against the Assyrians, should they move against him.
- According to one commentator, history does show that this union was successful in one battle, but that was going to be short-lived.
- God will never let His people lay their trust in anything other than Himself! He alone will be the source of their strength, provision and power!
- The King went home "sullen and displeased." We'll see this phrase a little more as we come to the end of this book. "Sullen" might better be translated "resentful," "displeased" meaning "angry.
- The YLT terms it "sulky and wroth!" Can you see his position? "How dare God question my methods and my decisions about my Kingdom? Who does He think He is?"
- The answer that we assign to that question will settle most all of our dilemmas! He thinks He is God and He is right!
Conclusion
- As we close, is this not an apt commentary on how much we miss when we abandon our posts? Elijah is walking somewhere, with Elisha in tow, completely unaware of all that God was doing.
- Our high view of ourselves, our elevated expectations and our foolish decision to trust in our own senses will disappoint and disillusion us every time.
- Is it not better to wait and watch, to see what God might have around the corner, to see how other divinely inspired events might combine with our efforts in the lives we seek to reach?
- On the other hand, can we not also see a little bit of our enemy's resolve? He will come with overwhelming strength and when he is defeated he will come again, and again.
- He will settle for what you are willing to surrender and then seek everything else! And if he can't beat you, he'll seek to find a way for you to treat him as an ally!
- No wonder Peter tells us, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour!" (I Peter 5:8)
- Thankfully, our enemy is no match for our God, who has attached His Name to us by His Son Jesus Christ! Those that run into Jesus will find ample defense and provision that will never run dry!
- He keeps you and I for the sake of His own reputation, to be revealed both as the God of the hills and valleys of our lives! Let's pray.


April 10 2017

04:52

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 18:41-I Kings 19)

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"For The Depressed, Discouraged And Disgruntled"    4.9.17    Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- Aside from the smoke rising from the ground, the Biblical narrative leaves us with only three people atop Mt. Carmel. Elijah, his servant and Ahab are within close proximity of one another.
- Ahab is standing in stunned silence, staring into space, while Elijah, having just finished executing the prophets of Baal, is barely standing at all!
- There was never any doubt that His God would win. Baal doesn't exist. But that doesn't mean that Elijah has had an "easy day." Standing in the spiritual gap is exhausting for the man of God!
- Elijah is about to show us how easy it is to crumble under the weight. Verse 41.
  Text
I Kings 18:41-43 : " Then Elijah said to Ahab, 'Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.' So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, 'Go up now, look toward the sea.' So he went up and looked, and said, 'There is nothing.' And seven times he said, 'Go again.' " : With all the activity of the day, neither Ahab nor Elijah had anything to eat. Ahab will need to eat, but Elijah needs to pray. "There is the sound of abundance of rain."
- As we examine the scripture, we must come to the conclusion that Elijah was prophesying that this would be the case. He heard this "in the Lord" and then collapsed into prayer.
- Elijah was strengthened by the Lord for the task, but as with any person, after the battle is complete, he seems thoroughly exhausted, yet, there is more work to do and it's not easy.
- God answered him so quickly with the fire, but now is not so quick with the rain? Seven times, Elijah prays and asks his servant to check on the status of the sea after each prayer.
- The first six times, the servant returned with a puzzled look on his face. There was nothing to report. Each time, Elijah returned to prayer and sent him to look again!
- Why is it that God does this? Sometimes He answers so quickly and other times He recalls us to our knees to repeat what we have prayed thousands of times.
- What is being accomplished? God is tuning our hearts to pray His will and remain dependant.
- Elijah was a "superstar," but he cannot move God to act one second before God is willing to!
- By not answering, the Lord keeps His servant on his knees, inviting him to persist.
- God always has a reason for answering quickly or making us wait! Thankfully, Elijah was wise enough to continue to ask! Verse 44.
I Kings 18:44-46 : " Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, 'There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!' So he said, 'Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. " : On the seventh attempt, Elijah's servant reported that a potential storm could be seen on the distant horizon.
- With only a small cloud on the horizon, Elijah warned Ahab to get himself going. Before Ahab could get away, the Lord released a deluge upon the land.
- Elijah, I believe, exhausted from the day's events, had no power to run until it came time to run! Then, it took the hand of the Lord to cause him to run.
- He tucked his garment into his belt and flew down the mountain, leaving Ahab's chariot behind him for the entire 20 mile journey!
- It was God's supernatural power that fueled his pace and the ground's natural mudflow that slowed Ahab's chariot! Instead of seeing the King arrive in splendor, Jezreel saw a muddy prophet!
- He might have won the day and the race, but any joy he had was shortlived. Chapter 19.
I Kings 19:1,2 : " And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, 'So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.' " : Look at Ahab. Think of what he must now disclose to Jezebel. He has the burden of bearing very bad news to his pagan wife!
- He told Jezebel all that Elijah had done. Could it be that he simply thought Elijah was a "superior prophet" to the Prophets of Baal?
- This is consistent with his initital accusation against Elijah, when he said that it was he who had troubled Israel. (I Kings 18:17) If this is so, is it not amazing?
- God has shown conclusive evidence that He was superior to the religion of Baal by providing fire and rain. But Ahab missed the lesson!
- We shouldn't be surprised when singular, miraculous events are ignored by those that we love! The miracle of regeneration is a much greater work than we ever imagined!
- Events such as what has been described are a part of the cumulative effort of God.
  - But they are not the "be all, end all" in most people's lives! Pray for your loved ones, that they might one day put all of the pieces together and truly have the grace to respond to God!
- Besides, if Ahab had any inkling that this was all due to God, it might have been extinguished in the passion of Jezebel, who only to have heard about the execution of Baal's prophets.
- That is what caused her to respond with her little note to Elijah! She was incapable of understanding the miraculous report and was solely intent upon retribution.
- Elijah waited to see a message of repentance and received a death sentence instead! She was going to make him like he made them! She was direct and she was determined!
- It would happen no later than the very next day! What confidence! For three years, the administration had been unable to find him despite a nation wide manhunt!
- God kept moving Elijah around, but now, she believes that she will be able to carry out her malicious plan? How did Elijah respond? Take a look at verse 3.
I Kings 19:3,4 : " And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, 'It is enough! Now, Lord , take my life, for I am no better than my fathers! " : This proves what men have known since the beginning of time.
- The only thing more scary than 450 prophets of Baal is one angry woman! Elijah reacts. He's hardly done reading the letter and he skipped town!
- When a person today describes America, he might say, "From Sea to shining Sea" or "Coast to Coast." The Jewish person would say that Israel stretched from "Dan to Beersheba!"
- The distance that Elijah traversed was well over 150 miles! He sought for refuge in Judah and did so all alone, leaving his servant in Jezreel.
- He himself went a day's journey more into the wilderness. Sometimes it's good to be alone. In the condition he is in, I'm not sure that this was one of those times.
- He sat himself out in the wilderness under a broom or juniper tree. He's completely isolated, totally exhausted and terribly frightened. "And he prayed that he might die."
- I wonder what his voice sounded like, especially compared to the voice which uttered the prayer that precipitated the Lord's victory just hours earlier.
- I wonder if this is not just more than a wimper before the Lord. He resigns and says "I've had enough!" He is fine with God taking His life as Jezebel took the lives of the prophets.
- He must have been confident that this one act would finally setlle the issue.
- Seeing Jezebel's response really threw him for a loop. He may have even believed for Ahab and Jezebel's conversion. He expected to be discipling them the next day!
- Instead, he joins the long line of prophets who had failed to reverse the idolatrous trend. Elijah is crushed under the weight of his own expectations. He wants out and now! Verse 5.
I Kings 19:5-9 : " Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angeltouched him, and said to him, 'Arise and eat.' Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angelof the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, 'Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.' So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God. And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah? ' " : Notice that God doesn't immediately talk with Elijah. He let's him sleep, then He dispatches an angel to feed him.
- Elijah registered his complaint and he fell asleep until this angel had finished his next meal. He received that meal and then laid down for a second round of sleep.
- The angel returned for a second meal, this time with an encouragement to actually rise from his sleep to eat. He has a journey to make and it's too much for him.
- He ate again and would not need to eat again for the next 40 days, but marched to Horeb, where he spent the night in a cave. Commentators note that the language specifies it as "The" cave.
- Elijah is seeking to meet with God in the same place that God gave Moses the 10 commandments! Horeb and Sinai are on the same mountain range!
- When Elijah had slept through that night, the Lord spoke to him with a simple question: "What are you doing here Elijah?" God did not call him there!
- Ultimately, whatever God had planned to accomplish through Elijah in Jezreel, was thoroughly abandoned by Elijah's rash flight into the wilderness! Consequently, he was doing nothing!
- I wonder how many blessings and benefits we have left behind because we left our posts?
- Before we concern ourselves with the Elijah's response, I believe it would be wise for us to step back and see WHEN God began to communicate with him. It was after Elijah had slept and ate.
- You and I must understand that our perspective on spiritual life can be greatly and adversely affected by our own physiological needs.
- For some, it would be a good exercise to examine their own eating and sleeping habits.
- In some cases, there may also be warrant for a seasonal regimen of medication!
- Aside from what makes for a proper physical life, I might also mention that God outlines the actions that make for a successful spiritual life as well!
- The early church continued steadfastly in the Apostle's doctrine, Bible study, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers. (Acts 2:42)
- You will find yourself in the best condition possible to avert spiritual depression when these are your dedicated habits!
- That isn't to say that doing these equals a stress or problem free life. It does ensure that you will be in the best position possible to discern the Lord's voice with clarity. Verse 10.
I Kings 19:10 : " So he said, ' I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.' " : Elijah has spent all of his time expressing an intense zeal for the Lord. He calls Him, the "God of hosts." That refers to His armies of angelic hosts. He is the God of power!
- Elijah has been a good soldier. He has held down his post. He has been responsible to speak to a nation that has left God's covenant behind them.
- They have abandoned decisively the worship of the Lord and they have been aggressive in their desire to stamp out His Word through His prophets. All of this was true.
- From Jeroboam to Ahab, Israel has steadily moved further and further away from their heritage as God's people. Ahab's reign embraced a precipitous leap!
- Elijah is not only discouraged, he is disgruntled! "God, I've been zealous. Where have you been? Where is your response!?" If God won't do His part, we're all doomed!
- Elijah is fighting a losing battle and sees no hope other than surrender, which he ultimately bases on the one thing which was not true: "I alone am left." He can't mean this the way it sounds.
- He knows what Obadiah has told him.  There are 100 prophets hidden in two caves nearby, plus Obadiah. Perhaps he means to say that he is the only one left with a voice.
- What wasn't true empirically, was certainly true personally and emotionally to Elijah.
- It can be said that he felt alone. Those brothers who were consigned to the darkness of the caves weren't able to stand with him, to bear the brunt of responsibility.
- Their voices couldn't cry out. Elijah could only feel resigned to the fact that his voice would soon be stamped out by the nation's administration.
- "Lord, take my life because if you don't their gonna take it and win!" What an honest moment from scripture! How will God answer? Verse 11.
I Kings 19:11-14 : " Then He said, 'Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord .' And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord , but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?' And he said, 'I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.' " : When Elijah goes out from the cave to stand before the Lord, he is met by these impressive sights.
- Each time, the Lord crossed his path, a something incredible occurred. The wind violently displaced the rocks in the mountain, the earth shook beneath and the fire roared around him.
- Aside from being awe inspiring events, the Lord was not in any one of them! He wasn't present through them. Elijah kept watching and waiting. He didn't commit to the phenomena.
- He was waiting for something much more impressive and he got what he was waiting for after the fire fell! He heard a still, small voice.
- The word "still" speaks of a calm, soothing whisper. The word "small" speaks of finely beaten dust. What a contrast to what had come before?
- A lesser follower of God settles for the event, the momentary distraction! There are those who suffer who prolong their own suffering by seeking after signs and wonders.
- They want the power of the wind. They want to be moved. They want to be inspired.
- But for a person who truly wants the power to answer our deepest need, nothing but the voice of God will suffice! That is what got Elijah up off of his seat!
- He came out to hear the Lord who repeated His question. Elijah repeated his protest. Look at God's response. Verse 15.
I Kings 19:15-18 : " Then the Lord said to him: 'Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.' " : The answer is "go," get back to work! God not only refuses to end Elijah's life and ministry, but He sends Elijah on a 200 mile mission to annoint a new King over Syria!
- "Maybe I need some time off? Maybe I need some 'me' time?" Maybe you need to find out what God intends for you to do! Indefinite introspection rarely leads to a healthy spiritual life!
- Remember that Elijah wants to see God work, to deal with the idolatry that was still a plague upon Israel. God hadn't used Elijah to end that, but He also wasn't done yet!
- God's first response would be raise up an enemy to the nation. Hazael, whose names means "One who sees God," would lead Syria into a renaissance period over the next several years.
- His reign will be marked by excessive, corrective cruelty toward Israel, who will be likewise governed by a reformer in Jehu, who will wipe out the house of Ahab from within.
- Jehu and Elisha will finish the business that Elijah is unable to complete. "I'll bet you didn't think about any of this, did you Elijah!?"
- These duties are part of what God intended Elijah to perform. Once he does them, his query is answered! So often, that is exactly the reason why our answers elude us!
- What are the duties that the Lord has given us to do? Have we done them? When Elijah resolves to obey, the Lord quiets his heart and then drops this bomb on him.
- "I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, who haven't bowed or kissed at Baal!"
- I much prefer the KJV and the ASV on this verse, when God says "I have left me 7,000 in Israel. They belong to Him.
- The ones that refuse to acknowledge Baal's lordship or refuse to do him homage, God calls His reserve. Elijah didn't know about them, but God knew exactly which ones they were!
- You may think that your ministry is useless and that your reach is negligible, but God knows how effective your witness has been, even when you have no clue! Verse 19.
I Kings 19:19-21 : " So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, 'Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.' And he said to him, 'Go back again, for what have I done to you?' So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant. " : Elijah was on his way to perform God's command and comes to Elisha first. His name means "God is salvation" and he was one who was the fruit of Elijah's ministry.
- I can't help but think that the order is significant. Elijah needed someone to help him bear the burden before he did anything else! God is incredibly gracious to give him an equal.
- Elisha was from a wealthy family but he was not living an entitled life. He was plowing his Father's field when Elijah found him. It's rare that God employs those that refuse to work!
- Most of God's men were doing something before God set them aside for ministry.
- Elijah took his mantle, his prophetic cloak and he threw it onto Elisha, as if to say, "This is your job now." Elisha, understanding what has been done, runs after him with a reasonable request.
- He wants to simply go back to say goodbye to his family. Elijah isn't going to worry about that. His reply is akin to our saying, "Go and do what you need to do!"
- Elisha went and prepared a feast for the people in his life, literally burning the bridge back to where he had come from and followed his new Master and mentor, Elijah.
Conclusion
- For those that struggle with depression, discouragement and being disgruntled, may I say that you are in good company! The Lord has left much for our examination.
- It would be wise to apply some self-assessment with regard to our physical and spiritual needs. What are we choosing to ignore or neglect?
- We might also look to our spiritual duties and the service that we know God requires of us. Have we left too early?
- Perhaps we need to re-examine our expectations of what God is or is not doing as we serve Him. Are we being unrealistic or impatient?
- May He give us the wisdom to honestly assess our needs. Gratefully our faith isn't grounded in extraordinary people of faith, but in the person of Jesus Christ!
- Elijah stood on Mt. Carmel and looked like a winner. Jesus stood on Mt. Calvary and looked like the loser. Elijah wished for death. Jesus wondered if there wasn't another way!
- Elijah thought his death would seal the failure of his ministry. Jesus Christ knew His death would seal the victory of His!
- May the Lord lift our discouraged, depressed and disgruntled eyes to see our Lord's victory once again! He is truly all we need!

April 03 2017

00:45

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 18:20-40)

