Category: 1st and 2nd Kings-BibleTrekToday

Trek through 1st and 2nd Kings

Leadership transitions

Scripture reading for April 19: 1 Chronicles 22-27

As I have attended and worked in different church families, one of the things that is often done poorly is the transition of leadership.  Often the pastor resigns or sometimes is forced to leave because of some problem.  No preparation or thinking has been done by the deacons or core leadership of the church and a crisis is at hand.  People have different ideas and pastors are invited to come share their ministry and it becomes a popularity contest.  It sometimes divides the church and there is great turmoil.  Many people forget that God is a God of order and He has a plan of succession and a plan for success! 

David was old and “full of years”. (1 Chronicles 23:1)  He made Solomon king over Israel.    In a power grab, David’s son Adonijah had tried to make himself king. Bathsheba and Nathan worked together to redirect the situation according to the will of the Lord.  (1 Kings 1:1-5)  It is one of the strategies of Satan to bring division and confusion in a family, church, or nation. 

After installing Solomon, David wisely tried to help his son succeed in the vision he had from the Lord. A long-term project was the building of the temple of the Lord. David had heard from the Lord and passed on the instructions and materials he had gathered and provided from his own wealth.   He was a good example and prayed for God’s wisdom and discretion that his son might have success!  A father’s blessing and God’s blessing go a long way toward success! (1 Chronicles 22:11-13)

The last thing David did was to gather the key leaders of Israel together and encourage them to support Solomon.  David cited the Lord’s victories and how God had given the people rest.  He encouraged the leaders to seek the Lord with all their heart and soul and to begin building.  This transition would continue the vision of the Lord through David and insure the accomplishment of God’s will and purposes.  (1 Chronicles 22:17-19)

I believe God wants thoughtful and peaceful transition of leadership.  Pray for your family, church family and nation for the leaders and those in authority that they would be thoughtful and purposeful in this area.  God’s purposes are eternal!  We should keep them in focus in choosing leaders!

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The Lost Book

Scripture reading for April 15: 2 Kings 22-25

Josiah became king of Judah when he was just eight years old!  By the time he was 26, he was ready to begin what was to be the last revival in the land of Judah before God’s Word brought judgment!  Josiah was a king who did right in God’s eyes and tried to follow the Lord.  He was concerned for the temple, which had fallen into disrepair.  As the work was going on, Hilkiah, the high priest found the Book of the Law and gave it to Shapan, the secretary to the king.  Shapan read the Book, and then took it in to the king and read it to him.  As the king heard the Word of the Book, he was humbled and tore his robes.  He realized that God’s anger was against them because of their disobedience!

Josiah sent the leaders to seek the Lord through Huldah the prophetess.  She told them of God’s coming judgment and how the Lord was merciful towards King Josiah because he humbled himself and wept before Him.  King Josiah called the elders together and they went up to the temple where he had the lost Book read in their presence. They renewed their covenant with the Lord that day by pledging themselves to the Lord again.  (2nd Kings 23:1-3)

Where do we end up when we ignore God’s Book?  First, the temple of God will be in disrepair!  Without God’s life-giving Word, things decay fast!  Death and sin do their destructive work among God’s people without continual contact with the Book!  Second, idolatry will fill the void.  Idols had crept into the temple of the Lord!  Josiah’s revival of reading the lost Book brought repentance and destruction of the idols in the land.  (2nd Kings 23:4-7) Humbling and response from the heart is what God is looking for.

Have you lost track of God’s Book?  Is your temple in disrepair? Now is the right time to make the change!  Humility and repentance is the right posture to receive grace from the Lord!  He is watching and waiting to restore and heal you! 

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Sunday rest: God watches all!

Dear friends,

With wars and rumors of war very much alive in our world and on the news, we must remember that God is on His Throne and He watches over all mankind and rules without fear or fretting. He knows everything, the evil and the good. He is perfectly just and will punish the evil and protect and reward those righteous by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

As we rest and reflect on the reading of the past week, I am again reminded that God has His eyes on His Word and He watches His people! Our Father is omniscient, which is a fancy way to say that He knows everything, past, present and future. Nothing is hidden from His sight or understanding. Everything that exists, is there because of His Word, which He faithfully watches over. He is sustaining our world by His Word. No Word of God has ever failed. Heaven and earth will pass away, but His Word will never pass away. Nothing is impossible with God when it comes to fulfilling His Word.

