The Lion & The Lamb – A Message of Peace

What comes to your mind when you think of the word Peace?

Do you picture a young sleeping baby? A dancing hippy and a Volkswagen van? Maybe you see a Miss America pageant contestant promising to pursue world peace?

Peace is when we experience calm and harmony instead of conflict. We all want peace – inner peace, peace in our relationships, world peace – and the Bible promises a time of perfect peace.

But we are a world in conflict with the Creator. Because of this, we don’t experience peace in our relationships and we suffer inner conflict and anxiety as we respond to the conflict we live in.

True peace is only possible when King Jesus institutes perfect justice, and there will never be perfect lasting peace in this world until there is an end to the rebellion against the King. To experience true peace, you must allow him to be the strong, protective Lion with total authority in your life, and you must depend on Him as the sacrificial lamb that takes away your sin and comforts you in your affliction.

If you depend on Jesus to be your Lion and your Lamb you will experience peace in three ways.

On the day of Judgment you can have confidence that you will be at peace with God. The apostle Paul writes, ”Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)

Youll be able to cling to the hope of eternal peace to calm your inner conflict. The promise of eternal peace has the power to quiet your inner anxieties, fears, and struggles. You won’t give up or give in if you remember that Jesus wins. You can have confidence that this temporal conflict is part of God’s greater purpose for ultimate peace. We know that He only allows it in order to draw more people to Him, and to help us be more like Him. One day we will live in harmony with God.

Youll experience more peace in your earthly relationships. We can trust God to do what is right, and to treat us better than we deserve, so we don’t need to avenge ourselves or live with bitterness towards others. Instead, as we do all that is in our control to be at peace with all people we find out the true meaning of Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

This Christmas season, remember that peace is possible when you follow Jesus as King and depend on him as Savior.

Andrew

October 14 – OT Reading

Isaiah 64-66

Isaiah 64

Prayer for Mercy and Help

64 Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence— As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil— To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things which we did not expect, You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence. For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him. You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, We continued in them a long time; And shall we be saved? For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.

But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord, Nor remember iniquity forever; Behold, look now, all of us are Your people. 10 Your holy cities have become a wilderness, Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. 11 Our holy and beautiful house, Where our fathers praised You, Has been burned by fire; And all our precious things have become a ruin. 12 Will You restrain Yourself at these things, O Lord? Will You keep silent and afflict us beyond measure?

 

Isaiah 65

A Rebellious People

65 “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ To a nation which did not call on My name. “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts, A people who continually provoke Me to My face, Offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on bricks; Who sit among graves and spend the night in secret places; Who eat swine’s flesh, And the broth of unclean meat is in their pots. “Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, do not come near me, For I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day. “Behold, it is written before Me, I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will even repay into their bosom, Both their own iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers together,” says the Lord. “Because they have burned incense on the mountains And scorned Me on the hills, Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom.”

Thus says the Lord,

“As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is benefit in it,’ So I will act on behalf of My servants In order not to destroy all of them. “I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, And an heir of My mountains from Judah; Even My chosen ones shall inherit it, And My servants will dwell there. 10 “Sharon will be a pasture land for flocks, And the valley of Achor a resting place for herds, For My people who seek Me. 11 “But you who forsake the Lord, Who forget My holy mountain, Who set a table for Fortune, And who fill cups with mixed wine for Destiny, 12 I will destine you for the sword, And all of you will bow down to the slaughter. Because I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not hear. And you did evil in My sight And chose that in which I did not delight.”

13 Therefore, thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, My servants will eat, but you will be hungry. Behold, My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. Behold, My servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. 14 “Behold, My servants will shout joyfully with a glad heart, But you will cry out with a heavy heart, And you will wail with a broken spirit. 15 “You will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones, And the Lord God will slay you. But My servants will be called by another name. 16 “Because he who is blessed in the earth Will be blessed by the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Will swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My sight!

New Heavens and a New Earth

17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. 18 “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness. 19 “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying. 20 “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed. 21 “They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 “They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. 23 “They will not labor in vain, Or bear children for calamity; For they are the offspring of those blessed by the Lord, And their descendants with them.

24 It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord.

 

Isaiah 66

Heaven Is God’s Throne

66 Thus says the Lord,

“Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.

