3267.) 2 Kings 13

October 26, 2021

The hand bones of St. John the Baptist, on display at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. In the text today we read that Elisha’s dead bones brought a man back to life, a story often cited as one of the earliest sources to show the efficacy of relics. I have seen John the Baptist’s head in the Church of San Silvestro in Capite in Rome. But Amiens Cathedral in France also claims to have his head! As if that were not enough, Muslims believe his head lies inside the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria. You can figure it out!

2 Kings 13   (NIV)

Jehoahaz King of Israel

In the twenty-third year of Joash son of Ahaziah king of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned seventeen years. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD by following the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit, and he did not turn away from them. 3 So the LORD’s anger burned against Israel, and for a long time he kept them under the power of Hazael king of Aram and Ben-Hadad his son.

4 Then Jehoahaz sought the LORD’s favor, and the LORD listened to him, for he saw how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel. 5 The LORD provided a deliverer for Israel, and they escaped from the power of Aram. So the Israelites lived in their own homes as they had before.

Shades of the book of Judges! Remember the “sin cycle” Israel fell into? The Walk Thru the Old Testament seminar explains it this way:  Sin (always idolatry) — servitude  (by neighboring tribes who worshiped false gods) — supplication (when all else fails, pray!) — salvation (at the hands of a military leader, known as a judge) — silence (peace for a time). Here is the same pattern, with a nameless deliverer, bless him!

6 But they did not turn away from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit; they continued in them. Also, the Asherah pole remained standing in Samaria.

7 Nothing had been left of the army of Jehoahaz except fifty horsemen, ten chariots and ten thousand foot soldiers, for the king of Aram had destroyed the rest and made them like the dust at threshing time.

8 As for the other events of the reign of Jehoahaz, all he did and his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 9 Jehoahaz rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Jehoash his son succeeded him as king.

Jehoash King of Israel

10 In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash son of Jehoahaz became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned sixteen years. 11 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he continued in them.

12 As for the other events of the reign of Jehoash, all he did and his achievements, including his war against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 13 Jehoash rested with his ancestors, and Jeroboam succeeded him on the throne. Jehoash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

14 Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”

“Dear friends, let us seek so to live that even ungodly men may miss us when we are gone.”
–C. H. Spurgeon

15 Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. 16 “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands.

2k13-arrow

17 “Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The LORD’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”

18 Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”

When I was in my mid-teens, I played on an organized baseball team. Generally I played first base, but occasionally I was directed to a position in the outfield. Although I was far from being a superstar, I had a lot of fun, and I always gave the game my very best effort.

After all these years, one particular game is still vivid in my mind. I was in the unfamiliar position of centerfielder when a long fly ball was hit over my head. I turned backward and ran as fast as I could, pushing with every muscle in my body to position myself so I could snag that ball. At the last moment I reached out as far as I could, and — wonder of wonders — I caught it! Of all the surprised people on the field that day, I undoubtedly was the most surprised of all!

Amazing things can happen when we give our best. In our text today, however, King Jehoash did not give that kind of effort. Jehoash was visiting the Prophet Elisha, who was on his death bed, and Elisha instructed the king to do a couple of unusual things. First, they together shot an arrow out of the open window. Elisha explained that this was prophetic of how God would deliver the Israelites from their oppressor, the Syrians. Next, Jehoash was instructed to take a handful of arrows and hit them against the ground, symbolic of Israel thrusting down Syria. Instead of following through vigorously, however, Jehoash responded in a half-hearted manner. By responding in this way, he forfeited the opportunity to win lasting victory over Syria. Israel would win some individual victories, but long-term peace would be denied them.

Today, we can learn a lesson from Jehoash’s half-heartedness. Whatever God asks us to do, let us be sure to do it with all of our might. Let’s not stop with a cursory effort, but invest ourselves wholeheartedly! We will receive the blessing for seizing that golden opportunity and speaking up at the right time, or for remaining on our knees in prayer a little longer — until the answer comes!

Our best may not seem like much, but it is of great value in God’s eyes! Let’s determine today to give it to God — in whatever we do. In the long run, we will be glad that we did.

–unknown

20 Elisha died and was buried.

_________________________

Music:

Recently I attended the funeral of a friend of mine. Linda was only 61 and died of cancer. But as the pastor said at her service, “It took her life, but never her spirit and faith.” She did not lose her belief in the efficacy of prayer and the goodness of God. She knew Christ had prepared a place for her and she found comfort in that. Like Elisha, Linda leaves behind a legacy of faith in God and obedience to her Lord. She is a model for me, and I look forward to seeing her lovely smile again in Heaven.

HERE  is Steve Green and “Find Us Faithful.”

_________________________

Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.

“The Tomb of Elisha” by David C. Hancock, 2005

22 Hazael king of Aram oppressed Israel throughout the reign of Jehoahaz. 23 But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.

24 Hazael king of Aram died, and Ben-Hadad his son succeeded him as king. 25 Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz recaptured from Ben-Hadad son of Hazael the towns he had taken in battle from his father Jehoahaz. Three times Jehoash defeated him, and so he recovered the Israelite towns.

_________________________

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
St. John’s hand.    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lehrjntsQI1qahuhjo1_500.jpg
sin cycle diagram.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2021/10/2a761-cycle.jpg
Elisha, the king, the arrow.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/faca5-5.jpg
boy playing baseball.   http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Globe_Photo/2009/06/06/baseball329__1244263489_8364.jpg
Hancock.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/hancock-elisha.jpg

3265.) 2 Kings 12

October 22, 2021

What King Joash was unable to do —

2 Kings 12   (NIV)

Joash Repairs the Temple

1 In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba. 2 Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him.

This implies that when Jehoiada died, Jehoash no longer did what was right in the sight of the Lord. 2 Chronicles 24:15-23 tells us that he turned to idolatry when Jehoiada died, and judgment followed.

3 The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

2Kings12 sin

How they loved their sin! What “high places” are in our lives, that we continue to worship at the cost of our own faithfulness?

4 Joash said to the priests, “Collect all the money that is brought as sacred offerings to the temple of the LORD—the money collected in the census, the money received from personal vows and the money brought voluntarily to the temple. 5 Let every priest receive the money from one of the treasurers, then use it to repair whatever damage is found in the temple.”

The temple needed restoration because it had been vandalized by Athaliah and her sons (2 Chronicles 24:7). And should we wonder at the king’s attention to the temple, when it had been his home during his earliest years?