He also watches over the sons of man, looking for those whose hearts are fully committed to Him and who by faith trust His Word and act accordingly. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless towards Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) God promises ‘strong support’ for those trusting Him by faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.

In 2nd Kings, we found leaders who ‘did right’ in the eyes of the Lord and those ‘who did evil’ in the eyes of the Lord. Both examples are written down as reminders for God’s people of all nations and cultures and times. Paul warned the church through Scripture, “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.” (1 Corinthians 10:6) We all have the capacity to walk by faith through hearing and receiving God’s Word. We also have capacity to walk in disobedience and evil through following our flesh and the temptations of our enemy, Satan. Let’s keep our eyes on our Lord and His unfailing Word in our walk this week! Remember, God’s eyes are on you! In His Love, Pastor John

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Faith and prayer

Scripture reading for April 13: 2 Kings 18-21

In 1980,  my wife and I were caught in a financial crisis beyond our ability to handle or fix.  We had borrowed money to buy land and equipment and build our farming business and interest rates had more than doubled.  Many neighbors had lost farms to the banks and creditors because they were unable to pay and our situation looked bad.  We had rededicated our lives to the Lord just a few years earlier and as we studied the Word of God, we knew we needed to humble ourselves, repent, and ask God for His mercy.  Mary and I knelt by our bed and did just that in an act of faith and humility.

Hezekiah, one of the kings of Judah, was a man of faith.  Scripture says that he “held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow Him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses.”  (2nd Kings 18:5-6)  Because he trusted the Lord, the Lord was with him and he was successful in all he did.  One of his first moves was to destroy the bronze snake that Moses had built to stop the plague of serpents in the desert.  God’s people had made an idol of it and were burning incense to it!  (2nd Kings 18:4)

Hezekiah was tested by the Assyrians.  He rebelled against the king of Assyria, the military power of that day, and would not serve him.  Assyria captured Samaria and Israel (the ten tribes) in Hezekiah’s sixth year.  In Hezekiah’s fourteenth year, Sennacherib, king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. (2nd Kings 18:13)  Hezekiah tried to buy off the king of Assyria with gold from the temple, but a large army showed up surrounding Jerusalem.  Hezekiah was told of this situation and he immediately went to the temple in a humbled posture to seek the help of God.  As he prayed for help, God sent word by the prophet Isaiah that God would intervene and deliver them!  (2nd Kings 19:6-7) Hezekiah’s faith lead him to a humble appeal to the Lord of Heaven.  Solomon had prayed earlier at the dedication of the temple for people who were at war and would cry out to God that God would hear and answer!  (1st Kings 8:44-45) 

What are you facing today that seems like a mountain?  Go to God in prayer!  Let your faith move you to prayer.  Go humbly to confess how your own sinful actions led to the trouble.  Go expecting God to hear and answer you!  The answer is already on the way!  By the way, eight years after we prayed, my wife and I were debt-free!  Faith and prayer gives direction and patience!

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God’s amazing eyes!

Scripture reading for April 12: 2 Kings 13-17

Because God the Father is Spirit, He has the ability to see and know all things.  The writers of Scripture often speak of the “eyes” of the Lord.  God’s eyes are able to see in different ways than our eyes function.  His eyes are able to penetrate into the depths of our thoughts and motives.  His eyes see what we think we are doing in secret.  His eyes can see in the darkness as if it is daylight and no detail escapes Him.  His eyes are able to weigh good and evil and make righteous judgments.

As we read through the stories of the various kings of Israel and Judah, we have one of two remarks that are repeated time and again.  If the king was good, the writer states that “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord”. (2 Kings 15:3)  If the king was wicked, the writer states that “he did evil in the eyes of the Lord”. (2 Kings 15:9)  Those kings who obeyed the Lord and sought to walk in honor of Him were seen by the Lord and rewarded accordingly.  God’s eyes are always watching for those whose hearts are fully committed to Him so that He can show himself strong on their behalf.  (2 Chronicles 16:9)

We would also do well to remember the “eyes of the Lord”.  God is watching us as well!  David asked God to keep him as the  “apple of His eye”.  (Psalms 17:8)  God told Solomon that His eyes and heart would always be in the Temple he had built. (1st Kings 9:3)  We are now the living stones of the new Temple built by the greater son of David and Solomon!  God’s keeping eye is upon us today.  He looks in love upon us because of His Son.  He lives and dwells with us and in us by His Holy Spirit.  He is with us always to watch over His Word and bring it to pass in our lives as well.  Take a moment to look up today and thank God for his marvelous eyes! Cry out to Him in worship and for help to open the eyes of your heart.

