Posts Tagged ‘Elijah

17
Jun
16

Hear His Whisper

1 Kings 19
New International Version (NIV)
Elijah Flees to Horeb

Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.

The Lord Appears to Elijah
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

Sometimes God comes to us in the most unexpected of ways.  Take this story from 1 Kings 19 for example.  Elijah is despondent.  Jezebel wants him dead.  His people have turned away from the one true God to worship false idols.  (Notice how the religious rebellion of his people really affects Elijah.  He is heartbroken over the fact that his fellow Israelites have turned away from God.  (Elijah’s love for God is awesome!)  So Elijah goes and hides in a cave on Mt. Horeb, the Mountain of God.  It is here in the cave on the mountain that God comes to Elijah and asks him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9, NIV).  He explains his predicament and the Lord says that He is about to pass by.  Then there are three very powerful natural occurrences that take place:
  • There is a powerful wind that tears the mountains apart – but God was not in the wind
  • There is an earthquake – but God was not in the earthquake
  • There is a rush of fire – but God was not in the fire

Elijah then hears a gentle whisper and he knows that it is God.  God repeats the question to Elijah, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:13, NIV).  Elijah once again explains the circumstances that have led him to the mountain of God.  God then tells Elijah what he needs to do in order to fulfill His will for his life.

When we are in the thick of life’s circumstances, we don’t need powerful displays of God’s might.  We need to hear Him whisper to our hearts, “I love you and I care for you.”  We don’t need to see the mountains split or to feel the earth shake or to see a blazing fire.  We need to hear God whisper, “I will always be with you.”  When life is beating us up and our hearts are broken, we don’t need a booming voice from Heaven.  We need a gentle whisper to speak to our souls.  And that is what God does.  He gently reassures us that He is in charge and He has a plan to deliver us from our situation.  God is very powerful and strong.  He can split mountains in two!  But God is also very good and kind.  He knows what we need right when we need it.  Whatever you are going through in your life today, may you hear God whisper to your heart, “I love you and I will deliver you.  Trust in Me.”
PRAYER: Speak to my heart today, O God. Help me to hear Your whisper of love over all of the noise of this world. I need to hear from You. Thank  You for Your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
30
Nov
15

Like Elijah

2 Kings 2:1-11 (NIV)

When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”

But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”

And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.

The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” he replied, “so be quiet.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”

And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on.

Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”

“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.

10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”

11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.

 

As we read 2 Kings 2:1-12, we read of Elijah’s imminent departure from this world.  Elijah was travelling from city to city to see the prophets from places like Bethel and Jericho.  Elisha knew that their time together was drawing to a close.  He refused to leave Elijah’s side.  The prophets in each place reminded Elisha that Elijah was soon depart and Elisha asked them not to speak of it.  Elisha was filled with sorrow knowing that his friend and mentor would soon leave.

Saying goodbye is so hard.  Elisha knew that his friend was going to leave him, but he didn’t know how.  All he knew was that he would not leave Elijah’s side until it happened.  What was Elisha thinking when he saw the chariot of fire descend from Heaven to take Elijah up in a whirlwind?  Was he in awe of the way Elijah ascended?  Was he sad knowing he’d never see Elijah again?  Was he remembering all of the times they’d shared working for the Lord?  We’re not told, but it was probably a combination of these things.

Elisha had asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.  He knew that if he was going to continue Elijah’s work as the prophet of God, that he would need to be like him.  He knew what really mattered and that was working for God.  May we be like Elijah in our fervor for standing up for God and for what is right.  May the Holy Spirit fill us as we oppose the forces of evil and wickedness.  May we the light of Jesus and speak out against the darkness.  For one day, we will see Him coming from Heaven to take us to our eternal home.

PRAYER: Father God, help me to be bold like Elijah who remained steadfast for you during his time on earth.  May I do what is right and shine the light of Jesus in the darkness.  Thank You for rescuing me and saving me through Your Son Jesus.  Amen.

23
Nov
15

Seeking God’s Guidance

2 Kings 1 (NIV)

After Ahab’s death, Moab rebelled against Israel. Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, “Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury.”

But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’ Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’” So Elijah went.

When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, “Why have you come back?”

“A man came to meet us,” they replied. “And he said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you and tell him, “This is what the Lord says: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!”’”

The king asked them, “What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?”

They replied, “He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.”

The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”

Then he sent to Elijah a captain with his company of fifty men. The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “Man of God, the king says, ‘Come down!’”

10 Elijah answered the captain, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men.

11 At this the king sent to Elijah another captain with his fifty men. The captain said to him, “Man of God, this is what the king says, ‘Come down at once!’”

12 “If I am a man of God,” Elijah replied, “may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” Then the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men.

13 So the king sent a third captain with his fifty men. This third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. “Man of God,” he begged, “please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants! 14 See, fire has fallen from heaven and consumed the first two captains and all their men. But now have respect for my life!”

15 The angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So Elijah got up and went down with him to the king.

16 He told the king, “This is what the Lord says: Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!” 17 So he died, according to the word of the Lord that Elijah had spoken.

