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Tag Archives: love

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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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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Israel, God’s Vineyard

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord3His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; 4but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. (11:1-5, NRSV)

A shoot will come out of Jesse and a branch will grow from its roots.

That shoot was David and the branch led to Jesus. You see this is a part of the story of God and part of your story.

God planned back before Jesse, that David would be a great king and through his lineage, the Messiah would be born. The Messiah would have understanding and might, and knowledge and fear of the Lord. The Messiah would be what the people needed, not what they wanted, but what they needed.

Were we ready for the Messiah, are you ready now?

 

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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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God’s Beloved Children

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and offering incense to idols. 3Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. 4I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them. 5They shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. 6The sword rages in their cities, it consumes their oracle-priests, and devours because of their schemes. 7My people are bent on turning away from me. To the Most High they call, but he does not raise them up at all. 8How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. 9I will not execute my fierce anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and no mortal, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath. (Hosea 11:1-9, NRSV)

Have you ever wanted your child to do something and the more you ask them or tell them or advise them to do it a certain way, they keep going about it their own way?

God does that with us every day. And if a parent ever had the right to smite a child, I think that would be God. Because we are obstinate. We do our own thing in our own ways all the time.

Yet God is always there, tender in heart and ready to love us.

God will never leave us nor forsake us. God is the loving holy parent we all need.

Remember that no matter where you go or what you do, God is always there waiting for you to turn into God’s arms!

 

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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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