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry;” Psalm 34:15

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A God of His Word

Scripture reading for April 11: 2 Kings 9-12

My father was a man who was true to his word.  As I was growing up, he would buy and sell cattle worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over the phone.  He would call the banker and tell him how much he needed put into his bank account as a loan.  They would do it and he would always go in later and sign the note. It is a badge of honor to be a man of your word. This trait is honorable because God is also true to His Word! 

2 Kings 9:1-3 “Then Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him, “Tie up your garments, and take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead. And when you arrive, look there for Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. And go in and have him rise from among his fellows, and lead him into an inner chamber. Then take the flask of oil and pour it over his head and say, “Thus says the Lord, I anoint you king over Israel.” Then open the door and flee; do not linger.”

The prophet Elisha sent a word with one of the members of the company of prophets.  He was to anoint Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat to be king over Israel.  He was also to give Jehu a mission of destroying the house of Ahab and Jezebel for their murderous and adulterous behavior.  (2nd Kings 9:6-10)  He told Jehu that dogs would devour Jezebel on the plot of ground at Jezreel that she had stolen from Naboth and that no one would bury her.  Jehu went to Jezreel, found Jezebel and had her killed.  As he rested, dogs came and ate up her body, as God had decreed. (2nd Kings 9:34-37)

Jehu went after the remaining sons of Ahab in Samaria.  He came to Samaria and killed all who were left of Ahab’s family.  This was according to the Word of the Lord spoken to Elijah the prophet. (1st Kings 21:20-22)  This word was given several years earlier but God’s Word remains true! God’s Word is the only source of ultimate truth. (John 17:17)  God is faithful to watch over His Word to perform it.  (Jeremiah 1:12)  Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s Word will never pass away.  (Matthew 24:35) 

Are you known as a person of your word? If you are not, would you ask God for forgiveness and help to become more like Him? He has promised us that if we ask in faith, we will receive!

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Feeling out-numbered?

Scripture Reading for April 10: 2nd Kings 4-8

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you were outnumbered and under-equipped?  I loved spending time with my father who was a veteran of World War II.  He was drafted in 1941 and spent four years in the Army as a messenger and driver for the officers of the Third Armored Division.  He went ashore a few days after D-Day on Normandy beach and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.  As he was driving an officer on a mission, he suddenly came upon a German tank.  He did a u-turn before his passenger could say a word and beat a path for the cover of his company.  As he topped a hill, a shell exploded behind his jeep. He soon passed one of his own tanks who covered him.  My father knew what it was like to be in enemy territory and out-numbered!  However, there were more for him than against him that day, watching over him!

The Arameans were angry at Elisha, who was warning the king of Israel about their plans of attack.  They found out Elisha was staying at Dothan, and came at night and surrounded the city with soldiers, horses and chariots.  Elisha’s servant went out the next morning and saw the great army and came back to Elisha alarmed.  Elisha prayed that the servant would be able to see all their heavenly help. As this enemy approached, Elisha prayed again, asking the Lord to strike his enemy with blindness.  He then led this army to Samaria to the king of Israel and then prayed to open their eyes.  God again answered!  What a walk of faith to experience God’s abundant help and victory!

God still answers prayer and responds to faith.  Do you need fresh vision today?  Will you take time to ask the Lord to open your eyes! Confess the truth: “There’s more for me than against me!”

“And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.”  Then the Lord opened his servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2nd Kings 6:17

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The Power of our choices!

Scripture reading for April 9: 2nd Kings 1-3

“What can I do for you before I am taken from you?”  And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” (2nd Kings 2:9) 

This is essentially the same question God asked Solomon when He appeared to him a few years earlier. (1st Kings 3:5)  Solomon asked for wisdom to rule God’s people.  God gives us choices.  One of the tensions in Scripture is between our free will and God’s sovereign will.  God is sovereign but He has chosen to work with man who is made in His image.  Part of that image is the ability to make choices.

Elijah had been instructed by God to tap Elisha to take his place some ten years earlier.  Elisha was the son of a farmer.  He was plowing with 12 yokes of oxen–a big rig of that day!  (1st Kings 19:19)  At God’s instruction, Elijah threw his mantle over him.  Scripture records that he left his oxen and ran after Elijah.  Then he sacrificed his oxen, burning his plowing equipment to offer the sacrifice.  Choices have consequences and rewards and often lead to more choices.

