THE EXALTED ABASED

Leave a comment

Titanic Captain Edward Smith

EXPERTS CORRECTED

If we can have spiritual vision we can be aware of the mysteries taking place behind the scenes of the natural world.  In relationship with God this is possible.  But those who know about God are not equipped as those who know God themselves.  David was a king who maintained a relationship with God.  The kings of this period know the man of God, but they have not established their own faith in relationship prayer.  Their advisors are similarly blind to the events that Elisha will predict.

Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.  Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.  And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?  If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.  2 Kings 7:1-4

The man of power and credentials cannot believe enough to save himself.  The beggars have nothing to lose by believing.  The kingdom of God is still like this today, with the poor and primitive peoples of the world witnessing revivals and miracles.  The captain of the Titanic had excellent credentials, but he still went down with his unsinkable ship. 

And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there.  For the LORD had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.  Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.  And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it.  Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king’s household.  2 Kings 7:5-9

These humble souls decide to remain honest and share their bounty with the city.  Their faith is rewarded, but the king has no such faith.  He can only see the darkness of human nature even in the light of God’s generous nature.

So they came and called unto the porter of the city: and they told them, saying, We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were.  And he called the porters; and they told it to the king’s house within.  And the king arose in the night, and said unto his servants, I will now shew you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we be hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city.  And one of his servants answered and said, Let some take, I pray thee, five of the horses that remain, which are left in the city, (behold, they are as all the multitude of Israel that are left in it: behold, I say, they are even as all the multitude of the Israelites that are consumed:) and let us send and see.  They took therefore two chariot horses; and the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, Go and see.  And they went after them unto Jordan: and, lo, all the way was full of garments and vessels, which the Syrians had cast away in their haste. And the messengers returned, and told the king.  2 Kings 7:10-15

Timidly they send spies out to check out the story, and they find it is true.  Equally true is the abundant grain that fulfils Elisha’s prophesy.  So many hungry customers press in to bu

And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD.  And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him.  And it came to pass as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be to morrow about this time in the gate of Samaria:  And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, if the LORD should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.  And so it fell out unto him: for the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died.  2 Kings 7:16-20

Even today when a mob of people are pressing through a narrow entrance someone may be crushed in the pinch point.  As modern leaders try to understand protest mobs I hope they can be aware of the spiritual events going on behind the scenes.  There is still a master moving the pieces on the chess board of life.  One can be aware of his will through prayer, bible study, and Christian fellowship.  These are the manifestation of our relationship with the Father, Son , and Holy Spirit.

BRAIN INVERSION

Leave a comment

Then

Now

NATURALLY SUPERNATURAL

Life goes on for the prophets, and mundane things occupy some of their time.  Living conditions are a bit crowded, so they decide to start a building program.  They didn’t have to go to Lowes in those days, there were trees for the taking.  But the technology of iron tools was new and expensive.  This led to occasional problems.

And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.  Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye.  And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go.  So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.  But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.  2 Kings 6:1-5

Iron was valuable, so the axe was more equal to a chain saw today.  It had a value, but Elisha wanted to emphasize spiritual values.  Without ignoring the material need he made a demonstration of the supernatural mission they were on.  They will need the spiritual understanding soon.

And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.  Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.  Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.  And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.  And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.  2 Kings 6:6-10

Now perhaps they could have the mind of God for the greater threat of a war coming to them.  Elisha was getting warnings in the spiritual realm about natural plans of their enemy.  The king of Syria could not keep a secret from the king of Israel.  Jehoram was still the king of Israel, and he enjoyed some grace in this time.  The security leak is bothering the king of Syria though.

Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?  And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.  And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.  Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.  And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?  2 Kings 6:11-15

So the king of Syria learned about the power of prophesy, but didn’t respect it.  He decided to send a little spy mission of his own.  He prepared a trap for Elisha in Dothan as they slept.  Elisha’s servant understands the military threat, but he only sees the natural situation.

And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.  And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.  And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.  And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.  And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.  2 Kings 6:16-20

When I became a Christian I was able to see and hear the demonic influence around us.  I also discovered the demonstration of greater power that the host of heaven exercised over the darkness.  We may not see the representation of armies, but we see the dependable deliverance of the power of God.  Even as the godly gain sight, the enemy is losing theirs.  The mercy of God allows this enemy to see their real situation, and to be saved.  King Jehohram is still prepared to offer the carnal warfare response though.

And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?  And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.  And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.  And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria.  And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.  2 Kings 6:21-25

Benhadad has no spiritual vision, and he can’t stop looking for trouble.  He didn’t attack Israel directly, but went against the territory of Samaria.  This is still part of Israel, and Jehoram is defending the city.  They are eating donkey skulls and bird droppings now!