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"Come Near To Me"    4.2.17    Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- We have followed the steady spiritual digression of the ten northern tribes, Israel, as they had first wandered away from the true worship of God, to what might be charitably called an imitation.
- Yahweh, the God of Israel, was supposedly still the centerpiece, though He was being worshipped in a way that contradicted His character and His Word.
- This is the foundation of Northern worship until King Ahab, who sets aside Jeroboam's imitation to completely embrace Baalism.
- Baal is the supposed "god of the weather." He is believed to be responsible for the fertility of the land. The true God will not have it! He sends Elijah with the promise that rain will be withheld.
- After three years of drought and famine, God again sends Elijah to Ahab. God has chosen the time to settle the issue once and for all. Verse 20.
  Text
I Kings 18:20 : "   So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. " : As you remember from verse 19, it was God's idea proposed through Elijah to stage this meeting on Mt. Carmel.
- Mt. Carmel is a set of mountain ranges on the northwest side of Israel. It's name is associated with a cultivated garden.
- With such a name, it represents a logical stronghold for a supposed deity like Baal, who was the god of fertility and thus the god of favorable weather conditions for an agrarian society.
- It's been noted that the Phoenicians claimed that Carmel was the actual throne of Baal.
- When Elijah set Mt. Carmel as the location for this event, it appealed to their henotheistic tendency to believe Baal to be stronger in certain locations than in others, and this location especially.
- Elijah was giving Baal home court advantage and was offering a contest that featured Baal's speciality! No wonder Ahab went for it!
- We don't know how long this took, but before long, everyone met on this mountain range for the prize fight of the generation.
- By the end of verse 20, it's conceivable that hundreds of thousands are in attendance. There are certainly 400 prophets, decked out in their extravagent attire, along with the King.
- Elijah stands alone, in plain clothes, hair sticking out from every hole in his garment. It is 401 against 2. These are just the odds that God loves! Verse 21.
I Kings 18:21-25 : " And Elijah came to all the people, and said, 'How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.' But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, 'I alone am left a prophet of the Lord ; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord ; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.' So all the people answered and said, 'It is well spoken.' Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, 'Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.' " : With the entire nation standing at attention, Elijah addressed the people, wanting to clarify the intended purpose for their gathering.
- This event was meant to defininitively answer what had apparently been a matter of debate. Consider what has happened over the course of the last three years.
- The drought has been overwhelming. Even the most ardent defenders of Baalism had to wonder if there wasn't another "power" at work. Could it be the Lord of Israel?
- The national debate was stirring at the street level, though the administration was firm.
- The question Elijah poses speaks to what was happening to the people. It's translated in various ways. For example, the NLT says "How long will waver, hobbling between two opinions."
- The ESV uses the word "limping" and the NASB uses the word "hesitate." According to at least one commentator, when this word is used in zoology, it referred to an uncertain footing.
- It would be applied to birds, who would land on a twig, and then immediately spring off to find another twig! "This seems stable for the moment. Oh, perhaps not so much."
- My favorite translation, however comes from the NET which says "how long will you be paralyzed by indecision!"
- That might be the very best translation in terms of what the people were experiencing spiritually. Their flesh loved Baalism. It catered to their base instincts and affected their bottom line.
- However, it couldn't be denied that Baal was being denied! They couldn't decide, so they were stuck vascillating between the two. Elijah tells them that this cannot go on indefinitely!
- They are too committed to Baalism to experience the power of Yahweh and too conditioned to follow Yahweh to enjoy the full benefits of Baalism! There are many who can relate!
- They want God to be the center of their life, but they also know that that will require them to give up things that they enjoy in their life that aren't godly!
- Many of these people remain hopelessly paralyzed by their own conflicting desires!
˚ How many more sermons do you want? How many more Sundays must roll away wasted? How many warnings, how many sicknesses, how many toilings of the bell to warn you that you must die? How many graves must be dug for your family before you will be impressed? How many plagues and pestilences must ravage this city before you will turn to God in truth? How long halt ye between two opinions?    Charles Spurgeon
- Elijah says to them and Israel, "Let Israel decide!" The people however, couldn't say a word! They were caught in their indecision!
- They knew he was right, but certainly couldn't admit that to themselves or in front of King Ahab. At that point, Elijah ups the stakes.
- He is alone against the entirety of Baal's prophets. Asherah's contingency is not represented though they had been invited. "Why send the whole team?" Jezebel thought.
- Outnumbered, in the enemy's house, Elijah proposes a simple test to reveal the true God. The god who answers by fire wins! The people couldn't think of a better test!
- Baal was supposedly the god of the weather. According to scholars, his image was often constructed with a lightning bolt in his right hand!
- Can you imagine Ahab and the prophets when they heard this? They must have been giddy with glee at the stupidity of Elijah's request. And then, Elijah gives them the chance to go first!
I Kings 18:26 : " So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, 'O Baal, hear us!' But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. " : Can you see the enthusiasm on the faces of the false prophets? Not only do they get to "worship" their god, but the whole nation gets to watch!
- They are in prime form as they begin their chanting. The first hour passes and they are just taking off their warm-ups! About 10:30, they call a time out for a water break.
- They've been chanting relentlessly for their god to hear them and act. They received nothing. In their huddle, they decided that they needed some more intensity, so they began leaping!
- This is the equation in all false forms of worship: More activity and stimulation of the senses is necessary when God's presence is less present! "This will let us "feel" god!"
- That went on until noon. It's about that time when Elijah spoke up to address the ackward silence from Baal and the growing concern of the Israeli people. Verse 27.
I Kings 18:27-29 : " And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, 'Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.' So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention. " : When the noon day sun stood over Mt. Carmel, Elijah just couldn't stand it any longer! They've had plenty of time and have accomplished nothing!
- At first, the noise from the crowd mixed in with the activity of the prophets of Baal. There were "oohs" and "ahhs," but when nothing happened, the crowd grew silent.
- I'm fairly certain that all you could hear now were the grunts of the prophets.
- Elijah began to mock, or as the NIV says, "taunt" them. He started in on them and kept on them! With every passing second, he increased his verbal barrage.
- "You guys need to shout a little louder! He could be lost in his thoughts or out and about!" A few Old Testament scholars suggest that the word "busy" could refer to a bathroom break!
- "You know, he might even be taking a nap! There has to be some explanation right?"
- The prophets of Baal have too much skin in this. They go into desperation mode. This is their final and most extreme activity.
- As they cried out even louder, they started to systematically cut themselves with their ceremonial knives and the iron points of their spears.
- Every man centered religion is based on the blood of it's own adherants, either that they produce personally or sacrificially!
- Before long, they were a bloody mess, but with 400 of them, there were enough men to extend this activity until the evening sacrifice!
- If this is meant to correlate to the times of Jewish sacrifices, it would have been 3PM. They have been exhausting themselves from 9AM, through the heat of the day. Step back and look at this.
- These men were members of the majority group, full of enthusiasm, filled with the belief that their god would "win the day."
- They are sincere and committed, willing to cry aloud under the noon day sun and eventually willing to spill their own blood on the ground near their sacred altar. Listen to the Biblical response.
- "But there was no voice. No one answered. No one paid attention!" What an indictment! Can you not see the millions of people throughout the ages that fit into this category?
- Think of the Baal worshippers here, as they represent the Mormons, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and those even within the modern church who actually worship themselves!
- How often have they come to the end of themselves in exhaustion only to discover that they were not calling out to a real God! Nobody was there to respond, nobody was paying attention!
- "But they are so sincere and committed and in some cases, even much nicer than the Christians that you know!"
- None of that makes any difference when there isn't a god on the other end of the line! These Baal prophets are just the next in line to discover their folly too late.
- Cain brought an offering that pleased him, only to have the true God reject it. How many more are in that position today?
- Can you see why it's vital to study the Bible in it's totality, in it's context? We need to be sure that we are worshipping the true and living God and not some figment of our imaginations!
- But even more relevant for our ears today: How many will stand before the Lord on judgment day and proclaim all that they did for God, only to have God say, "Depart from me, I never knew you!"
- The true essence of Christianity is not tied up in boasting about what we did for God, but in acknowledging all that God has done for us in Christ! These are the people that God knows!
- These prophets are out of gas, out of time and out of touch with reality. It's Elijah's turn!
I Kings 18:30-37 : " Then Elijah said to all the people, 'Come near to me.' So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, 'Israel shall be your name.' Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord ; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, 'Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.' Then he said, 'Do it a second time,' and they did it a second time; and he said, 'Do it a third time,' and they did it a third time. So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water. And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, ' Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord , hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.' " : It had to be eerie to watch the prophets of Baal. At first, there was a fascination with the mystical arts that were on display. Soon, the frenzy that played out, brought about a sincere anticipation.
- When nothing happened past noon, it just became an ackward show. People couldn't avert their eyes. They had to be shocked to some degree, like those who slow to observe a car accident!
- No wonder Elijah had to call the people to come near to him, but it's far more than that. Elijah speaks for a God who has been offended, but still calls out to His people to draw near to Him!
- Through the mouth of Elijah, God invites all doubters, all rebels, all sinners, to come near to Him, to see first hand, that He is God and beside Him, there is no other!
- It had to begin at an altar of the Lord in Carmel which had been broken down and Elijah took the time now to reset it with 12 stones symbolic of the nation of Israel.
- Around the altar, Elijah dug a trench that you could put the equivalent of two large bags of seed into. Then he put the sacrificial elements in place. He does this quietly, with little to no fanfare.
- When all was prepared, Elijah called for the people to douse the altar and fill the trench with water, which they did three times, effectually ruining the altar for fire purposes.
- There was to be no doubt at all that what was to take place was a complete act of God! This was no magic trick or attempt to deceive. It was going to be an act of God or nothing!
- Now, when the time for the evening sacrifice came, Elijah prayed! This is no accident. Elijah is dealing with a group of people who have left their roots for the worship of Baal.
- They have neglected the inheritance that they had in the Lord to approach Him by prayer and sacrifice at these particular hours. They must have thought about this.
- What does Elijah do? Does he began chanting or leaping around? No! He simply, quietly prays in a voice that was loud enough to hear.
- The reality of God's presence will always be much preferred to the foolish fanfare of the false teachers and the sub-Christian! His prayer is as simple as it is soft.
- He addresses the God of the Forefathers of the people that are standing there right now. This God hasn't changed, they have!
- Elijah asks for God to affirm His prophet and affirm His Word by acting now, not with the eye of impressing the masses, but with the hope of turning their hearts back to Himself!
- There is never a need for God to validate His own power or existence for that purpose. When God intervenes in human affairs, it is for the sake of turning hearts to Himself!
- In this case, an entire generation has turned their backs on God, yet God still attempts.
- As his prayer ends, the people look to the altar to see how long they will have to wait. Baal had taken all day and nothing. How long would Yahweh take? They didn't wait long! Verse 38.
I Kings 18:38-40 : " Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, 'The Lord , He is God! The Lord , He is God!' And Elijah said to them, 'Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!' So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there. " : It's almost as if the Prophet uttered the "A" to the "Amen" and the Lord responded!
- Out of nowhere, fire fell at Elijah's request and consumed the entire altar! There was nothing left but smoke on the ground!
- You have to love the detail: The fire of the Lord licked up the water in the trench! What a picture for us to look at! The victory was thorough and undeniable!
- It didn't take long for the people to respond as they fell on their faces! Funny, they had been standing all day waiting for Baal, watching with growing curiosity.
- When God moved upon the precedings, they immediately fell on their faces! The conscious awareness of God's presence doesn't issue in growing intrigue and entertainment value.
- It produces awe and respect for the reality of God! These people cried out with all their hearts, to merely allow their voices to proclaim what was now painfully obvious!
- What they were experiencing historically, all of mankind will one day experience eternally! Regardless of sincerity and nobility, one day, every tongue will be forced to acknowledge the truth!
- Some will joyfully shout and continue their praise in a perfected way, "The Lord! He is God!" Others will shamefully stand in resigned horror to acknowledge what they suppressed in life!
- Those in that condition on that day, will forever be consigned to the torment that accompanies all that refuse to acknowledge Christ in this life!
- I pray none within the sound of my voice ever experiences this! May the Lord grant all His grace to believe and repent!
- On this day before us, in an established Theocracy, Elijah, speaking for God, calls for the death penalty to be enacted upon the prophets of Baal! Keep in mind Elijah's words in verse 36.
- He was acting, in all that he had done, according to God's Word! He prayed according to God's Word when Israel turned itself to Baal. God's Word promised an "iron sky."
- All of his actions here were consistent with God's Word, from the mocking of so-called deities to the precise re-construction of the altar. Now, God calls for the execution of the prophets.
- Deuteronomy 13:1-5 detail the fate of those that would turn Israel's hearts from the true God. It would be a death penalty. Deuteronomy 18:20-22defines the parameters.
- A true prophet's word would come true. A false prophet's word would not! In Israel, at this time, God called for Elijah to worship Him by obeying His word.
- Understand that this is not given to us as a practical example of how we are to act. This is never repeated to the church, who live under varying forms of government.
- We are however, to comply with this principally. When there is something discovered which contradicts scripture and the very nature of God, it is our duty to thoroughly reject it.
- Elijah, like Samuel before him, reminds us that worshipping God requires us to eliminate from our lives any vestige which offends our sensibilities regarding Him!
- Elijah spent the next few hours executing these heretics near the Brook Kishon.
Conclusion
- With the people going back and forth between opinions, God set out to make a definitive statement to settle the question of His reality. Not much has changed today.
- People are still torn between worshipping God and worshipping themselves. Their desires are paralyzing them and God still calls out to say, "Come near to me!"
- On Mt. Carmel, a distant God consumed an altar and a sacrifice. On Mt. Calvary, God in Human flesh, Jesus Christ became the sacrifice for His people's sins.
- On Mt. Carmel, the people were allowed to see the power of God. On Mt. Calvary, the world sees the power of God's justice and love forever!
- On Mt. Carmel, the enemy was executed. On Mt. Calvary, Satan was defeated.
- On Mt. Carmel, a miracle was displayed for a watching audience. On Mt. Calvary, a sign was hung for all mankind to see: "The Lord, He is God!" Pilate wrote it himself!
- Today, I ask you what Elijah asked them: "How long will you be crippled by your own indecision! If your god is God, then serve him. But if Yahweh is God, then serve Him!"
- May He find us to be His with all of our hearts!

March 27 2017

05:09

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 17-I Kings 18:19)

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Audio Access Available Above
"Prelude To A Prize Fight, Pt. 2"    3.26.17    Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- Let's pick it up where we left off. Verse 1.
  Text
I Kings 17:1 : " And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, 'As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.' " : Elijah is from an obscure family that lived on the wrong side of the Jordan river.
- There are some scholars who contend that he was not even an Israeli, but a native proselyte to the faith of Yahweh! In either event, he is chosen by God to appear before the King of Israel.
- Elijah affirms what Ahab sought to suppress. There was a God of Israel and He was alive!
- Ahab's attempt to quell God's knowledge and promote Baalism did not change the fact that the God of Israel was living and it was He that Elijah stood before.
- The sense of the phrase is that he stood close enough to see His face! The fact that it's written in the present tense reminds us of the truth that transcends our experience.
- Currently, physically Elijah stood in the presence of the reigning and wicked King of Israel, but I would pose the thought that he was conscious of who had the real authority over his life!
- We would be wise to take this to heart! For Elijah, the issue of loyalty was settled. God had commissioned him with a difficult message for the King. Israel was headed for a prolonged famine!
- This should not have come as a surprise. God promised to make the heavens like iron if the people of God did not obey Him while in the land! (Leviticus 26:18,19)
- There wouldn't even be a drop of moisture until Elijah gave the word. Verse 2.
I Kings 17:2-7 : " Then the word of the L ord came to him, saying, 'Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.' So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. " : We aren't told of Ahab's response but Elijah delivered this single sentence to Ahab and God immediately calls him into hiding!
- It could not have been positive and it certainly was not one of complicity.
- You and I and likely Elijah, want to see the end of such an evil men. We want their blasphemies silenced once and for all, but this is just the beginning. God has much more in mind!
- Having a much more intricate plan in mind, God called Elijah away to The Brook Cherith where He promises to feed and care for him.
- The name is interesting as it means "separation by cutting." Some scholars believe that the word might be closer to the concept of "whittling."
- For those who have whittled wood before, you know that it's a slow, careful, almost therapeutic process. Gratefully, God doesn't call us to the place of "Hacking!"
- When He begins His work in our lives, beyond the seeming speed of conversion, mostly you will discover His Spirit whittling away pieces of our character that no mar the image He is shaping.
- Something in Elijah's character or in his education before God required time. The Brook Cherith was a place of preparation and it was a place of provision.
- Elijah's catering needs would be handled by a contingent of crows who could traverse the land to deliver the finest foods available at the time!
- The Brook Cherith will also serve as a place of protection from the manhunt that we will soon learn was taking place throughout Israel.
- For Elijah's part, he went and did according to the word of the Lord! He obeyed God's Word to him. It might not have made sense and it probably was difficult to imagine, but he obeyed!
- When he did, he found that God was trustworthy. The ravens brought him enough to sustain him through the day and night. The water from the brook refreshed him until the drought dried it up.
- He learns that while the Brook was a place of preparation, provision and protection, it was not a place of permanence! The lack of rain eventually began to dry the brook.
- Have you noticed how much more attentive you are to the Lord when your peace evaporates? As the brook grew increasingly silent Elijah knew God was moving him away. Verse 8.
I Kings 17:8-12 : " Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ' Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.' So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, 'Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.' And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, 'Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.' So she said, 'As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.' " : Zarephath is roughly 35 miles to the north, in the proverbial backyard of Jezebel's family! What a great place to hide! Who is going to check a widow's house?
- God had commanded a widow to provide for Him. When we consider what God is waiting for, remember this: He is working on the other side of the equation. You might be ready, but they aren't!
- Elijah finds the widow in question gathering sticks. Her son is not old enough for the duty and clearly, her husband's last store of wood had been depleted. We are meant to see her destitution.
- When Elijah asks his question to her, there isn't a breach in protocol. Hospitality was one of the most valued practices of the ancient world. She was ready to serve, but she had to be honest.
- She was about to prepare the last meal that she and her son would ever eat. Her faith apparently needs some work!
- God commanded her to feed Elijah. That means she has to have food and also remain alive! Elijah, after wondering what kind of widow this was, responds in verse 13.
I Kings 17:13-16 : " And Elijah said to her, 'Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah. " : "Make your meal, but bring the first of it to me." This would be inconceivable to say if he didn't promise God's provision for the remainder of the drought!
- She did what Elijah had said, still resolved to her own death. When they ate that meal together, she looked back into her storage and found Elijah's words to be true!
- The flour wasn't consumed and the oil didn't run dry. It may have been uncomfortable and it was certainly unbelieveable at first, but the widow obeyed and watched God provide!
- How many have seen this story play out in their lives? Jesus says that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things will be added unto us! (Matthew 6:33)
- I have found that when I am attentive to my spiritual responsibilities first, God will meet my physical needs and then some at just the right time.
- At the same time, please understand that this verse does not provide license to fleece a vulnerable widow of all of her money! That isn't the lesson here.
- The lesson is that provision doesn't come from a bubbling brook or a full cupboard. It comes from honoring the Lord first! Verse 17.
I Kings 17:17-19 : " Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. So she said to Elijah, 'What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?' And he said to her, 'Give me your son.' So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. " : All three of these people had the blessing of provision. God's hand sustained their food but the son came down with an illness that took his life. God's blessing doesn't insulate us from tragedy!
- God's people will mourn and face times of great distress. The woman in her desperation and with her dead son in her arms, wonders if God wasn't punishing her for a past sin that plagued her.
- She voices the belief that walking with and obeying God equals a life that is free from human tragedy because anything tragic is believed to be divine retribution!
- We live in a fallen world. That means disease and death will become increasingly commonplace as we age. Nobody is guaranteed a long, healthy life. Our days are numbered by God!
- She wants to know, "What do you have against me Elijah?" The prophet rightly refuses to respond, instead asking for the body, which he takes up to the son's bedroom. Verse 20.
I Kings 17:20-24 : " Then he cried out to the Lord and said, 'O Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?' And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the Lord and said, 'O Lord my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.' Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, 'See, your son lives!' Then the woman said to Elijah, 'Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.' " : Elijah must face tragedy and sorrow the same as anyone. Elijah's personal affection for this boy is evident by his response.
- He cried out to the Lord with a bitter complaint, revealing deep hurt for the woman that had been his host. His God had brought this upon the widow that He came to live with.
- His God was responsible for allowing this boy's death. Elijah doesn't understand it either!
- We aren't sure how this next part was communicated, but Elijah positions himself on top of the child's dead body and pleads repeatedly for the boy's life three times.
- In that moment, the dead boy came back to life and with a sigh of great relief, he brought the child back to his Mother. The boy's soul returned to his body!
- Whatever doubts she had before were now thoroughly dispelled. The daily miracles of provision had become so commonplace, that the woman stopped noticing!
- This set of events brought her back to her senses. Chapter 18.
I Kings 18:1-4 : " And it came to pass after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, 'Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.' So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria. And Ahab had called Obadiah, who was in charge of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly. For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the Lord , that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.) " : Three years have elapsed from Elijah's first meeting with King Ahab. God is about to lift the drought, so it is time for Elijah to present himself.
- Elijah's years have been marked by miracles. Ahab's years have been just plain miserable!
- The capital city of Israel, under the judgment of God, was experiencing severe famine. That corrective measure utilized by God caused the wicked King and Queen to double their wickedness.
- While Elijah was in hiding, Jezebel led an effort to completely stamp out the voice of God in the land of Israel. We're not sure how informed Elijah was about this, but you can imagine he wasn't.
- While his brothers stayed in Israel, it was His word from the Lord that began a process that brought about this horrible tragedy! How is it that Elijah was spared but they were not?
- There are mysterious questions that will be left unanswered on this side of eternity.
- We aren't aware of how many were murdered, but there were only one hundred left and they were alive thanks to efforts made by Obadiah, meaning "God's Servant," King Ahab's steward.
- He made his living as Ahab's employee, but he was God's living servant!
- A man in his position would have had charge of distributing materials to the house. I imagine he used the freedom to take little side trips to the caves where the prophets were hidden.
- Wherever he went, it may have been that others helped to support the cause by giving him a little extra. However he did it, he had sustained 150 prophets for the better part of three years!
I Kings 18:5-14 : " And Ahab had said to Obadiah, 'Go into the land to all the springs of water and to all the brooks; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, so that we will not have to kill any livestock.' So they divided the land between them to explore it; Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself. Now as Obadiah was on his way, suddenly Elijah met him; and he recognized him, and fell on his face, and said, 'Is that you, my lord Elijah?' And he answered him, 'It is I. Go, tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’ So he said, 'How have I sinned, that you are delivering your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they could not find you. And now you say, ‘Go, tell your master, 'Elijah is here'!  And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of the Lord will carry you to a place I do not know; so when I go and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you, he will kill me. But I your servant have feared the Lordfrom my youth. Was it not reported to my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid one hundred men of the Lord’s prophets, fifty to a cave, and fed them with bread and water? And now you say, ‘Go, tell your master, 'Elijah is here.' He will kill me!' " : The quest for grazing land led to the first face to face meeting between Obadiah and Elijah. Their conversation is enlightening.
- Ahab had been meticulous in his search for Elijah. Every nation had to swear to Ahab that they could not find Elijah. How was Elijah able to hide so long?
- God kept carrying him away from one place to another! God kept His servant hidden wherever he went! All of the King's resources were futile against God's will to hide His man!
- And yet, there is a sticky situation here. God would hide Elijah. Obadiah has no doubt about that. But he is not given that kind of grace. He fears that his fate would be quite different.
- Remember, Obadiah witnessed the martyrdom of God's faithful witnesses. He knew that if he hadn't taken the opportunity to hide the 100, they would have been added to that number.
- We can question God's methods to a point, but we must also remember that He has given His grace to each of His servants, to serve as He deems fit.
- Obadiah is not afraid. He is not asking for relief. He is however, not asking for a premature death either! He wants some assurance from Elijah and he gets it. Verse 15.
I Kings 18:15-19 : "   Then Elijah said, 'As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely present myself to him today.' So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah. Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, 'Is that you, O troubler of Israel?' And he answered, 'I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals. Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah,who eat at Jezebel’s table.' " : Obadiah left Elijah to call Ahab, but I'm fairly certain he didn't take his eyes off of him! For the first time in as many as three years, these two leaders stand face to face.
- The leader for Yahweh religion and the leader for Baal meet and the volley begins. Ahab looks Elijah square in the eye and dares to accuse him of troubling Israel!
- "This drought is all your fault Elijah!" It doesn't occur to him that his statement reflects both ignorance of the God of Israel and the impotence of Baal! This was all Elijah's fault!
- It's sad when your god is stymied by a single, middle aged or older prophet whose been in hiding for a few years!
- It's tragic when you will blame everything in your life on everyone else and still not acknowledge God! Elijah makes this clear to him. "Ahab you are the problem here!"
- It's right here in this moment that the battle is set. Elijah will meet the prophets of Baal and the prophets of Asherah in the valley below Mount Carmel.
Conclusion
- The final victory in a believer's life is secure. God cannot lose. He who has justified the believer will also glorify them.
- Along the way, He is whittling away as He did with Elijah, slowly, carefully, the character and ambitions that can't please or serve Him and He is drawing others to Himself through your ministry.
- Perhaps it's difficult for you to relate to Elijah, in terms of his power and presence. It might be better for you to look at Obadiah.
- He showed up for work each day, intent upon serving this godless King, in order that He might be of use to the King of Kings! His job provided life for those endowed with God's voice!
- Both men played their part in their generation to the glory of God. May it be said of us as well!