6 But by the twenty-third year of King Joash the priests still had not repaired the temple. 7 Therefore King Joash summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests and asked them, “Why aren’t you repairing the damage done to the temple? Take no more money from your treasurers, but hand it over for repairing the temple.” 8 The priests agreed that they would not collect any more money from the people and that they would not repair the temple themselves.

9 Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid. He placed it beside the altar, on the right side as one enters the temple of the LORD. The priests who guarded the entrance put into the chest all the money that was brought to the temple of the LORD. 10 Whenever they saw that there was a large amount of money in the chest, the royal secretary and the high priest came, counted the money that had been brought into the temple of the LORD and put it into bags.

11 When the amount had been determined, they gave the money to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. With it they paid those who worked on the temple of the LORD—the carpenters and builders, 12 the masons and stonecutters. They purchased timber and blocks of dressed stone for the repair of the temple of the LORD, and met all the other expenses of restoring the temple.

13 The money brought into the temple was not spent for making silver basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, trumpets or any other articles of gold or silver for the temple of the LORD; 14 it was paid to the workers, who used it to repair the temple. 15 They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty. 16 The money from the guilt offerings and sin offerings was not brought into the temple of the LORD; it belonged to the priests.

So Joash gets to the heart of the problem — not a lack of money, but a lack of good financial management. The temple repairs were completed at no expense to the priests, with trustworthy workers and generous offerings from the people.

17 About this time Hazael king of Aram went up and attacked Gath and captured it. Then he turned to attack Jerusalem. 18 But Joash king of Judah took all the sacred objects dedicated by his predecessors—Jehoshaphat, Jehoram and Ahaziah, the kings of Judah—and the gifts he himself had dedicated and all the gold found in the treasuries of the temple of the LORD and of the royal palace, and he sent them to Hazael king of Aram, who then withdrew from Jerusalem.

Why didn’t he trust God for deliverance? Instead, he traded away sacred treasure for a temporary stay.

19 As for the other events of the reign of Joash, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 20 His officials conspired against him and assassinated him at Beth Millo, on the road down to Silla. 21 The officials who murdered him were Jozabad son of Shimeath and Jehozabad son of Shomer. He died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. And Amaziah his son succeeded him as king.

Joash — his reign began with such promise, and ended with such disgrace.

There are two kinds of mediocre lives:

(1) Those that just never really pursue a godly life. They tolerate sins within and without.

(2) Those that do well for a while. They are motivated, one way or the other, to excel in doing what is right and good. But when that influence is gone, like Jehoiada in Joash’s life, they are easily influenced by others.

_________________________

Music:

Let us learn a lesson from Joash’s negative example not to live a mediocre life! Let us resolve to remain diligently faithful to the end, to honor the Lord in both life and death.

This hymn, about those who finished strong and are now “with angels shining bright,” is one of my Top Five Hymns. It was sung at my mother’s funeral in both English and Norwegian.  “Behold A Host Arrayed in White,”  sung  HERE  by the Mandel Kantori from Norway.

  1. Behold a host, arrayed in white,
    Like thousand snow-clad mountains bright!
    With palms they stand;
    Who is this band
    Before the throne of light?
    Those are the saints of glorious fame,
    Who from the great affliction came
    And in the flood
    Of Jesus’ blood
    Are cleansed from guilt and shame.
    They now serve God both day and night;
    They sing their songs in endless light.
    Their anthems ring
    As they all sing
    With angels shining bright.
  2. Despised and scorned, they sojourned here;
    But now, how glorious they appear!
    Those martyrs stand,
    A priestly band,
    God’s throne forever near.
    On earth they wept through bitter years;
    Now God has wiped away their tears,
    Transformed their strife
    To heav’nly life,
    They now enjoy the Sabbath rest,
    The heav’nly banquet of the blest;
    The Lamb, their Lord,
    At festal board
    Himself is host and guest.
  3. O blessed saints in bright array
    Now safely home in endless day,
    Extol the Lord,
    Who with His Word
    Sustained you on the way.
    The steep and narrow path you trod;
    You toiled and sowed the Word abroad;
    Rejoice and bring
    Your fruits and sing
    Before the throne of God.
    The myriad angels raise their song;
    O saints, sing with that happy throng!
    Lift up one voice;
    Let heav’n rejoice
    In our Redeemer’s song!

_________________________

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Finish strong.    http://stephenwaring.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/finish-strong.jpg
verses 2-3.   https://wellspringchristianministries.org/2-kings-122-3-even-so/
the box at the temple.    http://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/Pictures/Divided%20Kingdom%20Artwork/target0.html

3264.) 2 Kings 11

October 21, 2021

The Boy King, Joash

2 Kings 11   (NIV)

Athaliah and Joash

1 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family.

Athaliah was the daughter of wicked Ahab and Jezebel, and had been given to King Jehoram of Judah as a bride. Both her husband and her son were kings of Judah. New King Jehu had killed her mother and all of Ahab’s line, so Athaliah decided to return the favor and tried to kill all of David’s line.

2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. 3 He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the LORD for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.

2 Chronicles 22:11 tells us that Jehosheba was the wife of Jehoiada, the high priest. Josephus says that the child and his nurse were hidden in a room where spare mattresses were kept!

4 In the seventh year Jehoiada sent for the commanders of units of a hundred, the Carites and the guards and had them brought to him at the temple of the LORD. He made a covenant with them and put them under oath at the temple of the LORD. Then he showed them the king’s son. 5 He commanded them, saying, “This is what you are to do: You who are in the three companies that are going on duty on the Sabbath—a third of you guarding the royal palace, 6 a third at the Sur Gate, and a third at the gate behind the guard, who take turns guarding the temple— 7 and you who are in the other two companies that normally go off Sabbath duty are all to guard the temple for the king. 8 Station yourselves around the king, each of you with weapon in hand. Anyone who approaches your ranks is to be put to death. Stay close to the king wherever he goes.”

Jehoiada chose the Sabbath for the day of the coup, because that was the day when the guards changed their shifts and they could assemble two groups of guards at the temple at the same time without attracting attention.
–David Guzik

9 The commanders of units of a hundred did just as Jehoiada the priest ordered. Each one took his men—those who were going on duty on the Sabbath and those who were going off duty—and came to Jehoiada the priest. 10 Then he gave the commanders the spears and shields that had belonged to King David and that were in the temple of the LORD. 11 The guards, each with weapon in hand, stationed themselves around the king—near the altar and the temple, from the south side to the north side of the temple.