And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.  And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?  And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.  So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.  And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh.  2 Kings 6:26-30

Even Jehoram can recognize the horror of this situation.  Women are complaining about a betrayal of a foolish covenant more than the horror of eating their own children!  This is a symptom of the deep spiritual failure that permeated Israel at this time.  People who lack faith see the natural threat to be greater than the spiritual threat.  Surviving this life is more important to them than seeing the eternal life.  They are calling God a liar.  Their mind is inverted; upside down to the mind of Christ.

Jehoram sees the horror, but he doesn’t understand properly who is to blame.  Rather than acknowledging the sin of Israel, he blames the man of God.  He is really blaming God for these conditions.  Is this not similar to the Nazis blaming the Jews for their economic problems?  Will we see such conditions again in our time?

Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.  But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?  And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?  2 Kings 6:31-33

Again Elisha is warned of the threat against his life.  He will escape, but Jehoram will not.  His time of grace with God will run out shortly.  Have you noticed that the scriptures have not named the king of Israel by name for a couple of chapters now?

BOUNDLESS LOVE

Leave a comment

WARNINGS

I pointed out that godly men endure some of the same trials as the world around us.  But we should consider a warning when God uses the world around us to render judgment.  God can find friends among the people we may consider enemies. 

Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.  And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife.  And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.  And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.  And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.  2 Kings 5:1-5

Syria has fought Israel because God is not saving the Jews from their own sin.  Now God has found a faithful man among the Syrians to help deliver a message to Israel.  But he must first get help from Elisha of Israel.  The news is not reassuring to the king of Israel.

And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.  And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy?  wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.  And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.  So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.  And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.  2 Kings 5:6-10

Elisha rebukes the king for his lack of faith and calls on him to send the Syrian for healing.  The instructions are simple enough, but not a religious as Naaman is expecting.

But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.  Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.  And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?  Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.  And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.  2 Kings 5:11-15

Servants know enough about humility to encourage Naaman to overcome his p[ride and indulge the simple washing.  The healing is dramatic enough to send Naaman back to thank Elisha.  Elisha will not take a reward, but offers a pardon for the idolatry that Naaman must allow in his own land.

But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.  And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules’ burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD.  In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.  And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.  But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.  2 Kings 5:16-20

Gehazi is not following the example of his shepherd when he seeks a part of the rewards.  He isn’t taking it for himself alone, but it is not to be allowed.

So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well?  And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.  And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him.  And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.  2 Kings 5:21-24

Now if Naaman took the goods for the sons of the prophets, why did he store the goods and let the men go on their way?  Ow did he just invent the sons of the prophets to justify the lie he told about being sent by Elisha?  Well Elisha knew, and had an answer waiting for Gehazi. 

But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.  And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?  The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.  2 Kings 5:25-27

Today we see China as an enemy, taking our unskilled manufacturing jobs and threatening potential military actions.  I engaged Chinese troops in Vietnam.  In 1999 we were beginning to see a different picture of China as our economy began to drag theirs down with us.  This documentary shows vacant factories and widespread unemployment even at that time.   http://www.hulu.com/watch/91553/vanguard-outsourcing-unemployment#s-p2-so-i0

We may be shocked to find that God has friends in China today.  I know missionaries over there now.  The government estimates 10-13 million as being Christians.  Church estimates may range as high as 50 million though.  In America we may only have 76 million committed Christians now.  As persecution strengthens the church we may see a reversal over the coming years. 

We are going to have more contact with the rest of the world in the future.  We need to have confidence of having a prophet or two left here, and welcome interest in our faith.  We should take care not to offend new friends, but still offer the truth in its simplicity.  God speaks to others to encourage their first steps of growth. 

Israel and Judah went on to face destruction by the Syrians and Babylonians later.  The kings of Babylon and Persia would become his new friends for that season.  We should tune our spiritual ears to seek God rather than material gain in the changing times ahead of us now.  The kingdom of God has no political boundaries; he owns it all.

LIFE TRAIL

1 Comment

REMEMBERANCE

When the nation follows Baal, the believers are living in that same world.  There are trials for everyone when sin is the popular way.  We need to be in the world even if we are not of the world.  The world needs to see that we have a different hope.  A godly man will also have debt, and death is part of life.  But eternal life is also eternal assurance.

Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.  And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.  Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.  And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.  So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.  2 Kings 4:1-5

One of the prophets will watch from his place near God as his family will see the confirmation of his faith.  His wife knew where to find help, and Elisha knows her source.  Again the natural woman has to act by faith, taking a step to provide for the unseen answer.  Her sons bring the neighbors jars and she prepares to pour out her last material possession to her neighbors.  The oil was not depleted, and they found life. 

And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.  Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.  And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread.  And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.  Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.  2 Kings 4:6-10

We too have oil to offer if we give the oil to our world.  The Holy Spirit is represented as the oil of anointing.  In acts Peter describes the anointing of Jesus even as Saul anointed the kings before him.

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.  Acts 10:38

As believers we have only a small anointing of the Holy Spirit, but our life experience is the testimony that inspires others to draw close to God in crisis.  Whatever your crisis is, your experience and faith are the oil of the Holy Ghost to revive your needy neighbors.

Elisha has received comfort from another woman, and she prepares to make him more welcome.  Can we provide comfort to those who feed our flock?  Do our pastors and evangelists find comfort in their outreach?  The late Dr. Ben David Lew provided “The Hope of Israel” as a mission and television outreach to Jews for Messiah in the Detroit area for many years.  After his retirement many supporters faded from their good works.  I do know that he continued to minister in his retirement home and showed great appreciation to those who remembered the man of God.  Elisha also remembered these kindnesses.

And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there.  And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him.  And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.  And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old.  And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door.  2 Kings 4:11-15

Did he send flowers?  Or perhaps a gift certificate for the mall?  We need something from a God who cares to send the very best.

And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.  And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.  And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers.  And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother.  And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.  2 Kings 4:16-20

So you want a hobby during your retirement years?  How about adding a nursery to your home?  At least he didn’t send triplets!  But this new life is still in this world, and it seems a bit fickle.  How hard could it be to have a life given, only to watch it fade away in your arms?  This woman has experience to draw from now, and she expects help.  She knows the source of hope.

And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out.  And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.  And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.  Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee.  So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite:  2 Kings 4:21-25

Her husband wonders if there is a gift from God on an ordinary day.  He expects God to keep the holy days, but perhaps not the need of the moment.  She is not doubting, and tells the driver to put the pedal to the metal.  Elisha recognizes her intense approach.

Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well:  And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.  Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?  Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child.  And the mother of the child said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.  2 Kings 4:26-30

The servant was sent ahead, but she reported to him that all was well.  Elisha sensed a problem though even without a word from God.  He sent her home with instructions to place his staff on the dead boy.  She didn’t question his instructions.

And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked.  And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.  He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD.  And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands:  and stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.  Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.  2 Kings 4:31-35

The staff made no apparent difference, and Elisha came behind them.  He prayed and lay on the child, and the boy revived.  Her faith is rewarded, and Elisha goes on about his business. 

And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son.  Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.  And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.  And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.  So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.  2 Kings 4:36-40

The prophets prepare a meal, and someone is not aware of a deadly ingredient.  Food poisoning is painful and lingering, so there is some serious distress in this camp.

But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.  And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.  And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.  So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD.  2 Kings 4:41-44

Meal, or grain is not a known cure, although it turns soup into stew.  With God it can serve as the medium for a miracle though.  Another brings bread, but not enough for a large group.  Elisha sets the stage for the works of Jesus by making this small contribution serve the large group.  As with the widow earlier, his contribution was small in his eyes, but great in the service of God. 

It’s easy to despair at the tsunami of sin that is washing our world away today.  Like Israel and Judah, we see the division of the church and Israel preventing healing.  How can they not see the promises of Messiah so clearly foreshadowed in both testaments?  How can Christians deny that we too are Jews by adoption?  We can ask for help, but he has demonstrated that our help comes in giving the strength that we have to the people in need around us.  They need our faith, not our loaves or fishes.  But we give that small gift to demonstrate the greater gift that we draw from.  We trust a provider to restore our offering.  We report for duty in war confident of the peace that is ours in any natural situation. 

Years ago I found myself unable to contribute to the building fund of Westland Full Gospel Church in Michigan.  I was an auto designer, and a fan of Jeep type vehicles.  On my way home from work I noticed a really interesting utility vehicle, and recognized it as a new prototype.  In Detroit one may glimpse new cars before they are in production if the engineer takes it on the public roads for testing. 

The vehicle was speeding, so I lost sight of it for a while.  Then I saw it on the shoulder with the hood up.  This is funny when the engineer takes the prize toy out and breaks it.  I stopped to offer help because there were no cell phones back then.  (They didn’t have cell phone cameras to take spy photos with either!)  I gave him a tract from our church and took him to a gas station for help before I left.