March 20 2017

03:42

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 15:25-I Kings 17:1)

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"Prelude To A Prize Fight"    3.19.17    Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- We have been following the history of the the divided Kingdom. King Asa reigned for four decades in the southern Kingdom. We learned last week that his reign was predominantly good.
- When you weigh the benefits of a good leadership upon a society, you can't help thinking of the stability that would provide for a generation. The North will provide a stark contrast.
- King Asa will reign in the South and see 7 Kings wrestle for power in the North. Each successive King will extend the spiral of wickedness that has been their foundation.
- Let's pick it up where we left off, verse 25.
  Text
I Kings 15:25-32 : " Now Nadab the son of Jeroboam became king over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord , and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin. Then Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him. And Baasha killed him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, while Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon. Baasha killed him in the third year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his place.And it was so, when he became king, that he killed all the house of Jeroboam. He did not leave to Jeroboam anyone that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken by His servant Ahijah the Shilonite, because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he had sinned and by which he had made Israel sin, because of his provocation with which he had provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger.  Now the rest of the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. " : According to I Kings 14:10 and 11, Jeroboam's descendants were doomed because of their Father's idolatry. This is not guilt by association. It is never so with God.
- No man or woman will be punished for their Father's sins by simple relation. Keep in mind that God had found something good in one of Jeroboam's sons, Ahijah.
- The problem with Nadab and the rest of his sons is that they embraced their Father's sins personally and wholeheartedly! Because of that adoption, Nadab's doomsday clock was ticking!
- Despite what God had prophecied over his life, he incredibly, still chose to walk in idolatry!
- His eventual undoing would occur when he led the army to Gibbethon, a Philistine controlled city in the territory of Dan. Israel was engaged in a siege of that city for about a year.
- While the city was closed up, Nadab's men had time to consider Nadab's leadership. It wasn't long before the seeds of conspiracy were sown and Baasha allowed them to flower!
- Most scholars believe that Baasha was a captain of Nadab's army. Being from the tribe of Isaachar, he would have risen from relative obscurity.
- We aren't told of the details of Baasha's treachery, but his rise to power could only have happened as a result of God's hand upon him.
- After Baasha assassinated Nadab, he went onto remove all the other legitimate rivals to the throne. He fulfilled God's Word to the tee, as you note the lack of detail regarding Nadab's burial.
- Nadab and his relatives were either consumed by dogs or birds! They were utterly abandoned and cursed by God! God now deals with Baasha. Verse 33.
I Kings 15:33-I Kings 16:7 : " Then the word of the L ord came to Jehu the son of Hanani, against Baasha, saying: 'Inasmuch as I lifted you out of the dust and made you ruler over My people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam, and have made My people Israel sin, to provoke Me to anger with their sins, surely I will take away the posterity of Baasha and the posterity of his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Baasha and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the fields.' Now the rest of the acts of Baasha, what he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? So Baasha rested with his fathers and was buried in Tirzah. Then Elah his son reigned in his place. And also the word of the Lordcame by the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha and his house, because of all the evil that he did in the sight of the Lord in provoking Him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam, and because he killed them. " : Baasha had been God's hammer in stamping out Jeroboam's descendants, but instead of honoring the Lord or turning to Him in repentance, he continued the downward spiral of the North.
- You can see that he was particularly intent upon fighting against God's righteousness, both as he fought with King Asa in the south and as he propogated Jeroboam's religion in the north.
- Baasha had a chance to acknowledge God's hand toward Him, but he slapped it away! In response God sent a prophet, Jehu, the son of Hanani.
- Unless Hanani was a common name, this was the same prophet that God sent to speak to Judah's King Asa in II Chronicles 16:7-10! This is quite extraordinary for a few reasons.
- First, God is not sitting back and allowing the North to simply free fall into apostasy. They do so against their own history as a people and against God's continual warning through the prophets.
- Second, the prophets were equal opportunity, willing to go either to the north or to the south with the Lord's message depending on where God sent them.
- This has been a new thought to me in studying the Kings. God isn't simply seeking to reform a religious people from the South. He is seeking to win the apostates of the North!
- God continues to strive with men today. If the book of Kings teaches us anything, it is that!
- And this is where we note something special about Jehu specifically. This man has seen his Father imprisoned at the will of Asa, a good King from Judah, for the sake of God's message.
- What might a traitorous, idolatrous King of the North do to him when he came to bring God's message to him? That fear that you and I feel for him didn't stop him from going!
- Jehu knew that it would be far worse to ignore the Lord than to experience the King's wrath! There is no place for the fear of man in the service of the Lord!
- Proverbs 29:25 in the NLT says, "Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety!" Jehu teaches us that to fear the Lord is to fear nothing else!
Luke 12:4,5 : " And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.   But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! " : May our hearts be inspired by Jehu's example.
- As for King Baasha, because he perpetuated the sins of Jeroboam, his dynasty was doomed to crumble in the same manner as Jeroboam's!
- He had abandoned the Lord and God promised to abandon his descendants, beginning with Elah. Verse 8.
I Kings 16:8-14 : " In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah the son of Baasha became king over Israel, and reigned two years in Tirzah. Now his servant Zimri, commander of half his chariots, conspired against him as he was in Tirzah drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza, steward of his house in Tirzah. And Zimri went in and struck him and killed him in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his place. Then it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he was seated on his throne, that he killed all the household of Baasha; he did not leave him one male, neither of his relatives nor of his friends. Thus Zimri destroyed all the household of Baasha, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke against Baasha by Jehu the prophet, for all the sins of Baasha and the sins of Elah his son, by which they had sinned and by which they had made Israel sin, in provoking the Lord God of Israel to anger with their idols. Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? " : If you are following the chronology, you'll note that Baasha assassinated Nadab in Asa's third year. 23 years later, Elah begins his reign.
- God allowed Baasha to reign for more than two decades. Despite being a spiritual failure, Baasha was at least a competent civic leader. His son however, was lacking in both categories!
- After only 2 years, Elah's bondservant or slave, conspired against him, killing him while he was drunk! This is the statement of his life according to the KJV: He was drinking himself drunk!
- It was in that deluded drunken state that he lost his life to his servant Zimri, who seems to have been a trusted servant, given the access that he has to him at his most vulnerable.
- Just as Baasha did to Nadab, so also did Zimri do to Baasha, by killing all of the males who could have risen to the throne, even eliminating friends who might have been sympathetic!
- Zimri acts were wicked, but they fulfilled God's purpose in judging Baasha and his son Elah's rule. His campaign served God's purpose, even though he was serving his own avarice. Verse 15.
I Kings 16:15-20 : " In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, Zimri had reigned in Tirzah seven days. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines. Now the people who were encamped heard it said, 'Zimri has conspired and also has killed the king.' So all Israel made Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that day in the camp. Then Omri and all Israel with him went up from Gibbethon, and they besieged Tirzah. And it happened, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the citadel of the king’s house and burned the king’s house down upon himself with fire, and died, because of the sins which he had committed in doing evil in the sight of the Lord , in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he had committed to make Israel sin. Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and the treason he committed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? " : Zimri's reign lasted a mere 7 days! One week. His coup occurred while the army had gone out against Gibbethon, a second siege in under 30 years.
- News came to the army that Zimri, Elah's slave, had killed the King which interrupted this second siege!  
- The army made the decision to appoint their commander Omri as the new King right then and there. Zimri soon discovered that he had grossly overestimated his position!
- They left their siege of Gibbethon only to begin a new one at Tirzah where he had stationed himself. Zimri committed suicide, burning as much as he could along with him!
- His undoing was also from the Lord. I had mentioned earlier that Zimri fulfilled God's plan to eliminate Baasha. God used Zimri's greed for His own purpose.
- Here, we see that Zimri was still responsible for his evil. Later in Judah's history, God will use Babylon as His instrument of deportation, when the nation proves to be finally obstinate against God!
- Despite that fact, God will judge them for "liking their job" and for the cruelty that they treated the people, especially the elderly with! (Isaiah 47:6, Jeremiah 50:11)
- Zimri had no desire to serve the Lord. His treason was directly related to Jeroboam's religion and his own greed. He is judged because of it. Thus begins Omri's reign. Verse 21.
I Kings 16:21-24 : " Then the people of Israel were divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king, and half followed Omri. But the people who followed Omri prevailed over the people who followed Tibni the son of Ginath. So Tibni died and Omri reigned. In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king over Israel, and reigned twelve years. Six years he reigned in Tirzah. And he bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver; then he built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, Samaria, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill. " : Omri returns to Tirzah to assume leadership, but finds immediately that he has opposition in Tibni.
- Omri's military strength eventually prevailed and he reigned as the sole Monarch of the North. He initially reigned in Tirzah, which had been the Northern capital for years but soon made a change.
- Tirzah is located near the Jordan valley but was a bit remote from the trade routes near Samaria. Moving the capital to Samaria gave the Northern Kingdom control over those routes.
- We are not given a complete history of Omri's leadership, but from a worldly perspective, he was quite successful.
- Historical sources tell us that Omri was a brilliant military strategist, holding off invading armies from various sides of Israel while at the same time, able to muster an army to conquer Moab.
- He was so successful that the Assyrians called Israel, "The Land of Omri" long after his reign concluded. From a civic and worldly perspective, Omri was a great success.
- The world applauds, the North is stabilized and the people are benefitting to some degree. If that is what mattered most, you'd go to your grave happy.
- The issue is that God doesn't judge based on what civic or temporal good we have performed. He holds a King in Israel responsible for the spiritual condition he leaves the nation in.
- God gives his assessment of Omri's reign in verse 25.
I Kings 16:25-28 : " Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord , and did worse than all who were before him. For he walked in all the ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin, provoking the Lord God of Israel to anger with their idols. Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did, and the might that he showed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? So Omri rested with his fathers and was buried in Samaria. Then Ahab his son reigned in his place. " : Omri has the distinction of outdoing every one of his predecessors in the department of wickedness!
- Whatever it meant to follow Jeroboam's sin, whatever depravity could be engaged in, Omri went after it with his whole heart.
- His most evil accomplishment was to raise a son that was more wicked than himself!
I Kings 16:29,30 : " In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri became king over Israel; and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord , more than all who were before him. " : King Asa is just a few years away from the end of his reign when Ahab takes the throne in the North.
- Ahab sought to set even lower standards and the Bible says that he did! He did more evil in the sight of God than all the Kings before him combined! Verse 31 describes how.
I Kings 16:31-33 : " And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a wooden image.Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. " : Ahab took after Jeroboam's ways, but it wasn't enough for him. He apparently needed some help reaching depravity's depth, so Ahab married a partner in wickedness.
- According to historical sources, Ahab's Father Omri engineered a trade agreement with the Sidonians, which was then sealed by Ahab's marriage to Jezebel.
- Jezebel's life revolved around the worship of Baal. Her Father's name, "Ethbaal" signals more than a passing allegiance. His name literally means "With Baal!"
- The King was a committed Baal worshipper and his daughter followed earnestly in his footsteps. Soon, Ahab followed right along, as he quickly found himself serving and worshipping Baal.
- Here is where his wickedness really comes into play. He walked in Jeroboam's sin, which some might say, was a worship of the true God, carried out in a false way.
- Here, he thoroughly walks away from Yahweh worship altogether and builds an altar and a temple for Baal in Israel's capital city of Samaria!
- Baal, the god of rain, was now the centerpiece of the North's theology! When the King built his own wooden image, he committed to a life that provoked the Lord more than any before him!
- Ahab believes that he can reform all of Israel's worship and completely disregard the God whose land he governs in. With Jezebel's help, he will do his best, but God will have the last word.
- Let us see two quick examples of this. Verse 33.
I Kings 16:33,34 : " In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation with Abiram his firstborn, and with his youngest son Segub he set up its gates, according to the word of the Lord, which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun. " : The author seems to indicate that Ahab sought to rebuild Jericho and hired Hiel to do it.
- Jericho was the first city that fell before God when the people of Israel came into the land. Ahab's attempt to rebuild that was a direct challenge to who would have dominion in this land.
- Hiel either sacrificed his two children as he sought to set up the gates or they died while he was doing this.
- The author's point is that while Ahab was perfectly paired with evil, he was still subject to God's rule.
- What would Ahab think when it was discovered that it was the God of the Bible who foretold this very event 500 years previous to his witnessing it?
- God still oversees and supervises the events of mankind. Ahab and Jezebel are the most wicked tandem in history, but they cannot fight what God has already decreed!
- Are you guilty of believing that there is a political group or President that can?
- God will not go away silently and He will cannot abdicate His throne! But he is not done! Chapter 17:1.
I Kings 17:1 : " And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, 'As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.' " : Ahab has proclaimed by his actions that Baal was his god and indeed, must become the adopted national god of Israel.
- Out of nowhere, here comes a man whose name means "Yahweh is my God!"
- His lineage is not noteworthy. Has anyone heard of the Tishbites? He is also from Gilead, which was a part of the land east of the Jordan.
- When the three and a half tribes settled there, we noted that they had truly settled for less than God's best.
- They left themselves vulnerable to attack because they settled so far from the rest of the nation and they would also be remote from the true center of spiritual life when the Temple was built.
- In that way, Elijah is a tremendous individual who bucked every expectation. Here, he comes to confront Ahab, but the true confrontation is between Baal and Yahweh!
- Baal was the god of fertility, in charge, supposedly, of the weather, especially the rain.
- Elijah walks into the palace and proclaims that he will be in charge of the weather for the time being! The stage is set! Ahab represented the worst of the Kings of Israel, so God sent His best!
Conclusion
- Think about the type that is presented to us here. The Bible tells us that at the right time, when the world was at it's most hopeless, God acted to bring salvation to the world.
- When God moved to meet the world's need, He didn't just send one of His best, He came personally in the person of Jesus Christ!
- Jesus Christ came and didn't proclaim judgment upon Israel. He came to absorb the judgment of His Father in His own person!
- As He stood between heaven and earth, He stands forever as the picture of God's love for His people, the redemption for all that would believe upon Him!
- He is the greater Elijah who has fought to win our hearts!

March 13 2017

05:23

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 15:1-24)

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"Loyality To The Lord"    3.12.17    Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- As we enter into chapter 15, the tenures of Jeroboam and Rehoboam have come or are coming to an end. Both have been apostate, those who have not held to faith given to Israel.
- Today, we will cover two Kings of the South, the Kingdom of Judah, whose reigns are measured against the concept of "loyalty" to God.
- Our task will be to consider what the Holy Spirit means when He speaks of this concept and to allow His penetrating gaze to expose what may or may not be missing in our hearts. Verse 1.
  Text
I Kings 15:1-3 : " In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam the son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah. He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maachah the granddaughter of Abishalom. And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him; his heart was not loyal to the L ord his God, as was the heart of his father David. " : Jeroboam's reign in the North intersected with three Kings of Judah and their relationship was increasingly testy.
- Jeroboam fought battles against Rehoboam and Abijam until God worked against him.
- II Chronicles 13 details Abijam's march into northern territory with a force that was outnumbered two to one.
- He decries the North's legitimacy and speaks out against it's practices, not realizing that Jeroboam's forces had settled an ambush around him!
- Abijam cried out to the Lord and God struck Jeroboam, who never recovered.
- At that time in Abijam's short reign, he lead the people to rely upon the Lord and God gave the victory. Unfortunately, after that incredible victory, Abijam's reign was marked by Rehoboam's sin.
- Despite the fact that his name means "God is my Father," it is clear that Abijam didn't think it necessary to live according up to his name!
- Why did he walk after the sins of his Father? The Holy Spirit diagnoses a heart that was not loyal, perfect or complete before the Lord God! We will never walk right if our heart is not!
- When the Lord speaks of where evil comes from, he directly states that it emanates from the heart of mankind. (Matthew 15:19)
- This precisely why Solomon wrote in his earlier years that men should be diligent to keep their hearts, for from it "springs the issues of life!" (Proverbs 4:23)
- What does a disloyal heart look like? Some of the other translations provide us with color.
- Abijam's heart was not "faithful" to the Lord (NLT). It was not "wholly true." (ESV) It was not "completely devoted." (CSB) Would any of these descriptions be used of you? I pray not.
- Here we have a moment to consider what God valued more. Was it the single battle or the tenor of the heart? In a three year sample size, you might have gone with the impressive battle.
- God goes with the heart, that which is unseen before men, but is clear before Him!
- When God presents a paradigm of heart loyalty, He refers us to King David, both to show us the contrast to the current Kings and to reveal what He longed for in authority.
- A man of David's character wouldn't have been welcome in Abijam's Kingdom because of his heart for the Lord! Yet, the Lord allows the King of Judah to remain. Why? Verse 4.
I Kings 15:4,5 : " Nevertheless for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, by setting up his son after him and by establishing Jerusalem; because David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord , and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. " : God allowed the Kingdom of Judah to remain as a lamp before Him because of the faithfulness of King David.
- The Kings could easily have followed but they chose otherwise! Instead, they turned aside from everything that they were commanded to follow. Two notes for your consideration.
- First, for those who struggle with God's decision to give favor to infinitely ill deserving Kings, please keep in mind that He is doing that with you right now!
- As Christians, we are the light of the world because of our relation to the perfect King, Jesus! We are no better than these Kings were and our light is reflective of His!
- Second, understand that when speaking about human Kings and loyalty of the heart, perfection is neither expected nor required. God brings up the sole exception in David's life.
- When he orchestrated the execution of Uriah that he might cover his sin with Bathsheba, he had turned from God's command. God is neither hiding or minimizing that fact.
- The difference, as we have previously noted, is that he eventually turned back toward the Lord. He never entirely abandoned the Lord and he never turned to an idol.
- Loyalty to God is revealed in understanding that one need not remain in their sin! Most of the Kings chose to remain in their sin. Verse 6.
I Kings 15:6-8 : " And there was war between Rehoboamand Jeroboam all the days of his life. Now the rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. So Abijam rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the City of David. Then Asa his son reigned in his place. " : Abijam's sole claim to fame is found in his singular battle against Jeroboam. Otherwise, he goes down as a King that reigned for 3 years and didn't move the needle away from idolatry!
- The warning from Abijam's life is quite simple: Beware of measuring your Christianity by major victories of the past! God won't count your past if your heart doesn't beat for Him now!
- Abijam's passing brings us to the reign of his son, King Asa. Verse 9.
I Kings 15:9-11 : " In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king over Judah. And he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His grandmother’s name was Maachah the granddaughter of Abishalom. Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord , as did his father David. " : When you understand the level of influence that bore upon Asa's life, the next sentence provides even greater refereshment.
- Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord as did His Father David!
- He stops the trend and steps into the gap and takes action! Whatever he could do, he was going to do! This is the hidden gem that is given to those that study the Kings.
- They reveal that a single person can defy expectation and rise above circumstance. They do not have to cave to their previous influence! How much more is this true for those in Christ!?
- Paul tells the Corinthians that any person in Christ is a new creation, behold, all things are made new! (II Corinthians 5:17) "Generational curses" have no place in the pages of a Bible!
- King Asa took great strides to reverse the idolatrous trend in Judah. Of the 20 southern Kings, he is the first of four reformers to come on the scene. Verse 12.
I Kings 15:12-15 : " And he banished the perverted personsfrom the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. Also he removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah.And Asa cut down her obscene image and burned it by the Brook Kidron. But the high places were not removed. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was loyal to the Lord all his days. He also brought into the house of the Lord the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which he himself had dedicated: silver and gold and utensils. " : His first action was public and extensive.
- He expelled the male cult prostitutes, the "sodomites" that had been welcomed into Judah. They were either suddenly deported and their practice was deemed "illegal."
- He also took the idols that darted the landscape and put them out of his and Israel's sight!
- Now, consider this: Idolatry had been a matter of cultural acceptance since the end of Solomon's reign plus the combined 25 years of Rehoboam and Abijam. We're talking a 50 year gap!
- An entire generation of people had grown up in an idolatrous environment! This had become a "normal" way of life, and one that I might suggest, would have been popular!
- Asa doesn't respond to that. He takes no thought to what has become accepted. He knows what God wanted and he brought it to pass!
- Can you imagine the courage that would take? King Asa faces an entire generation's preference and says, "Not on my watch!"
- Do you have that kind of courage in your sphere of influence? A loyal hearted Christian will have to say, "It might happen there at that person's house, but it won't happen here in mine!"
- You must be able to hear Judah's justification. "Oh, but every one is doing it! This is all we've ever known!" Asa didn't listen and made sure that they were educated in the way of the Lord!
- II Chronicles 14:4 states that he didn't merely take away the false idols, but commanded Judah to seek God and observe His law!
- For those in such a place of authority, it's never enough to simply stop a behavior. It must be clear that you are turning from something to another thing!
- To merely turn away from sin is moralism. To turn oneself to Christ and His righteousness is conversion and salvation!
- At this point, you might assume that this set everyone on the same page. You might be of the mind that simply making an announcement and removing things out of your home will do the trick!
- Unfortunately, reforms are rarely made without some level of resistance! After ridding the land of idols, Asa had to contend with idolatry in his very home!
- After Asa's decree, the language seems to indicate that Maachah, Asa's Grandmother rebelled and produced an obscene asherah pole constructed for her own use.
- The word "obscene" speaks of something horrifying to behold. When an old woman is this perverted, you have to stop and wonder at the spiritual condition of the land!
- Asa didn't let her position in his family change his heart. He immediately deposed her.
- Incidently, when you are talking about loyalty to God, you must understand that that requires exclusivity. We aren't told of the bond that existed between Maachah and Asa.
- But when it came to a decision, whether to honor a Matriarch or the the Lord, the answer was simple: It was the Lord! Does He get the "win" against those you normally honor?
- Asa removed his Grandmother from a place of authority and then removed the scandalous image that she procured from his sight, burning it in the Brook Kidron.
- He had gone quite a way in reducing the effect of idol worship, but he didn't go all the way. The high places, the elevated platforms, remained.
- We'll see this comment repeatedly as we travel through the book of Kings. This was the one foundational piece that didn't seem to ever be fully vanquished!
- God takes note of that and reminds us that we can be doing great with him and still leave a few stones unturned spiritually! Are there still items you've refused to let the Lord's touch?
- But aside from those in Asa's heart, the word declares his loyality to the Lord all of his days. We've seen him deal with the negative by removing it. At the end of the section we see the positive.
- He brings an offering into the house of God of that which his Father had dedicated, likely to other gods. He says, "This rightly belongs to the real God!"
- Then, as you can see, through his own wealth, he dedicated silver and gold and utensils for the house of God. He didn't simply expect this from the people. He gave to the Lord Himself!
- These things mark a heart that is loyal to the Lord. Verse 16.
I Kings 15:16-21 : " Now there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. And Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. Then Asa took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the house of the L ord and the treasuries of the king’s house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants. And King Asa sent them to Ben-Hadad the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying, 'Let there be a treaty between you and me, as there was between my father and your father. See, I have sent you a present of silver and gold. Come and break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel, so that he will withdraw from me.' So Ben-Hadad heeded King Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel. He attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maachah, and all Chinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali. Now it happened, when Baasha heard it, that he stopped building Ramah, and remained in Tirzah. " : As you can see from verse 16, the tension that existed between the north and the south continued past Jeroboam's life.
- Baasha initiated the war against Judah and raised up the city of Ramah as a border stop between the two Kingdoms, in order to control the import and export of goods through Judah.
- We can also be sure that this was a measure intended to keep people from deserting back to the true religion of God! At this point, Asa makes an interesting deal with the King of Syria.
- Asa essentially pays Ben-Hadad to break his treaty with the Northern Kingdom, in order to experience relief from their campaign against him.
- Ben-Hadad was happy to accept his money and to wreak havoc in the North. Asa's plan worked. Baasha retreated and went back to his home base in Tirzah.
- What seems like a victory in the sight of the world and in the realm of practicality was in actuality a dismal failure before the Lord.
- The issue is that Asa had sought to depend upon the arm of the flesh rather than seeking after the Lord to bring him victory. It wasn't long before God voiced his displeasure.
  II Chronicles 16:7-10 : " And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him: 'Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord , He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.' Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time. " : In Asa's earlier days, his loyal heart issued in a dependance that saw victory against great odds.
- II Chronicles 14:9-11 details a million man force that came up from Ethiopia to challenge Asa. Listen to Asa's response then, 15 years prior to his deal with the Syrians.
II Chronicles 14:11 : " And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, 'Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lordour God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!' " : He had barely completed his prayer when the Lord "struck the Ethiopians" and they fled!
- Here he is, 15 years later, facing a force that was roughly half the size and he doesn't even call upon the Lord! He partners instead with a heathen enemy that is happy to take his money!
- I wonder if we looked upon our lives and compared an earlier version of ourselves with the latest model, if we wouldn't find a less dependant spirit.
- When you were first saved, how quick were you to call upon the Lord? Now, would you be more inclined to call upon your financial advisor? Something is very wrong if that is the case!
- God brought this story up to remind Asa that He still stood at the ready to reveal His strength. This is a mighty verse that you would do well to put to memory!
- God ever waits to show Himself strong on your behalf. Will you take Him at His word? Because Asa did not, the very thing he sought to avoid, would be the thing that plagued him.
- From that point on Asa would have war and the King did not take the news well! Asa took all of his rage out on the man that brought the message as well as the people.
- It's interesting that when you lose perspective regarding God, it will be the people in your life that are victimized! King Asa oppressed the people with his labor demands. Verse 22.
I Kings 15:22-24 : " Then King Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted. And they took away the stones and timber of Ramah, which Baasha had used for building; and with them King Asa built Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah. The rest of all the acts of Asa, all his might, all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? But in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet. So Asa rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David his father. Then Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place. " : The last thing that Asa did publically was to move what had been collected at Ramah to build up the cities of Judah.
- This was a combined effort involving the entire of Judah was recruited. The materials left behind by Baashah were sufficient to build three cities!
- Asa's closes his public life with the building of these cities. Privately, he suffered as he entered his final days, being diseased in his feet, perhaps an affliction similar to gout.
- We discussed last week the inevitable nature of sickness and death in this world.
- We aren't told that God afflicted him, but we can say for certain that God allowed it for a specific reason that is given us in II Chronicles 16:12.
II Chronicles 16:12 : " And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord , but the physicians. " : King Asa had become accustomed to seeking every other resource available to him, but not God.
- The implication left here by the Holy Spirit is that if he had He sought the Lord, God might have healed him!
- The text isn't teaching that you and I should not seek medical care. There is no shame in seeking physicians, but there is no excuse for not seeking God!
- This doesn't dismiss Asa's overall goodness as a King, but it stands as a warning for us not to follow these parts of his story. Gratefully, the Bible doesn't view it's heroes with rose colored glass!
Conclusion
- As we close, I believe we've been able to receive some poignant instruction on what it means to be loyal to God.
- Loyalty to God requires whole hearted devotion, single minded resolve to please Him and a dogged willingness to remain dependant upon Him for everything in our lives!
- Loyalty to God means that you will choose His way over the popular norm of your time and at times, to choose Him against your own pedigree and your most beloved relatives!
- Loyalty to God today is much preferred to battles accounts from yesterday and is greater than the misguided strategies of today!
- In the end, we will find ourselves, at best, to have spotted records. The best of Kings were merely men, whose lives are on display for our admonition.
- They are merely shadows of the ultimate King Jesus, who displayed nothing but loyalty to God, fulfilling His law perfectly, dying sacrificially and raising victoriously to defeat death.
- Today, Jesus lives eternally so that God can treat us generously with the riches that His life deserves. May His love for us inspire our loyalty to Him!


