The bold and the dutiful
I've got quite a few raw notes to share again as I continue to get caught up on the Bible schedule I've been following.
But before jumping into that, I must express that I’m in awe of those who dared to call themselves messengers of God. The prophets of old played no games. They were tried and tested. They never wavered in the face of outside pressure.
The prophets of old were bold, but they gave themselves no lofty titles, nor sought after fame. Their job was to tell the truth in spite of its bite or sting. They often lost their lives or livelihood for the sake of what was right. And, there's nothing glamorous about that.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if the prophets of old lived today. I wonder how hated they would be. They’d be bullied on social media and castigated in the press. They’d lose their jobs for speaking out. They wouldn’t get invited to Christmas dinner, let alone to speaking engagements.
If Elijah and Elisha lived today, there might be an Ahab or a Jezebel around every corner seeking their demise. Unfortunately, there aren't many people clamoring to hear what comes after the phrase, "Thus says the Lord..."
With that said, I'm only one day behind now, and the following notes cover...
(Click the links if you'd like to read the Biblical passages.)
1 KINGS 20:4 - Why does Ahab acquiesce so easily? Is it because Jezebel wasn't sitting next to him at the time, providing the strength and resolve he needed? 20:13 - This prophet is bold, coming before Ahab the prophet hater. 20:43 - I can just picture Ahab saying, "Man! I can't do anything right! These prophets are going to be the death of me." 21:4 - What kind of bratty behavior is this from a king? Ahab curls himself into a pathetic ball of depression because he couldn't have his way? 21:7-8 - Jezebel is wearing the pants. Sometimes I wonder if she is actually the king. She acts on Ahab’s behalf and brings things to pass that he cannot. She’s ruthless. 21:29 - Humility before God is the cure to rampant disregard for His Word. Yes, the seeds have been sown. And yes the crop of weeds will come. But, if we stop sowing bad seeds and turn back to God, His mercy will once again be upon us. But how unfortunate for Ahab's son that he has to pay the price for his father's mistakes. 22:5 - Ask God first! 22:7 - So Ahab is still consulting with these pagan prophets? I thought he had humbled himself before God. It only took three years for him to return to his evil ways? I guess old habits die hard. 22:14 - In other words, "I don't care what everybody else is saying. The whole world could be doing something and saying it is right. But if God tells me otherwise, Him I will follow...not the world!" How strong and confident did this prophet have to be in order to withstand the enormous pressure to conform to what the others have said. 2 KINGS 1:13 - This captain pleads while the first two commanded. This captain approaches reverently on his knees while the first two stood in authority. The lesson here is you should not approach anyone with arrogance and condescension, especially a messenger of God. Your approach must be one of humility and consideration.
4:7 - Now this is the ultimate story of debt relief! When everything looked bleak for her... Husband dead, no way to pay her debts except for her to turn her sons over to enslavement, leaving her alone to surely die of starvation. What's the message here? Again, faithfulness and obedience put her in position to receive deliverance. All she had to do was ask. When Elisha told her what to do, she didn't come back with excuses. She didn't say, "Yea but what if my neighbors don't have any empty vessels, or what if they won't give them to me, or I hate asking people for help, or I don't want anyone to know my business..." 4:21-23 - This woman didn't express worry. She just placed her son in the one holy place she knew of, Elisha’s guest room. Then she dropped everything and sought him out without even explaining to her husband what had happened. It sounds counter-intuitive but this is what we need to do. Keep our mouths shut about the circumstances, and seek God without worry or fear. ALL IS WELL.
5:10-14 - What a foolish arrogant man. Naaman’s the one needing healing but he has the nerve to argue against the advice of one who heals. He was healed in spite of his arrogance and initial reaction of doubt. Good thing he didn't express that to Elisha personally. I suppose it's part of our human nature to first scoff at Godly wisdom. But if we continue to scoff, instead of ultimately bringing ourselves in line with God, we will miss out entirely on all that God has for us. 5:18-19 - So in the course of him performing his professional duties, he must enter into the presence of false gods. It surprises me that Elisha essentially gives him permission to continue in this capacity. 5:27 - Wow! His greed falls on the heads of his descendants as well?!? That's pretty messed up. Our actions don't just affect us, but those closest to us, as well. 6:16-17 - These are the forces that surround the faithful! Those who believe and are obedient and led by the Spirit of God. This is why no weapon formed against you shall prosper. This is why all the fiery darts get quenched before they can even reach you.
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