 

 

Are you looking for answers in all of the wrong places?  In 2 Kings 1, we read of Ahaziah who had become king after his father, Ahab’s, death.  1 Kings 22:53 (NIV) says of Ahaziah, “He served and worshiped Baal and aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, just as his father had done.”  Ahaziah had somehow injured himself and wanted to know if he was going to recover from his injury.  Instead of seeking the Lord and praying to God, Ahaziah decided to consult a false god (Baal-Zebub, god of Ekron).  This greatly displeased the Lord and He sent Elijah to prophesy against Ahaziah, who later died because of his sin.

Ahaziah should have been asking the one true God for answers.  Instead, he chose to try and find answers in a false god.  Some people are looking for answers in all of the wrong places.  We want answers about the meaning and purpose of life, so some turn to philosophy to try and figure life out.  We want answers about our relationships, so some turn Dr. Phil or self-help books.  We want answers about our futures, so many turn to their horoscopes or they consult mediums and fortune tellers.  It is as if people don’t want to seek God and His wisdom.  No, we’d rather seek another way.

God gave you your life and He has a plan for it.  Turn to the Lord for wisdom and answers for the life He has given to you.  He knows what is best, so seek Him first knowing that He will never take you in the wrong direction.

PRAYER: Lord, I need answers to the great questions of life.  I need Your wisdom and guidance today.  I am sorry for the times I haven’t sought You first and ask that Your Holy Spirit will lead me and guide me today.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

17
Nov
15

The Father’s Heart

1 Kings 21:17-29 (NIV)

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 18 “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. 19 Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood,dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’”

20 Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!”

“I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. 21 He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. 22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’

23 “And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’

24 “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.”

25 (There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. 26 He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.)

27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

28 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”

 

Naboth was an Israelite who owned a vineyard near king Ahab’s palace.  Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard and offered to buy it or trade Naboth for another one.  Naboth refused and Ahab went home to his palace and pouted.  Ahab’s wife, queen Jezebel, wanted to know why her husband was so upset.  He explained how Naboth had refused to give him his vineyard.  Jezebel said that this was no way for the king to act.  So she set out to get him the vineyard.  She set Naboth up and, to make a long story short, ended up having him stoned to death by making up lies about him.  Then she told Ahab to take the vineyard.

Elijah shows up and accuses the king and queen of murdering Naboth and stealing his vineyard, which was true.  He then prophesied a similar fate for Ahab and Jezebel and their descendants.  Ahab was grief stricken and filled with sorrow over Elijah’s prophecy.  He humbled himself before the Lord and repented of what he had done.  God chose to spare Ahab because of his humble repentance.  This, in spite of the author’s note a few verses earlier that said that Ahab was the most vile king in Israel’s history.

I am convinced that even the vilest of people, if they truly repent and turn to God, can be forgiven.  God said that Ahab’s descendants would not be spared, but was it because of their father’s wickedness or because of their own?  God’s heart beats with forgiveness for everyone.  God wants to forgive people!  God wants people to have an eternal, loving relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus.  We’re all sinners and we’ve all committed vile sins of every kind.  Yet God, in His grace and mercy, has made forgiveness possible by believing in Jesus, repenting of one’s sins and turning to God for forgiveness, confessing one’s faith and being baptized.  Our sins are washed away and we have God’s promises of eternal life with Him.

We’re more like Ahab than we care to admit.  We turn away from God and pursue the things of this world.  We try to self-righteously justify our sins, but we cannot.  We’re all in need of forgiveness and, praise His name, God is a God who forgives.  Will we humbly turn to Him each day and cry out, “Have mercy on me, O God!”?  There’s mercy and grace at the cross.  And as the old hymn says, “There’s room at the cross for you.”

PRAYER: Father, help me to truly repent of my sins.  Have mercy on me for I am a vile sinner.  Assure me of the salvation and forgiveness that You alone can offer by Your grace.  Thank You for loving and for forgiving me through Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

16
Nov
15

Burning The Bulls

1 Kings 19:19-21 (NIV)

So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”

“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”

21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

 

God told Elijah that Elisha would succeed him as His prophet.  So Elijah went and found Elisha plowing his fields with 24 oxen.  Elisha was not driving all 12 pair of oxen.  Rather, out of the 12 yoke of oxen, Elisha was driving the 12th pair.  Elijah went up to Elisha and put his cloak on him as a sign of calling him to follow Elijah into service.  The cloak of the prophet was a symbol of his calling.  By placing his cloak on Elisha, Elijah was passing on the torch, if you will, of the prophetic call to Elisha.  Eilsha asked for time to go and say goodbye to his parents and Elijah acquiesced.  Then Elisha does something strange.  As a sign of his commitment to his calling, he has a barbecue.  He takes the oxen that were plowing his fields and kills them and cooks them and feeds them to the people of his community.