March 06 2017

05:32

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 14)

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"And Down They Go"    3.5.17    Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- In examining Jeroboam's life, we've operated under the principle that God will go to great lengths to return a soul back to Himself.
- Jeroboam exists to represent a type of person who will resist to the very end! This chapter deals with the final days of the first two Kings of the Divided Kingdom. Verse 1.
  Text
I Kings 14:1-4 : " At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam became sick. And Jeroboam said to his wife, 'Please arise, and disguise yourself, that they may not recognize you as the wife of Jeroboam, and go to Shiloh. Indeed, Ahijah the prophet is there, who told me that I would be king over this people. Also take with you ten loaves, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him; he will tell you what will become of the child.' And Jeroboam’s wife did so; she arose and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. But Ahijah could not see, for his eyes were glazed by reason of his age. " : "At that time," when Jeroboam resisted God's message and reaffirmed his commitment to his false religion.
- His arm had been paralyzed. His altar at Bethel had split in half. At his request, the God who had been responsible for his condition, restored his hand.
- Did he repent and return to God recognizing that he had no help from his false religion? Not at all! He doubled down and entered his false religion's priesthood! At that time, his son fell ill.
- The word indicates that Abijah, whose name means "God Is my Father," became increasingly weak over a period of time and before long, it became clear that his life was in danger.
- Please note that God is not charged with Abijah's illness. The author does not indicate that He struck him with this malady. Rather, this seems to be the natural course of Abijah's life.
- Because we live in a fallen world, each of us is susceptible to illnesses of varying degrees. Many of us will gamble with our lives and shorten them by our activity or lack thereof.
- God isn't to blame for these things. We are in fact, people with the great blessing of knowing that we can come to the Lord and find help in dealing with what comes our way.
- What does a person who has rejected God do? Jeroboam likely exhausted every medical cure that was available to him at that time before he conceived of this desperate plan.
- I'd hate to have seen what false religious activity he engaged in on Abijah's behalf! Most of that would have necessarily been for show, because he knew first "hand" how false it was!
- This is why a trip to Judah was out of the question for him. Aside from the constant tension that existed between these two Kings, it was more important to keep up impressions!
- That's why Mrs. Jeroboam travels incognito. Even her gift is cleverly composed to imitated that of a middle class citizen!
- She makes the trip and is encouraged to find that Ahijah is visually impaired! Her disguise probably wouldn't even need to be that good! She's in for a bit of a surprise. Verse 5.
I Kings 14:5,6 : " Now the Lord had said to Ahijah, 'Here is the wife of Jeroboam, coming to ask you something about her son, for he is sick. Thus and thus you shall say to her; for it will be, when she comes in, that she will pretend to be another woman.' And so it was, when Ahijah heard the sound of her footsteps as she came through the door, he said, 'Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why do you pretend to be another person? For I have been sent to you with bad news. "
- Ahijah didn't need a set of eyes to see this coming! God forewarned the prophet and prepared him with a message that she heard the moment she came through the door.
- She had come to him, but he had been sent to her with bad news. Verse 7.
I Kings 14:7-9 : " Go, tell Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'Because I exalted you from among the people, and made you ruler over My people Israel, and tore the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it to you; and yet you have not been as My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only what was right in My eyes; but you have done more evil than all who were before you, for you have gone and made for yourself other gods and molded images to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back— " : To whom much is given, much is required! Jeroboam had been given a great promotion, having risen from among the people to be the King.
- For all that God had done for him, Jeroboam failed to follow the Lord with his whole heart, to act according to what God thought was right. The one defines the other!
- We study God's Word to receive God's instruction, that we may then do what is right in His sight. That is following God with a whole heart! I pray you are found by God in that way!
- Far from coming close, Jeroboam was guilty of unprecedented evil, making gods for himself. That is the essence of idolatry: Worshipping and serving gods after our own desires!
- We noted earlier that Jeroboam made his religion similar to the true worship of "Yahwheh."
- It might have been similar enough to fool the people but God clarifies that He was not fooled in the slightest!
- Aside from the egregious misrepresentation of God that Jeroboam foisted upon the people, the real crime is that the King cast the real God behind his back!
- Any attempt at worship, which is either directed at God through falsehood or which is directed at some other supposed deity, is a choice to disregard the God of Creation!
- Jeroboam had tossed the thought of God's rule over his life aside like trash! This was an incredibly bad decision then, and it remains such today! Verse 10.
I Kings 14:10-13 : " therefore behold! I will bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male in Israel, bond and free; I will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as one takes away refuse until it is all gone. The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Jeroboam and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field; for the Lord has spoken!' Arise therefore, go to your own house. When your feet enter the city, the child shall die. And all Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, for he is the only one of Jeroboam who shall come to the grave, because in him there is found something good toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam. " : Jeroboam's apostasy would lead to a set of disasters that would hit his own home first.
- God had promised a lasting dynasty had he been faithful, but he had not come close!
- Consequently, there wouldn't be a single successor that would peaceably come to the grave aside from Abijah! Every other descendant would be treated like Jeroboam treated God!
- For the Jewish person, a proper burial was a matter of peace and blessing from God. To declare that bodies would be eaten by dogs and birds would have been horrifying to hear.
- Essentially, the idea is God will have abandoned Jeroboam's descendants without thought!
- Abijah would also die at the the very moment that Jeroboam's wife entered the city!
- Unlike the rest of Jeroboam's descendants, Abijah would simply die and be buried. He would have the distinct honor of a grave and Israel's mourning. Why?
- Because God accounted that there was something good, pleasant toward Himself in him!
- The NLT renders verse 13 like this: "for this child is the only good thing that the Lord, the God of Israel, sees in the entire family of Jeroboam." What a statement to make!
- Regardless of what Jeroboam was before the Lord, there was still someone in his house that God found good in and He would treat him well on account of it.
- God deals specifically with people. He doesn't condemn anyone simply because of their relation to a person who is godless! That isn't their fault!
- I might mention that Abijah is a great example that you might share with others who believe that they are destined to be like their godless Fathers or Mothers.
- Nobody "has" to be what their parents are! God will see you based on who you are and will honor your choice to honor Him! In Abijah's case, we aren't told what the basis of this "good" was.
- Was it a disgust or disagreement over his Father's actions? He may not have been old enough to voice his concerns, but God saw His heart and made note!
- Abijah lived in an apostate home, but he wasn't an apostate himself and as such, his death would actually be a means of grace. In some cases, in this case particularly, it is exactly that!
- Turn in your Bibles to Isaiah 57. Listen to the prophet give a hopeful explanation.
Isaiah 57:1,2 : " The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart;
Merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil.  He shall enter into peace; They shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.
" : Abijah is a sure example of this! Verse 14.
I Kings 14:14-18 : "   Moreover the Lord will raise up for Himself a king over Israel who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam; this is the day. What? Even now! For the Lord will strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the River,because they have made their wooden images,provoking the Lord to anger. And He will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who sinned and who made Israel sin.' Then Jeroboam’s wife arose and departed, and came to Tirzah. When she came to the threshold of the house, the child died. And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through His servant Ahijah the prophet. " : God promises a King that would be born on that particular day that would finally and fully bring down the house of Jeroboam.
- The reference is to King Baasha, who we will learn of at another time. The dynasty that should have been Jeroboam's was now living on borrowed time, as was all of Israel.
- He and the rest of the Kings of Israel will supervise an ever spiritually declining nation for a few hundred years and then God would strike. He will effect all of these things.
- Because of Israel's disobedience, God will reverse every one of His previous actions.
- Instead of soothing them, He will shake them. He had planted them, now He will uproot them! He who gathered will now scatter, and instead of delivering from, He will deliver Israel to it's enemy!
- They would soon weaken to a point that would be reminiscent of a reed that was moved by any movement of the water.
- Assyria will take the North into captivity around 220 years from this point because of their decision to embrace the wooden images of idolatry during this period of history.
- Jeroboam may have erected them, but the people of Israel accepted them and aroused the Lord's anger. God isn't dispassionate about His people's sins.
- Israel was now on a path that would eventually lead to their dispersion. Jeroboam's wife could know that this was true because the moment she came home, her son died!
- The near miracle or sign of Abijah's death would ratify the distant prophecy of Israel's demise! The moment she came to the door, God fulfilled His prophet's word. Verse 19.
I Kings 14:19,20 : "   Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he made war and how he reigned, indeed they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. The period that Jeroboam reigned was twenty-two years. So he rested with his fathers. Then Nadab his son reigned in his place. " : Jeroboam's idolatrous reign only lasted 22 years but his legacy will mark Israel's 220 year history!
- When you think about your life and the impact that you will have, what do you think will remain after you're gone? Will your kids love the Lord more than you did or will they love themselves?
- Jeroboam set a spiritual tone that was disastrous! The Lord moves our attention back to the South and the Kingdom of Rehoboam. Verse 21.
I Kings 14:21 : " And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king. He reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His name there. His mother’s name was Naamah, an Ammonitess. " :
Rehoboam is the closest person to King David that was alive at this time and he was reigning from the very city that God ordained as His own.
- Unfortunately, it's quite obvious that the influences over his life were quite confusing. He lived in Jerusalem, but His Dad worshipped all the false gods of his wives, especially of Naamah.
- Solomon built an altar to the abomination of the Ammonites, Milcom, or Molech to the other nations. He had become an idle worshipper at her behest!
- It seems that Rehoboam sought to make his Mother proud. Verse 22.
I Kings 14:21-24 : " Now Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord , and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins which they committed, more than all that their fathers had done. For they also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. And there were also perverted personsin the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. " : Like the Northern tribes, Judah had set new lows by their sinful actions. This generation of God's people erected all sorts of idol worshipping mechanisms throughout the entire land.
- The high places were elevated platforms upon which idolatrous statues were placed. The pillars were generic images, while the wooden images are specifically Asherah poles or "Asherim."
- There are no descriptions given in scripture, but archeology has unearthed many of these artifacts. Suffice it to say, they were sexual in nature, which was how the gods were worshipped.
- This was everywhere in Judah, upon every high hill and under every green tree. Remember that Asherah and Baal were tied into the fertility of the agriculture of the land.
- The Canaanites believed that their sexual practices encouraged the gods to act out their own. It was believed that their acts brought fertility to the land.
- To help facilitate a greater range of "worship activity," "perverted persons" were dispatched. These were male cult prostitutes who "helped" the people of Judah worship false idols.
- Everything that Judah was doing had been done before by the nations that were indigenous to Canaan!  Judah, for their part, saw what Israel was doing and somehow didn't want to be undone!
- Instead of making it their determination to fully take advantage of God's actual presence, they decided to imitate what they saw in Israel! They didn't want to be left out!
- Soon they found themselves in deep trouble. Verse 25.
I Kings 14:25-28 : " It happened in the fifth year of King Rehoboam that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. And he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house; he took away everything. He also took away all the gold shields which Solomon had made. Then King Rehoboam made bronze shields in their place, and committed them to the hands of the captains of the guard, who guarded the doorway of the king’s house. And whenever the king entered the house of the Lord , the guards carried them, then brought them back into the guardroom. " : II Chronicles 12:1ff details that Rehoboam had followed the Lord until his Kingdom was established.
- When he had strengthened his position, he forsook the Lord and this was God's response.
- Shishak came into Jerusalem and sacked the city making sure that he got away with every valuable shield that Solomon had left for Israel.
- Instead of repenting at the sight of their recent loss, Rehoboam merely replaced the gold shields with bronze ones, which were then placed under heavy guard!
- He dealt with the symptom, but didn't see the cause. He had rebelled against the Lord and it issued in loss and a lack of security!
I Kings 14:29-31 : " Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days. So Rehoboam rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David. His mother’s name was Naamah, an Ammonitess. Then Abijamhis son reigned in his place. " : We'll learn of Abijam's reign next week.
Conclusion
- I'm grateful that within this chapter, a young boy without a voice then, speaks clearly to us now.
- God looked down upon the nation of Israel for one that was good, that sought Him and found that there were none that were good.
- But there was Abijah, God is my Father, and there was some found in Him! Today, the truth remains: There is none good, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
- We deserve to be shaken, uprooted and delivered to our enemy, the Devil, but God in His grace has looked down upon the annals of history and has seen His Son!
- He struck His Son with all the wrath that our sin deserved, that He might then apply His Son's good to our account!
- In Abijah, there was some good that allowed him the dignity of a burial. In Jesus Christ, there is nothing but good and the grave was not suited for Him!
- In Abijah's day, his good was not good enough to stem what would eventually come upon Israel.
- Thankfully, the eternal good in Jesus Christ will be enough to keep us from wrath and reward those who believe in Him for eternity!

February 27 2017

06:09

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 13)

