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Elijah and Ahaziah

After the death of Ahab, Moab rebelled against Israel. 2Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria, and lay injured; so he sent messengers, telling them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury.” 3But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Get up, go 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?’ 4Now therefore thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not leave the bed to which you have gone, but you shall surely die.’” So Elijah went. 5The messengers returned to the king, who said to them, “Why have you returned?” 6They answered him, “There came a man to meet us, who said to us, ‘Go back 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 leave the bed to which you have gone, but shall surely die.’” 7He said to them, “What sort of man was he who came to meet you and told you these things?” 8They answered him, “A hairy man, with a leather belt around his waist.” He said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.” (2 Kings 1:1-8, NRSV)

We seek answers from places we should not seek.

We look for help from places we should not look.

We ask for guidance from people who should not guide.

Why do we not trust in the Lord our God? The one who made us and created us in the image of God?

Why do we trust others, when we can not trust God?

Do you trust God, or do you seek the help of others?

 

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God is A Rock of Refuge

1In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.
2In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me.
3Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
4Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
5For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
6Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.
7I have been like a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge.
8My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all day long.
9Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent.
10For my enemies speak concerning me, and those who watch for my life consult together.
11They say, “Pursue and seize that person whom God has forsaken, for there is no one to deliver.”
(Psalm 71:1-11, NRSV)

When I got ready to write this post, I searched for an image as I always do, by highlighting the verse and right clicking and finding the option to search swagbucks.com for Psalm 71:1-11 in this case. Well, my search turned up nothing. No pictures, so then I had to figure out what to do next, so I reread the passage and thought what word sticks out to me as I read this. Hope. This passage speaks to me of where my trust is, where my hope lies. God has and always will be there for me. So I highlighted hope, and right clicked, with my mouse, and found “search swagbucks.com for hope”. And I thought wow, how many of us search for hope every day?

How many of us are looking for a glimmer, a little bit of light to attach our lives to? How many of are searching for something to keep us going?

We wonder how we can go on sometimes and here the psalmist tells us, our trust and our hope should be in God because God will not let us down.

So where do you look for hope?

 

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Lost Son

11Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’ 20So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:11-24, NRSV)

This is known as the Prodigal Son or as this blog is titled The Lost Son.

But is this story really about the son? I mean the son is a player in the story. But I would say the son is not the one who the story is about. The story starts, “There was a man who had two sons.” Not there was a man who had an older brother and a father. But there was a man who had two sons. So the story is about the father and the extravagant love that the father has for his children. And the lengths to which the father will go for his children.

I image the father in this story to be like Marlin from Finding Nemo. Going to the ends of the ocean to find his son.

God loves you and God’s grace will never end.

 

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Lost Sheep, Lost Coin

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3So he told them this parable: 4“Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 8“Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:1-10, NRSV)

This chapter is about lost things. Things that someone has lost and how they can be found.

It is also sometimes known for being about repentance.

If it is about repentance, how does a sheep repent and how does a coin repent?

You see I want to say these stories are not about the sheep or the coin. They are major players in the story but they are not the main ones.

The first story is about you and the second one is about a woman. They are about the people that lost the things. The shepherd, or you, look high and low for the sheep that wondered off leaving the rest of the flock to fend for each other. And the woman turns the house over looking for the lost coin.

How far would you go to find something you lost?

And what would you do once it is found?

 

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Jethro’s Advice

The next day Moses sat as judge for the people, while the people stood around him from morning until evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?” Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make known to them the statutes and instructions of God.” Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Now listen to me. I will give you counsel, and God be with you! You should represent the people before God, and you should bring their cases before God; teach them the statutes and instructions and make known to them the way they are to go and the things they are to do. You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set such men over them as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Let them sit as judges for the people at all times; let them bring every important case to you, but decide every minor case themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people will go to their home in peace.” So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men from all Israel and appointed them as heads over the people, as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. And they judged the people at all times; hard cases they brought to Moses, but any minor case they decided themselves. Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went off to his own country. (Exodus 18:13-27, NRSV)

You don’t have to do it alone!

God created us to work with each other and use our gifts for the betterment of all society.

So understand the advice of Jethro and find some people who can help you. They are all around you, if you will only look you will find them.

So know you don’t have to go this alone!

 

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The Boy Jesus in the Temple

Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor. (Luke 2:41-52, NRSV)

Why did you have to look? Did you not know I would be in my Father’s house?

Jesus was teaching in the temple at age 12 with authority the Pharisees did not have or understand. He was amazing everyone with His grasp on who God is.

Do we want to know all of the answers?

Or can we live in the knowledge that our Father has all the answers?

Do we look for Jesus?

Or do we think we know where to find Him?

 

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God Calls David

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah. (1 Samuel 16:1-13, NRSV)

Do not look on the outward appearance but look where God looks, on the heart!

You see we get hung up on what we can see and God looks beyond the outward appearance and sees the heart of the person.

Funny though how the description of David says he had beautiful eyes and was handsome. Even though it doesn’t matter what the outward appearance is, God will know your intentions and will use you for His good if your heart is following Him.

 

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