VIDEO Elijah & Elisha, God Jehovah destroys baal prophets

Sept 3, 2016

Elijah and Elisha are two of the most well-known prophets of Israel. They both served in the northern kingdom of Israel. Elijah is first introduced in 1 Kings 17 as the prophet who predicted a three-year drought in the land. After being miraculously fed by ravens, he later stayed with a widow and her son, and that family experienced God’s supernatural provision of food.

After Elijah’s defeat of the prophets of Baal when he called down fire from heaven, the drought ended. Rain fell, and Elijah fled from the evil Queen Jezebel, who had vowed to kill him (1 Kings 19). Reaching Mount Horeb, Elijah heard the voice of God tell him to anoint two kings as well as Elisha as a prophet. He did this, and Elisha immediately joined him (1 Kings 19:19–21).

Elijah later condemned King Ahab for murder and the theft of a vineyard and predicted Ahab’s death and that of his wife, Jezebel (1 Kings 21:17–24).

In 2 Kings 1, Elijah called down fire from heaven to destroy two groups of 50 men sent from King Ahaziah. A third group of men was led by a captain who begged for mercy and was spared judgment. Elijah went to Ahaziah and proclaimed the king would die from his sickness, a prophecy that was soon fulfilled.

In 2 Kings 2, Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan River on dry land, and Elisha, knowing that Elijah would not be with him much longer, asked to be blessed with a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Elijah was taken directly into heaven by a chariot of fire. Elisha picked up Elijah’s mantle and used it to cross the Jordan again on dry land. He received the double portion he had asked for and performed many miracles in Israel. Some of Elisha’s miracles were the turning of bad water into clean water (2 Kings 2:19–22), causing a widow’s oil to fill many jars (2 Kings 4:1–7), and even raising a boy from the dead (2 Kings 4:32–37).

Before he was taken to heaven, Elijah left a letter for King Jehoram of Judah that spoke of judgment against him. It stated, in part, “The LORD will bring a great plague on your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions, and you yourself will have a severe sickness with a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the disease, day by day” (2 Chronicles 21:14–15). The prophecy soon came true (verses 18–20).

The Prophet Elijah is one of the most interesting and colorful of all biblical characters, yet his life was so filled with turmoil that today we might say he was up one day and down the next. Because Elijah was at times bold and decisive and at other times fearful and tentative, we have much to learn from him. In the narratives in which Elijah is the central character, we find principles that demonstrate the victory in the life of a believer as well as defeat and recovery. There are ways in which Elijah demonstrated the power of God and an instance where he plumbed the depths of depression.

Just as for Elijah, when the believer focuses on the noise and the tumult of life in this world, we may get our eyes off of the LORD. However, if we listen for His still, small voice and walk in obedience to His Word, we find victory and reward. Each biblical character we study has a lesson for us to use in our walk as believers. Elijah was filled with human frailties yet was used mightily of God.

Elijah and Elisha were both greatly respected by those in the “school of prophets” (2 Kings 2 and 4:38–41) as well as by the kings of their nation. Their impact led to revival among some of the Israelites during a dark stage of Israel’s history. During the wicked reigns of Ahab and Ahaziah, God had His men leading the charge for righteousness.

Elijah and Elisha’s combined legacy continued to influence Israel for some time. Even the New Testament speaks of the expected return of Elijah, a role fulfilled by John the Baptist, the forerunner or the one to announce the coming of the Messiah (Mark 1).

No Greater Joy Ministries has the CD’s to this Animated Biblical Series: http://nogreaterjoy.org/shop/good-and…

This Series is all about the Holy Bible, God and Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. This is Chapter 6 of #13.

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The Turn

For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. Esther 8:16

As the minister spoke at a funeral for an old military veteran, he mused about where the deceased might be. But then, instead of telling the people how they could know God, he speculated about things not found anywhere in Scripture. Where is the hope? I thought.

At last he asked us to turn to a closing hymn. And as we rose to sing “How Great Thou Art,” people began to praise God from the depths of their souls. Within moments, the spirit of the entire room had changed. Suddenly, surprisingly, in the middle of the third verse my emotions overwhelmed my voice.

God never leaves us.

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Until we sang that great hymn, I had wondered if God was going to show up at that funeral. In reality, He never leaves. A look at the book of Esther reveals this truth. The Jews were in exile, and powerful people wanted to kill them. Yet at the darkest moment, a godless king granted the right to the enslaved Israelites to defend themselves against those who sought their demise (Est. 8:11–13). A successful defense and a celebration ensued (9:17–19).

It should be no surprise when God shows up in the words of a hymn at a funeral. After all, He turned an attempted genocide into a celebration and a crucifixion into resurrection and salvation!