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"The Lengths Of Grace"    2.26.17    Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- As we enter chapter 13, Israel is a divided Kingdom. Rehoboam rules over Judah and Jeroboam rules over Israel. Rehoboam is a stubborn fool and Jeroboam is a dedicated idolator.
- Despite having a personal promise from God, Jeroboam provides a new and improved system of worship that he thinks will prolong his life and serve the convenience of his people.
- How will God respond to him? What measures will He take to reach Jeroboam? We'll discover that as we pore over chapter 13. Verse 1.
  Text
I Kings 13:1 : " And behold, a man of God went from Judah to Bethel by the word of the Lord , and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. " : God sends an anonymous man from Judah to the southern "worship" site of Israel in Bethel.
- It's quite curious that the "man of God" is an unknown man to us. Attempts have been made to identify him, but to no real purpose and entirely by speculation.
- The importance of his entrance into the story is the fact that God chose to employ him, an unknown, for significant service, namely, to reach out to the King of Israel.
- God again seeks an audience with Jeroboam even after he had utterly rejected His ways!
- The Bible is replete with examples of God's dogged faithfulness in seeking to reach His wayward people.
- He goes to great lengths, unwilling to simply concede a battle when the state of a soul is in jeopardy.
- He has come by the word of the Lord having been commissioned by God to enter the proverbial lion's den. He is there to proclaim God's opinion of Jeroboam's religion.
- For his part, It's debatable whether or not he had any prevenient knowledge of all that was to occur. The worshippers at Bethel have been deceived and have committed themselves to error.
- It also happens that King Jeroboam is at this particular altar burning incense, worshipping! The King is not merely an adherant of this religious exercise. He is it's President and founder!
  - This is the man of God's audience! He knows now that he has the duty of speaking to the man that has the potential power to destroy him! What would you do? Look at what he did in verse 2.
I Kings 13:2,3 : " Then he cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord , and said, 'O altar, altar! Thus says the Lord : ‘Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you.’ And he gave a sign the same day, saying, 'This is the sign which the Lord has spoken: Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out.' " : He cried out, the sense being that he called out in a loud voice and kept calling out, expressing God's charge against the altar and what it represented!
- Is this incredible courage or incredible fear?  Is he willing to boldly follow the Lord or is he too afraid to fail Him? I'd say that the answer is "yes!"
- What we can say definitively is that he wasn't afraid of the people or the King of Israel!
- How I wish for people like this! Lord bring those that are willing to walk into the belly of the beast and boldly proclaim Your word without hesitation and without concern for the consequence!
- This man's prophecy concerns the altar and it's pending destruction by a King who will rule over Judah in 350 years. We'll read about in II Kings 23. Jeroboam does not know about this.
- In his mind, this might happen imminently! Imagine his fear and paranoia especially at the fact that it will be a King of Judah that will effect these stunning changes!
- Josiah will remove the bones of those that served as false religious priests from their graves and burn them on the altar at Bethel!
- That is the prophecy and the sign affirming it was that the altar would be split in half. How would Jeroboam respond to this? Verse 4.
I Kings 13:4-6 : " So it came to pass when King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, who cried out against the altar in Bethel, that he stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, 'Arrest him!' Then his hand, which he stretched out toward him, withered, so that he could not pull it back to himself. The altar also was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord . Then the king answered and said to the man of God, 'Please entreat the favor of the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.' So the man of God entreated the Lord , and the king’s hand was restored to him, and became as before. " : Predictably, Jeroboam wasn't at all pleased with the messenger and sought to suppress his voice. Isn't that exactly like a person given over to their own desires?
- Instead of listening to the Word of God as a measure of gracious correction, Jeroboam immediately seeks to minimize or silence the messenger!
- He does not want to hear or believe that God is displeased with his religion.
- Jeroboam shows no heart of conviction. Instead, he raises his hand to stop him. Remember that this isn't his first prophetic visitation.
- We can't imagine someone not wanting to surrender their will to Him once they are made aware of it. Unfortunately, Jeroboam is the rule and not the exception!
- How many divine circumstances have converged upon wayward people that the Lord has designed to touch? How many have heard dozens of convicting messages and almost surrendered?
- Jeroboam reminds us that it is never a matter of witness. A soul is won or lost by the grace of God and it is a miracle when it occurs!
- As he was stretching out his hand to point to the man of God, his arm withered and was stuck in it's place. The word refers to drying up in a state of instant paralysis!
- Can you imagine what that might have felt like and how immediately debilitating that would be? His arm stood out lifeless and no matter how he tried, it wouldn't return to it's place.
- God is allowing his hard heart to manifest itself in his body! His arm represented the paralyzed heart that sat within him! And then God continued his assault on Jeroboam's senses.
- The altar that Jeroboam had invested in, that he had just been worshipping at, split in two. It seems to be that it was ripped in two and that the ashes that were collecting poured out of it.
- Jeroboam had no doubt in his mind that God had spoken, voicing His displeasure over the altar in Bethel and in Dan! There was to be no confusion!
- Without any commitment to the God of Judah, without any sign of repentance, Jeroboam asks the prophet to pray that his hand might be restored. What amazing gall!
- God has just put Jeroboam's idol in his place. Why did he not ask the golden calf to restore his arm? He knew that his only hope was from the true and living God!
- The true and living God came into Jeroboam's house of idolatry and revealed who was God and who was not!
- Consequently, when he is in personal dire straits, knowing that it is God who has afflicted him, he asks to be restored.
- In God's wonderful grace, He does. He takes that dead arm and brings life to it again!
- How often has God been so gracious to a person, touching upon their superficial, secondary requests, only to find that once they have seen their trouble go, they forget the God they cried to!
- One could only wish that it had led to what had been the desired effect! Jeroboam gets his arm back but like most in the same condition, won't turn his heart. Verse 7.
I Kings 13:7-10 : " Then the king said to the man of God, 'Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.' But the man of God said to the king, 'If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. For so it was commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.’So he went another way and did not return by the way he came to Bethel. " : Jeroboam either wants to appropriately thank the man of God or save face by seeking to retain his services. "A true prophet would really come in handy!"  
- You might be able to discern a bit about why one would want to be a "prophet" in Jeroboam's Kingdom. The King would give you a reward for your prophetic service! This isn't unusual.
- You'll recall from the book of Numbersthat Balaam was an itinerate prophet who was accustomed to performing for the right price. Such men are always around!
- As with Balaam, this man of God responds that you could give him half of what you were worth and he would not go! Unlike Balaam, this man was actually true to his word!
- He was resolved to follow the Lord's instructions to a tee! He was to go directly to the altar and leave from the altar by a different route without making any stops to eat.
- Eating and drinking with a person in the mind of the ancient world, was akin to endorsing their activities and entering into deep fellowship. The message would be contradicted by the action.
- The King doesn't argue with him so the man turns around and heads out in another direction.
I Kings 13:11-14a : " Now an old prophet dwelt in Bethel, and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel; they also told their father the words which he had spoken to the king. And their father said to them, 'Which way did he go?' For his sons had seenwhich way the man of God went who came from Judah. Then he said to his sons, 'Saddle the donkey for me.' So they saddled the donkey for him; and he rode on it, and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak. " : Did you notice that this old prophet "dwelt" in Bethel? What a strange place for a prophet to live!
- Stranger still, his sons were eyewitnesses to the man of God's actions! What were they doing at the idolatrous shrine? Certainly it implicates the old prophet and explains God's actions.
- God brought a man from Judah because this man and those that lived in Bethel were compromised! He had neither the courage nor the will to stand as the man of God had stood!
- As such, the old prophet is placed on the shelf, no longer useful to the Lord. What a dreaded thing to consider! No wonder he is eager to find this true man of God.
I Kings 13:14b-19 : " Then he said to him, 'Are you the man of God who came from Judah?' And he said, 'I am.' Then he said to him, 'Come home with me and eat bread.' And he said, 'I cannot return with you nor go in with you; neither can I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place. For I have been told by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall not eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way you came.’ He said to him, 'I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’ (He was lying to him.) So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water. " : When the old prophet invited the man of God back for dinner nothing has changed.
- The man of God is fastidously following the course that the Lord set out for him.
- The old prophet, sensing that he will not benefit from his contemporary's presence reaches deeply into his bag of tricks beginning with an appeal to fellowship.
- "I too am a prophet as you are." The fact that they shared a lonely profession was inviting. Add the man's age and the appeal was heightened. "Surely, he has wisdom I can benefit from."
- Maybe the old prophet saw that this wasn't enough, so he moves into an appeal to the supernatural. "An angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord."
- This was what got the man of God's attention, not discerning that the old prophet had just lied to him straight faced.
- We can't be sure what took place in the heart of the man of God. Was he so worn down by the journey that he accepted without discernment?
- He fell in a way that is most relevant to us today. He failed to understand that God's Word never changes and if He did change it, He would have communicated it first hand.
- Additionally, God never contradicts Himself. "Should I stay or should I go?" If God has said one, then the other is not possible! With this established, understand the implication for us.
- Since God's Word speaks with authority regarding God's character and our actions, then we are duty bound to reject any appeal to new revelation.
- There is a wide spectrum that this applies to, from the cultic madness of the Mormons and Jehovah's witnesses, to the rampant foolishness of the prosperity preacher.
- Both appeal to extra biblical sources of revelation, the former to books and magazines written to propogandize their adherants, the latter to "rhema words" for today.
- Beware of men that speak as though they have just received a personal commique from God!
- These are the extremes, but we must beware of the subtle as well. Consider the Christian books which claim heavenly visitation or offer comfort by way of unbiblical theodicy.
- When Paul rebuked the Galatian believers for their quick abandonment of fundamental Christian belief, he did so by cursing anyone, even an angel, that contradicted their teaching!
- The man of God should have know these things. His failure will cost him dearly. Verse 20.
I Kings 13:20-23 : " Now it happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back; and he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, 'Thus says the Lord : ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord , and have not kept the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the Lord said to you, 'Eat no bread and drink no water,' your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’ " : Can you imagine this moment?  The whole group is seated, and the food is distributed.
- The old prophet has an announcement to make pertaining to the man of God, his guest of honor:  "Because you disobeyed the word of the Lord, you will die before you reach your home!"
- What would you have thought or said at that moment? There is the great shock when the old prophet discloses his lie.
- I hope that this truly teaches you and I the eternal lesson: It's not what you accomplish for God that sets you apart. It is your faithful obedience that is counted!
- It's never about how you start. It's about how you are finishing that matters! This man began wonderfully but will come to his end tragically! Verse 24.
I Kings 13:24,25 : " So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back.   When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse. And there, men passed by and saw the corpse thrown on the road, and the lion standing by the corpse. Then they went and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. " : For the man of God, there was an acceptance of his failure to obey. He eats his final meal and takes his leave. There isn't a single word recorded for us!
- The text seems to indicate that he wasn't gone long when he enountered the lion that brought his life to an end. From there, the story gets a little strange.
- The lion neither consumes the man nor the donkey! Both the lion and the donkey stand watch over the the man as the Lord perfectly preserves the scene for the old prophet to discover. Verse 26.
I Kings 13:26-32 : " Now when the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard it, he said, 'It is the man of God who was disobedient to the word of the Lord . Therefore the Lord has delivered him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke to him.' And he spoke to his sons, saying, 'Saddle the donkey for me.' So they saddled it. Then he went and found his corpse thrown on the road, and the donkey and the lion standing by the corpse. The lion had not eaten the corpse nor torn the donkey. And the prophet took up the corpse of the man of God, laid it on the donkey, and brought it back. So the old prophet came to the city to mourn, and to bury him. Then he laid the corpse in his own tomb; and they mourned over him, saying, 'Alas, my brother!' So it was, after he had buried him, that he spoke to his sons, saying, 'When I am dead, then bury me in the tomb where the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. For the saying which he cried out by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel, and against all the shrines on the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, will surely come to pass.' " : The lying prophet explains that the man of God was now dead because of his disobedience.
- Think of how this chapter began: Here is this daring man of God who prophecied at the profane altar of Jeroboam with the King standing there.
- Here, he is the disobedient prophet, laying out in the sun, lying in the road between two animals, having died because of his disobedience to follow God's simple instruction!
- Is that not a danger to us? Perhaps you and I are willing to go into the belly of the beast, but are more likely to stumble in our daily walk! Let us be warned: Difficult or simple, it is obedience!
- When they brought him into the city, they wept and mourned over him. The old prophet went so far as to proclaim his desire to be buried next to this man because his prophecy would come true!
- You are likely wrestling with the same questions that I have: Why did the man of God have to die this way? Why did Jeroboam and the old prophet get off without so much as a slap on the hand?
- The Bible does not offer a clear explanation on that point. One could look at a few principles and comment that "to whom much is given, much is required" or "it is dangerous to sin against light!"
- Either way, the man of God was taken to be with God, while Jeroboam and the old prophet had a new chance to turn from their ways, recognizing again the severity of God!
- God has just allowed for a man that has served him to die. What would he do to these men who had neither served or obeyed Him at all?
- It's possible that the old prophet, in declaring his desire to be buried alongside of the man of God, was repentant and returned to serve the Lord. Jeroboam was a different story. Verse 33.
I Kings 13:33,34 : " After this event Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but again he made priests from every class of people for the high places; whoever wished, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places. And this thing was the sin of the house of Jeroboam, so as to exterminate and destroy it from the face of the earth. " : Jeroboam went right back into the same habits, making a mockery of what God consider righteous.
- It seems that he went right back to what he was doing, appointing anyone who applied to the priesthood to holy service.
- He even went so far as to take on the role of a priest of himself! By his own choices, he set himself, his religious system and his Kingdom up for utter desecration.
Conclusion
- What can you say about this chapter? For those with a stubborn Jeroboam in their life, remember that God will never give up!
- He'll keep sending His servants their way, arranging choice encounters and allowing supernatural interruptions into their lives.
- If they will bend the knee to the Lord, it will be His doing. If they resist, it will be theirs!
- For those who are in the position of the old prophet, recall that proximity to the world is compromise and grounds for God's choice of another!
- If you are called of God to speak out against something vile in His sight, may you not be found on the outside looking in, wondering what happened, getting second hand information!
- You might have to settle for being old, but never forget that you carry prophetic credentials!
- Finally, we are left to consider the man of God. Recognize that he began this chapter as a faithful, bold servant and he ends the chapter as a disgraced disobedient servant!
- Which will you be? What are you today? Will you be the servant that God will call upon to face down His most ardent foe or will you be a story that stands as a warning to all? Let's pray!

February 20 2017

05:00

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 12)

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"A Tale Of Two Kings"    2.19.17    Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- We closed our study last week focused on the final days of King Solomon. If there has ever been a man that should have left an enduring legacy to his nation, it should have been him.
- Instead, the curtain closes on Solomon's reign and the lasting impression is of a man given over to idolatry and the kind of jealous insanity that Saul, the first King of Israel displayed.
- Upon his passing, the people of God move quickly to annoint Solomon's only son Rehoboam as their new King and do so in the hopes of seeking labor and tax relief.
- What happens instead is the dissolution of the United Kingdom and the long goodbye to a blessed nation. Let's pick it up in verse 1.
  Text
I Kings 12:1-5 : " And Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king. So it happened, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard it (he was still in Egypt, for he had fled from the presence of King Solomon and had been dwelling in Egypt), that they sent and called him. Then Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, 'Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.'   So he said to them, 'Depart for three days, then come back to me.' And the people departed. " : Rehoboam, whose name means "He who enlarges the people," found himself in Shechem. This is an intriquing situation which invites all sorts of speculation.
- God had promised through Ahijah the prophet to tear the Kingdom from Rehoboam in order to give the majority to Jeroboam.
- Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam for that reason and Jeroboam had fled to Egypt to escape his clutches. Did they know or care of the prophecy or are they acting in ignorance?
- In either case, they are gathered to make Rehoboam their King, but they are also intent upon Jeroboam's attendance, so the men of Israel sent to Egypt to bring him there!
- After several years in exile, Jeroboam is right back in the picture, standing to represent the people of Israel in their complaint against Solomon's labor policies.
- It's unfortunate that Israel is not coming to Rehoboam and asking for spiritual reform. They are simply interested in financial relief and fair labor practices. These are important, but not primary.
- Usually, a leader concerned with the Lord first will naturally amend unfair practices.
- Solomon hadn't been that man and the responsibility that fell upon the people and the workers had become oppressive. It was akin to the grievous bondage of slavery!
- Rehoboam has the chance to lighten the load and truly enlarge the people. He asks for three days to make his decision and seeks counsel in spite of what seems to be the obvious political move.
- Keeping them burdened will lead to a revolt. Lessening their burden, even by a small degree will ensure their loyalty. Verse 6.
I Kings 12:6,7 : " Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, and he said, 'How do you advise me to answer these people?' And they spoke to him, saying, 'If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.' " : These particular elders had advised Solomon during his life.
- You may or may not assign some blame to them for their role in Solomon's apostasy, either by their approval or abstinence. That being the case, they have the most experience to offer.
- Their counsel is straightforward and in line with the heart of God. Be a servant to these people and truly serve their interests.
- The elders told him to speak words of encouragement and the people would be his servants forever! That's what they want. That's what's been missing in the equation.
- Rehoboam's response didn't take long to formulate. Verse 8.
I Kings 12:8 : " But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him. "
Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders without serious consideration.
- If their advice had been what he wanted to hear, he would have gladly accepted. Instead, he seeks out other counselors that might affirm his position.  Are you that type of person?
- Are you willing to listen to people so long as they present you with what you want to hear? This is a foolish way to live. How much more foolish is it in government?
- If Rehoboam would have begun with an inquiry into the heart of the Lord, and then sought to confirm his word through trusted, godly counsel, he might have had a chance to succeed.
- Instead, he rejected godly advice and went looking for sympathetic voices, who would be extensions of himself. Where would he find that? His own contemporaries.
- What credentials did these young men have? These men had grown up with him! When you have a labor union issue, your cabinet should probably include a few labor officials.
- But there isn't a blue collar credential among them! If you needed a gold spoon, these guys could have helped! But their view of power and people is woefully askew.
- The young men had grown up alongside of Rehoboam and stood before him, meaning that they had advised him at other times. They know him and they know what he wants to hear. Verse 9.
I Kings 12:9-11 : " And he said to them, 'What advice do you give? How should we answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?' Then the young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, 'Thus you should speak to this people who have spoken to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter on us’—thus you shall say to them: ‘My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s waist! And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!’ " : Listen to Rehoboam: "How should we answer this people!" These men are a part of his entourage.
- Their advice is tainted by virtue of the fact that they will benefit from Rehoboam taking it!
- Their counsel is laced with the arrogance typical of spoiled royalty. You tell the people that they haven't seen anything yet! "You won't just beat them with whips. You'll beat them with chains!"
- If Solomon had been oppressive, Rehoboam, you'll out perform him!" Isn't that the heart of the world? Sometimes, God sends good advice from young people and we'd be wise to listen to it.
- This advice is not from the Lord! If it sounds like intimidation and leads to greater oppression, be sure that it isn't the Lord! Godly advice will always lead to a solution that is godly!
- These are the men that lived under Solomon's reign. Here is the ungodly fruit that is born from that man's Kingdom! For Rehoboam's part, he can hardly wait for his meeting. Verse 12.
I Kings 12:12-15 : " So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had directed, saying, 'Come back to me the third day.' Then the king answered the people roughly, and rejected the advice which the elders had given him; and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, 'My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!' So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from the Lord , that He might fulfill His word, which the Lord had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. " : The people of God come back to hear from their King and the King speaks to them roughly, with cruelty! Who does this man think he is?
- When you wonder whether or not you have received Godly advice, I might ask you to truly weigh out the fruit of what that advice produces in your life! Are you more humble, more apt to serve?
- Are you grateful and more patient? Is there anything that resembles godliness emanating from you? What we see here is the arrogant vitriol of a man who doesn't know his place!
- God never intended His King, His regent, to exert dominance over His people! He was to serve them and be their champion. All Rehoboam cares for is the power to dominate!
- Even here, you can see that God is using this. God had made a promise to transfer the majority of the Kingdom to Jeroboam. How was He going to do this?
- The dilemma between God's sovereignty and man's responsiblity is not a new one and rest assured that you are not the only one to have wrestled with it.
- Rehoboam's actions are entirely his own. He is responsible for his foolish actions. God simply  allows the natural course of events to take their place.
- The climate was perfect to bring about His Word! God used Rehoboam's stubborness to effect His own will! Look at what his foolish speech produced. Verse 16.
I Kings 12:16-19 : " Now when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying: 'What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Now, see to your own house, O David!' So Israel departed to their tents. But Rehoboam reigned over the children of Israel who dwelt in the cities of Judah. Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was in charge of the revenue; but all Israel stoned him with stones, and he died. Therefore King Rehoboam mounted his chariot in haste to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. " : Israel understood that Rehoboam was unwilling to understand their plight. He was doggedly rigid in his position and all hope of negotiation was lost.
- Of course, a monarchy has no need to listen to it's constituents but Rehoboam's claim to the throne is not nearly as strong as was Solomon's.
- Rehoboam's position was weak and his opening speech buried him completely! The people didn't need three days of deliberation.
- The NKJV doesn't quite capture the sentiment of the people. Listen to verse 16b in the NLT.
I Kings 12:16b (NLT) : " Down with the dynasty of David! We have no interest in the son of Jesse. Back to your homes, O Israel! Look out for your own house, O David!' " : They were through with David's house, though Rehoboam doesn't believe it.
- "They'll come to their senses!" A little time after this, the King went out with Adoram out to collect taxes from the area of the north. Adoram was stoned and Rehoboam barely escaped!
- We have seen that it's best to seek out God's Word instead of man's advice. If we seek out advice, we must insist on it being godly advice from spiritually trustworthy sources.
- When we have received godly advice, people should see a godly character and the people around us will respond peaceably.
- I'd recommend that you read James 3:13-18 and see that Godly wisdom brings a peaceable outcome to all involved. That is not what happened here!
- Instead of bringing a peaceful resolution, Rehoboam's actions brought about the terrible split that God said would occur. Verse 20.
I Kings 12:20-24 : "   Now it came to pass when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had come back, they sent for him and called him to the congregation, and made him king over all Israel. There was none who followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only. And when Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah with the tribe of Benjamin, one hundred and eighty thousand chosen men who were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, that he might restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 'Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, saying,  ‘Thus says the Lord: 'You shall not go up nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel. Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me.' Therefore they obeyed the word of the Lord, and turned back, according to the word of the Lord. " : God's word was fulfilled. Jeroboam was the King of Israel's northern 10 tribes and Rehoboam ruled over Judah and Benjamin.
- For all that he has pulled, you would think that Rehoboam would be glad to have Judah! But he wants it all! He amasses his troops and is moving full speed ahead until he meets with Shemaiah.
- Consider this for a moment: Rehoboam has up until this moment, followed his own stupidity.
- He is on the brink of civil war! And yet, God in His abundant mercy, stops him in his tracks!
- He would have destroyed himself trying to fight what God had decreed, but the Almighty would not allow it! God sends His Word, through His man at just the right moment!
- Shemaiah boldly says, "This thing is from me!" But how can this be from God? It's negative, it's painful, it's humiliating! If it has happened, it has happened by His hand for your good!
- When Rehoboam came to terms with this, he obeyed the Lord's Word and turned back from his plan, avoiding a horrific struggle.
- To some degree, this is a perfect microcosm of how God deals with the Kings of the South, who most of the time, remain responsive to God. That was not to be the case in the North. Verse 25.
I Kings 12:25-27 : " Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim, and dwelt there. Also he went out from there and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, 'Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.' " : Jeroboam began in Central Israel, but eventually fortified his position at Penuel which is further north along the Jordan river.
- He soon realizes that the religious calendar that all of Israel observed was problematic.
- Three times a year, the people were commanded to assemble in Jerusalem. This produced fear in his heart of losing both his Kingdom and his life!
- Has Jeroboam forgotten God's promise to him? He would rule and God would build him a house if he walked in His ways! How could such a man be fearful?
- What he decides to do will be conceived in fear for himself. His motive will begin with self-preservation. He has no thought or concern with what God has called the people to do.
- Do you think that there are people like this today? Let's see where this leads. Verse 28.
I Kings 12:28-31 : " Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!' And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. He made shrineson the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi. " : The sense is that Jeroboam deliberated over and over again with his counselors.
- He kept searching until he found what best served his own security. Incredibly, it issued in the production of two golden calves!
- Before you cry "Foul!" understand that there may have been a misguided attempt on Jeroboam's part to bring people back to their roots.
- Canaanite religion used calves as a representation of the God who was invisibly enthroned above them. This is much like the monument made to the "Unknown God" in Athens.
- That may have been one part of it. It is rare that false concepts of religion begin with such a drastic turn. But keep in mind that Solomon had opened the door for all kinds of vile idolatry!
- The people had been softened to this and when he presents the golden calves, they don't seem to bat an eye though II Chronicles 11:15,16 does say that the Levites left at this event.
- Even if he intended there to be a connection to God, look at how he sells this. "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem!" Folks, we've made these changes with you in mind!
- "Why make the 50 mile trip to Jerusalem? You can worship just the same over here!" Jeroboam's worship was conceived in fear and based upon the needs of men!
- He establishes two satelite campuses, one in Bethel for the southerners and one in Dan at the northern border!
- For those who contend that this was Yahweh centered, Bethel was considered a "pre-monarchy" holy place. Dan is a bit of a mystery.
- But even if Bethel was a holy place of the past, Jeroboam conveniently ignores that Jerusalem was where God chose to place His very Name! That was present revelation.
- This thing became a sin. It was a sin for Jeroboam to even think it. But the people could have rejected this. Instead it became a sin for them as well. Dan was a place for shrines and high places.
- Jeroboam's worship was built on convenience, flash and inclusivity. Having cited the passage in II Chronicles 11, you know that he was desperate to fill those Levitical positions.
- Instead of seeing the Levites departure as a condemnation of his self-imposed religion, Jeroboam simply turns it into an opportunity for all of God's people to serve as priests!
- Certainly, all of God's people are capable of serving Him. But God designated the Levites alone for priestly service. Jeroboam has no regard for God's Word.
I Kings 12:32,33 : " Jeroboam ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did at Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And at Bethel he installed the priests of the high places which he had made. So he made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and offered sacrifices on the altar and burned incense. " : For those familiar with Israel's religious calendar, the Feast of Tabernacles was scheduled for the 15th day of the seventh month.
- Jeroboam decided to offer one that was like it, only a month later. He likely justified this based upon God's concession to those that had defiled themselves with a dead body in Numbers 9.
- In that chapter, God permitted men under such conditions to celebrate the feast in the following month. If he had used this reasoning, he would at least have some "biblical" backing.
- But the Bible tells us here clearly that he devised this in his own heart. God had not ordained or endorsed this false attempt to worship.
- Everything that he did was a cheap imitation, a knockoff of what God had presented to the people for the sake of drawing close to Himself.
- For a time, I'm sure that there were those that barely knew the difference. We have the blessing of hindsight, for Israel, the 10 Tribes, are now on a road to rampant idolatry.
- In just a few hundred years, the fruit of this labor, this false religion, will lead to bondage and chains and generations of Israeli lives will have been lost.
Conclusion
- When you reconsider this chapter and look deeply into the failings of these Kings, I hope that you see the need for godly counsel and character.
- There is a path that leads to life and one that leads to death. If we examined our counselors today, those which yield the greatest influence, where would their counsel lead us?
- For these Kings, it lead to strife, division and in the case of Jeroboam, it lead to a godless foundation for the northern tribes!
- Our King, Jesus Christ, didn't merely offer relief for our yoke. He took our yoke of unrighteousness and offered us His easy yoke of faithfulness to God.
- He didn't simply say He would be our servant. He became One and took the scourges that our sin required.
- His faithful enduring righteousness will stand for all eternity, leading all who believe to a share in the legacy that He deserves. May we be found in Him!