12 Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king.

King George VI on May 12, 1937, United Kingdom

Deuteronomy 17:18 says that the king should have his own copy of the Scriptures, and here we see that Joash got his. This is also the basis for the British practice of presenting the monarch with a copy of the Bible during the coronation service.

They anointed him, and the people clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!”

Josiah is Made King II KIngs 22:1

13 When Athaliah heard the noise made by the guards and the people, she went to the people at the temple of the LORD. 14 She looked and there was the king, standing by the pillar, as the custom was. The officers and the trumpeters were beside the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her robes and called out, “Treason! Treason!”

Remember, the new king is her own grandson!

15 Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops: “Bring her out between the ranks and put to the sword anyone who follows her.” For the priest had said, “She must not be put to death in the temple of the LORD.” 16 So they seized her as she reached the place where the horses enter the palace grounds, and there she was put to death.

Her epitaph could be similar to this one from the Old West:

“He had six bullets but he needed seven.”

OR perhaps something on this order:

Erected to the memory of

John Macfarlane

Drowned in the Waters of Leith

By a few affectionate friends.

OR:

“Here’s all we have to say about her–
The world is better off without her.”

17 Jehoiada then made a covenant between the LORD and the king and people that they would be the LORD’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. 18 All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.

Then Jehoiada the priest posted guards at the temple of the LORD. 19 He took with him the commanders of hundreds, the Carites, the guards and all the people of the land, and together they brought the king down from the temple of the LORD and went into the palace, entering by way of the gate of the guards. The king then took his place on the royal throne. 20 All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the palace.

21 Joash was seven years old when he began to reign.

2k11-joash-crowned

Isaiah 11:6 (ESV)

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “I’m a Child of the King” sung by The Happy Goodmans. I just can’t help it! Every so often I have to have some good old gospel music — and who better than the Goodmans?

_________________________

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
The Boy King.    http://www.bibleschoolresources.net/southernkingdom/joashcrownedking-cp.gif
coronation Bible.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/coronation-bible.jpg
Joash crowned king, priest in red robe.    http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/Pictures/Divided%20Kingdom%20Artwork/images/joash_crowned_king.jpg
tombstone.    http://www.spraypaintstencils.com/a-zlistings/tombstone-stencil.gif
Joash crowned, priest in blue tunic.   http://ubdavid.org/bible/know-your-bible4/graphics/6_joash-crowned.jpg
  http://www.jesuslovesyoutoday.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/2_Kings_11.197151930_std.jpg

3263.) 2 Kings 10

October 20, 2021

2k10-ahab-blood

2 Kings 10   (NIV)

Ahab’s Family Killed

1 Now there were in Samaria seventy sons of the house of Ahab. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria: to the officials of Jezreel, to the elders and to the guardians of Ahab’s children.

These seventy descendants of Ahab are no doubt eager to keep the throne in the family! And they are in the capital city; Jehu is not.

He said, 2 “You have your master’s sons with you and you have chariots and horses, a fortified city and weapons. Now as soon as this letter reaches you, 3 choose the best and most worthy of your master’s sons and set him on his father’s throne. Then fight for your master’s house.”

4 But they were terrified and said, “If two kings could not resist him, how can we?”

Jehu:  he who is to be feared. He had already killed King Joram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah.

5 So the palace administrator, the city governor, the elders and the guardians sent this message to Jehu: “We are your servants and we will do anything you say. We will not appoint anyone as king; you do whatever you think best.”

6 Then Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying, “If you are on my side and will obey me, take the heads of your master’s sons and come to me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow.”

Now the royal princes, seventy of them, were with the leading men of the city, who were rearing them. 7 When the letter arrived, these men took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel.

After the despicable affair of Naboth’s vineyard, Elijah went to King Ahab and announced to him that every male of his descendants would be killed. Ahab repented and God postponed the fulfillment of that promise until the time of Ahab’s son.

8 When the messenger arrived, he told Jehu, “They have brought the heads of the princes.”

Then Jehu ordered, “Put them in two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning.”

9 The next morning Jehu went out. He stood before all the people and said, “You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master and killed him, but who killed all these? 10 Know, then, that not a word the LORD has spoken against the house of Ahab will fail. The LORD has done what he announced through his servant Elijah.” 11 So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab, as well as all his chief men, his close friends and his priests, leaving him no survivor.

This is one of the cases where the term “overkill” really does apply. The prophet Hosea says so:

Hosea 1:4-5 (New Living Translation)

And the Lord said, “Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel’s independence. I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley.”

12 Jehu then set out and went toward Samaria. At Beth Eked of the Shepherds, 13 he met some relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah and asked, “Who are you?”

They said, “We are relatives of Ahaziah, and we have come down to greet the families of the king and of the queen mother.”

14 “Take them alive!” he ordered. So they took them alive and slaughtered them by the well of Beth Eked—forty-two of them. He left no survivor.

15 After he left there, he came upon Jehonadab son of Rekab, who was on his way to meet him. Jehu greeted him and said, “Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?”

“I am,” Jehonadab answered.

“If so,” said Jehu, “give me your hand.” So he did, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot. 16 Jehu said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the LORD.” Then he had him ride along in his chariot.

17 When Jehu came to Samaria, he killed all who were left there of Ahab’s family; he destroyed them, according to the word of the LORD spoken to Elijah.

"The Destruction of the House of Ahab" by Michelangelo, 1511 (Sistine Chapel, Vatican)

“The Destruction of the House of Ahab” by Michelangelo, 1511 (Sistine Chapel, Vatican)

Servants of Baal Killed

18 Then Jehu brought all the people together and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much. 19 Now summon all the prophets of Baal, all his servants and all his priests. See that no one is missing, because I am going to hold a great sacrifice for Baal. Anyone who fails to come will no longer live.” But Jehu was acting deceptively in order to destroy the servants of Baal.

20 Jehu said, “Call an assembly in honor of Baal.” So they proclaimed it. 21 Then he sent word throughout Israel, and all the servants of Baal came; not one stayed away. They crowded into the temple of Baal until it was full from one end to the other. 22 And Jehu said to the keeper of the wardrobe, “Bring robes for all the servants of Baal.” So he brought out robes for them.