As the time for Elijah’s departure drew near, Elisha had to continually choose to stay near his mentor.  Elijah kept asking him to stay away, but he kept insisting on staying.  If we are going to get all that the Lord has for us, it means we must persevere!  Elisha asked Elijah for the double portion of his mentor’s spirit.  Elijah could not give that himself.  It must come from the Lord.  Elijah gave him a word of knowledge–that if he could see him when he departed he would have what he asked for.  (2nd Kings 2:10-12)  As they walked on together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind right before Elisha’s eyes and the mantle fell to earth!  It was an exciting exit for the prophet Elijah and an exciting transition for the prophet Elisha as he picked up the anointed mantle and began to do greater things than his mentor!

Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the final word from God. He has told HIs disciples to ask Him for whatever we need and He will do it.  (John 14:14)  He has given us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and bring forth the gifts of the Spirit as they are needed to glorify the Lord.  He has told us, that we will do even greater works because He has gone to the Father.  (John 14:11-14)  Ask the Lord today for what you need!  How much more will God the Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask! (Luke 11:13)

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Prophetic intervention

Scripture reading for April 8: 1st Kings 20-22

God places us in a family so that we might learn from parents who are older and wiser.  God may also place a mate in our life. A mate may be a great blessing or lead us astray.  God also sends people to us who will speak the Word of God into our lives.  The Old Testament called them prophets.  They were sent to give warning, direction, and advice for living God’s way.  Heeding their word would result in a victorious life; rejecting their word brought trouble and defeat. Ahab had a pagan wife, Jezebel, who led him astray. Ahab’s attitude made prophetic intervention necessary since he was not following God fully.

1 Kings 20:28 “And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is a god of the hills but He is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.””

In the course of time, God sent another prophet to Ahab with instructions on how to defeat his enemy Ben-Hadad, king of Aram.  (1st Kings 20:13)  God worked a miracle and the enemy was defeated but Ben-Hadad escaped.  God sent another prophet to speak to Ahab a word of action.  (1st Kings 20:28)  Ahab spared Ben-Hadad’s life and made a treaty with him. God sent another prophet to pronounce judgment.

(1 Kings 20:42-43) “And he said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people.'” And the king of Israel went to his house vexed and sullen and came to Samaria.”

Ahab responded with anger and sulking!  Out of this attitude, Ahab coveted a neighbor’s vineyard to built a garden for himself.  The neighbor, Naboth, refused to sell or trade the family property.  Jezebel, his wife, promptly set in motion a plan to get the vineyard through lies and manipulation.  Naboth was killed and the vineyard is secured for Ahab.  Elijah the prophet pronounced their deaths.

Why do you think God sent all this prophetic intervention and correction?  Why was God so gracious and long-suffering with this king and his wife?  Has God ever given you prophetic instruction or warnings?

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Provision in ‘dry’ times!

Scripture reading for April 6: 1st Kings 17-19

In 1975, our family went through a drought on the farm.  It rained early in the year, but then quit after the crops were in.  June and July had almost no rain and the corn grew and tasseled, but did not produce silks.  Ears formed but no kernels were on the cobs.  It looked very bleak for feeding our animals and paying the bills.  The soybeans were shorter than usual, but it rained in August when they were blooming and they produced a good crop.  God provided for us in the drought that year! Praise the Lord! 

1 Kings 17:1 “Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before Whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”

Elijah announced to King Ahab that no rain or dew would fall from the sky except at his word for the next few years. He then left in obedience to the Lord, trusting God for His promised provision.  God commanded ravens to feed him by the brook in the Cherith ravine.  After a rainless few weeks, the brook dried up and God sent Elijah to a widow’s house in Zarephath.  This widow was so poor that she was gathering sticks to cook her son a last meal from a nearly empty jar of flour and oil.  Elijah asked her to bring him a little water and a piece of bread.  He encouraged her not to fear, that God would provide for her until the rains came again.  She obeyed and God provided meals for nearly three years from that empty flour bin and oil jar. “Give and it will be given to you, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)

The times we live in are also dry in many ways.  Our economy is very weak and many are hurting financially. God’s judgment has fallen on our country that has turned to idols.  In times like this, we must listen to the Word of the Lord!  It is imperative that each person hears the instructions God has for them.  We must always give to God first and God will provide for us.  The widow was taken care of during the drought because she took care of the prophet.  Dry times need not be a problem if we walk with God!

Are you going through dry times in your own life? Have you sought God for His instructions to meet the needs you have? Are you willing to give your little to God first to see a miracle of multiplication?

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