Hypocrisy Rebuked

But he who kills an ox is like one who slays a man; He who sacrifices a lamb is like the one who breaks a dog’s neck; He who offers a grain offering is like one who offers swine’s blood; He who burns incense is like the one who blesses an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, And their soul delights in their abominations, So I will choose their punishments And will bring on them what they dread. Because I called, but no one answered; I spoke, but they did not listen. And they did evil in My sight And chose that in which I did not delight.” Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at His word: “Your brothers who hate you, who exclude you for My name’s sake, Have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified, that we may see your joy.’ But they will be put to shame. “A voice of uproar from the city, a voice from the temple, The voice of the Lord who is rendering recompense to His enemies.

“Before she travailed, she brought forth; Before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy. “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons. “Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord. “Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?” says your God.

Joy in Jerusalem’s Future

10 “Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her; Be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her, 11 That you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts, That you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom.” 12 For thus says the Lord, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. 13 “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; And you will be comforted in Jerusalem.” 14 Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad, And your bones will flourish like the new grass; And the hand of the Lord will be made known to His servants, But He will be indignant toward His enemies. 15 For behold, the Lord will come in fire And His chariots like the whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For the Lord will execute judgment by fire And by His sword on all flesh, And those slain by the Lord will be many. 17 “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens, Following one in the center, Who eat swine’s flesh, detestable things and mice, Will come to an end altogether,” declares the Lord.

18 “For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory. 19 I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations.20 Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the Lord, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. 21 I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites,” says the Lord.

22 “For just as the new heavens and the new earth Which I make will endure before Me,” declares the Lord, “So your offspring and your name will endure. 23 “And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says the Lord. 24 “Then they will go forth and look On the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die And their fire will not be quenched; And they will be an abhorrence to all mankind.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

September 15 – OT Reading

Isaiah 1-4

Isaiah 1

Rebellion of God’s People

1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; For the Lord speaks, “Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted against Me. “An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand.”

Alas, sinful nation, People weighed down with iniquity, Offspring of evildoers, Sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the Lord, They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have turned away from Him.

Where will you be stricken again, As you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick And the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head There is nothing sound in it, Only bruises, welts and raw wounds, Not pressed out or bandaged, Nor softened with oil.

Your land is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire, Your fields—strangers are devouring them in your presence; It is desolation, as overthrown by strangers. The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, Like a watchman’s hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. Unless the Lord of hosts Had left us a few survivors, We would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah.

God Has Had Enough

10 Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the instruction of our God, You people of Gomorrah. 11 “What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle; And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. 12 “When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts? 13 “Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. 14 “I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.

16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.

“Let Us Reason”

18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. 19 “If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land; 20 “But if you refuse and rebel, You will be devoured by the sword.” Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Zion Corrupted, to Be Redeemed

21 How the faithful city has become a harlot, She who was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her, But now murderers. 22 Your silver has become dross, Your drink diluted with water. 23 Your rulers are rebels And companions of thieves; Everyone loves a bribe And chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, Nor does the widow’s plea come before them.

24 Therefore the Lord God of hosts, The Mighty One of Israel, declares, “Ah, I will be relieved of My adversaries And avenge Myself on My foes. 25 “I will also turn My hand against you, And will smelt away your dross as with lye And will remove all your alloy. 26 “Then I will restore your judges as at the first, And your counselors as at the beginning; After that you will be called the city of righteousness, A faithful city.”

27 Zion will be redeemed with justice And her repentant ones with righteousness. 28 But transgressors and sinners will be crushed together, And those who forsake the Lord will come to an end. 29 Surely you will be ashamed of the oaks which you have desired, And you will be embarrassed at the gardens which you have chosen. 30 For you will be like an oak whose leaf fades away Or as a garden that has no water. 31 The strong man will become tinder, His work also a spark. Thus they shall both burn together And there will be none to quench them.

 

Isaiah 2

God’s Universal Reign

2 The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the Lord Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.

Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. For You have abandoned Your people, the house of Jacob, Because they are filled with influences from the east, And they are soothsayers like the Philistines, And they strike bargains with the children of foreigners. Their land has also been filled with silver and gold And there is no end to their treasures; Their land has also been filled with horses And there is no end to their chariots. Their land has also been filled with idols; They worship the work of their hands, That which their fingers have made. So the common man has been humbled And the man of importance has been abased, But do not forgive them. 10 Enter the rock and hide in the dust From the terror of the Lord and from the splendor of His majesty. 11 The proud look of man will be abased And the loftiness of man will be humbled, And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

A Day of Reckoning Coming

12 For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning Against everyone who is proud and lofty And against everyone who is lifted up, That he may be abased. 13 And it will be against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up, Against all the oaks of Bashan, 14 Against all the lofty mountains, Against all the hills that are lifted up, 15 Against every high tower, Against every fortified wall, 16 Against all the ships of Tarshish And against all the beautiful craft. 17 The pride of man will be humbled And the loftiness of men will be abased; And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, 18 But the idols will completely vanish. 19 Men will go into caves of the rocks And into holes of the ground Before the terror of the Lord And the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble. 20 In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats Their idols of silver and their idols of gold, Which they made for themselves to worship, 21 In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs Before the terror of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble. 22 Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; For why should he be esteemed?