23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Rekab went into the temple of Baal. Jehu said to the servants of Baal, “Look around and see that no one who serves the LORD is here with you—only servants of Baal.” 24 So they went in to make sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had posted eighty men outside with this warning: “If one of you lets any of the men I am placing in your hands escape, it will be your life for his life.”

25 As soon as Jehu had finished making the burnt offering, he ordered the guards and officers: “Go in and kill them; let no one escape.” So they cut them down with the sword. The guards and officers threw the bodies out and then entered the inner shrine of the temple of Baal. 26 They brought the sacred stone out of the temple of Baal and burned it. 27 They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day.

“Demolition of the sacred stone of Baal” by Michelangelo, 1511 (Sistine Chapel, Vatican)

28 So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. 29 However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.

He got rid of Baal, but he kept the golden calves. Spurgeon says of Jehu here — “Hating one sin, he loved another.”

30 The LORD said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” 31 Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit.

32 In those days the LORD began to reduce the size of Israel. Hazael overpowered the Israelites throughout their territory 33 east of the Jordan in all the land of Gilead (the region of Gad, Reuben and Manasseh), from Aroer by the Arnon Gorge through Gilead to Bashan.

34 As for the other events of Jehu’s reign, all he did, and all his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

35 Jehu rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son succeeded him as king. 36 The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years.

_________________________

Music:

Time for something a little more uplifting than the deaths of kings and queens and false prophets!  HERE  — Let’s sing about God!

“We Will Glorify,” written and sung by Twila Paris.

_________________________

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Ending Ahab’s Line.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/2k10-michaelangelo.jpg
heads in baskets.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/baskets-of-heads.jpg
Michelangelo — Ahab.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/2k10-michaelangelo.jpg
Michelangelo — Baal.    http://www.wga.hu/art/m/michelan/3sistina/8medalli/03_61ms.jpg

3262.) 2 Kings 9

October 19, 2021

“Queen Jezebel being punished by Jehu” by Andrea Celesti

2 Kings 9   (NIV)

Jehu Anointed King of Israel

1 The prophet Elisha summoned a man from the company of the prophets

According to Jewish tradition, this young prophet was Jonah.

and said to him, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take this flask of olive oil with you and go to Ramoth Gilead. 2 When you get there, look for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi. Go to him, get him away from his companions and take him into an inner room. 3 Then take the flask and pour the oil on his head and declare, ‘This is what the LORD says: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and run; don’t delay!”

The current king Joram is the son of Ahab; Ahab’s dynasty is about to come to an end.

4 So the young prophet went to Ramoth Gilead. 5 When he arrived, he found the army officers sitting together. “I have a message for you, commander,” he said.

“For which of us?” asked Jehu.

“For you, commander,” he replied.

6 Jehu got up and went into the house. Then the prophet poured the oil on Jehu’s head

2k9-jehu-anointed

Jehu was a commander in the army of Israel, under King Ahab and his son, King Joram. Jehu was previously anointed as a future king of Israel, who would overthrow the dynasty of Omri and Ahab (1 Kings 19:16-18).  Yet that was a long time previous to this, and now he is anointed again to show that the time of fulfillment of the previous prophecy was now at hand.  He was anointed, but was not to take the throne immediately.  Both Saul and David were anointed as King over Israel before they actually possessed the throne.
–David Guzik

and declared, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anoint you king over the LORD’s people Israel. 7 You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the LORD’s servants shed by Jezebel. 8 The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. 9 I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. 10 As for Jezebel, dogs will devour her on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and no one will bury her.’”

As my mother used to say, “What you put into the lives of others — comes back into your own.” That is bad news for Ahab and Jezebel.

Psalm 7:14-16 (NLT)

The wicked conceive evil;
they are pregnant with trouble
and give birth to lies.
They dig a deep pit to trap others,
then fall into it themselves.
The trouble they make for others backfires on them.
The violence they plan falls on their own heads.

Then he opened the door and ran.

11 When Jehu went out to his fellow officers, one of them asked him, “Is everything all right? Why did this maniac come to you?”

“You know the man and the sort of things he says,” Jehu replied.

12 “That’s not true!” they said. “Tell us.”

Jehu said, “Here is what he told me: ‘This is what the LORD says: I anoint you king over Israel.’”

13 They quickly took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is king!”

Jehu Kills Joram and Ahaziah

14 So Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, conspired against Joram. (Now Joram and all Israel had been defending Ramoth Gilead against Hazael king of Aram, 15 but King Joram had returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds the Arameans had inflicted on him in the battle with Hazael king of Aram.) Jehu said, “If you desire to make me king, don’t let anyone slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel.” 16 Then he got into his chariot and rode to Jezreel, because Joram was resting there and Ahaziah king of Judah had gone down to see him.

17 When the lookout standing on the tower in Jezreel saw Jehu’s troops approaching, he called out, “I see some troops coming.”

“Get a horseman,” Joram ordered. “Send him to meet them and ask, ‘Do you come in peace?’”

18 The horseman rode off to meet Jehu and said, “This is what the king says: ‘Do you come in peace?’”

“What do you have to do with peace?” Jehu replied. “Fall in behind me.”

I have read a couple of different ways to interpret Jehu’s response:
1)  What difference does it make to you?  Why do you care?
2)  How can you talk peace when it is obviously time for war and revolt?

The lookout reported, “The messenger has reached them, but he isn’t coming back.”

19 So the king sent out a second horseman. When he came to them he said, “This is what the king says: ‘Do you come in peace?’”

Jehu replied, “What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me.”

20 The lookout reported, “He has reached them, but he isn’t coming back either. The driving is like that of Jehu son of Nimshi—he drives like a maniac.”

My father used the expression “driving like Jehu” to describe anyone driving too fast!

21 “Hitch up my chariot,” Joram ordered. And when it was hitched up, Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah rode out, each in his own chariot, to meet Jehu. They met him at the plot of ground that had belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. 22 When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?”

“How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”

Jehu is overthrowing the current king for the right reasons.

23 Joram turned about and fled, calling out to Ahaziah, “Treachery, Ahaziah!”

24 Then Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow pierced his heart and he slumped down in his chariot. 25 Jehu said to Bidkar, his chariot officer, “Pick him up and throw him on the field that belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember how you and I were riding together in chariots behind Ahab his father when the LORD spoke this prophecy against him: 26 ‘Yesterday I saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons, declares the LORD, and I will surely make you pay for it on this plot of ground, declares the LORD.’ Now then, pick him up and throw him on that plot, in accordance with the word of the LORD.”

