2 Kings 9-10 B

“And the LORD said to Jehu, ‘Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in My eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in My heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.’” (10:30‬)

This is an extensive and gnarly house cleaning. So much gruesome murder. Kings, queens, sons, friends, servants, acquaintances, priests, worshipers, everyone.

All this gets classified under zeal for the LORD (10:16). It feels like a throw back to the times of the judges.

The LORD is pretty serious about being misrepresented. If Israel was supposed to be His ambassadors, what does it communicate to the nations when they toss Him aside for a lessor deity who is basically Satan? (Baal is also short for Beelzebub. Read more about Ba’al here, and for further ponderings, here).

For those who are alarmed by the violence, just remember. This ain’t no joke. The LORD is patient, but there always comes a time when He’s had enough. He is the supreme authority on right and wrong, not us.

It’s also clear, from these chapters, that no man can properly execute His righteous anger 100% correctly. Jehu did well enough to be promised four generations of heirs, but he ain’t no David. We will see how rough those upcoming reigns will be and, good for the LORD, for not making it five.

So how do we represent the LORD to our neighbors? This is a very important question to check ourselves on, regularly. What would someone deduce about God if your life and worship was their case study about Him?

We are His Ambassadors now.

-Bethany

2 Kings 7-8 B

 “When the men with leprosy arrived at the edge of the camp, they went into one tent after another, eating and drinking wine; and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and hid it. Finally, they said to each other, ‘This is not right. This is a day of good news, and we aren’t sharing it with anyone! If we wait until morning, some calamity will certainly fall upon us. Come on, let’s go back and tell the people at the palace.’ ” 7:8-9

This is not the first or last time we’ll read about God displaying his power through lepers.  Social outcasts, perpetually unclean. 

Yet here they are used to save the day and share the spoils of food, wine, fine clothing, God’s mercy made tangible to his people.

When the Lord heaps undeserved riches onto you, do you share them with others? 

If you get an unexpected financial gift, do you tithe?

If you have more food than you need, to you feed someone needing a meal?

If you are gifted in an area, do you use it to serve God’s people (Romans 12:6-10)?

The men with leprosy were starving to death and pushed to the outside of society. Yet still, they share their good news with everyone else, passing out plates and filling up wine glasses.

Do you have good news to share? Has God radically changed your circumstances?

 

-Carly

2 Kings 5-6 B

These chapters begin to establish Elisha as the LORD’s successor of Elijah. He uses his power to help a widow, he frustrates kings, he heals, and the LORD protects him.

A distinction found in people who truly know the LORD is this trait in Elisha: confidence. He fears no one. Nothing. He sees beyond the circumstance and sees the power of God.

“Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (6:17)

In this season of government appointments and endless Italian bureaucracy, I can often walk away from a failed appointment in tears. Mercifully, the LORD is wrapping me up in promises and the loving support of friends and family who keep cheering me on when it gets infuriating. They remind me of His faithfulness this far. Something I always try to remind others.

Patience, rest, peace.

These are things God is constantly calling me to, and I see them so powerfully at work in Elisha.

Anxiety and hopelessness has no place in my life. In any of our lives. Let’s bring them to the LORD today and ask for His eyes to see.

-Bethany

2 Kings 3-4 B

What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. 4:2-6

I love this miracle God performs to provide for a widowed woman. He uses something she already has, something ordinary like oil, and multiples it, filling up vessel after vessel in her house. She’ll sell the oil, pay off her debts and be able to live off the profit. God prioritizes her troubles and provides for her. I see this concept repeated in the Bible, especially when it come to miracles. Someone’s sack lunch is used to feed thousands (Mark 6:31, John 6:1-14) or like when a few stones in a boy’s pocket are used to take down a giant soldier (1 Sam. 17).

When has God used something in your life, something ordinary, for a greater purpose?

Never underestimate what God is able to do. We don’t need elite education, special resources or extraordinary circumstances for him to show up. These chapters are just a drop in the bucket of examples of God using the underdog or the least expected to accomplish his work.

Share a time God unexpectedly showed up in your life with us in the comments!

 

-Carly

 

2 Kings 1-2 B

These chapters make me giggle. First off, there’s not a lot of back story or context for the whole Ahaziah-fell-through-a-lattice story. I want to know more. What was he doing??

Second, my flannel graphs in Sunday school never properly prepared me for a leather-loin-girdle-wearing Elijah. Where are the billowing robes!?! It reminds me of John the Baptist’s crazy outfits. Elijah was pretty much God’s favorite man on earth, at the time, and he’s described as: “a hairy man with a leather girdle bound about his loins.” (1:8) which is, apparently, his signature look. Why do we make such a fuss about what is acceptable church attire?

Then the whole story leading up to his departure is strange. All the “you can stay here“s and the prophets repeatedly telling Elisha he was about to be left behind. I like it. I don’t have anything insightful to add besides, “the Bible is entertaining”. I hope you enjoyed these chapters today as I did. You can read Carly’s post from last time if you want something more profound.

-Bethany

1 Kings 21-22 B

These chapters! My goodness, the Old Testament is a wild ride. I hope you read them for yourselves, because these posts can hardly scrape the surface.

Here’s what jumped out to me:

 “Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah said to him, ‘Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success.’ But Micaiah replied, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what the Lord tells me to say.’ ” 22:13-14

Micaiah is courageous and faithful with the message God has given him. He doesn’t waver in the presence of authority or in the threat of violence. He stands firm; he only says what the Lord tells him to say.

Does people-pleasing prevent you from sharing what God wants you to say? 

I love this Psalm: “In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free. The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in people. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.” Psalm 22:13-14

It is better to take refuge in the Lord. Why do I so quickly forget that?

 

-Carly

 

1 Kings 19-20 B

“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers’.” (19:4)

Elijah can’t even anymore. He seems to have a righteous anger about how hopeless the situation is. Rightly so, the LORD just handedly won a stand off against the preferred god of His own people, and it’s somehow still not over.

I love how gentle the LORD is with him in this moment. He sees Elijah’s despair and makes him a cake. “Arise and eat, the journey is too great for you.” God knows he doesn’t have what it takes, so He supplies the power.

I am struck by the frailties of our humanity in these chapters. Even a great prophet like Elijah doesn’t have the perspective to know it isn’t over. But the LORD gently helps him find a refuge and provides a replacement. It’s beautiful, even, to remember the continuation of this story. That Elijah doesn’t ever die, the LORD takes Him up in a chariot. He loves Elijah.

Meanwhile, back in the valley, Elijah doesn’t know that, not only does the LORD have other prophets, but they’re hard at work (getting punched in the face and stuff) while Elijah rests and finds his replacement.

The war in chapter 20 is strange, because why would God give victory to this horrible Ahab person?? (So nice He didn’t give this assignment to poor Elijah). But the LORD’s motive becomes clear:

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

This isn’t about anyone besides Him and His Great Name. He will walk away from the battle having cleared some things up. Namely His unlimited jurisdiction.

If you are someone who truly wants to see the glory of the LORD fill the earth, and for all people to know Him, but you’re tired and discouraged, because people are the worst, ask for His strength and perspective today.

-Bethany