Our surprising God often shows His presence when we least expect Him.

By Tim Gustafson 

INSIGHT:Esther is the only book in the Bible in which God’s name is never mentioned. Yet our surprising God often shows His presence when we least expect Him. Haman, who had tried to curry favor with the king to exterminate the Jews, found his plans overturned when God enabled Esther to expose Haman’s sinister plot. Even to this day Jewish people around the world celebrate the Feast of Purim to commemorate God’s intervention to preserve them as His chosen people.

Have you experienced a time when God surprised you by His divine intervention? Dennis Fisher

The Source of Jealousy

Galatians 5:17-21

Most likely, you have been caught off guard by a wave of jealousy at some point in your life. Was it a spiritual attack? Did the enemy make you covetous? Was someone or something working to make you resentful?

The answer—which may surprise you—is no. Jealousy actually springs from within us, even though we might try to deflect the blame. For example, we may say, “Well, they just shouldn’t have that. They don’t deserve it, so I’m perfectly justified in feeling this way.”

Do you see what is actually going on here? We are not only feeling envious of someone, but we’re also saying that our jealousy is the other person’s fault! That’s simply not true. We are each 100 percent responsible for our own feelings of envy.

Jealousy is a product of the flesh. In the Bible, it is listed among such sins as idolatry, immorality, drunkenness, and sorcery—sins that stand against our holy God and are described as “earthly, natural, demonic” (Gal. 5:17-21; James 3:15).

Envious feelings can lead to unhealthy comparison of one’s own success to someone else’s. That pattern can grow into a competition to outperform others—and may result in fear and resentment. What a horrible way to live!

Though jealousy is a common emotion, it has no place in a believer’s life. So each of us should try to look objectively at the motives of our heart. Are you plagued with an attitude of jealousy today? If so, lay your honest feelings out before the Lord, and ask Him to cleanse you of this sinful attitude.

The Cleansing Blood

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

There is a common cultic heresy to the effect that the blood of Christ has no cleansing efficacy of itself, even though this contradicts the plain statement of our text. John wrote the above words long after Christ’s blood had all been spilled on the cross, but it was still miraculously cleansing sinners in His day, and is in ours as well.

It is true that Christ’s blood supported His physical life, for “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). But His blood was not like the blood of other men, for it was “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19), uncontaminated either by genetic defects due to accumulated generations of mutations (as in all other men and women) or inherent sin.

When His blood was shed, it did not simply disappear into the ground and decay into dust, any more than did His body in the tomb, for it had been an integral part of His perfect human body that was to be raised and glorified. As our great High Priest, He somehow took the atoning blood into the holy place in the heavenly tabernacle. Into the earthly tabernacle “went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people. . . . by his own blood he [Christ] entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:7, 12).

There in heaven, at the mercy seat, just as the ancient high priest “sprinkled with blood” both the book and the people, the tabernacle and its vessels, so have we been cleansed in God’s sight by His own “blood of sprinkling” (Hebrews 9:19-21; 12:24; see also 1 Peter 1:2). Thus, His blood can (literally) “keep on cleansing us from all sin.” HMM

“Who delivered us, and will yet deliver us.”

1 Samuel 17:20-37

1 Samuel 17:20

He was a good shepherd and did not leave his sheep without a keeper, in this being a fit type of the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls.

1 Samuel 17:22

carriage or baggage

1 Samuel 17:23-25

Such was the prize offered to our champion the Lord Jesus, “the kings daughter all glorious within” was to be the reward of his battle.

1 Samuel 17:29

Brave men may expect to be misunderstood and charged with forward- ness; but it will be to their honour if they bear it patiently and still persevere. Our Lord was rejected by his brethren, but he did not desist from his work of love, neither did he answer them roughly. If we can conquer our own spirits we shall be able to conquer others.

1 Samuel 17:30, 31

He was at his wit’s end, and therefore caught at this which he looked upon as a desperate hope. Despair of all other salvation often drives men to Jesus.

1 Samuel 17:33

So the Jewish nation thought our Lord quite unable to save them, and therefore despised him: but nevertheless he won the victory over the dread foe of men.

1 Samuel 17:35

Christ also delivers his own sheep out of the power of him who goeth about like a roaring lion, and of him it is said, “thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder, the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”

1 Samuel 17:36, 37

It is wise to conclude that what God has done for us once he can and will do again. We have an unchanging helper to rely upon, and therefore we may reckon on continual help.

 

When Mary Brought Jesus A Lavishly Expensive Gift

John 12:3

How a person spends his money tells a lot about his priorities in life. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Jesus’ teaching is very clear: What a person does with his money reveals what is inside his heart. For example, someone may say he loves the local church. But if he never gives one cent to the church, the principle stated in Matthew 6:21 says his heart is not in the church, no matter what he says. Where is his treasure? If his treasure isn’t in the church, his heart isn’t in the church either.