Jehu sees himself as fulfilling the word of the Lord against the house of Ahab. And so, at last, Naboth receives justice.

27 When Ahaziah king of Judah saw what had happened, he fled up the road to Beth Haggan. Jehu chased him, shouting, “Kill him too!” They wounded him in his chariot on the way up to Gur near Ibleam, but he escaped to Megiddo and died there. 28 His servants took him by chariot to Jerusalem and buried him with his ancestors in his tomb in the City of David. 29 (In the eleventh year of Joram son of Ahab, Ahaziah had become king of Judah.)

So Jehu has killed the kings of both the Northern Kingdom/Israel and the Southern Kingdom/Judah. All in a day’s work.

Jezebel Killed

30 Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she put on eye makeup, arranged her hair and looked out of a window.

2Kings9 ey makeup

Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief.
–Jane Austen

31 As Jehu entered the gate, she asked, “Have you come in peace, you Zimri, you murderer of your master?”

32 He looked up at the window and called out, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. 33 “Throw her down!” Jehu said.

So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot.

The desecration of her body shows their complete disrespect for her.

34 Jehu went in and ate and drank. “Take care of that cursed woman,” he said, “and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.” 35 But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her hands. 36 They went back and told Jehu, who said, “This is the word of the LORD that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh. 37 Jezebel’s body will be like dung on the ground in the plot at Jezreel, so that no one will be able to say, ‘This is Jezebel.’”

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Music:

From Revelation 2:20, we learn that Jezebel’s name is used as a synonym for great evil:

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

From Wikipedia:

The name Jezebel came to be associated with false prophets, and further associated by the early 20th century with fallen or abandoned women. In Christian lore, a comparison to Jezebel suggested that a person was a pagan or an apostate masquerading as a servant of God.  By manipulation and/or seduction, she misled the saints of God into sins of idolatry and sexual immorality, sending them to hell.   In particular, Jezebel has come to be associated with promiscuity.  In modern usage, the name of Jezebel is sometimes used as a synonym for sexually promiscuous and sometimes controlling women.  In his two-volume Guide to the Bible (1967 and 1969), Isaac Asimov describes Jezebel’s last act: dressing in all her finery, make-up and jewelry, as deliberately symbolic, indicating her dignity, royal status and determination to go out of this life as a Queen.

From 1951, Frankie Laine sings “Jezebel.”  HERE.

If ever the devil was born,
Without a pair of horns
It was you,
Jezebel, it was you.

If ever an angel fell,
Jezebel,
It was you.
Jezebel, it was you.

If ever a pair of eyes,
Promised paradise.
Deceiving me, grieving me,
Leavin’ me blue.
Jezebel, it was you.

If ever a devil’s plan,
Was made to torment man,
It was you,
Jezebel, it was you.

It would be better I had I never known,
A lover such as you.
Forsaking dreams and all,
For the siren call of your arms.

Like a demon, love possessed me,
You, obsessed me constantly.
What evil star is mine,
That my fate’s design,
Should be…. Jezebel?

If ever a pair of eyes,
Promised paradise.
Deceiving me, grieving me,
Leavin’ me blue.
Jezebel, it was you.

If ever a devil’s plan,
Was made to torment man,
It was you,
Night an’ day, every way.
Jezebel, Jezebel,
Jezebel.

_________________________

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Celesti.    http://www.wga.hu/art/c/celesti/qjezabel.jpg
Jehu anointed king.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/2k9-jehu-anointed.jpg
A time for war . . .     http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha/en/images/4/43/A_Time_for_War_A_Time_for_Peace_cover.jpg
Jehu riding his horse.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jehu2.jpg
eye makeup.    https://www.odo-7.top/ProductDetail.aspx?iid=58301024&pr=22.99
Jezebel being pushed.     http://www.free-stories.net/images/jezebelbiblestory.jpg

3261.) 2 Kings 8

October 18, 2021

“The Abbott Family Farm,” Scott Township, PA, painted by Austin Wooster in 1875

2 Kings 8   (NIV)

The Shunammite’s Land Restored

1 Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the LORD has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years.” 2 The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.

3 At the end of the seven years she came back from the land of the Philistines and went to appeal to the king for her house and land. 4 The king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and had said, “Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done.”

Some Bible commentators believe that this event may have happened before the events of chapter 5 and Gehazi contracting leprosy; other commentators wonder if perhaps Gehazi had been healed.

5 Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land.

Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” 6 The king asked the woman about it, and she told him.

Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”

So the family farm can stay in the family. As an Iowa farm girl myself, I am glad!

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is an old faithful — “God Will Take Care of You.”  I can remember my mother singing this sweet song as she worked in the kitchen or the garden.  Sung by Plumb (real name Tiffany Lee), a Christian music artist from Nashville.

__________________________

Hazael Murders Ben-Hadad

7 Elisha went to Damascus, and Ben-Hadad king of Aram was ill. When the king was told, “The man of God has come all the way up here,” 8 he said to Hazael, “Take a gift with you and go to meet the man of God. Consult the LORD through him; ask him, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”

9 Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the finest wares of Damascus. He went in and stood before him, and said, “Your son Ben-Hadad king of Aram has sent me to ask, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”

10 Elisha answered, “Go and say to him, ‘You will certainly recover.’ Nevertheless, the LORD has revealed to me that he will in fact die.” 11 He stared at him with a fixed gaze until Hazael was embarrassed. Then the man of God began to weep.

12 “Why is my lord weeping?” asked Hazael.

“Because I know the harm you will do to the Israelites,” he answered. “You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women.”

13 Hazael said, “How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?”

How our perverse pride assists us in underestimating the evil we are capable of!

“The LORD has shown me that you will become king of Aram,” answered Elisha.

Elisha’s prophetic calling and gift was at times more of a burden than a blessing. He could clearly see what would befall Israel through Hazael, but he was powerless to prevent it.

–David Guzik

14 Then Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master. When Ben-Hadad asked, “What did Elisha say to you?” Hazael replied, “He told me that you would certainly recover.” 15 But the next day he took a thick cloth, soaked it in water and spread it over the king’s face, so that he died. Then Hazael succeeded him as king.