A couple of Sundays later our pastor announced that the church had a generous donation from a vice-president of American Motors Corporation.  I had not met an ordinary engineer after all.  The vehicle was the prototype of the Jeep Cherokee that redefined the SUV market that year.  A small investment from available resources can go a long way.

I was taught by Dr. Lew and other Messianic teachers.  Many great churches have kept me afloat in the storms of life.  My late wife gave unconditional love to her family.  I may not have a mega-ministry today, but we have this bread of life.  If you find the words of the bible helpful, pass them to friends in person or electronically.  His word is him; “I am”.

BLOOD ON THE WATER

Leave a comment

PART CREDIT

Well it is hard to fail every exam.  Eventually even Israel begins to improve a little, going from an “E” grade to a “D“ at least.  This new king Jehoram is a son of Ahab, but not quite as bad.  He got rid of Baal at least.  He wasn’t bad enough to satisfy his father’s old friend the king of Moab though.

Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years.  And he wrought evil in the sight of the LORD; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made.  Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.  And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool.  But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.  2 Kings 3:1-5

This time Jehoram sized up his army and decided to ask the kig of Judah for help again.  Jehoshaphat was willing in spite of the lessons he learned from Ahab. 

And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel.  And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses.  And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.  So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days’ journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them.  And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!  2 Kings 3:6-10

Unlike Jehoram, Jehoshaphat was not jumping…to conclusions.  OK, there was a dry spell and it impressed Jehoram as a bad sign.  Alas!  God is going to get even with me by getting us defeated again.  Jehosaphat has the right answer as usual.  By now the new king of Israel has opened his mind to other answers than Baal.  They get good advice.

But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.  And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.  And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.  And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.  But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.  2 Kings 3:11-15

Wow; Elisha is not happy to see the king of Israel.  Jehoram confirms his lack of faith with the negative accusation that God is out to defeat them.    But Elisha acknowledges the faith of Jehoshaphat and prepares to hear from god.  Perhaps the music was to calm him after the unbelief of Jehoram.

And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches.  For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.  And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.  And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.  And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.  2 Kings 3:16-20

God honored their need for water for the armies.  Now he goes on to perform a miracle by a mirage.  First he sent water, then he gave it color.  We have seen a lot of color in the skies of Arizona.  The Moabites minds trick them into the rest.

And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armour, and upward, and stood in the border.  And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood:  And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil.  And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country.  And they beat down the cities, and on every good piece of land cast every man his stone, and filled it; and they stopped all the wells of water, and felled all the good trees: only in Kirharaseth left they the stones thereof; howbeit the slingers went about it, and smote it.  And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through even unto the king of Edom: but they could not.  Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt offering upon the wall. And there was great indignation against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to their own land.  2 Kings 3:21-27

The appearance of blood was an illusion, but the minds of the deluded are not asking questions.  One may wonder how today’s leaders could go in where obvious disaster is waiting.  Leaders misread signals and challenge more powerful enemies, or underestimate the power of revolutions.  Dictators and criminals are discovered in their hiding places and destroyed.  Hope only lives in faith in the living God. 

This test produced a passing grade, and Jehoshaphat was not betrayed this time.  Israel and Judah partnered with their old enemy Edom and all were blessed.  They got good direction first this time though.  This is a lesson the scriptures contribute to our education.  The good news is that this is an open book exam.  So open it!

ENTRANCE EXAM

Leave a comment

TESTING 1,2,3

Life is always testing us.  Do you remember a silly song that claimed that “school’s out forever”?  It’s just getting started kid!  I went on to college, army, and computer drafting classes.  Later I graduated from a truck driving school.  The internet provides continuing education and new discoveries every day.  But one test is the ultimate goal of this life; the entrance exam to eternal life.

Elijah was a mentor, a teacher of that spiritual knowledge.  Elisha was chosen to replace Elijah, and that time is drawing near.  There is a little testing still to be done along the way.

And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.  And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.  And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.  And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.  2 Kings 2:1-4

The whole world seems to know that Elijah will go with the Lord today.  We see right off that a whirlwind (a tornado?) is his intended exit path.  The prophets seem distressed at this prospect, and offer a warning. 

And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.  And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.  And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.  And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.  2 Kings 2:5-8

Elisha has no intention of missing his blessing though, and will not leave.  In the New Testament the prophets tried to warn Paul away from his destiny too.  The man of God is not afraid to walk the path that God has for him though. 

And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.  And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.  And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.  Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.  Acts 21:10-13

Elijah sees that Elisha will continue on the path, and asks what he wants to receive from God.

And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.  And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.  And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.  And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.  2 Kings 2:9-12

It is hard for man to deliver this promise, but God can do this.  Elijah assures Elijah that there is a possibility.  Indeed the event of his departure is seen by Elisha, and he is duly impressed.  This was a stunning visual event, and Elisha is emboldened to believe God for his blessing.

He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;  And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.  And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.  2 Kings 2:13-15

The people of God know the anointing, and recognize it on Elisha.  They think they need to help if Elijah did not go up.  They speculate that God may have dropped Elijah’s body back to earth. 

And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send.  And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not.  And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?  2 Kings 2:16-18

If Elisha was shamed, these men are more so for believing that God might have let Elijah fall.  They see dry places where God will have living water.

And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren.  And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him.  And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.  So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.  2 Kings 2:19-22

There are believers who are still only part way along in their faith lessons.  Elisha’s bold example serves to encourage their hope until their experience keeps them on the path of faith.  This life is an entrance exam for the next life, and we build towards that final exam.  As Elijah mentored Elisha, He now demonstrates the power of faith for those prophets to build on.  He displays the power that is available in God, and the fear of God will manifest in his life.

And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.  And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.  And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.  2 Kings 2:23-25

The idea that God would kill innocent children seems shocking.  But these children showed disrespect to the prophet that the prophets themselves revered.  They were determined to be not innocent, but guilty of irreverence to the man and to his God.  The cruelty of children would probably only have matured into real evil as the adults of the land were already demonstrating.  The sins of the fathers were cascading downhill through their generations. 

Those who missed the lessons of Jesus will have a makeup exam.  The people of the Old Testament will be visited by Yeshua after his crucifixion, and he will offer salvation to those who will believe in him at that time.  So don’t get too grieved over apparent failures for this class.  This is not their final exam yet, and Israel will have a few good days before then.  Elisha will be able to be their mentor along the way.

AIR POWER

Leave a comment

B-52 BOMBING; MASSIVE DESTRUCTION

WRONG NUMBER

We just learned that Ahaziah will rule Israel as his father had, a true son of Ahab and Jezebel.  As the sins of the fathers are visited on the generations that follow, Ahaziah is already in trouble, and turning to the wrong source.  It doesn’t matter, because God knows where this is going, and is already sending an answer.  Ahaziah calls for help and gets a wrong number.

Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.  And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.  But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron?  Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.  2 Kings 1:1-4

The messengers take the message of Elijah instead of going to the prophets of Baal.  The king doesn’t understand why they are back so soon from their assignment.  He won’t like their answer though.

And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back?  And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that thou sendest to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.  And he said unto them, What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words?  And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.  Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.  2 Kings 1:5-9

Ahaziah is a man of action, and sends a military force to bring the prophet to the king.  They issue a demand and Elijah also responds with action to their threat.  If their report is true, a man of God has help from God, and they soon see this to be true.

And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.  Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly.  And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.  And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight.  Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.  2 Kings 1:10-14

One hundred soldiers were destroyed by the kind of fire that had consumed offerings and rocks before.  There must have been some witnesses, because the third commander came in humility, asking for mercy.  This was the man that God found to be trustworthy, and he sent Elijah with him. 

And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.  And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to enquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.  So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son.  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?  2 Kings 1:15-18

Elijah is not a Levite, nor the High Priest of Jerusalem.  He is not a king nor is he a military commander.  He is a man of God, willing to listen, to change, and to obey God.  Are you of God?  I have heard God give me a clear premonition of an event that unfolded the same day.  I know that he still does his job.  I have not always been swift to change or to obey God.  On those occasions when I have, I have witnessed his salvation being poured out to others.  God is available to “Whosoever will”, anyone who is willing.

If we see the speedometer climb too high, we willingly back off.  We can repent of a sin we recognize at any point in our day.  We are not perfect at every instant, but we are willing to change, to obey.  We can pray for those we fail, even though this is often the long way when compared to the faithful path. 

If I can be angry and sin not, I can witness the work of God clearing my way.  I have offered salvation to an obscene caller at 2 am, and found repentance in that person.  I have offered to overlook a theft and seen the individual accept Jesus.  Far greater works have been marking the testimony of Christians through the ages.  We may be weary at times, as Elijah too was fatigued for a season.  But we can be encouraged to rest and resume, not being weary in good works.

If we can maintain a relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in prayer, bible study, and Christian fellowship, we can overcome.  You may not be an ordained pastor, but you can be a man of woman of God.  As one with God, we can be an army, navy, and air force of one.

Older Entries