February 13 2017

01:40

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 11:14-43)

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"Enemies And The Road To A Divided Kingdom"    2.12.17    Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- King Solomon, the son of King David, has abandoned his faith in the God of Israel, completing this turn by turning to idolatry.
- This had been his course, which neither history, age, wisdom or experience kept him from. Because his heart was not fully God's, his life descended into apostasy.
- In that time, aside from appearing to him personally, how did God respond? What measures did He take to dissuade Solomon from his chosen course?
- The section before us answers that question, while also providing a bridge to the period known as "The Divided Kingdom." Let's pick it up in verse 14.
  Text
I Kings 11:14 : " Now the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was a descendant of the king in Edom. " : God stirred or roused an enemy, a "satan" to come against Solomon, the first of three that we will learn of.
- You may think this harsh. If so, you are truly not thinking about the covenant that God made with the Jewish nation.
- He promised them blessing for their obedience and cursing at their disobedience. It was that simple. They agreed for the sake of God's blessing but their willful disobedience brought displeasure.
- Additionally, understand that the defeat or difficulty that God allowed His people to suffer, came with the design that they might repent and turn back to Him.
- God allowed their suffering to remind them of how good it was to be obedient to Him!
- His discipline then is a measure of love and grace, neither of which they deserved, which is the actual definition of God's grace: "God's favor to the infinitely-ill deserving." Pastor Larry Taylor
- These adversaries represent God's unwillingness to let go! He continues to fight for Solomon's heart in an attempt to turn him from his way!
- For those of who are Christians, who know people who are living in disobedience and are far from the faith that they once espoused, this is a source of comfort.
- Thank God that He doesn't just give up at the first sign of a believer's disobedience! God will chase down and arrange circumstances to bring his wayward children home.
- On the other hand, I know that there are some who would wish immediately for God to give up and let them go. Most of us desire this in order to partake of that which God forbids.
- Generally, a person in such a condition, seeks to worship God until they discover that God is not a "genie-in-a bottle." He loves us to much to let us settle for our small and self-centered plans.
- This particular adversary was a prince of the Edomite nation whose name means "mighty."
- He is tailor made, perfect, to oppose King Solomon. Let's get into his backstory. Verse 15.
I Kings 11:15-20 : " For it happened, when David was in Edom, and Joab the commander of the army had gone up to bury the slain, after he had killed every male in Edom (because for six months Joab remained there with all Israel, until he had cut down every male in Edom), that Hadad fled to go to Egypt, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him. Hadad was still a little child. Then they arose from Midian and came to Paran; and they took men with them from Paran and came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave him a house, apportioned food for him, and gave him land. And Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him as wife the sister of his own wife, that is, the sister of Queen Tahpenes. Then the sister of Tahpenes bore him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house. And Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh. " : The Bible records David's entry into Edom in II Samuel 8:14. Chronologically speaking, at least 40 or 50 years have passed.
- David reigned for 33 years in Jerusalem before Solomon's 40 year reign, 25 of which have already been recorded. Suffice it to say, a significant amount of time has elapsed.
- David's victory in Edom was virtually complete. Edom as a national threat to Israel had been set back significantly, Joab having made sure that this was the case.
- While Joab conducted his campaign to root out the surviving enemy, Hadad and several of the King's servants were able to escape from Edom into Egypt.
- Throughout scripture, Egypt seems to be a place which offered asylum to refugees, including those from Israel. When Prince Hadad came into Egypt, he was just a small child.
- The Hebrew seems to indicate that he was the youngest of the children and as such, being no threat to Phraraoh, became a favorite of the Egyptian leader.
- Verse 18 describes their flight and entry into Egypt, where the Pharaoh gave him a place to stay, set royal food aside for him and gave him land. It was incredibly generous but he went further.
- The Pharaoh brought Hadad into his own family when he made a match for his sister-in-law. Their relationship grew, as Hadad's child grew in the home of Uncle Pharaoh. Verse 21.
I Kings 11:21,22 : " So when Hadad heard in Egypt that David rested with his fathers, and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, 'Let me depart, that I may go to my own country.' Then Pharaoh said to him, 'But what have you lacked with me, that suddenly you seek to go to your own country?'So he answered, 'Nothing, but do let me go anyway.' " : Hadad had never given up on returning to his own country where he had the right to rule.
- When David died and Joab was executed, Hadad saw his opportunity and put in his request to leave. This is not a casual request for a vacation.
- This is a proclamation of intention to rule a neighboring country, complete with sovereign borders and military might.
- The statement made by Pharaoh is far more than just a simple plea. This is a nuanced remark which, I believe, accomplishes two important items.
- First, it's enough of a protest to keep Solomon, his treaty partner, happy. The Pharaoh is not the one encouraging Hadad to go back. It would have to be Hadad's determination.
- Second, it's a reminder to Hadad that all he "had had" was a gift from Pharaoh. His very life was a product of Pharaoh's investment, to the point that he lacked nothing.
- This is Pharaoh's way of securing a treaty with Edom without having to formalize it, which might have been the source of his interest all along!
- Would it really surprise anyone to know that Egypt, a type of the world, spoke out of both sides of it's mouth to it's own advantage?
- When Hadad answered "nothing, but let me go anyway," he ratified his treaty and ran back to trouble Israel. Edom's reconstitution under a revenge seeking ruler could not have been good.
- We'll find soon that he caused trouble, grievous mischief for Solomon. We aren't given any details Biblically, but Solomon was vexed because of it.
- It seems however, that Hadad's presence was not enough. Enter the second adversary, Rezon of Syria. Verse 23.
I Kings 11:23-25 : " And God raised up another adversary against him, Rezon the son of Eliadah, who had fled from his lord, Hadadezer king of Zobah. So he gathered men to him and became captain over a band of raiders, when David killed those of Zobah. And they went to Damascus and dwelt there, and reigned in Damascus. He was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon (besides the trouble that Hadad caused); and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria. "
Rezon had once served Hadadezer, another King who had been routed by David, detailed in II Samuel 8:3, when Hadadezer attempted to regain his territory near the Euphrates river.
- It seems a fortunate turn of events that he left when he did. Perhaps he differed with Hadadezer over his attack plan. Maybe, he had been forced out.
- Either way, he wasn't a friend to David or Hadadezer. While in exile, he was able to regroup and began to run a company that eventually took control of Damascus.
- Here is an adversary that hated, loathed, wearied themselves in disgust over Israel. Hadad might have had revenge on his mind, but Rezon had an irrational hatred of Israel.
- It doesn't seem that these two ever had a formal alliance, but they both caused trouble for Israel, Hadad from the south east and Rezon from the North.
- Israel's enemies are beginning to surround the nation. Not much has changed in that regard!
- With two enemies stationed outside of the Kingdom, God had one more that he raised from within. Verse 26.
I Kings 11:26-28 : " Then Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite from Zereda, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also rebelled against the king. And this is what caused him to rebel against the king: Solomon had built the Millo and repaired the damages to the City of David his father. The man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; and Solomon, seeing that the young man was industrious, made him the officer over all the labor force of the house of Joseph. " : Jeroboam's name means "The people will contend." This is a fitting and ironic name for this man from Northern Israel.
- He was a man who is quite different from Solomon. Solomon was raised in a King's house with a favored Mother. Jeroboam was raised by a single Mother after she had been widowed.
- Solomon's path was set before he was born. Jeroboam had to work for every privilege he would have. In that ancient time, the loss of a Father was a devastating blow to a family.
- Without the aid of government assistance, a son in such a family would have tremendous pressure to succeed for the sake of his Mother.
- Jeroboam didn't shrink away from that responsibility and eventually became Solomon's servant and a rebel against against him.
- By all rights, he should never have been anything. But he was something special in his day, which is what initially earned the King's recognition.
- Solomon's construction efforts required a large labor force and Jeroboam stood out among the crowd as a strong, capable man, who was also young and industrious.
- The sense is that he worked hard and got things done. Solomon rewarded him with a position over all of the employees that were from the people of Ephraim.
- This is a good testimony to have as a Christian employee. Have the intention of working hard and well enough that you might be noticed by your employer.
- Intend to be a blessing to them! In the case of Jeroboam, he went from being a great employee to a supervisor! He was a true rags to riches, hometown hero!
- This relationship seems to be an incredible blessing to both men and everything seems to be going very well until a life changing meeting with a Prophet occurs. Verse 29.
I Kings 11:29,30 : " Now it happened at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the way; and he had clothed himself with a new garment, and the two were alone in the field. Then Ahijah took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. " : Jeroboam is minding his own business when Ahijah steps onto the scene. He was a prophet and was wearing a new garment. That wasn't the usual mode of dress for such a man.
- From what we see of the rest of the prophets, generally, their attire was more earthy and certainly more worn. Seeing a prophet dressed like this would have been noteworthy.
- Ahijah met Jeroboam while he was on the way and while they were alone, Ahijah just ripped his garment into twelve pieces! Can you imagine the dramatic effect?
- What was Jeroboam thinking when he saw this? Did he stand in stunned silence? Did he tell Ahijah not to do that to his clothes? Did he think the man was crazy?
- If he thought his actions were strange, his message was going to floor him! Verse 31.
I Kings 11:31-36 : " And he said to Jeroboam, 'Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the Lord , the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you (but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), because they haveforsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David. However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes. But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you—ten tribes. And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there. " :
God had told Solomon that He would tear the Kingdom away from him, just as He had torn the Kingdom from Saul.
- What does it say to a King when his servant is given the keys to the Kingdom? Embarassing!
- Ahijah takes the ten pieces of cloth representing the Kingdom of Israel, and gives them to Jeroboam because God has elected that they belong to him.
- Can you imagine the emotions that must have gripped him? He was going to be the King in the place of Solomon! What an amazing turn of events!
- Israel would now be divided between the northern 10 tribes and the largest tribe, being the tribe of Judah, which also included the still recovering tribe of Benjamin.
- They are not listed as a tribe because their numbers had been so incredibly decimated following the civil war mentioned in Judges 20 and 21.
- Jeroboam is about to get the keys to the Kingdom because the people of God under Solomon's rule had turned to idolatry. It had begun with Solomon but had spread like a cancer.
- The only reason Solomon would retain a single tribe was for the sake of God's promise to David and for the sake of His choice of Jerusalem.
- Everything else would be under the control of Jeroboam shortly once Solomon died and passed over the Kingdom to his son. Verse 37.
I Kings 11:37-39 : " So I will take you, and you shall reign over all your heart desires, and you shall be king over Israel. Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you. And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.’ " : Jeroboam wasn't a member or royalty. He was a labor leader. At this time in his life, he was God's choice. God was going to take him and because of that he would rule!
- God was going to take this ill-prepared, unlikely candidate and make him the ruler over everything he desired. God was promoting him and giving him the same promises as Solomon.
- Jeroboam has the same chance that every person has had before him. If he kept God's word, if he would walk in the ways of David, then God would build him a house that lasted forever.
- This language is sure, God's promise is sincere. Jeroboam has a great chance to succeed and to see his house blessed for generations.
- As for David's descendants, Jeroboam represented a time of affliction for David's house, but a time would come when that affliction would cease, especially in the ultimate descendant Jesus!
- How would Solomon respond to this news? Take a look at verse 40.
I Kings 11:40-43 : " Solomon therefore sought to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon. Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? And the period that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. Then Solomon rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David his father. And Rehoboam his son reigned in his place. " : It didn't take long for Solomon to discover that God had appointed Jeroboam to be the King over the northern tribes.
- We aren't told how he knew, but word gets around! Solomon could have looked back into his history, specifically in the narrative pertaining to his Dad.
- Saul had once been told that God was going to seek out a man that was better than him, whose heart was His. Saul sought to kill him and spent a decade in futility fighting against God!
- Solomon, refusing to repent and refusing to accept God's decree, sought instead to act like Saul. He sought to kill Jeroboam! What a mighty fall this man experienced?
- Solomon in the throes of idolatry, acts just like Saul when he was in the throes of his madness! What a tremendous thought!
- Having had such wisdom from God, here he foolishly seeks to fight against Him! For his part, Jeroboam took refuge in Egypt until Solomon's death.
- In the meantime, the rest of Solomon's life is documented in a book called the "Acts of Solomon," which God chose not to preserve. Is there any wonder why?
- What else do we need to know that we don't already know? Certainly the rest of Solomon's life was filled with extravagent living and poor choices!
- There are some who believe that Solomon ascended to the throne in his teens, wrote the Proverbs and Song of Songs in his 20's and 30's.
- At the halfway point of his tenure, he turned to idolatry in his 40's and died in his early 60's.
- Some believe that he wrote Ecclesiasteslast, as a confession to the emptiness that he lived while in idolatry. I certainly hope that that is the case.
- Some point to the fact that the Bible mentions him "resting with his Fathers and being buried in the City of David" as a proof of that.
- The problem is that the phrase "rested with his Fathers" is employed repeatedly and is applied to good and wicked Kings alike!
- Unfortunately for people like Solomon, the very best that we can hope for is that he repented at the end. I fear personally that I may never meet him!
- He stands, in my mind as a man who may be the greatest failure in the entire Bible! We'll get to know his son Rehoboam next week!
Conclusion
- Let's pray.

February 06 2017

04:45

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 11:1-13)

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God began with general laws that would have applied to every Israeli.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- As a society, they were to conduct business honestly out of love for their neighbors and were to also commit certain nations to destruction, neither of which Solomon honored.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- We discovered last week that there were specific laws that governed the actions of the King found in <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Deuteronomy 17</b>. The King was not to multiply gold, silver, horses or chariots to himself.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Chapter <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">10</b>offers a revealing look into exactly how far Solomon went into such enterprises, disobeying God's law, almost to the letter! From general to specific, Solomon had failed.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Today, God lays out His final case, having moved from specific to egregious. We have followed Solomon from his ascension to his apostasy! Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">1</b>.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; line-height: 150%;"> <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 10.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Text</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 11:1,2</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text1kgs-11-1"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites—</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-2"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">from the nations of whom the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; font-variant: small-caps; line-height: 150%;">L</span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">ord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-2"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> had said to the children of Israel, 'You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.' Solomon clung to these in love.</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : King Solomon loved many foreign or as the KJV says, "strange," women. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Among the numerous transgressions to discuss, the first is against the intention of God in creating marriage.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- God created marriage to be a life long, heterosexual, monogamous relationship shared between two people. But Solomon loved many foreign women!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It's true that many of his wives were attached to treaties with other countries, most notably, the daughter of Pharaoh, whose Father had provided a dowry for her by clearing the city of Gezer.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- In addition to the daughter of Pharoah, Solomon took wives from all of the surrounding regions. Moab, Ammon and Edom were at least related to Israel, though they were their enemies.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The Sidonians and the Hittities however, were completely foreign and the Hittites, were a people under the ban!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- After specifically commanding Israel to destroy the Hittites, God then specifies in <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Deuteronomy 7:3,4</b> that they were to make no marriages with any of them.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Presumably, this would refer to the widows from these countries. They were not to become wives to the people of Israel. God knew that they carried within them a deadly spiritual virus. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He knew that their ways particularly would pollute His people. Their idolatry would cause Israel's collective heart to turn away from God and unto their gods. Notice the word "surely."</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- This isn't a possibility. This is a certainty! Israel, let there be no mistake: They WILL turn away your hearts after their gods! Can't you hear the objection? "But I could influence them for good!" </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- This is our romantic and perhaps even noble notion, but God knows that this will not be the case. If it does happen, please understand that this is a rare exception to the rule.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Generally speaking, God's people run into a trap of their own making whenever they put themselves in a binding relationship with someone who is an unbeliever, in this case, an idolator!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- As New Testament believers, God has specifically spoken this through the Apostle Paul to us in <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">II Corinthians 6:14-18</b>: "<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers!</b>"</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- In spite of knowing this truth, Solomon still made the choice to cling to these women in love. He attached, glued himself to them and the language indicates that he kept doing this.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The NLT translates verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">2</b>, "<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway.</b>" The NET says that "<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Solomon was irresistibly attracted to them.</b>" He kept pursuing them!<span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span></span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- What could have intriqued Solomon to love these women with such a drive that caused him to completely disregard the Word of God? Why would anyone do such a thing today? <span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span></span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Who would be willing to trade the goodness and favor of God for a dead end trip to misery? <span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- For whatever reason, and there are some that I will suggest, Solomon wanted these women and he followed his desire to the uttmost! Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">3</b>.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 11:3,4</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text1kgs-11-3"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-4"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-4"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> his God, as was the heart of his father David.</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : 700 wives who had been princesses and 300 hundred concubines! I'm no mathmetician, but that's a 1,000! </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- As noted previously, marriages helped to seal pacts of non-aggression. Concubines were female slaves who would often accompany wives. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- As we have seen in the case of Hagar, Zilpah and Bilhah, if a wife was barren, the concubine could step in and bear children on behalf of her mistress.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- A concubine would not yield much, if any influence. The wives however, held a profound position of influence. Their collective influence turned Solomon's heart from the Lord.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The language speaks of bending or stretching something in a certain direction, the tense of the verb indicating repeated activity. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- This was neither quick or sudden, but a gradual, slow change accepted over years of time.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Solomon would bend a little here and give a little there. Like a stalk of grain, the first bend wouldn't last long and would snap right back into position. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Every subsequent bend would wear away at the fiber and the stalk would not longer resume it's former stance. Soon, you would see a noticeable inclination. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It took years and Solomon was old when his wives work was complete. He finally and fully turned his heart after other gods. There was no recovery.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- If a heart can turn from the Lord, please note that it will not happen overnight, but it will happen. Soon, you'll find yourself doing something that would have shocked a younger you!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Interestingly, this happens in his old age, dispelling a few myths about humanity and sin.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- We are inclined to believe that age itself is a deterrent to sinful activity. We believe that with years of training and self-deprivation, that we will simply not be affected by temptation.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Solomon stands as a witness out of time that this is not the case! Don't be fooled! An aging saint is just as much a target as a baby Christian! Old saints, beware!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Along with that illusion, Solomon was known as a man of great wisdom. Where was his wisdom in his old age?</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- We foolishly believe that wisdom automatically accompanies and increases with age. Apparently, that is not true! Years of comfortable living have passed for Solomon. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- As with all of us, the energy that it takes to remain vigilant and informed, wanes with the passing of time.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- How many have found their faith dull, the edge having worn off for lack of discipline? How many have a fervent Christian past, but a stale Christian present! I fear for such a Christian's future!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- A final point that I'd share is that wisdom wasn't enough to dissuade the King from his actions. If you had asked him what the right answer was to the question of idolatry, he'd be correct.</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- But when your heart wants something, your mind will gladly step aside! Solomon, for all of his pedigree and personal riches, was susceptible because his heart had never been fully God's!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- His heart was not loyal, perfect or complete to the Lord his God! "Don't judge me bro!" Can't you hear that objection? </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Sadly, you cannot look at Solomon's life and be trult convinced that he was ever completely the Lord's!<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">  </span>Yes, he was gifted with wisdom. He dutifully finished his Father's Temple. </span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He was religious enough to offer more sacrifices than any King before him. But in all that time, whatever he was externally, the Bible says, he was not so internally!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Is you heart completely God's or is there room for double occupancy? If God will be the Lord of your life at the end of your life, there can be no division found in your life now!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Solomon's heart was unlike that of his Father David's. What does the author mean? Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">5</b>.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 11:5,6</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text1kgs-11-5"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-6"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Solomon did evil in the sight of the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-6"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">, and did not fully follow the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-6"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">, as did his father David. </span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">: </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"></span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">David was a sinner, who crossed the line in terrible ways. He sinned before the Lord and then repented before the Lord. He never turned to an idol like Solomon did!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>Instead of walking in the way of his Father David and after the ways of the Lord, you'd find Solomon continually walking instead after Ashtoreth.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Ashtoreth was an import from Babylon, formerly known as Ishtar. She is the moon god. Her statue is quite simply that of a fully, frontally nude woman.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The Sidonians worshipped her and their presence in the land brought the Israelites knowledge of how she was to be "adored." The author doesn't provide many details.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Exodus 23:13</b> and <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Joshua 23:7</b> forbid the people to even mention these gods! </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It follows then that the scripture would be muted about the worship of these false deities. Believe me, the people of Israel required no description. They knew what this entailed.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Given Ashtoreth's blatantly sexual presentation, you will rightly assume that her "worship" practices invited the worshipper into a pornographic world and Solomon reveled in it.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- We posed the question earlier regarding Solomon's desire for these foreign women. Could it be based upon what these women were accustomed to doing for the sake of their god?</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Could Solomon's fleshly cravings have sent him into a tailspin of disobedience that his mind would have never allowed? He wouldn't be the first and he won't be the last!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Solomon didn't stop at Ashtoreth. He also went after Milcom or Molech as well. Most believe these names to be synonymous, as they are both associated with the people of Ammon.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Both times, the worship of the god of Ammon is called an "abomination." The word refers to that which is detestable, filthy or disgusting. </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Since it is mentioned as "abominable" twice, you might rightly wonder why? It won't take long to explain. Molech's image was that of a sitting bull cast from bronze or iron.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It's altar was erected in such a way that the worshipper would have to ascend into what looked like a waiting embrace from the deity.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- On either side of the statue, fire was burning and actually causing the bronze altar to become increasingly hot. The worshipper would ascend the stairs and place their offering upon the lap.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- What was their offering? Their own infant children! Those that worshipped Molech practiced human sacrifice! </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- To drown out the screams of the child, the musicians would simply play something more cheery and entice the crowd into some kind of fanfare.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Does this mean that Solomon actually offered up one of his own children? It's not likely. </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Rather, he allowed for it's presence in Israel and participated in it's worship to some degree. He may not have sacrificed a child, but he stood by and approved while others did!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- What makes matters worse is that the children of Israel eventually were guilty of offering their own children on the altar of Molech!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Ahaz, a few Kings removed from Solomon's time, will practice this (<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">II Kings 16:3</b>) and the people soon followed his example! (<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">II Kings 17:17</b>)</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- At the end of the Kingdom of Judah, Jeremiah would quote the indictment of God that this sacrifice was commonplace among the people of the nation! (<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">Jeremiah 32:35</b>)</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- What could have possessed these people, the nation of Israel, to leave behind their faithful God for the adoption of idol worship? </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Whatever they thought they would gain came at the cost of their own children! What a staggering thought and the essence of religion!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Religion says "Do this to please God." Christianity says, "Christ has done this to please His Father once and for all!" And yet, people still seek to give their own children when God has given His!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It was by these acts of worship that Solomon did evil in God's sight and did not complete his life as a follower of the Lord as David had. Things would go from bad to worse. Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">7</b>.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 11:7-10</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text1kgs-11-7"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-8"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-9"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">So the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-9"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-9"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-10"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-10"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> had commanded.</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : Solomon apparently believed in equal opportunity for all idolatry! </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Having worshipped the abomination of the Ammonites, it's only fitting that he serve the abomination of the Moabites as well! Chemosh means "Destroyer" or "subduer."</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Most seem to believe that Chemosh and Molech were the same gods, though Chemosh is represented by a fish. In any event, he built a place of worship on the same hill for both.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Where was this hill that is east of Jerusalem? It is the mount of Olives! </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- In Solomon's time, these high places would have been within eyesight of the Temple that he spent seven years building for the Name of God!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Interestingly, it is where Jesus will pray with his disciples on the night before His crucifixion and the very place where He will set His feet when He returns! I'll let you ponder that.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- But understand this: The person that was capable of wonderful service for God was just as capable of incredible blasphemy against Him!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Would you be foolish enough to say, "I would never do something like Solomon?" Beware! <span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- The religion of Chemosh also required human sacrifice, but had an element of sexual perversion involved in their worship as well. Can't you see how these idolatries succeeded?</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- They promise a reward for their followers, while also allowing the participant to enjoy every single one of his own vices! You can have it all!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Could you imagine how popular Christianity would be if you said, "Feel free to believe anything you'd like and if you would like to commit any gross sin, don't let us bother you!"</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- On the other hand, don't you pity those who have fallen under the sway of man made religious philosophies? They give everything for something that doesn't exist and get nothing for it!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Solomon made all the room in the world for Chemosh, Molech, Ashtoreth and every other god that his foreign wives subscribed themselves to!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He burned his incense and sacrificed to their gods. He supported their enterprise. He gave what should have been given to the true God to a false god!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- How many others are guilty of the same thing? How often have I spent my time, treasure or talent in the service of that which was false, when it truly belonged to the Lord?</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- God was angry with Solomon! The record of God's response is puzzling, in that it should be incredibly obvious. The word reflects the face of one whose nostrils are recurrently flared!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Here, we are confronted with the reality that all Bible believers need to understand. God is not dispassionate about His people's sin.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He has shown His great love for Solomon and Israel. He has shown His great love for all of humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. Believers today receive and are grateful for that love.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- But we would be fools not to consider the fact that those who spurn God's love and favor do so to their own detriment and will soon fall into the arms of a Just Judge and an Angry God!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- God is capable of being angry and some day, there will be those who by their spiritual negligence will experience the full vent of it! May God grant them mercy to come to Him before then!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- No, the truly surprising thing here is not that God was angry, but that it took so long to get there! It took repeated provocation to get there. God does not have a hare pin trigger! </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Biblically, it takes a long time to get Him to this place and when He does, His Word proclaims that His anger is for a moment!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- For all that Solomon has been given, for all that he knows, to turn his back upon the faithful God that has loved him, is the highest form of treason upon the earth, indeed in the Universe!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- God was angry because Solomon had turned his heart away. This time, the word for "turned" reflects a final turning, at least from Solomon's perspective.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Yes, his wives began him on the journey and encouraged him along the way, but the grievous sin is that eventually, it was Solomon's decision alone to pursue these deities!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It had begun with his wives begging him to go to their "church." Then, for several years, it was a joint effort. Now that Solomon is old and grey, he's the one waiting in the car for them!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He had turned away defininitively from the God who had personally appeared to him twice and had warned him of the very thing that he eventually went into! </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Here lies yet another truth concerning humanity and sin: Religious experience is no safeguard! Who can duplicate Solomon's experience? God literally appeared to Him!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Don't be fooled, either in seeking an experience or by resting in one. Neither replaces a fervent, obedient heart for God that beats today! God had warned him twice.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- How many times has God had to warn you of something? Hear His voice again today and choose to obey! Verse <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">11</b>.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>• </span> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">I Kings 11:11-13</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> : "</span> <span class="text1kgs-11-11"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Therefore the </span> </span> <span class="small-caps"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Lord</span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-11"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"> said to Solomon, 'Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-12"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. </span> </span> <span class="text1kgs-11-13"> <span style="font-family: "arial black"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.'</span> </span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;">" : Solomon has made the choice to live as an idolator. By doing so, he has forced God to take covenantal action against him. </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- This is what Israel agreed to by entering into covenant with God in the first place!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Solomon removed himself from the hand of God's favor and now God would tear the Kingdom like a garment out of his hands and deliver it into the hands of his servant!</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- This will be fulfilled in the person of Jeroboam, who we will meet next week, who will rise from the ranks of the labor unions. The larger portion of the Kingdom would fall to his hands.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- But this won't happen in Solomon's days, meaning that Solomon would not live to see this. </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- It would happen however, in the days of his son Rehoboam. What a sad reality of sin! </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- You and I go through life thinking that we are the only ones that are affected by our actions.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- You may not feel the effects of your sin personally, but your children will! </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Rehoboam should have lived a life of blessing. Instead, he will see the Kingdom that had been one of the richest in history dwindle to a two tribe monarchy! </span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- How sad and yet, how gracious of God! As much as He knows Solomon's sin, He chooses to act based upon His own faithfulness and love fo David and Israel.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Some may wonder: "If God is so offended by my sin, why doesn't He simply begin to punish me now?" Beside His desire for your repentance, might you consider this verse.</span> </div><div class="chapter-2" style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Perhaps He will not do it now because of His love for those around you! Destroying you now might destroy them! No, God would forebear with his King because of His love for his subjects!</span> </div><div style="line-height: 150%; margin-bottom: .1pt; margin-left: 0in; margin-right: 0in; margin-top: .1pt; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial black";">Conclusion</span> <span style="font-family: "arial"; font-size: 12.0pt; line-height: 150%;"></span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial";"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- Age will not protect you. Wisdom and knowledge will fail you. Experience cannot be relied upon. Our hearts must lovingly cling to the God of our redemption!</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial";"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- His love for us must be our most satisfying claim and our responsive love for Him must be fueled by our obedience to Him, otherwise, we will be another Solomon!</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial";"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- I asked you to ponder the fact that Solomon built the high places for these false gods on the Mount of Olives. This is where Jesus Christ made a different choice.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial";"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- He chose to obey His Father over His feelings, and submitted to the Cross on that very hill. The next day, He absorbed all of the anger, wrath and punishment that our sins deserved.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial";"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- And one day, what He did spiritually, will be completed physically when He returns to that very hill, crushing any remnant of idolatry under His feet.</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: justify;"> <span style="font-family: "arial";"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1;"> </span>- May we reject Solomon's example and follow our King's lead!</span> </div><div class="MsoNormal"> <br /> </div><div class="MsoNormal"> <br /> </div>