“An ancient Assyrian inscription, called the Berlin inscription, says, ‘Hazael the son of nobody, seized the throne.’ This designation indicates that he was an usurper with no dynastic line.”

–Russell H. Dilday

Jehoram King of Judah

King Jehoram of Judah lost some of his borderlands because he followed the evil ways of the kings of Israel.

16 In the fifth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat began his reign as king of Judah. 17 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 18 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel,

This was not a compliment. While the Southern Kingdom of Judah had a mixture of godly and wicked kings, the Northern Kingdom of Israel had nothing but evil, God-rejecting kings.

as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. 19 Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants forever.

20 In the time of Jehoram, Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king.

This is evidence of the weakness of Jehoram.

21 So Jehoram went to Zair with all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he rose up and broke through by night; his army, however, fled back home. 22 To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah. Libnah revolted at the same time.

23 As for the other events of Jehoram’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 24 Jehoram rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. And Ahaziah his son succeeded him as king.

Ahaziah King of Judah

25 In the twelfth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign. 26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel. 27 He followed the ways of the house of Ahab and did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was related by marriage to Ahab’s family.

2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

28 Ahaziah went with Joram son of Ahab to war against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth Gilead. The Arameans wounded Joram; 29 so King Joram returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds the Arameans had inflicted on him at Ramoth in his battle with Hazael king of Aram.

Then Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to Jezreel to see Joram son of Ahab, because he had been wounded.

_________________________

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Wooster.    http://www.abbott-lavalle.info/photos/farmpainting-572.jpg
Iowa map.   http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/6253/2013932.html
King Jehoram.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/jehoramofjudah.jpg
King Ahaziah’s family tree.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/ahaziah-family-tree.jpg?w=450


3260.) 2 Kings 7

October 15, 2021

2 Kings 7   (NIV)

(Remember, the king has just complained that all the troubles of the nation — the military siege against them, the famine weakening them — are from the Lord.)

1 Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the LORD. This is what the LORD says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

After the king’s disbelief, Elisha gives the king good news of God’s mercy arriving soon!

2 The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?”

As I have said before — often we think we are so smart, when it is really just simple disbelief.

“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”

The Siege Lifted

3 Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate.

Lepers were not allowed into the city (Leviticus 13:45-46). Jewish tradition says these four men were Gahazi and his three sons — the Gehazi who was given Naaman’s leprosy after Elisha had healed him.

They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”

5 At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, 6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.

Proverbs 28:1 (NLT)

The wicked run away when no one is chasing them,
but the godly are as bold as lions.

8 The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.

"The four lepers looting the camp of the Syrians" by William Brassey Hole (

“The four lepers looting the camp of the Syrians” by William Brassey Hole (1846-1917)

9 Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”

10 So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” 11 The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace.

12 The king got up in the night and said to his officers, “I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide in the countryside, thinking, ‘They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city.’”

This poor king is so in the habit of finding the negative that he just cannot see a good side! He travels a road looking for potholes, rather than enjoying the scenery! His limitation prevents him from understanding the real meaning of the message; he chooses to cling to his interpretation of the news, rather than the divine facts of the matter.

13 One of his officers answered, “Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here—yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed. So let us send them to find out what happened.”

At least he has an adviser who can help him see a possibility here . . .

14 So they selected two chariots with their horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army. He commanded the drivers, “Go and find out what has happened.” 15 They followed them as far as the Jordan, and they found the whole road strewn with the clothing and equipment the Arameans had thrown away in their headlong flight. So the messengers returned and reported to the king. 16 Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the LORD had said.

_________________________

Music:

Paul Wilbur sings a song that matches up beautifully with today’s story!  HERE  is “The Shout of El-Shaddai,” which may have been what the Arameans heard!

_________________________

17 Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died, just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house. 18 It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

19 The officer had said to the man of God, “Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” The man of God had replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” 20 And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.

_________________________

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Isaiah verse.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/2-kings-7.jpg
Hole.   https://bibleteachingnotes.blog/2019/05/06/2-kings-7/
pothole.    http://theexpiredmeter.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/pothole.jpg

3259.) 2 Kings 6

October 14, 2021

1 John 4:4 (King James Version) — “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU, THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD.” Mixed media on canvas by Georgia artist Mark Lawrence.

2 Kings 6   (NIV)

An Axhead Floats

1 The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. 2 Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.”

Elisha’s School of the Prophets is growing and needs a bigger dorm!

And he said, “Go.”

3 Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”

“I will,” Elisha replied. 4 And he went with them.

They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. 5 As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!”

This was a significant loss. Iron was certainly present at this time in Israel, but it was not common enough to be cheap.

6 The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. 7 “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.

2k6-floating-axhead

from Morning and Evening
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

GOD MAKES IMPOSSIBLE THINGS POSSIBLE

2 Kings 6:6 — The iron did swim.

The axe-head seemed hopelessly lost, and as it was borrowed, the honor of the prophetic band was likely to be imperilled, and so the name of their God to be compromised. Contrary to all expectation, the iron was made to mount from the depth of the stream and to swim; for things impossible with man are possible with God.

I knew a man in Christ but a few years ago who was called to undertake a work far exceeding his strength. It appeared so difficult as to involve absurdity in the bare idea of attempting it. Yet he was called thereto, and his faith rose with the occasion; God honored his faith, unlooked-for aid was sent, and the iron did swim.

Another of the Lord’s family was in grievous financial straits, he was able to meet all claims, and much more if he could have realized a certain portion of his estate, but he was overtaken with a sudden pressure; he sought for friends in vain, but faith led him to the unfailing Helper, and lo, the trouble was averted, his footsteps were enlarged, and the iron did swim.

A third had a sorrowful case of depravity to deal with. He had taught, reproved, warned, invited, and interceded, but all in vain. The stubborn spirit would not relent. Then came an agony of prayer, and before long a blessed answer was sent from heaven. The hard heart was broken, the iron did swim.

Beloved reader, what is thy desperate case? What heavy matter hast thou in hand this evening? Bring it hither. The God of the prophets lives, and lives to help his saints. He will not suffer thee to lack any good thing. Believe thou in the Lord of hosts! Approach him pleading the name of Jesus, and the iron shall swim; thou too shalt see the finger of God working marvels for his people. According to thy faith be it unto thee, and yet again the iron shall swim.