What has God called you to do?  What is keeping you from fulfilling the calling on your life?  If you are doing what God has called you to do, how committed to it are you?  Would you be willing to burn your “bulls?”  What is holding you back from serving God?  Is it your family?  Elisha kissed his parents goodbye to fulfill his calling.  Is it your job?  Elisha left the fields and burned his bulls.  Is it fear?  The task to follow Elijah and serve as God’s prophet at a time when no one feared the Lord was a monumental undertaking.  Elisha went anyway.  We can come up with a ton of excuses as to why we cannot serve the Lord Jesus.  He isn’t interested in our excuses.  He wants us to follow Him wholeheartedly and to give our lives to things that matter for eternity.  Jesus said in Luke 9:62 (NIV), “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  He was responding to someone who was making an excuse to Jesus’ call to follow Him.  If your heart isn’t in it and if you’re not completely committed, then you’ll be ineffective.  If you’re not willing to burn your bulls, then you’ll always hear the call of the fields.  Why settle for plowing fields when you can be following Jesus on the adventure of a lifetime?  Why settle for the company of bulls when you can enjoy deep fellowship with the Father in His service?  If God is calling you to serve Him, are you prepared to have a barbecue?  Don’t look back, but instead, start following Jesus today.

PRAYER: Lord, I know that You have a purpose for my life.  Help me to hear Your call over the things of this world.  I want to follow Jesus, but I am not always sure how to do it.  I want to serve You, but I don’t always have the commitment needed to do it.  Give me strength and resolve, courage and commitment to the call of Jesus.  In His name, amen.

12
Nov
15

God Has A Plan

1 Kings 19:14-18 (NIV)

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

 

God’s always got a plan in mind.  When things seem their most bleak, God is working out His will.  When Elijah was down in the depths of despair and depression, God was there with him.  God revealed His plan to Elijah because God is in control.  The Israelites had rejected God and this caused a great deal of heartache in Elijah.  His life was in jeopardy and this filled Elijah with fear.  But God knew what was going on and God always has a plan.

God was going to protect Elijah from the wicked king Ahab and his wife Jezebel.  God was going to replace Ahab with a loyal king.  God was going to succeed Elijah with Elisha, the next prophet of God.  These men would deal with the wicked who had abandoned the worship of the one true God.

Then God told Elijah of a remnant.  Not everyone had turned away from worshiping God Almighty.  There were 7,000 faithful Israelites whom God would reserve for Himself.  Elijah could take heart knowing that God is in control and that He has a plan.

In our own lives, we often wonder about God’s plan for us and for our world.  We may wonder if God is truly in control.  If He is, then why does it seem as though things are spinning out of control.  We feel like Elijah as we look around our world and ponder the violence, wickedness and evil we see.  Do not lose heart!  God has never left His throne!  He is still ruling and reigning and Jesus is still returning.  When things seem like they are at their most bleak, remember that God has a plan and it is a good one.  He is working everything out for the best possible good.  It may seem dark now, but morning will dawn and the light will come.  God has a plan.

PRAYER: Lord God, help me to remember that You have a plan for my life and for our world.  I need not fear anyone nor the future.  Fill my heart and soul with Your peace.  Help me to know that You are in control.  Amen.

10
Nov
15

The Whisper Of God

1 Kings 19:9-13 (NIV)

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

 

Elijah was hiding in a cave at Horeb, the mountain of God.  He had traveled 40 days and nights to get there, strengthened by the Lord.  Elijah heard God’s voice when He asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  Elijah, in a moment of honesty, bares his soul to the Lord.  All of the Lord’s prophets had been killed and he was next.  The wicked queen Jezebel was determined to kill Elijah.  Then, the voice tells Elijah to go and stand on the mountain because the Lord’s presence was about to pass by.  

Before God’s presence passed, a powerful wind rushed by and shattered rocks.  God was not in the wind.  Then there was a powerful earthquake.  God was not in the earthquake.  Then there was a raging fire.  God was not in the fire.  Finally, Elijah heard a gentle whisper and he covered his head and went out to hear the voice of God.

Sometimes we want a sign from God and we have expectations of what that sign will look like.  We want God to shake the earth or we want God to rage like an earthquake or a fire.  God is more than capable of doing such a thing, but He doesn’t always respond the way we think He will.  Sometimes God simply whispers to our souls.  

  • He will whisper, “Peace, be still,” when we feel afraid.
  • He will whisper, “I am with you,” when we feel lonely.
  • He will whisper, “I love you,” when we feel abandoned.
  • He will whisper, “I forgive you,” when we feel ashamed.

Can you hear God whispering to your heart and soul today?  He wants to tell you something, but it may not come in the form of a billboard or a Heavenly sign.  It may simply be a gentle whisper letting you know that He knows what you’re going through.

PRAYER: Lord, I don’t need a huge sign today.  Help me to just hear Your whisper in my heart.  I need the reassurance of Your love and grace.  I need to hear the calming words of Your whisper.  I need to know that You are with me and that You care for me.  Please drown out the noise of my life so I can hear You whisper to my soul.  Amen.




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