I may say I love the Lord, but if I don’t tithe as the Lord commands, what does it say about me? I’m either ignorant about tithing, or my words are cheap. If I really loved the Lord, my money would reflect that I love Him. I would tithe.

Words are cheap and easily spoken. Anyone can say he loves his church. But when a person sacrifices and gives to the church, he is demonstrating that his words are real. His heart really is in the church.

If a person never gives to the church, it reveals that he either has no money or that he’s a liar. Of course, a person who has no money will find it difficult to give. But if he does have money and doesn’t give, his words and actions don’t match. When he spends his extra money on all kinds of material junk and then drops a few dollars into the offering, he’s telling the true story! He loves his junk more than he loves the church.

Or consider a man who says he loves his wife but never gives her any money or special gifts to demonstrate that love. Yet somehow that same man is able to find the money to go fishing, buy a fishing boat, go work out at the gym with the guys, and so on. What has he demonstrated? He loves himself more than he loves his wife. That’s why he’s spending his treasure on himself.

How many men have told their wives, “I love you, Sweetheart” and then spent all their extra money on themselves? Then the wife is told that there just isn’t any money available to do what she wants to do. How does it make the wife feel when her husband does this to her time after time? He can say, “I love you” all he wants, but she knows he really loves himself. What he does with his money tells the real story.

Jesus made it very clear that where a person’s treasure is—where his money is—that’s where his heart will be also. So if you really want to know where a person’s heart is, follow his money and you’ll find out. Again I say, money tells the truth!

In John 12, Jesus and His disciples were having dinner in the home of Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. This family was very close to Jesus during His earthly ministry. At that dinner, Mary showed her love by bringing Jesus an extremely expensive gift. The Bible tells us that Mary brought Jesus a gift of ointment of spikenard—in fact, she brought Him an entire pound of it!

The word “spikenard” comes from the Greek word nardos, which describes one of the most expensive perfumes that existed at that time. Let me tell you a little about spikenard so you can appreciate what Mary did for Jesus that day.

Spikenard was an uncommon perfume extracted from grasses that grew in the country of India. Once the juices were squeezed out of the grass, they were dried into a hard, lardlike substance. Turning that lardlike substance into perfume was a very lengthy and costly process. If you add to this the cost of transporting spikenard from India to other parts of the world, you can see why this particular perfume cost so much money.

Spikenard was so expensive that few people could buy it; most had to buy one of the many cheap imitations available. But the word used in John 12:3 tells us that Mary didn’t bring Jesus a cheap imitation; she brought Jesus the real thing— an ointment so valuable that it was normally reserved and used only as gifts for kings and nobility. This was the gift Mary brought to Jesus.

We can learn more about the value of Mary’s gift in John 12:3, where it says the ointment was “very costly.” This phrase “very costly” is from the Greek word polutimos, a compound of the words polus and timios. The word polus means much or great. The word timios means to honor; to respect; or worth. Together these words describe something that is of great worth or something that is of considerable financial value.

We’d call this “top-of-the-line giving”! As remarkable as it is that Mary even possessed a gift this valuable, what she did with this perfume once she brought it is even more phenomenal! John 12:3 says, “Mary took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus….”

When Mary took the lid off that expensive bottle, tipped it downward, and began to pour that precious ointment onto Jesus’ feet, everyone in the room must have gasped! This kind of perfume was not normally used for feet! Rather, it was the kind of ointment used to anoint the heads of kings and dignitaries. Mary’s actions would have been considered a horrible waste in most people’s minds, but that wasn’t how she saw it. Mary loved, appreciated, and valued the feet of the Master!

Isaiah 52:7 describes why Mary felt this way: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”

You see, no other feet in the entire world were more beautiful to Mary than the feet of Jesus. Jesus had changed her life. Jesus had brought her brother back from the dead (see John 11:32-44). Jesus had brought new meaning into her family. To Mary, every step Jesus took was precious, honored, and greatly valued.

Remember, Jesus taught, “… Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34). Mary’s actions revealed her heart as she poured her most valuable treasure onto the feet of Jesus. She deeply loved Jesus, and she showed it with the gift that she brought to Him.

John 12:3 continues to tell us that she “… wiped his feet with her hair….” After she poured the spikenard onto Jesus’ feet, Mary reached up to her head and untied her long, beautiful hair, gathering it in her hands. Then she leaned down and began to wipe Jesus’ feet dry with her hair.