 

Isaiah 3

God Will Remove the Leaders

3 For behold, the Lord God of hosts is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah Both supply and support, the whole supply of bread And the whole supply of water; The mighty man and the warrior, The judge and the prophet, The diviner and the elder, The captain of fifty and the honorable man, The counselor and the expert artisan, And the skillful enchanter. And I will make mere lads their princes, And capricious children will rule over them, And the people will be oppressed, Each one by another, and each one by his neighbor; The youth will storm against the elder And the inferior against the honorable. When a man lays hold of his brother in his father’s house, saying, “You have a cloak, you shall be our ruler, And these ruins will be under your charge,” He will protest on that day, saying, “I will not be your healer, For in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; You should not appoint me ruler of the people.” For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen, Because their speech and their actions are against the Lord, To rebel against His glorious presence. The expression of their faces bears witness against them, And they display their sin like Sodom; They do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. 10 Say to the righteous that it will go well with them, For they will eat the fruit of their actions. 11 Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him, For what he deserves will be done to him. 12 O My people! Their oppressors are children, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray And confuse the direction of your paths.

God Will Judge

13 The Lord arises to contend, And stands to judge the people. 14 The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of His people, “It is you who have devoured the vineyard; The plunder of the poor is in your houses. 15 “What do you mean by crushing My people And grinding the face of the poor?” Declares the Lord God of hosts.

Judah’s Women Denounced

16 Moreover, the Lord said, “Because the daughters of Zion are proud And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, And go along with mincing steps And tinkle the bangles on their feet, 17 Therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs, And the Lord will make their foreheads bare.”

18 In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, crescent ornaments,19 dangling earrings, bracelets, veils, 20 headdresses, ankle chains, sashes, perfume boxes, amulets,21 finger rings, nose rings, 22 festal robes, outer tunics, cloaks, money purses, 23 hand mirrors, undergarments, turbans and veils.

24 Now it will come about that instead of sweet perfume there will be putrefaction; Instead of a belt, a rope; Instead of well-set hair, a plucked-out scalp; Instead of fine clothes, a donning of sackcloth; And branding instead of beauty. 25 Your men will fall by the sword And your mighty ones in battle. 26 And her gates will lament and mourn, And deserted she will sit on the ground.

 

Isaiah 4

A Remnant Prepared

4 For seven women will take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach!”

In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel. It will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, then the Lord will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy. There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

September 05 – OT Reading

2 Kings 1-4

 

2 Kings 1

Ahaziah’s Messengers Meet Elijah

1 Now Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab. And Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber which was in Samaria, and became ill. So he sent messengers and said to them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I will recover from this sickness.” But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and say to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?’ Now therefore thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’” Then Elijah departed.

When the messengers returned to him he said to them, “Why have you returned?” They said to him, “A man came up to meet us and said to us, ‘Go, return to the king who sent you and say to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.’”’” He said to them, “What kind of man was he who came up to meet you and spoke these words to you?” They answered him, “He was a hairy man with a leather girdle bound about his loins.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”

Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him, and behold, he was sitting on the top of the hill. And he said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’” 10 Elijah replied to the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

11 So he again sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he said to him, “O man of God, thus says the king, ‘Come down quickly.’” 12 Elijah replied to them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

13 So he again sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. When the third captain of fifty went up, he came and bowed down on his knees before Elijah, and begged him and said to him, “O man of God, please let my life and the lives of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight. 14 Behold fire came down from heaven and consumed the first two captains of fifty with their fifties; but now let my life be precious in your sight.” 15 The angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king. 16 Then he said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron—is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word?—therefore you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.’”

Jehoram Reigns over Israel

17 So Ahaziah died according to the word of the Lord which Elijah had spoken. And because he had no son, Jehoram became king in his place in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. 18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

 

2 Kings 2

Elijah Taken to Heaven

2 And it came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here please, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” And he said, “Yes, I know; be still.”

Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be still.” Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” And he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on.

Now fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” 10 He said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” 11 As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. 12 Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over.

Elisha Succeeds Elijah

15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite him saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him. 16 They said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men, please let them go and search for your master; perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has taken him up and cast him on some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.” 17 But when they urged him until he was ashamed, he said, “Send.” They sent therefore fifty men; and they searched three days but did not find him. 18 They returned to him while he was staying at Jericho; and he said to them, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?”

19 Then the men of the city said to Elisha, “Behold now, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad and the land is unfruitful.” 20 He said, “Bring me a new jar, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21 He went out to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘I have purified these waters; there shall not be from there death or unfruitfulness any longer.’” 22 So the waters have been purified to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke.

23 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number. 25 He went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.

 

2 Kings 3

Jehoram Meets Moab Rebellion

3 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel at Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, though not like his father and his mother; for he put away the sacred pillar of Baal which his father had made. Nevertheless, he clung to the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin; he did not depart from them.

Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and used to pay the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. And King Jehoram went out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. Then he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?” And he said, “I will go up; I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” He said, “Which way shall we go up?” And he answered, “The way of the wilderness of Edom.”

So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom; and they made a circuit of seven days’ journey, and there was no water for the army or for the cattle that followed them. 10 Then the king of Israel said, “Alas! For the Lord has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab.” 11 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of the Lord by him?” And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.” 12 Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

13 Now Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What do I have to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother.” And the king of Israel said to him, “No, for the Lord has called these three kings together to give them into the hand of Moab.” 14 Elisha said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look at you nor see you. 15 But now bring me a minstrel.” And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him. 16 He said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Make this valley full of trenches.’ 17 For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts. 18 This is but a slight thing in the sight of the Lord; He will also give the Moabites into your hand. 19 Then you shall strike every fortified city and every choice city, and fell every good tree and stop all springs of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.’” 20 It happened in the morning about the time of offering the sacrifice, that behold, water came by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.

21 Now all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them. And all who were able to put on armor and older were summoned and stood on the border. 22 They rose early in the morning, and the sun shone on the water, and the Moabites saw the water opposite them as red as blood. 23 Then they said, “This is blood; the kings have surely fought together, and they have slain one another. Now therefore, Moab, to the spoil!” 24 But when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites arose and struck the Moabites, so that they fled before them; and they went forward into the land, slaughtering the Moabites. 25 Thus they destroyed the cities; and each one threw a stone on every piece of good land and filled it. So they stopped all the springs of water and felled all the good trees, until in Kir-hareseth only they left its stones; however, the slingers went about it and struck it. 26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him 700 men who drew swords, to break through to the king of Edom; but they could not. 27 Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place, and offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel, and they departed from him and returned to their own land.

 

2 Kings 4

The Widow’s Oil

4 Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.”Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels; do not get a few. And you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all these vessels, and you shall set aside what is full.” So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing the vessels to her and she poured. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not one vessel more.” And the oil stopped. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

The Shunammite Woman

Now there came a day when Elisha passed over to Shunem, where there was a prominent woman, and she persuaded him to eat food. And so it was, as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat food. She said to her husband, “Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God passing by us continually. 10 Please, let us make a little walled upper chamber and let us set a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; and it shall be, when he comes to us, that he can turn in there.”

11 One day he came there and turned in to the upper chamber and rested. 12 Then he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite.” And when he had called her, she stood before him. 13 He said to him, “Say now to her, ‘Behold, you have been careful for us with all this care; what can I do for you? Would you be spoken for to the king or to the captain of the army?’” And she answered, “I live among my own people.” 14 So he said, “What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Truly she has no son and her husband is old.” 15 He said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16 Then he said, “At this season next year you will embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord, O man of God, do not lie to your maidservant.”

17 The woman conceived and bore a son at that season the next year, as Elisha had said to her.

The Shunammite’s Son

18 When the child was grown, the day came that he went out to his father to the reapers. 19 He said to his father, “My head, my head.” And he said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her lap until noon, and then died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door behind him and went out. 22 Then she called to her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and return.” 23 He said, “Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor sabbath.” And she said, “It will be well.” 24 Then she saddled a donkey and said to her servant, “Drive and go forward; do not slow down the pace for me unless I tell you.” 25 So she went and came to the man of God to Mount Carmel.