January 30 2017

06:04

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 10)

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Audio Access Available Above
"Under God's Microscope, pt.2"    1.29.17    Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- After 20 years, God the Father answered King Solomon's prayer with the same message that He had given him 20 years earlier. Solomon was to walk as his Father David had walked.
- He was to honor the Word that had been delivered to him, to live in it's light. Chapters 9 and 10 exist to reveal why God's warning had been necessary.
- God is laying out His case for all to see and His Spirit began with Solomon's sins against what was generally known and held among the people.
- The stories revolve around singular acts, but like all stories, they represent patterns of life. That being the case, Solomon's way of life left much to be desired.
- He had used his wisdom to take advantage of business dealings. He enslaved a group of people that God had specifically set apart for destruction.
- Then, he played the hypocrite, worshipping the Lord at the feasts while he continued to serve his own interests, both at home and abroad.
- As we enter chapter 10, I would suggest that the Spirit of God moves from the general law which governed all of God's people, to the specific set of laws that applied to God's King.
- How did Solomon fare against these laws? The Lord is about to open the curtain and let us in. It begins with a harmless visit from a fellow dignitary. Verse 1.
  Text
I Kings 10:1-3 : " Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord , she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her. " : The queen of Sheba is arguably the most famous Gentile woman in the Old Testament but there isn't consensus on her country of origin.
- There are those who believe Sheba to be modern day Yemen. Others hold that she is a distant cousin to Solomon through Abraham's concubine Keturah.
- Still others maintain that she is of African descent, from the land of Cush.  Depending on who you listen to, she may have traveled as much as 1,200 miles to visit Solomon!
- Most people come to her. Solomon's reputation was so impressive that she decided to go to him! With security and comfort being the premium concern, this could have taken a while!
- She is coming to investigate what has been reported to her. The HCSB says that she heard about his fame, "connected with the name of Yahweh." Who has ever heard of such a thing?
- Solomon's fame and wealth, in the eyes of the watching world, spoke of something that had to be divine!
- The queen, being of royal lineage herself, has seen and heard it all. She has to see this for herself. What is happening with him? What is his secret? How can I share in his experience?
- These are the questions that the natural man has for the person in relationship with God!
- Her purpose is to test or prove him. The word relates to experience gained by the natural senses. The Queen wants to personally see if Solomon will live up to his reputation.
- She's equipped with riddles, difficulties, questions ranging from civic policy to spiritual life, which would expose Solomon's wisdom or lack thereof to her.
- I believe that she believed herself to be on an equal plane with Solomon. The author describes her entrance into the city, which would have been quite a sight!
- Her retinue or caravan was impressive, carrying exotic spices, gold and gemstones that might have intimidated another King. Solomon probably wondered why she brought her trash!
- When the Queen finally had the chance to interrogate Solomon with her queries, she found that he was more than a match for her questions! He didn't even break a sweat! Verse 4.
I Kings 10:4,5 : " And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the Lord , there was no more spirit in her. " : The Queen took the time to thoroughly inspect every part of the daily experience for Solomon's court.
- There was seemingly no end to the wisdom that Solomon possessed. It was evident in every detail from the grand architecture to the food that was served to him. And the servants had it good!
- "The seating of his servants" is better understood as their residence or the servant's quarters.
- How they worked and how they looked while they worked left an impression. You'd have to imagine that being so well cared for, brought about the effect of great and caring service.
- Do you think it was their joy to serve that King that caught her eye? Whatever it was the text indicates that her royal breath was taken away! Verse 6.
I Kings 10:6-9 : " Then she said to the king: 'It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.' " : She had been told of Solomon's greatness, but had been skeptical.
- She had seen other Kingdoms and realms and exaggeration wasn't uncommon. But this was different! Not only were the reports actually true, but they were also incomplete!
- She hadn't been told the half of it! She was ill-prepared to face this moment. His wisdom and riches were far greater than the story of his reputation told which is hardly ever true in life!
- Most people are half as great as their reputation! That wasn't the case here!
- Please make note of that order. The Queen was floored, first by his wisdom and then by his prosperity. Can you see her breathlessly going on about Solomon?
- This is quite out of character for a royal member, who is supposed to remain composed and demure under all circumstances. She just can't help herself!
- Everyone in Solomon's service had to be grateful to the Lord for installing him as their King! Israel was indeed a blessed nation.
- "They are all lucky just to get to hear you speak to them!" God deserves the praise! The Queen knows enough to know that Solomon wasn't the cause of his own ascendancy!
- She properly recognizes the delight, the favor that God has shown both to the King as well as the people!
- Wherever the Queen was from, she was perhaps even personally aware, that not all Kingdoms could boast of a King that did what was right by the people and right before the Lord.
- Even with a debilitated spiritual life, Solomon ran the Kingdom, at least  on a superficial level, in a godly way. It seems that there is a part of her that would almost wish to stay herself! Verse 10.
I Kings 10:10-13 : " Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great quantity, and precious stones. There never again came such abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. Also, the ships of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought great quantities of almugwood and precious stones from Ophir. And the king made steps of the almug wood for the house of the Lord and for the king’s house, also harps and stringed instruments for singers. There never again came such almug wood, nor has the like been seen to this day.  Now King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked, besides what Solomon had given her according to the royal generosity. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants. " : 120 talents of gold in our measurement is equal to 9,000 pounds. It was a token of her esteem but likely also the ground for a trading partnership in the region.  
- Her gift came at about the same time that Hiram's ships returned with great planks of almug.
- Nobody knows the type of tree that this was, but it was strong enough to make stairs for the temple and for his house, as well as being pliable enough to make musical instruments.
- As for the Queen, Solomon gave her everything that she asked for besde what was common for royal generosity! He said, "Up to half my Kingdom" and she took him up on it!
- Ultimately, half is what she received. Like most people who call themselves "seekers," they investigate the life of the believer, having noted their peace or their joy.
- They wonder about the method that the righteous person employs. How can they live above their circumstance? How can they thrive as they are?
- They come and see, sometimes with an entourage, and they might even offer a gift!
- If they walk away impressed with everything you have become, but aren't introduced to the One that is responsible for producing it in your life, they come away with only half!
- Unfortunately, there are many who have not been told the half of it and the Queen of Sheba is just another person who very likely walked away impressed with the effect, but not the cause!
- For Solomon's part, the Queen's visit seems to be marked by the Holy Spirit as the catalyzing point for what comes next. Notice how the narrative shifts. Verse 14.
I Kings 10:14,15 : " The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold, besides that from the traveling merchants, from the income of traders, from all the kings of Arabia, and from the governors of the country. " : 666 talents of gold represents an annual salary equivalent to a billion dollars which is nothing to sneeze at in the modern world, let alone the ancient world!
- If I were him, I would have sought to give one away or see if I couldn't get at least one more!
- 666. Not 665. Not 667. Is there a corrolary to the "number of a man" in Revelation 13? The number of the beast is related to financial transaction.
- Some have said that it represents man's attempt at perfection apart from God.
- It's something to consider, but this amount was just what came to him from the government coffers. This didn't include the other revenue streams that he had access to!
- There were the taxes that came from trade as well as the tribute that came from the other Kingdoms that surrounded Israel.
- Riches and Kingdoms go hand in hand. Most Kings have an opulent reserve, but, this is again, a direct act of disobedience on the part of Solomon.
- Deuteronomy 17 is a passage that I would ask you to review as you consider these next verses. Deuteronomy 17:17 tells us that an Israelite King was not to multiply gold to himself.
- Gold had been a part of the Temple and rightly so. By the way, it had all been laid aside by David for that very purpose. Apparently, there was even enough left over for his own palace.
- But it wasn't for Solomon's personal use. Yet, that is exactly what is beginning to do. And just how will he use all of this gold? Verse 16.
I Kings 10:16-20 : " And King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of gold went into each shield. He also made three hundred shields of hammered gold; three minas of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round at the back; there were armrests on either side of the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the armrests. Twelve lions stood there, one on each side of the six steps; nothing like this had been made for any other kingdom. " : These two hundred large golden shields, each about 15 pounds, were simple decorative items. The three hundred smaller shields served the same purpose.
- Gold is far to soft to be effective in battle. These were simply items that adorned the walls!
- Moving into the throne room, Solomon's throne, which had been made from ivory, was then overlaid with pure or fine gold!
- Six steps separated the throne from all other visitors. Solomon elevated himself high above everyone that would approach the throne and the lions represented his own assessment of his power.
- Again, I refer you to Deuteronomy 17:18-20. Solomon was to hold fast to his own personal copy of the Word of God, that his "heart might not be lifted up above his brethren!"
- Solomon believes Himself to be the King of the King of the beasts! He might have even believed himself to be the lion of the tribe of Judah! No other King had such a throne.
- I daresay that no other godly King would have thought to presume such greatness! Verse 21.
I Kings 10:21-25 : " All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Not one was silver, for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon. For the king had merchant shipsat sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the merchant ships came bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.   So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. Each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year. " : Nobody in the houses of Solomon had any regard for silver! Why was this?
- Because there was a continual supply of gold flowing into the Kingdom every three years!
- Hiram kept supplying Solomon with increasing amounts of gold and silver, as well as ivory, apes and monkeys!
- Put all of the Kings of the earth together, gather their riches and Solomon still wins but did you notice the exchange?
- The King surpassed every other King in riches and wisdom. He was once known for his wisdom. Now, he is principally known for his riches! He is gaining the whole world, but losing his soul!
- Other Kings came to hear the wisdom that God put in his heart and Solomon profited by it year after year! You'd think he would be satisfied. He wasn't. Verse 26.
I Kings 10:26-29 : " And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he stationedin the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland. Also Solomon had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh; the king’s merchants bought them in Keveh at the current price. Now a chariot that was imported from Egypt cost six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse one hundred and fifty; and thus, through their agents,they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria. " : It's plain to see that Solomon had blatantly ignored God's demand that he not add gold unto himself.
- Verse 26 details a further and final transgression that will complete our study today.
- Chariots and horsemen were the ancient answer to tanks and marksmen. Solomon had 1,400 chariots and nearly as many horsemen.
- Deuteronomy 17:16 prohibits the King from multiplying horses for himself.
- The King was to be the first to stand and declare his trust in God against that which could be gained through military power. Instead, Solomon collected chariots and horsemen!
- Silver carried the value of stone and cedar was the new sycamore. Everything is booming! Is Solomon satisfied? Not remotely.
- Solomon got involved in the horse trading business, buying them wholesale from Egypt and selling them retail to the nations around them, specifically the Hittites and the Syrians.
- It's amazing to say, but even here, God's Word to Him was so abundantly clear. Solomon doesn't just miss the sign. He blatantly kicks it over, spits on it and tramples it under his feet!
Deuteronomy 17:16 : " But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the L ord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ " : God's indictment can not be more clear! Solomon not only turned the people back toward Egypt metaphorically. He led the way physically, financially!
Conclusion
- We are very close to the end of this section, but we are far enough down the road to see that Solomon was a King who personified failure in the sight of God!
- This stands as an enduring testimony to the contrast that Jesus, our King provides. Jesus fulfilled all of God's law and purpose in His life.
- He did not offer sacrifices mixed with a hypocritical life. He offered His perfect life on the altar of sacrifice for the sins of the Jews and Gentiles alike, all who would believe upon Him.
- As a result, His servants are happy and the world marvels at them. When they tell the world about their King, who lived and died for them, they are told the whole story!
- And if they come to Him, they having been skeptical, will go away realizing that the half hadn't been told to them!
- Thank God that the story doesn't end with Solomon's riches, but the true wisdom and riches of Jesus Christ, our King forever!