Elisha Traps Blinded Arameans

8 Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

9 The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

_________________________

Music:

Do we believe it?  HERE  is “Greater Is He That Is In Me (that he that is in the world)” sung by the Talley Trio.

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17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

"Chariots of Fire" by Darlen e Slavujak

“Chariots of Fire” by Darlene Slavujak

“Open my eyes that I may see
glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unlock and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
ready, my God, Your will to see;
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!”

.

from Daily Readings from Luther’s Writings,
edited by Barbara Owen

This is the church of the saints, the new creation of God, our brothers and our friends, in whom we see nothing but blessing and nothing but consolation, though not always with the eyes of the flesh but with the eyes of the spirit.  Whose heart will not be lifted up, even in the midst of great evils, when he believes the very truth, namely, that the blessings of all the saints are his blessings, and his evil is also theirs?

Therefore, when we feel pain, when we suffer, when we die, let us turn to this thought, firmly believing and certain that it is not we alone, but Christ and the church who are in pain and are suffering and dying with us.  Christ does not want us to be alone on the road of death, from which all people shrink.  Indeed, we set out upon the road of suffering and death accompanied by the entire church.  Actually, the church bears it more bravely than we do.  Thus we can truthfully apply to ourselves the words Elisha spoke to his fearful servants, “Fear no, for those who are with us are more numerous than those with them.  And Elisha prayed and said, ‘Lord, open the eyes of the young man that he might see.’  And the Lord opened his eyes and he saw.  And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha.”

All that remains for us now is to pray that our eyes, that is the eyes of our faith, may be opened that we may see the church around us.

18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

God gives spiritual sight to Elisha’s servant, and physical blindness to the enemies.

19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “LORD, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the LORD opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.”

A great English idiom! And here’s another funny idiom (in translation!): When I taught English to 9th-grade girls in a private Turkish school in Izmir, one student told the class about her sister who was “dropping” in love!

23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

Famine in Besieged Samaria

(Warning:  The following story is not for the faint of heart.)

24 Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. 25 There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.

26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”

27 The king replied, “If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28 Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”

She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

Deuteronomy 28 contains an extended section where God warned Israel about the curses that would come upon them if they rejected the covenant He made with them. Part of that chapter describes the horrors fulfilled in this chapter: They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the Lord your God has given you. You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you. (Deuteronomy 28:52-53)

These terrors came upon Israel because they disobeyed, rejected God, and abandoned the covenant He made with them.

–David Guzik

30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth on his body. 31 He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”

The king was deeply grieved and angry – but not with himself, with Israel, or with their sin. The king’s anger was against the prophet of God.

32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Don’t you see how this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?” 33 While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him.

The king said, “This disaster is from the LORD. Why should I wait for the LORD any longer?”

I read the king’s remark as in the same vein as Job’s wife’s remark — “Curse God and die.” If the devastation is coming from the Lord, how can I expect the Lord to help alleviate it? The king has lost sight of some important things. First, he has forgotten the history of Israel and how God had proved Himself over and over to them with great acts of salvation! Second, the king has forgotten the sin of the people, and his own sin in particular in leading the people, with the worship of idols. Finally, the king has forgotten the Lord’s lovingkindness and His longing for the people to be His trusting children.

The message is the same today. Do we blame God for what goes wrong in our life?  Do we secretly think He could have done a better / kinder / richer / smarter job in our life? If so, we and the king are standing side-by-side.

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New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Lawrence.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/1-john-4-4.jpg
“The iron did swim.”   http://bethanybible.org/new/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/0226.Floating-Axhead.jpg
Slavujak.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/2k6-slavujak.jpg
open your eyes.    https://reverandandys.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/open_your_eyes_34636f84-d665-4e78-bbe2-cdcb6310e2f3.jpeg
kill them with kindness.    http://myfbcovers.com/facebook-cover/quotes-sayings/109708

3258.) 2 Kings 5

October 13, 2021

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.” Psalm 105:1-2

2 Kings 5   (NIV)

Naaman Healed of Leprosy

1 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram.

According to Jewish tradition, Naaman had shot the arrow that killed King Ahab.

He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.

Ancient leprosy began as small, red spots on the skin. Before too long the spots get bigger, and start to turn white, with sort of a shiny, or scaly appearance. Pretty soon the spots spread over the whole body and hair begins to fall out — first from the head, then even from the eyebrows. As things get worse, finger nails and toenails become loose; they start to rot and eventually fall off. Then the joints of fingers and toes begin to rot and fall off piece by piece. Gums begin to shrink and they can’t hold the teeth anymore, so each of them is lost. Leprosy keeps eating away at the face until literally the nose, the palate, and even the eyes rot — and the victim wastes away until death.
–David Guzik

2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

"Naaman's Wife" by Frank William Warwick Topham

“Naaman’s Wife” by Frank William Warwick Topham (1838-1924)

———-

I love this little nameless girl, who cared for her new master enough to suggest some help and who believed that Elisha could bring healing to him. But even more, I love this little girl’s parents, who had taught her, at a young age, about the God of Israel and his love and power! Little did they know that the faith they instilled in her would be inspiring us thousands of years later!

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Music:

Perhaps this little girl’s mother and father taught her this song!  HERE  is “This Little Light of Mine” — sung with enthusiasm by the Harvard Krokodiloes. (This is Harvard University’s oldest a cappella  singing group, founded in 1946.)

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4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver (note: a huge amount! Like a million dollars!), six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”

8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

Naaman had a script in mind and Elisha did not follow it, so Naaman became angry. Ah, how our pride will crop up and blind us to simple truth!

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”

2k5-climbing

This simple question has spoken to me many times in my life when I have felt ill-used. If the Lord had asked me to do something difficult, like train to climb Everest, for example — I would willingly practice climbing mountains and building endurance and lifting weights and other physically demanding things. But all He has asked me is — to continue loving that difficult child in my class, or to forgive my friend who said such an unnecessary and unkind thing about me, or to not be envious when someone else gets what I have wanted, etc. Can I not do this small thing for the One who died on the cross for me?

Yes, I can.

So I dip myself seven times in the Jordan, asking for God’s grace to help me do what is right and for God’s power to make me clean. “Lord, I believe — help Thou my unbelief.”

14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

by Eric de Saussure, 1968

15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.

“Elisha Refusing Gifts from Naaman” by Pieter de Grebber, 1630.

God’s grace cannot be purchased; it is always a gift.