When the man of God saw her at a distance, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Behold, there is the Shunammite. 26 Please run now to meet her and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’” And she answered, “It is well.” 27 When she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came near to push her away; but the man of God said, “Let her alone, for her soul is troubled within her; and the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me.” 28 Then she said, “Did I ask for a son from my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?”

29 Then he said to Gehazi, “Gird up your loins and take my staff in your hand, and go your way; if you meet any man, do not salute him, and if anyone salutes you, do not answer him; and lay my staff on the lad’s face.” 30 The mother of the lad said, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” And he arose and followed her. 31 Then Gehazi passed on before them and laid the staff on the lad’s face, but there was no sound or response. So he returned to meet him and told him, “The lad has not awakened.”

32 When Elisha came into the house, behold the lad was dead and laid on his bed. 33 So he entered and shut the door behind them both and prayed to the Lord. 34 And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him; and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up and stretched himself on him; and the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes. 36 He called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Take up your son.” 37 Then she went in and fell at his feet and bowed herself to the ground, and she took up her son and went out.

The Poisonous Stew

38 When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. As the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” 39 Then one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, for they did not know what they were40 So they poured it out for the men to eat. And as they were eating of the stew, they cried out and said, “O man of God, there is death in the pot.” And they were unable to eat. 41 But he said, “Now bring meal.” He threw it into the pot and said, “Pour it out for the people that they may eat.” Then there was no harm in the pot.

42 Now a man came from Baal-shalishah, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat.” 43 His attendant said, “What, will I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’” 44 So he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Confused

Genesis 10-11

Why are we so fascinated with making a name for ourselves? As I thought about this passage, I wondered why Moses included this story about the tower. Is it simply to explain where the different languages and people groups come from? Surely there is a bigger purpose. He wants to teach the ancient Israelites something about God. So what is Moses trying to teach them and us from this account?

When we try and make a name for ourselves…it is rooted in pride…and what is pride but giving ourselves the worship that God deserves, it’s worshiping ourselves as god. It’s rooted in pride, is often expressed in rebellion and leads to confusion. It confirms our own sinfulness…the truth that every intent of the heart of man is only evil continually. The first recorded group project does not turn out so well…it is a monumental act of rebellion with far reaching consequences. It echoes the sin in the Garden, and the promise that you can be “like God”. The sin of Babel is both pride and rebellion, the making for ourselves a name so that we might be famous. It’s the throwing off of the yoke of obedience and even dependence to declare ourselves sinfully independent. And it’s a refusal to obey God…defining good for ourselves apart from what God has revealed…”Let’s build a tower and a city so that we are not dispersed over the face of the earth.” The effects of the fall from Genesis 3 continue. The root cause of sin was not dealt with in the judgment of the flood, only its effects on people and creation at that time. In addition to Noah and his family and the animals, sin hitched a ride on the boat and continued its reign over mankind and all of creation through Noah and his descendants.

No doubt God judges sin. But even in His judgment we still see His mercy, His amazing, undeserved love. In the shadow of the flood of Genesis 6–8, God could have chosen a much more severe punishment for their sin. Instead He puts a halt to it. Man’s rebellion does not thwart God’s purposes. God acts in sovereign ways to accomplish what He wills. God’s plan for man after the flood was that they multiply and fill the earth. Now they will fill the earth. 

Babel once again highlights the consequences of man’s attempts, through sinful independence, to be his own god.

The cycle continues. God’s faithfulness…our rebellion. The image-bearers failing to image Him, to reflect our perfect, benevolent, beautiful Creator God to His creation. Yet God continues to pursue…the Seed of the Woman. Genesis 3.15.

But what about you? Where do you find yourself building towers, looking for fame, rebelling against God, making a name for yourself? The desire for selfish independence and for god-status is still alive and well. We’re still building towers. But God hasn’t given up on us. Moses reminds us once again that the Seed of the Woman is coming…that He has come in the Person of Jesus, the Son of God, to do what we could not do…provide the way back to God. To conquer sin and death. To restore the image so that we might return to Paradise. That by faith in Jesus, who lived the life that we were supposed to live, totally obedient and dependent on God, who died the death we deserved to die, that through faith in Him we could participate in the most absurd gift exchange in the universe…His righteousness for our sin…so that we can have life…a different kind of life, real life, eternal life with Father God in His kingdom. I don’t understand it, but am amazed by it. I can’t explain it except for God’s incredible, amazing love.

My prayer for us this week is that we recognize our own tower-building tendencies and turn them over to Jesus, the Head-crushing Seed of the Woman.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Genesis series. Listen online at:http://www.centralchristian.org, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster