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I have to admit the kings have become a handful for me...I just don't seem to keep track who's whose son and what who did...it was interesting to note that although Jehoahaz did evil in the eyes of God,God was still merciful...and his son Jehoash although he had no regard for God and did evil in His sight,seemed to be fond of Elisha whom he called his father....strange...What also seems strange is that Elisha had a double portion of the annointing....his bones had raised the dead...yet he himself died due to an illness....
I believe when you have a passion for God in your heart and you seek Him,no matter where you are God'll make sure you are taught his ways.I had planned to read the bible through a few times and failed...the God showed me a way to do it..May God lead us all to those who are searching and whose hearts are ready to receive God...may God sustain us in praying for those whose hearts are hardened so that they too may be ready to receive Him...May God keep our hearts steadfast and our hopes alive even when it seems we're in the eye of a tornado....
God bless you all

Anka,

I meant to post this about "double portion" back in 2Kings. It makes sense to me - otherwise why not ask for three, four or five times as much? Double portion was used for a reason, and must have had a Biblical reference - I think the comment below might be correct.

The idea of a double portion was not to ask for twice as much as Elijah had, but to ask for the portion that went to the firstborn son, as in Deuteronomy 21:17. Elisha asked for the right to be regarded as the successor of Elijah, as his firstborn son in regard to ministry. Yet Elisha had already been designated as Elijah’s successor (1 Kings 19:19). This was a request for the spiritual power to fulfill the calling he already received.

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1202.htm

Thanks for jogging my failing :( memory.

2 Kings 13 (NKJV)
3
Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Ben-Hadad the son of Hazael, all their days.

11
And he did evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, but walked in them.

18
Then he said, “Take the arrows”; so he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground”; so he struck three times, and stopped.
19
And the man of God was angry with him, and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike Syria only three times.”

NOTE:
Elisha and Elijah teach me to intensely and eagerly expect a miracle, based on the real power of God. Don't be complacent!

Note that the kings of Israel accepted and remained became comfortable with all the sins of Jeroboam.

Note how far reaching is one sin. Albeit, Jeroboam was the king of the northern kingdom of Israel, so his influence was probably greater than the influence of someone else.

Yet, think about it…we are all leaders in life. That is, people watch us and they learn from us. The question I need to think about is this: What are people learning from me?

What I do is what I really believe. Of course, by God's grace and His Word, I can change.

Am I complacent? Are we?

Acts 18 (NKJV)
25
This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.
28
for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.

Acts 19 (NKJV)
5
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6
And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
7
Now the men were about twelve in all.

NOTE:
Apollos in Acts 18 and the disciples in Acts 19 all have at least three (3) things in common:

a. they needed a clear understanding of Jesus as Lord, and to yield to him as Lord
b. they needed a continual filling and spilling over of the Holy Spirit
c. they are just like us

We need to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.

May we spend time really abiding in the Lord Jesus, so His life can flow to us-- from the vine to the branches.

Psalm 146 (NKJV)
1
Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2
While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

NOTE:
I like David and the other psalmists. They always pressed into the Lord, no matter how they felt or the circumstances they were in.

Even when confessing sin, they were fervent!

May we learn from the spiritual diary of our brothers and sisters who have gone before. Oh, that we would see the treasure of the Lord within earthen vessels!

May we be...

Romans 12 (NKJV):
11
not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
12
rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer

And when we feel discouraged, keep these wonderful realities in mind, from 2 Corinthians 4 (NKJV):
7
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

10
always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

13
And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” [Psalm 116:10] we also believe and therefore speak,
14
knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus

NOTE: In the past, I have puzzled over Psalm 116:10, the verse which the Holy Spirit through Paul quotes as the Scriptural basis in the OT for victorious spirit of faith during times of trial. This is quoted in 2 Corinthians 4:13.

The New King James Version
is not clear (and is very similar in other English translations):

Psalm 116 (NKJV)
10
I believed, therefore I spoke, “I am greatly afflicted.”

At first glance, this sounds exactly the opposite of a victorious spirit of faith. I suppose that someone who was predisposed to look for “contradictions in the Bible” might say this proves their case.

Yet, this is why we are called to “dig a little deeper” and study to show ourselves approved. God’s wisdom is always there. We just have to find it.

Psalm 116:10 is not as clear in English as it is in the Tehillim (Psalms) in Hebrew. I have an English translation with a commentary from Talmudic, Midrashic, and Rabbinic sources.

Note this English translation of the Tehillim of this same verse.

Psalm 116 (Tehillim)
10
I kept the faith although I would say, “I suffer exceedingly.”

If you have wondered about this, this is what I found that really helped me from the Tehillim:

FIRST, context is crucial.

SECOND, in the English translation of the Tehillim (Psalms), God is referred to as HASHEM. This is God’s highest name—i.e., the God of Mercy.

THIRD, I found the context and the following quotes from the Tehillim (Psalms) extremely illuminating:

Psalm 116 (my English translation of the Tehillim [Psalms] ):
1
I love Him, for HASHEM hears my voice, my supplications.
2
For He has inclined His ear to me, in my days I will invoke His Name.
3
The pains of death encircled me; the confines of the grave have found me, trouble and sorrow I would find.
4
THEN I WOULD INVOKE THE NAME OF HASHEM: “Please HASHEM save my soul!”

7
Return to your rest, my soul; for HASHEM has been kind to you.
8
For You delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
9
I shall walk before HASHEM in the land of the living.
10
I kept the faith although I would say, “I suffer exceedingly.”

Most excellent note from Rabbinic source on this point:
“I trust that which I said – Return my soul, unto your rest – for I believe that God can redeem me from my deep suffering and restore my tranquility.”

So, Psalm 116:10 is really a verbal speaking of the inner person continually meditating on the character of God revealed in His Word, and His faithfulness in previous situations.

This passage in the Tehillim shows how the Psalmist re-focused his soul on God through meditation on His word and through prayer.

This is how we can do the same.

Hope this is a blessing.

Vance

Laura,

I read your very positive feedback to my short comment to your June 26th post. There's nothing more beautiful than to be able to use our gift for reflection to make us more connected to the TRUTH and the WORD...

Hope you're having a great week!!!

A comment about the 'rough and gruffness' of Elijah and Elisha. Although there are times their behaviour seems odd, I like that they are not 'modeling' this "miss good manners' approach to the kingdom way of life. They remind me of wild eyed, passionate, hard driving people like John the baptist. I sometimes think that Christians equate nice behaviour with authentic godliness. Whatever their 'quirks' they model to me 'originality and spontaneity'. Rarely does it say they dishonoured God by their 'oddness'. I think erwin McManus' is on to something profound in his book The Barbarian Way. He suggests we have become way too civilized as Christians. Christianity has become a pseudoynm for politeness and proper manner, yada, yada. We have managed to 'hush' out the passion in the lives of our young and some have opted for other non Christian spiritualities that they will surely find wanting, but for a time find appealing.

thanks Elijah and Elisha for being real and for modeling the God life in its various dimensions. We may not understand you but let's let Jesus have the final word on these guys from Luke 1:17 "And he will go before the Lord, IN THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom fo the righteous--to make a people ready for the Lord."

And james said of elijah in James 5:17 "Elijah was a man just like us...."

I've always had a question about the people in the Old Testament who were unable to keep the law God gave Moses. Did they go to heaven? I'm sure they must have, but how? I've heard different answers. Some say that they when to "the bosom of Abraham". Some say if they believed in the coming Messiah, they went to heaven. What do some of you think?

I believe the language in the graphic for Psalm 146 is Dutch . . . I want to thank God and you, Mike, for this resource and for the encouragement to continue reading God's Word every day!

It just struck me that given the photos, the language in the graphic is more likely Afrikaans, the form of Dutch spoken in South Africa.

Proverbs 18:2
"Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions." This is a great verse. And good advice from Mike about being a better listoner rather than talking all the time. If you are somewhat of an extravert like I am, (one who talks before thinking) It is very good advice to follow. Thinking before writting also applies.

John, I know that you weren't really rebuking me and I didn't take offense. You are not the first person that researched information that I have passed along to others that has proven to be incorrect. I've sent E-mails out to friends and family without checking them out completely to see whether they are false or not. Sometimes we speak more than we liston or don't think before speaking. I'm don't take offense to anyones wisdom or the truth.

Being a visual person, I was in awe of the photo's of the ruins which showed the buildings that were carved in Rock in Petra. I would love to visit that country to see them for myself. Quite amazing.

Luciano Del Monte, commented about the rough and gruffness of the behavior of Elijah and Elisha. These men were some of the major prophets whose stories are told throughout the bible. We have many examples of modern day leaders and men of God that have very strong personalites. God uses each of us, in a way that we might not even understand. Those whose hearts follow the Lord and yield to His teachings and wisdom, are all valuable and mighty to God. He made us all different for a reason. I always learn something different when I read about the mighty men and woman in bible. Praise God for leaders like Elijah and Elisha.

Anka, I admit all these characters have been a handful for me too, as far as understanding goes. I appreciate always your heartfelt comments and thoughful prayers to the group. Blessings, Laura

2Kings13

Elisha had become sick: Even men of faith and miracles are not immune to sickness and disease. This great man became sick like others whom he had healed as a channel of the power and blessing of God.

With the illness of which he would die: Though God used Elisha on many occasions to heal others, God appointed this illness to be the means of taking Elisha from this world. God has no one single way that He does this; it is a mistake to believe that all the godly die in their sleep without a hint of prior illness.

Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over his face: This reaction of the king of Israel might seem strange, having just read the description of the sin and evil that marked his reign. However, it is important to remember that Joash was not a worshipper of the false gods; he was a false worshipper of the true God. He had some respect for the true God, and therefore some regard and honor for Elisha.

i. “Dear friends, let us seek so to live that even ungodly men may miss us when we are gone.” (Spurgeon)

“It was an ancient custom to shoot an arrow or cast a spear into the country which an army intended to invade. . . . The dart, spear, or arrow thrown, was an emblem of the commencement of hostilities.” (Clarke)

“The window was opened eastward toward Syria and specifically toward Aphek, the most strategic site between Damascus and Samaria. Aphek was the city where Ahab had defeated the Syrians years earlier (1 Kings 20:26).” (Dilday)

When the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet: This is one of the more strange and unusual miracles in the Bible. There is little explanation and the silence of the record suggests that there was not inherent power in the bones of Elisha to resuscitate others. This seems to be a unique, one-time miracle to bring honor to the memory of this great prophet....We can also be brought to life by our contact with these dead prophets.

Three times Joash defeated him: Elisha had promised Joash these three victories over the Syrians. We can supposed that especially after the third victory King Joash wished he had shot more arrows through the window at the invitation of Elisha.
http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1213.htm
======================================================2Kings14

Going agasinst Edom

2 Chronicles 25:5-16 gives more background to this event. Amaziah gathered a huge army in Judah to go against Edom - three hundred thousand choice men, able to go to war, who could handle spear and shield. He also hired 100,000 mercenary soldiers from Israel. But a prophet came and warned him to not use the soldiers from Israel, because God was not with that rebellious and idolatrous kingdom. Amaziah was convinced to trust God, send the mercenaries from Israel away, and accept the loss of the money used to hire them. God blessed this step of faith, and gave them a convincing victory over the Edomites.

Amaziah trusted God for the victory over Edom; but immediately after the victory his heart turned from God: Now it was so, after Amaziah came from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up to be his gods, and bowed down before them and burned incense to them. (2 Chronicles 25:14)

Again, 2 Chronicles 25:5-16 gives more background to this event. When Amaziah sent away the Israelite mercenaries, they were not happy – even though he paid them for not fighting against Edom (they probably counted on receiving much more from the spoil of battle). As they returned to Israel, they raided the cities of Judah from Samaria to Beth Horon, killed three thousand in them, and took much spoil (2 Chronicles 25:13). This was the political motivation for Amaziah’s attack against Israel.

He had reason to believe he would be successful. He had recently assembled a 300,000 man army that killed 20,000 Edomites in a victory over Edom (2 Chronicles 25:5, 11-12). Jehoahaz seemed very weak, having only 50 horsemen, 10 chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers after being defeated by the Syrians (2 Kings 13:7)...Amaziah had a mighty army and Jehoash had a weak army. Yet God gave Israel the victory over Judah to rebuke the idolatry of Amaziah.

The reign of Jeroboam II was a time of economic, political, and material prosperity for Israel. Yet it was not because of their own merit or goodness, but because of God’s great mercy to Israel.

i. Archaeology confirms the economic might of Jeroboam II. In the age prior to Jeroboam II, the houses in Israel’s cities were roughly the same size. But archaeologists find a change starting in the eighth century b.c. - ancient cities like Tirzah have a neighborhood of large, expensive houses and another neighborhood of small, crowded structures, smaller than the houses from previous years. The larger houses are filled with the marks of prosperity, and the oppressive rich of Israel thought they could find safety there - but God’s judgment came against those houses as well (Amos 3:13-15).

Then Zechariah his son reigned in his place: Zechariah was the fourth generation of the Jehu dynasty, and it was prophesied that the dynasty of Jehu would continue for four generations (2 Kings 10:30).

i. “From the time of Jeroboam’s death, declension set it, ending, less than seventy years later, in its final overthrow and dissolution. Prophetic ministry was from this time greatly increased. ‘Such is the way of our gracious God,’ and unknown writer says, ‘that when judgment is near to approach, then testimony is multiplied.’” (Knapp)

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1214.htm

Me too!!!!

"Anka, I admit all these characters have been a handful for me too, as far as understanding goes. I appreciate always your heartfelt comments and thoughful prayers to the group. Blessings, Laura"

I am sure Study bibles must have charts of Kings, but here is an online one that I find useful.

http://www.geocities.com/thekingsofisrael/kings.html

Acts 18

Apollos

Apollos (short form of Apollonius), an Alexandrian Jew, had evidently taken advantage of the education of that city and especially its Jewish community. Alexandria, known for its museum, library and ancillary learning facilities, boasted a Jewish population containing scholars who had produced the Septuagint and later counted Philo the philosopher among their ranks....

...We encounter less difficulty, though, if we take Apollos to be a knowledgeable, fervent but unregenerate disciple of John the Baptist who believes Jesus is the Messiah but does not understand the present saving significance of his death and resurrection. Further, he is unaware of what Pentecost means for all who are baptized in the name of Jesus. The way of the Lord that he knows, then, is not the gospel, but God's way of salvation set forth in the promises of the Old Testament (Is 40:3-5/Lk 3:4-6; compare 1QS 8:13-14).

http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/index.php?action=getCommentaryText&cid=5&source=1&seq=i.51.18.3

Aquilla and Priscilla

I am lucky to have some Aquilla and Priscilla's in my church. The church I attend is evangelical and was started by some professors from the State University so they could worship at a place that taught the Bible.

Usually if I run into trouble during bible reading - I can go to different people and ask what they think. Through dialogue I can come up with a satisfactory interpretation. On a few occasions I have said something that caused someone to approach me, sometimes causing me to rethink my statements.

It has been great for my growth, and my fellowship, and I have learned a lot from these people - especially as the pastors do not always have "free time" to discuss things "one on one".

"God always wants us to go deeper. We have sipped where we might have drunk deeply, we have drunk deeply where we might have waded, and we have waded where we might have gone full out and plunged in!" - David Guzik

Acts 19

Extraordinary miracles

Literally, the phrase unusual miracles could be translated, miracles not of the ordinary kind. Even if we should “expect” miracles, these are the unexpected sort!

Observations on these unusual miracles.

i. Note that these were unusual miracles; we should not expect that God would continue to use this method to bring healing.

ii. God delights in doing things in new and different ways; so we receive whatever is proven to be from the hand of God, but we pursue only that which we have a Biblical pattern for.

iii. God will stoop down to meet us even in our crude superstitions. This never means that God is pleased with our superstition, but that in His mercy He may overlook them to meet a need.

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/4419.htm


Wednesday June 28th 2006


Mike I like your “rough and gruff” question. I for one believe we do not allow the Holy Spirit to tell us how to respond to any given situation or we suppress what we are being led to say and the tone we are being led to speak it in because we are in fear. We fear what others will think of us or that we will offend others. Many of us even believe that if we speak ever so gentile then the person or people we are speaking to will come running to the Lord either for Salvation or to Repentance.

I have been so “rough and gruff” from time to time when speaking or dealing with people at times I have even looked around and said, “Who said that?” I have even dealt gently with people who were out of control, belligerent and just plan “off-the-hook,” when I just wanted to bop the on the head. In a bible study I was leading on the unproductive fig tree, one of the people who lived on the street, a man, became so unruly because of the topic, he began cursing and shouted, “Why are you bringing up this Bible stuff?” I told him, “To seat down, shut up or leave; after all this is a church.” The authority, volume and intensity of my voice stunned even me. About 18 months latter, as I entered a subway train that a very seldom take I hear someone call my name. Recognizing no one on the I proceeded to take a seat. Again, I heard my name and then he added, “This is Padro.” Here before me was the man who had been out of control now in front of me in his right mind and I didn’t even recognize him. He had cleaned himself up, got into rehab, reconnected with his family and was going to church for a reason other than getting a free meal. I was absolutely stunned. When the original incident happened, there were none too few people rebuking me for my “attitude.” However, that “attitude” was what God used to speak to him.

When directed by the Holy Spirit, “rough and gruff” or “sweet as peaches,” God gives you the “attitude” needed to get the job done.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

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