In the days of the New Testament, a woman’s hair represented her glory and honor. The apostle Paul referred to this in First Corinthians 11:15 when he wrote that a woman’s hair was a “glory” to her. For Mary to undo her hair and use it as a towel to wipe Jesus’ feet was probably the greatest act of humility she could have shown. She was demonstrating how deeply she loved and how greatly she valued Jesus. She didn’t throw a financial offering at His feet, but she possessed an attitude of worship as she gave Jesus the best gift she had to offer.

I can imagine the tears that streamed down Mary’s cheeks as she touched those precious feet. In total humility, she dried Jesus’ feet with the glory and honor of her hair. John 12:3 tells us that “… the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.” Certainly the house would be filled with the odor of spikenard once Mary poured an entire pound of that expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet!

Considering how much spikenard cost, this was an enormous amount for Mary to use to anoint Jesus’ feet. In fact, Judas Iscariot indignantly asked Jesus, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” (John 12:5). The Greek word for a “pence” is denarius. In that day, a Roman denarius was one day’s salary. So when Judas announced that the spikenard could have been sold for three hundred pence, he was saying that Mary’s perfume was worth three hundred days of salary. That is why I say it was an extremely expensive gift! It was worth almost an entire year’s income!

If it’s true that what a person does with his money tells a lot about his priorities in life, Mary’s gift that day revealed that Jesus was her highest priority. What does your giving reveal about how much you love Jesus?

You see, it may sound very simple, but it is a fact that if you follow a person’s money, you’ll discover what is or isn’t important to that person’s life. Look at a person’s finances, and in just a matter of minutes you can tell what he values most in life. The way he spends his money will tell the whole story of what he prizes, cherishes, loves, and adores.

Of course, everyone has basic needs of life that require money, such as food, electricity, gas for the car, and so on. But once these things are paid, what a person does with the money that’s left over will tell you what he esteems more highly than anything else. This may sound like a very narrow teaching about money, but this is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Since this is the case, what does the way you spend your money reveal about you?

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I ask You to help me be honest about what my finances reveal about me. I don’t want anything else in my life to have a higher priority than You, so please teach me how to demonstrate my love for You with my finances. Help me to really worship You with my financial gifts and not to just casually throw them into an offering plate. Forgive me for the times I’ve said I didn’t have enough money to give to the church or to missions, yet somehow I found a way to spend money on all kinds of material things. My priorities have obviously been wrong, so today I repent. I have made up my mind that I am going to honor You with my finances as I ought to do.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am growing more and more faithful in the giving of my tithes and offerings. Jesus Christ and the preaching of the Gospel are the greatest priorities in my life. Therefore, when I get paid, the first thing I do is set aside my tithe for the church and my offering for world missions and other worthy ministries. As I learn to love Jesus even more, my financial gifts are increasing as well. My treasure is in Jesus and the Gospel, because that is exactly where my heart is fixed.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. What does your monthly expenditure of money tell you about what you value most highly in life?
  2. If Jesus looked at your finances to make an analysis of what you prized most highly, what would He find? You might as well be honest about it, because He already knows!
  3. What changes do you need to make in your heart and expenditures to reflect that your heart is first and foremost in the Kingdom of God?

Look at a person’s finances, and in just a matter of minutes you can tell what he values most in life. The way he spends his money will tell the whole story of what he prizes, cherishes, loves, and adores.

 

When You Are No Longer In Control

I’m lying in bed in pain. Back problems. Two weeks of physical anguish and immobility. All appointments, travel plans, and speaking engagements canceled.

 

What do you do when your plans crash and burn; when you are no longer in control of the situation? Get angry or up-tight? Start throwing things? Have a pity party? Blame others?

 

Well, this morning, groaning in pain with plans gone awry, I managed to pry open my Bible and read:

 

Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure.” (Psalm 16:5)

 

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” (Psalm 46:1, 2)

 

“So what am I supposed to do when I can’t gain control of the situation?”

 

Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a)

 

But I am worried about all the people who are depending on me.

 

The Sovereign One reassures me that He will get the job done with or without me, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10b)

 

QUESTION: Do you have everything under control? I doubt it! Few people do. Perhaps you have:

  • A rebellious teenager, or
  • A messy partnership issue, or
  • A continuing problem in your marriage that seems to have no resolution, or
  • A financial enigma with no solution in sight.

What to do. Well, keep in mind that ultimate freedom in life is the ability to choose the right attitude. And because your attitude is centered in your will, you can choose to “be still and know that [He is] God.” Or you can choose to get up-tight, and wrestle back the control.

 

Prayer: “Lord, I pause to surrender control of my circumstances to You. In fact, once again I surrender my very life into Your sovereign care. Thank You that from eternity You have known about this day and my particular situation. I lift each issue up to You and rest them into Your loving hands. I choose to be still and acknowledge You as my sovereign God. In Jesus Name. Amen.

 

 

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