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Tag Archives: God

The Assyrians Challenge God

28Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. 30Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 31Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat from your own vine and your own fig tree, and drink water from your own cistern, 32until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive oil and honey, that you may live and not die. Do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us. 33Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered its land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 34Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 35Who among all the gods of the countries have delivered their countries out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’” 36But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” 37Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of the Rabshakeh. (2 Kings 18:28-37, NRSV)

Who do you believe, God or others?

Who is it easier to believe?

We are pulled in many different directions and it is hard to know who to trust, and sometimes God seems so far away that we aren’t sure we can actually trust God.

But God is sometimes the only one we can trust. So never lose trust in God.

 

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The Assyrian Attack

13In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14King Hezekiah of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” The king of Assyria demanded of King Hezekiah of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts that King Hezekiah of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria. 17The king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. 18When they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder. (2 Kings 18:13-18, NRSV)

When you need something do you steal it from someone else?

Hezekiah took the money that Sennacherib asked for from the Temple of God. He stole it so he didn’t look in his own storehouses to find the requested tribute but took it from God.

How often do we steal from God?

What have you stolen from God?

 

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King Hezekiah Reigns

In the third year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, Hezekiah son of King Ahaz of Judah began to reign. 2He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi daughter of Zechariah. 3He did what was right in the sight of the Lord just as his ancestor David had done. 4He removed the high places, broke down the pillars, and cut down the sacred pole. He broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it; it was called Nehushtan. 5He trusted in the Lord the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him. 6For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following him but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. 7The Lord was with him; wherever he went, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. 8He attacked the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city. (2 Kings 18:1-8, NRSV)

Do you follow after God?

Are you a man or woman of the Lord?

Do you take down things that do not bring glory to God?

But here is the real question, how do we do this in a modern pluralistic society where we are told to get along with those that are different from us? We can not just go around taking down other denominations or religion’s places of worship. But we can focus our lives on following after where God is leading us and loving our neighbor. In doing that we are removing the high places from our lives and focusing on the author and perfector of our faith.

Follow God and make God first in your life. Then love your neighbor/

 

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Jehu Anointed King of Israel

Then the prophet Elisha called a member of the company of prophets and said to him, “Gird up your loins; take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead. 2When you arrive, look there for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi; go in and get him to leave his companions, and take him into an inner chamber. 3Then take the flask of oil, pour it on his head, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee; do not linger.” 4So the young man, the young prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead. 5He arrived while the commanders of the army were in council, and he announced, “I have a message for you, commander.” “For which one of us?” asked Jehu. “For you, commander.” 6So Jehu got up and went inside; the young man poured the oil on his head, saying to him, “Thus says the Lord the God of Israel: I anoint you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel. 7You shall strike down the house of your master Ahab, so that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord8For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; I will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. 9I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. 10The dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and no one shall bury her.” Then he opened the door and fled. (2 Kings 9:1-10, NRSV)

Go and anoint one of the generals of Ahab’s armies as the new king of Israel. But do not linger after you have done it, because Jezebel will have you killed. Sometimes God sends us like sheep into the wolves and has us do things that are dangerous for us to undertake. God does this to help us trust God.

Do you trust God to watch over you in everything you do and to guide you?

 

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The Miracle of the Widow’s Oil

Now the wife of a member of the company of prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead; and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but a creditor has come to take my two children as slaves.” 2Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” She answered, “Your servant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil.” 3He said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not just a few. 4Then go in, and shut the door behind you and your children, and start pouring into all these vessels; when each is full, set it aside.” 5So she left him and shut the door behind her and her children; they kept bringing vessels to her, and she kept pouring. 6When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” But he said to her, “There are no more.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your children can live on the rest.” (2 Kings 4:1-7, NRSV)

Have you ever been in need of something and you didn’t know how it was going to work? I remember a friend of mine talking about paying his tuition for seminary one semester. He didn’t have the funds and it was due and he wasn’t sure how to handle it. He went to the financial aid office in terror of what would happen and what they would say because the payment needed to be made but there was no way he could make it. As he started to speak, the person asked if he had checked his mailbox that day yet, he said no and she replied, “go check your mail.” Upon checking his mail there was a note stating his bill had been paid. The person who paid it didn’t want to be known, but that is the way God works.

I remember my first semester at seminary we had an 18 month old and a 1 month old at Christmas and not many funds for presents. But there was a knock on our door one morning and when I opened the door there was a huge wheeled rubber made container full fo presents, and not just for our girls, but for my wife, and me and eve for our dog. We still don’t know who gave us this stuff but that is how God works. When we need it, God has it there.

God will always provide for us.

 

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Elisha’s Prophetic Power

13He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over. 15When the company of prophets who were at Jericho saw him at a distance, they declared, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” They came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16They said to him, “See now, we have fifty strong men among your servants; please let them go and seek your master; it may be that the spirit of the Lord has caught him up and thrown him down on some mountain or into some valley.” He responded, “No, do not send them.” 17But when they urged him until he was ashamed, he said, “Send them.” So they sent fifty men who searched for three days but did not find him. 18When they came back to him (he had remained at Jericho), he said to them, “Did I not say to you, Do not go?”  19Now the people of the city said to Elisha, “The location of this city is good, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.” 20He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21Then he went to the spring of water and threw the salt into it, and said, “Thus says the Lord, I have made this water wholesome; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” 22So the water has been wholesome to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke. (2 Kings 2:13-22, NRSV)

Elisha saw Elijah go up into heaven so he got a double portion of his spirit, and the power God had given Elijah rested with Elisha.

Why do we go looking for things we know we will not find? What is something you have looked for you knew you would not find? Sometimes we seek things we think we want or need and we do not actually need them. We may still want them. But it is not what we need. When I was in the call process looking for my current call, I wanted several of the calls I was interviewing for. I was always looking at the openings to see what is available and where I could possibly go. I thought I could find the best call, but it wasn’t until a call came out of the blue from an area I wasn’t even looking at, and that is where God needed me.

We should fix our eyes on what God has for us and let that happen, and not think we know better.

 

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Elijah Ascends to Heaven

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 3The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent.” 4Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. 5The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be silent.” 6Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. 7Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground. 9When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” 10He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” 11As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. (2 Kings 2:1-12, NRSV)

Elijah did not die, he was taken from this place in a chariot of fire. God took him to be with God.

And Elisha took his place after he mourned the loss of his mentor. Even though Elisha knew that Elijah was with God he still mourned the loss, because he missed Elijah.

We can take from this that we can watch over our loved ones but they will not defeat death, yet we can rest in the promise that Christ beat death and we are sure of that promise and we will see our loved ones again.

Believe it and trust in it.

We will all ascend to be with God.

 

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