17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the LORD. 18 But may the LORD forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD forgive your servant for this.”

19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said.

After Naaman had traveled some distance, 20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”

21 So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked.

22 “Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.’”

23 “By all means, take two talents,” said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the two talents of silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi. 24 When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left.

25 When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”

“Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered.

26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? 27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.

1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV)

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

from Peculiar Treasures,
by Frederick Buechner

NAAMAN

Naaman was a five-star general in the Syrian army and also a leper. His wife had working for her a little Jewish slave-girl who mentioned one day that there was a prophet named Elisha back home who could cure leprosy as easily as a toad cures warts. So Naaman took off for Israel with a letter of introduction from the king and a suitcase full of cash and asked Elisha to do his stuff.

Elisha told him to go dunk in the Jordan seven times, and after some initial comments to the effect that there were rivers back in Syria that made the Jordan look like a cow track, Naaman went and did what he was told. When he came out, he could have passed for an ad for Palmolive soap. Naaman was so grateful that he converted on the spot and reached into his suitcase for an inch of fifties, but Elisha said he was a prophet of Yahweh, not a dermatologist, and refused to take a cent.

Elisha had a servant named Gehazi, however, who had different ideas. He hot-footed it after Naaman and told him that Elisha had changed his mind. He said that if Naaman would like to make a small contribution to charity, he, Gehazi, would make sure it got into the right hands. Naaman was only too pleased to hand over the inch of fifties, and Gehazi went home and deposited it in his personal checking account.

When Elisha got wind of it, he told Gehazi that the healing power of God was not for sale to the highest bidder and to press his point home transferred Naaman’s leprosy to him. For the sake of Naaman’s new-found faith in Yahweh as above all a God of love and mercy, it would be nice to believe that news of Elisha’s overreaction never reached him in Syria.

_________________________

New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Naaman clean in the water.     http://josemanyanet.blogspot.com/2010/10/domingo-28-del-tiempo-ordinario-no-hubo.html
Topham.   https://iamachild.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/naamans-wife.jpg
little Israelite girl speaks to Naaman’s wife.    http://www.marysrosaries.com/collaboration/images/0/0e/Little_girl_tells_Naamans_wife_about_the_Prophet_Elisha.jpg
Melissa Arnot climbing Everest.    http://www.espn.com/photo/2013/1113/espnw_e_arnot_800x450.jpg
de Saussure.     http://raspberry_rabbit.blogspot.com/2010/07/sermon-sixth-sunday-after-pentecost-2.html
de Grebber.    http://media.mutualart.com/Images/2009_04/12/0018/162443/162443_7b58f4f3-f8d9-4e8c-8d1c-d9f79148fea8_-1.Jpeg
fifty dollar bill.    http://thebsreport.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/50dollarbill-767503.jpg

3257.) 2 Kings 4

October 12, 2021

Elisha’s widow friend and her flask of olive oil!

2 Kings 4   (NIV)

The Widow’s Olive Oil

1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

The creditor is within his rights, hard as it sounds. There was no such thing as bankruptcy, so the indentured service will repay the debt.

2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

What a test of faith for this widow! Surely her request invited questions . . . and how would she answer?

5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

“If she borrowed few vessels, she would have but little oil; if she borrowed many vessels they should all be filled, and she should have much oil. She was herself to measure out what she should have; and I believe that you and I, in the matter of spiritual blessings from God, have more to do with the measurement of our mercies than we think. We make our blessings little, because our prayers are little.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

Every jar was filled. The Lord provided for her to take care of her past bills and future needs.

Will the Lord be any less faithful to me than He was to her? No, for God is the same loving and caring God, yesterday, today, and forever.

The Shunammite’s Son Restored to Life

This Israelite woman provided a room for Elisha!  In return, he promised her and her old husband a son!

8 One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. 9 She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”

11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. 13 Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?’”

She replied, “I have a home among my own people.”

14 “What can be done for her?” Elisha asked.

Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.”

15 Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.”

“No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”

The stigma of childlessness was severe, and her hope was low. This was something she could not play games with.

17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.

2k4-boy

May your precious little baby boy
Fill your lives with happy days
In so many new and special
Countless little ways

18 The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. 19 He said to his father, “My head! My head!”

His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.

22 She called her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.”

23 “Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.”

“That’s all right,” she said.

24 She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.” 25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite! 26 Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’”

“Everything is all right,” she said.

She doesn’t waste her time with the assistant. She goes straight to Elisha.

27 When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me why.”

28 “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”

29 Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. Don’t greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.”

30 But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.

31 Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy has not awakened.”

32 When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. 33 He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the LORD. 34 Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm. 35 Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.

36 Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.” 37 She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.

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Music:

Our God is “Mighty to Save”!  This song from Hillsong won the Worship Song of the Year at the 2009 Dove Awards.  HERE.

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Death in the Pot

“The Prophet Elisha” by Giorgio Vasari, 1566 (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy)

38 Elisha returned to Gilgal and there was a famine in that region. While the company of the prophets was meeting with him, he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot and cook some stew for these prophets.”

39 One of them went out into the fields to gather herbs and found a wild vine and picked as many of its gourds as his garment could hold. When he returned, he cut them up into the pot of stew, though no one knew what they were. 40 The stew was poured out for the men, but as they began to eat it, they cried out, “Man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it.

41 Elisha said, “Get some flour.” He put it into the pot and said, “Serve it to the people to eat.” And there was nothing harmful in the pot.

Feeding of a Hundred

“The multiplying of the loaves” by Corinne Vonaesch

John 6:8-11 (NLT)

Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up.  “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”

“Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.)  Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.

42 A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said.

43 “How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked.

But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the LORD says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’” 44 Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD.

This man from Baal Shalishah brought his firstfruits to Elisha. The Law of Moses commanded that the firstfruits belonged to God, and originally these offerings were given to the priests. However, in Elisha’s time, the priests were not godly, and many served Baal or the golden calves. So this righteous man brought his offering to the prophet. Elisha chose to share it. And God multiplied it to feed one hundred men.

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New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
woman with olive oil.    http://static2.bigstockphoto.com/thumbs/1/7/4/large2/4711859.jpg
old man, young wife.    https://catherinebuday.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/howardmarshallannanicolesmith.jpg
baby boy.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/2k4-boy.jpg
Vasari.    http://www.wga.hu/art/v/vasari/1/13elisha.jpg
Vonaesch.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/vanaesch.jpg