January 23 2017

21:18

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 9:10-28)

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"Under God's Microscope"    1.22.17    Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- We looked last week at the answer that God gave to Solomon's prayer which he made at the dedication of the Temple. As you may recall, God's tone with Solomon was a little unexpected.
- After affirming the house that had been built and confirming His willingness to endorse it, He warned Solomon with the same warning that He had given him 20 years earlier.
- This second warning however, was far more intense in it's scope and implication. Did you wonder why? What had prompted His response? What actions were exposing Solomon's heart?
- Today, we'll look at God's view of Solomon's life and prayerfully discover and learn to avoid, what prompted God's pointed response. Let's pick it up in verse 10.
  Text
I Kings 9:10-14 : " Now it happened at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord and the king’s house (Hiram the king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress and gold, as much as he desired), that King Solomon then gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. Then Hiram went from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him, but they did not please him. So he said, 'What kind of cities are these which you have given me, my brother?' And he called them the land of Cabul, as they are to this day. Then Hiram sent the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold. " : Hiram, the King of Tyre, and Solomon had developed an extensive business relationship over the twenty years that it took to complete the King's construction projects.
- Hiram had been a friend of David's and also had the good fortune of being Solomon's construction materials dealer. Tyre was rich in cedar and cypress trees, as well as gold.
- Consequently, Solomon had no lack of material to draw from. Somewhere in the agreement, Solomon bartered for materials offering the cities surrounding the Sea of Galilee as payment.
- Capernaum, Tiberias, and Magdala are the most famous of the towns that we would know. Hiram accepted these cities as payment, sight unseen from his royal friend.
- It's difficult for us to comprehend how such a thing happens, but it may owe to the fact that there had been a great many positive deals that had been completed before this one.
- Hiram trusted Solomon and was sure that a visit would only confirm the good deal that had been made. Unfortunately for the King of Tyre, that wasn't the case.
- Hiram was thoroughly unimpressed with what he finally did come to inspect his property.
- The value did not come close to the value of his investment. Don't get him wrong. The sea of Galilee is a beautiful place to visit.
- Whatever he had been led to believe about the land, it definitely failed to live up to his expectation and he wasn't shy about voicing his displeasure.
- Can you hear the incredulity in his tone? "What sort of cities have you given me my brother?"
- He looked upon the land and called it "The Land of Good for nothing!" It was trash to him.
- He had paid 120 talents of gold which is the modern equivalent of 175 million dollars! That's quite a transaction in the ancient world to end up being a complete bust!
- Solomon doesn't reply and the Bible doesn't tell us that he was rebuked, but it seems that he had gotten the better of Hiram by deception.
- If that is the case, Solomon used his God given wisdom for a crafty, underhanded exchange. There is a fine line between shrewd and being outright dishonest.
- Some might stand here and applaud the King for getting the better side of the deal, but consider a few thoughts.
- First, this is a neighboring statesmen who has shown great gestures of friendship. Hiram may have had ties to the Jews through marriage, but he himself was not a Jew.
- He was a Gentile King who had chosen friendship with Solomon. It is at the very least, poor judgment to alienate a neighbor or friend in such a way, just to get the better part of a deal.
- Second, God's people knew from the law that God hated deception, especially that which occurred in business transactions.
- Listen to the wisdom that Solomon spoke of in Proverbs 20:10, perhaps having learned from this very episode later in life.
Proverbs 20:10 : " Diverse weights and diverse measures, they are both alike, an abomination to the Lord. " : On your own time, you may also want to reference Proverbs 11:1, 16:11, 20:23, Leviticus 19:35 and Deuteronomy 25:13-15 which say likewise.
- The weight referred to the assigned value of the merchant, which could be altered to insure more currency from the buyer.
- On the other hand, a person might measure out less than what the buyer was promised! Both actions bring about the displeasure of the Lord.
  " This was done wrong with plot and contrivance, and under colour of doing right...He (God) will not prosper the trade that is thus driven, nor bless what is thus got. He hates those that thus break the common faith by which justice is maintained, and will be the avenger of all such. "       Matthew Henry
- The Word of God is very clear on this point. The person who honors God's Word, must honor honesty above the ability to get one over on another person!
- The fact that the Spirit of God chooses to place this story here lends credence to the fact that this was part of why He noted Solomon's lax attitude toward the Word. Verse 15.
I Kings 9:15-24 : " And this is the reason for the labor force which King Solomon raised: to build the house of the Lord , his own house, the Millo,the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. (Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up and taken Gezer and burned it with fire, had killed the Canaanites who dwelt in the city, and had given it as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon’s wife.) And Solomon built Gezer, Lower Beth Horon, Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land of Judah, all the storage cities that Solomon had, cities for his chariots and cities for his cavalry, and whatever Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion. All the people who were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who were not of the children of Israel—that is, their descendants who were left in the land after them, whom the children of Israel had not been able to destroy completely—from these Solomon raised forced labor, as it is to this day. But of the children of Israel Solomon made no forced laborers, because they were men of war and his servants: his officers, his captains, commanders of his chariots, and his cavalry.Others were chiefs of the officials who were over Solomon’s work: five hundred and fifty, who ruled over the people who did the work. But Pharaoh’s daughter came up from the City of David to her house which Solomonhad built for her. Then he built the Millo. " : Solomon's building projects obviously required a large, dedicated work force. We read in chapter 5 that the work force employed by the Temple were comprised of a rotating band of Israeli men.
- But there were many other construction projects that demanded laborers. These others were employed in more civil, secular if you will, work beginning with this Israel's defense infrastructure.
- The Millo was a fort in the city of David. The wall surrounding Jerusalem also received improvements. There were also certain cities that had to be rebuilt, one of which was Gezer.
- The Pharaoh had burnt it down in order to defeat the Canaanites that remained in it as a dowry for his daughter. Solomon's labor force cleaned the mess that he left for them!
- Additionally, storage facilities for food and chariots were built. None of this is essentially wrong. Every nation has the duty and the right to expand and improve it's nation's defense.
- The issue here is that Solomon raised forced labor, slaves, from the people groups who had been leftover from Joshua's time, who were designated by God to be destroyed, not enslaved.
- When we examined the passages in Deuteronomyand Joshua, we came to realize that these people were hardly innocent. Their practices while in the land were blatantly wicked.
- Aside from their expulsion from the land, God deemed it right to make Israel His hammer of justice. Their judgment was not only just, but would insure Israel's spiritual safety!
- Deuteronomy 20:16-18 contains Israel's marching orders and the warning for failure, namely that any remnant left behind would teach the children of Israel their abominable ways!
- When Israel came into the land in Joshua's time, things went according to plan for a time.
- Unfortunately, Joshua's army and the people of Israel were unwilling to depose these natives.
In the record of Judges, it was not strange to see that God's people had made use of the enemies.
- One could almost excuse the people of Israel during the time of the Judges. After all, there was no King to govern them, so they all did what was right in their own eyes.
- And you will recall that most of David's life and Kingdom were concerned with battles which led to the expansion and in some cases, the salvation of the Kingdom.
- But to accept their presence in the land now, much less exploit it as a condition in their favor during the reign of Solomon? Unthinkable!
- We aren't talking about a few people. There were enough to facilitate all of Solomon's work!
- Is the lesson in life that we simply ignore what God says when it serves us to do otherwise? Do we look the other way in our life when we want to choose what is opposite of His will?
- Why would Israel accept this? For the same reason we accept compromise: It suits us! We benefit from shortcuts of all kinds, ranging from cheap, illegal work to excusing our own pet sins.
- Besides, the people of Israel could not be bothered. They formed Solomon's supervising corps! They went right along with it because they could now be the masters!
- Can you see the irony of this last statement? Pharaoh's daughter had been living in the city of David when all of this went down! What an ironic piece of history to be woven in!
- The people who once had been enslaved by the Egyptians were now enslaving people in front of the Egyptians! Wow! And then on top of that, to build the Millo.
- What had Israel built for Egypt that God wasn't able to bring down in judgment? Here they are fortifying themselves against an enemy, but are not obedient to God!
- How much more important is it for us to obey God, who will stand as our great fortress when we are walking according to His Word? Security had been a covenant promise to Israel's obedience!
- No wonder they feel the need to bolster their defenses! Where obedience is absent, insecurity rules the day! Verse 25.
I Kings 9:25-28 : " Now three times a year Solomon offered burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar which he had built for the Lord , and he burned incense with them on the altar that was before the Lord . So he finished the temple. King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elathon the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. Then Hiram sent his servants with the fleet, seamen who knew the sea, to work with the servants of Solomon. And they went to Ophir, and acquired four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there, and brought it to King Solomon. " : Solomon continued to offer before the Lord as he should have.
- According to Deuteronomy 16:16, every male had to appear before the Lord with an offering three times in the year at the Feasts of Unleavened Bread, Weeks and Tabernacles respectively.
- There is something to be said here about a shallow relgious facade that can plague us all.
- If what I am saying is correct, Solomon is bringing his offerings just like he was supposed to, but at the same time, he was unwilling to obey the Lord in the "small" matters of life!
- He could take advantage of a person and look the other way at the various "ites" that made up his forced labor group and still bring his offering to the Lord as if it canceled everything else out!
- He was faithful to meet the requirements when a feast could be had, but couldn't be bothered to see his faith meet the streets! There is nothing honoring to God in that!
- God hasn't given His Son as a substitute for our lives for a "least that we can do" response! What an affront! What an insult!
- Yes, Solomon brought his offerings and burnt his incense, but the moment he was finished, he was back to what really kept his boat afloat! Literally! He built a fleet of ships!
- Solomon was a partner with Hiram, who helped to provide the men that were able to sail the ships. When they came to Ophir, an unknown area to Bible scholars, they came away rich in gold.
- 120 talents was equal to 175 million dollars. We are talking about a 70 billion dollar haul!
- Wealth is pouring into the Kingdom from every side! From a human perspective, it was an incredibly prosperous time that had to be seen to be believed.
- From God's perspective, it was a spiritually dangerous time! Let me say to you that this illustrates a very important point.
- A life marked by prosperity is not necessarily one that is marked by God's endorsement!
- The prosperity preachers would have us believe otherwise, but how many of them do you feel will awake in eternity to the pleasure of God!
- The world would have loved to be Solomon. And God's people were benefitting, but spiritually, Solomon is trending downward and his prosperity was blinding him to his true poverty!
- It's easy to think this way isn't it? If God is so concerned with my way, why does He not step in and stop me in my tracks? This is our pragmatism speaking. It's been working, why question it?
- A story like Solomon's begs us to! Turn with me to Revelation 3 and see if this isn't a fitting parallel to close on today.
- As you may or may not know, chapters 2and 3 of Revelation are written from Jesus to the churches that existed at that time, but which are also representative of believers in all times.
- Laodicea is the last of these churches and there are many who would believe that it is most representative of the age of believers found in our time.
- Laodicea was situated by hot springs, very near Colossae, which provides an interesting backdrop for our Lord's comments to them.
Revelation 3:14-16 : " And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 'I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. " : What an indictment! God knows your works, but you aren't a hot drink comforting the cold or a cold drinking refreshing the hot!
- You are tepid only worthy of exiting my mouth! What was their condition? How could they have fallen so far? Look at this next verse and consider Solomon's life.
Revelation 3:17-19 : " Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. " : The world sees in Solomon the wealth, the joy, the wisdom and gifting that comes apart from the repentance. God sees a man who is edging closer and closer to misery and wretchedness!
- Why does God allow it? That he, that you and that I may look again to Him and see!
- See what we really are in the light of His love. See our own nakedness and wretchedness apart from Him. See our own distance, created by our lack of true spiritual assessment!
- The beauty is that when we look to the Lord who will rebuke His son or daughter because of His love, when we are fervent in our response and repentant, He will restore what has been lost.
Revelation 3:20 : " Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. "
Conclusion
- Christian, hear His voice! See that our faith matters more when we leave than when we come! See that God accounts worship value in the matters that we may consider small.
- See again that obedience to God is the true language and gauge of our love. And may we all see again that His grace is evident by the time that He does not judge us!
- Let us judge ourselves this day! Let us ask the Lord for His assesment of our life and let us not settle for what barely makes it before Him!

January 18 2017

19:27

Sunday Morning Service (I Kings 9:1-9)

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Audio Access Available Above
"A Prayer Answered"    1.15.17    Calvary Christian Fellowship, Sunday Morning Service
Intro.
- A crowd of over a million people witnessed the dedication of the Temple. Two weeks of celebration and feasting have been completed.
- The crowd has dispersed and life has gotten back to normal. Everyone has returned to their routine, including the King.
- Before he has the chance to enter into his next endeavor, the Lord steps in to meet with him. What does He have to say to the King? What is foremost on His mind? Let's have a look! Verse 1.
  Text
I Kings 9:1-3 : " And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he wanted to do, that the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon. And the Lord said to him: 'I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. " : Solomon had been concerned with construction for the better part of 20 years. The Temple and his royal palace had taken 13 years of his life.
- In addition, I Kings 7 reports that Solomon had built the "House Of The Forest Of Lebanon," the "Hall Of Pillars," the "Hall Of Judgment" and Pharaoh's Daughter's house.
- If the chapters on the Temple were any indication, the meticulous nature of construction seemed to consume him during those years.
- All of Solomon's desire, that which he wanted to, was complete with the dedication of the Temple. It's time to regroup, to refocus.
- People like Solomon who achieve such high levels of success, aren't satisfied to rest on their laurels. His capacity to be busy has expanded exponentially.
- The timing of God's appearance to Solomon coincided with this season and Solomon's readiness to hear from the Lord about his next step.
- As a matter of grace and perfect timing, God chose to speak with Solomon right after the dedication service was over, as he had at Gibeon in chapter 3.
- Turn back to chapter 3 and let your eyes roam over the content. As you can see, verse 4 through 9 contains Solomon's request to receive God's wisdom to rule His people.
- The Lord was pleased and granted His request and then gave a simple, abbreviated admonition to the King to walk in His ways to ensure length of days.
- Chapter 3marked the beginning of his reign. This second appearance tells the same story. God had heard Solomon's prayer and request that he had made.
- His acknowledgment means that He is in agreement with the sentiment of Solomon's prayer and would abide by the requests that have been made.
- He will be the God that forgives and intercedes on behalf of His people. What a tremendous consideration! The God of the Universe answers prayer!
- When our prayers are in concert with His will, His answer will be yes! Alternately, when God says "no," we can be sure that our prayers need attention.
- Are we praying out from a misguided notion? Are we assuming in prayer that God must limit His response to the few outcomes that we can imagine?
- Often, I've found in my own prayers, that I attempt to limit God to my own suggestions. I often find myself frustrated but soon realize that my prayers are my attempt to gain my will, not His.
- Soon, we all learn to pray very differently than we had at first, as He aligns our hearts to His will. That is a slow and lengthy process that every Christian must learn to embrace.
- When the King prayed about the Temple, he hit a home run! God's answer resounded, "I have consecrated this house." God had put His stamp of approval upon it!
- He had "consecrated it" meaning that He would consider the Temple sacred, set apart exclusively for Himself.
- Solomon saw the Temple this way, as did the people who worked on it, but if God did not look upon it this way, it would stand empty. God's opinion of the Temple was what mattered!
- God has endorsed the Temple and allowed it to bear His Name! His eyes and heart would be there perpetually! The NLT puts it like this: " I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart. "
- Immediately one is struck by that awesome promise and it's unconditioned basis. He has put His Name there forever and His eye and heart will be there perpetually, forever!
- In Solomon's time, it is the site of the Temple. In Christ's time, Jerusalem will be the site of the crucifixion. In a time to come and I pray it will be soon, it will be the site of Christ's return!
- No wonder God's heart is there! The Temple foreshadows the spiritual communion that God's people have with Him. The Cross ratifies it and His return will make it final!
- Jerusalem is the capital city of God and it will always be so according to Him. That certainty stands in stark contrast to what He says next to Solomon. Verse 4.
I Kings 9:4,5 : " Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’ " : Notice that big "if" in verse 4.
- God's heart is firm toward Jerusalem, but how He responds to Solomon depends upon Solomon's response to Him!
- Having had the benefit of looking at chapter 3, you realize that God is repeating and expanding upon what He has already disclosed to Solomon. This is nothing new.
- After all these years and all of this activity which has issued in God's presence manifesting in the nation of Israel, God still has to address the same issue of Solomon's heart!
- 20 years and it's the same message. If Solomon will walk in the same manner as David walked before Him, God would establish Solomon's throne forever.
- That is a mighty promise to be confident in. This is the way that God speaks about what He will do. Consider that with regard to His promises.
- First, He exists and is True. He cannot lie. Because He is omnipotent and eternal, He can make promises which extend into eternity and keep them!
- Solomon could not effect this promise. He will pass away. On the other hand, God will never cease to be God! He can never fail.
- God promises to maintain Solomon's posterity and assures him that His house would be honored well past his own life. He only needed to walk as David did. What did that entail?
- God spells this out clearly, objectively for Solomon to see. We are benificiaries as well!
- He notes first that David walked in "integrity of heart." Integrity speaks of honesty in one's interactions and wholeness in one's inner person.
- David's lips claimed whole hearted devotion and that was true from the center of His soul. God continues by describing David's walk as one that was marked by "uprightness."
- The idea, metaphorically speaking, relates to a straight course. The concept is that the upright will follow a predictably holy and righteous path in life.
- If God were to look away for a second, something we know He won't, He would return His gaze to find the upright right where He expected them to be!
- May I ask you: Would your life be characterized by this kind of integrity before God? Could it be said of you that you were upright, predictable in your practice of holiness?
- May God grant us the grace that might make it so! He moves away from David and commands Solomon to do all that He commanded him to do.
- Again, we see the call of God to heed His Word. "Keep my statutes and judgments."
- This had been David's greatest treasure! Solomon, if he is to have the same sort of success, must follow the Word of God with the same vigilance!
- It must be said repeatedly: Whether in the palace of great men or the shack of poor men, the foundation for a godly life is laid by adherence to the Word of God! There is no substitute!
- God's assessment of your walk with Him will be directly related to your walk in the Word! How can you be whole without His Word? How can you be upright with His Word?
- How can you possibly know His commands, much less obey them, if you aren't steeped in them!? I pray that you are hearing Him speak this to you.
- Integrity, uprightness and faithfulness to God's Word will ensure Solomon that he will enter into the promise of God and it will be the ground upon which you walk with Him as well!
- What confidence Solomon could have in the promise of God! He did not have to guess at what God's will was for his life. He knew intimately!
- God was setting before Him the path that would lead him right to the blessing that He intended for him! Now, isn't it telling that God has to say this at all to Solomon.
- Solomon has just seen the visible manifestation of God's presence in the Temple.
- He has just prayed before the people of God, calling upon God to act as the God that He was. And yet, I feel that God is reminding Solomon of these things because He sees something.
- Solomon was impressed with the ceremony and the pomp and the excitement, but had to be brought back to the reality that God looks upon our hearts and the reality of our lives!
- Maybe this would be a pertinent question to ask you. If all that you did for the Lord was erased, what would be left? Who would you be? What would He see?
- Clearly, Solomon's public life, his activity and his prayer, the longest of the Bible, tells a story to the watching world, but the inward reality is what God seeks!
- This is why there is more to say. "If you do" leads to great blessing. But what Solomon did not? How could that be possible? Sadly, it was and there were dire consequences. Verse 6
I Kings 9:6,7 : " But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples. "  
- Don't you wonder how such a thing could be possible? After all that he has seen and attested to, there is still the need for a direct and stern warning not to turn away from following Him!
- This is utterly baffling and yet, because of our fallen nature it is the story of our condition.
- Our hearts inclined away from the Lord from birth! Even as Christians, it's a constant battle and struggle to surrender to God!
- By His grace alone, we walk closely with Him and yield ourselves to His will for our lives. In Solomon's time, he is to understand the consequences of turning from the Lord.
- I wonder if you have ever thought about how much more stable your faith would be if you lived in Biblical times and witnessed the miraculous works like we've observed in our text.
- Take it from the Israelites and now from King Solomon: The Lord's people still needed to hold onto and walk according to their faith!
- Believe it or not, we have greater advantages than they did! We have the Indwelling Spirit of God to guide our hearts toward the Lord.
- These Old Testament saints had miraculous events and powerful testimonies, but they did not have the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit!
- Solomon, the King who has just witnessed the presence of God physically fill the Temple. The Man who watched His Father follow God until his death. That man needed to be warned!
- Don't turn from following the Lord! Don't turn from following my Word! Following the Lord is synonymous with following His Word! They go hand in hand!
- God had given it to Solomon. If Solomon or his posterity forsook His Word, they would inevitably turn to idolatry. That is the danger of not worshipping the true and living God!
- We are wired to worship and if we do not worship the true and living God, we will worship something inferior. In Israel's day, there were gods like Molech and Baal.
- Today, our gods are sports, recreation, our kids or our careers. Ultimately, we worship whatever we want to worship, which means that we worship ourselves!
- What a terrible trade to make? You serve these other "gods." You assign value to them and for what? No return of any kind!
- To go from serving the True and Living God, to serving the interests of gods that aren't anything but an extension of our own ego is a recipe for spiritual disaster!
- For the King of Israel, the leader of the people of Israel, and his descendants, this would lead to unimagineable ruin not just for the royal family but for the nation that it leads!
- Your decision to worship God or not worship God won't simply determine your own place. It will affect every person that you love!
- If the Kings turned from God Israel would be displaced, cut off like a piece of a garment from their land. The idolatry and the foul things that came from it were the reason for Canaan's loss.
- Additionally, God lets Solomon know that The Temple would be cast out of His sight. He would no longer allow His presence to fill a place where He was not honored!
- If that happened, Israel's name would go from highly exalted to being identified as a synonym for mockery and ridicule among all the nations! They would be a one word metaphor for ruin.
I Kings 9:8,9 : " And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and will hiss, and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore the Lord has brought all this calamity on them.’ " : On the day that God spoke this to Solomon, the Temple stood as the most lofty, high place upon the Earth.
- What other building could say that it housed the very presence of the true and living God? - However true that was on that day, if Solomon's children did not follow after the Lord, the house would be desolate and a ruin, so much so that it would only remain as a conversation piece.
- People would pass by only to be impressed by it's ruin. They would be "astonished." Marked by silence, it is quite literally a state of speechlessness. "How could this happen?"
- That will be the remark of those who were friendly to Israel. Shock will overcome them and their minds will continually wonder at how far the mighty have fallen.
- How could such a lofty place be brought so low? It confounds the mind and baffles the spirit.
- The enemies of Israel will have the same emotional response, but will then "hiss." The word indicates a mocking whistle of sorts.
- When they consider why the Temple lies in ruin, there will only be one answer. There will be no speculation. It will be clear.
- Those that pass by will know that God's people will have left the Lord their God! It will not be that the Lord left them. That is a vital distinction.
- The God of Israel had committed to the people of Israel when He brought them out of Egypt. We mentioned last week that Exodus 2:23-25 includes God's acknowledgement of them.
- God will not be the One that leaves Israel. If Solomon's descendants didn't follow the Lord, they would be the ones that will have turned from him to worship and serve other gods.
- They will have fastened themselves to other gods and that could only end in God allowing calamity to fall upon them. That is the story of the people of Israel.
- When they are blessed, they would be blessed to a degree that demanded that people understand God's involvement.
- Unfortunately, the same would be true in the opposite direction! When they left their God, they would be under such a curse that only God's wrath could explain it!
- With such a warning in place, you wonder how things could go bad and yet, for the students of history, you know that it did!
Conclusion
- God has gone to great lengths to extend His grace to Solomon, to keep him from falling away. He has appeared to him twice with virtually the same message.
- His grace moves toward us in the same way, warning us week after week, to turn from our sin, knowing that it will be the source of our ruin if we continue in it.
- His grace has reached to such a level that He allowed His Son to absorb His wrath in Jerusalem. People walked by and stared in astonishment, hissing out their insults upon Him.
- Jesus Christ, like a lamb, went silently to the slaughter and stood between heaven and earth.
- His death and resurrection ensures His people that they will never experience a moment of His wrath, but will in fact, be saved from it!
- As a result of His Son's work, the Father's eye and heart will continually be upon the saved for their eternal blessing!



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