Day 152: Floods of Mercy

2 Kings 11-14

Key Verses

2 Kings 13:22-23
Now Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now.

As I read through these chapters in 2 Kings, I’m struck by the long-suffering patience of God. After almost 300 years of being independent of Judah, there has not been one king of Israel that did “right” in the eyes of the Lord. Even Jehu, who demolished Baal worship, “was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of  Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin” (2 Kings 10:31).

But God continued to show mercy… continued to wait for repentance. Consider the example from today’s Key Verses: “The Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them.” God seemed to give Israel every chance to repent. He waited and waited and interceded and sent Elijah and waited and sent Elisha and waited and waited some more. But in the end, Israel did not repent, and Israel would be destroyed.

God’s mercy to Israel reminds me of a quote from Charles Spurgeon…

Slow to anger. He can be angry, and can deal out righteous indignation upon the guilty, but it is his strange work; he lingers long, with loving pauses, tarrying by the way to give space for repentance and opportunity for accepting his mercy. Thus he deals with the greatest sinners, and with his own children much more so: towards them his anger is short-lived and never reaches into eternity, and when it is shown in fatherly chastisements he does not afflict willingly, and soon pities their sorrows.

From this we should learn to be ourselves slow to anger; if the Lord is longsuffering under out great provocations how much more ought we to endure the errors of our brethren! And plenteous in mercy. Rich in it, quick in it, overflowing with it; and so had he need to be or we should soon be consumed. He is God, and not man, or our sins would soon drown his love; yet above the mountains of our sins the floods of his mercy rise.

– taken from The Treasury of David (Psalm 103:8)

Yet above the mountains of our sins the floods of mercy rise. Beautiful. Both the truth and the words… are beautiful!

Keeping up with the Kings

  • Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat), Ahaziah (killed by Jehu), Queen Athaliah, Jehoash (only surviving son of Ahaziah: good), Amaziah (good)
  • Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (or Joram, son of Ahab), Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam II
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Day 151: It’s All in the Details…

2 Kings 8-10; John 9:1-41

Key Verses

2 Kings 8:19
Yet the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David his servant, since he promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever.

John 9:1-3
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

In 1 Kings 19, God instructed Elijah to anoint Elisha as his replacement, but God also told Elijah to anoint Hazael to be king over Syria, and Jehu the son of Nimshi to be king over Israel.

Finally, in today’s reading of 2 Kings, we see these instructions fulfilled, through Elisha. And by anointing Jehu king over Israel, God uses Jehu to fulfill the prophecy He made to Ahab (through Elijah) back in 1 Kings 21…

Thus says the Lord: ‘In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick [Ahab’s] own blood.’

And of Jezebel the Lord also said, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel.’ Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat. (1 Kings 21:19; 23-24).

Because of Ahab’s repentance, God relented and saved the inevitable prophesy for his son, Jehoram. We read the fulfillment in all of its gory detail in today’s passage.

The intricate sovereignty of the Lord is displayed as he used sinful men to carry out his holy purposes. God orchestrated every detail, and every word of his prophecy came to pass… including the destruction of Baal worship in Israel. Amazing.

In today’s Old Testament reading, God’s glory is revealed in the sovereign execution of judgment. Conversely, in today’s New Testament reading, God shows his glory in the restoration of sight to a blind man.

The disciples assumed that the man’s blindness was the result of God’s judgment either for the man’s sin or his parents’ sin. But Jesus refutes the traditional thought that all suffering is brought about by God as judgment. Some suffering occurs so that God’s glory might be revealed through deliverance.

This was the case for the man born blind. God used his “light and momentary suffering” to reveal His glory through healing. Jesus also used the physical healing as a symbol for spiritual healing… insinuating to the Pharisees that they were spiritually blind because they claimed to see. “Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.’ ” (John 9:39).

Was the glorious healing worth the years of suffering? I believe so. The suffering that the man endured primed his heart to receive the gospel. After years of suffering, he knew he needed a Savior. The eternal blessing always outweighs the temporal suffering!

God’s intricate handling of the details of our lives reveals a benevolent, powerful and sovereign God. C.S. Lewis’ allegorical depiction of Jesus as Aslan in his book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, captures both the terrifying and comforting aspects of God’s sovereignty…

“Is he—quite safe?”
[…]
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver […] “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” (-C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

Keeping up with the Kings

  • Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat), Ahaziah
  • Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (or Joram, son of Ahab), Jehu, Jehoahaz

Day 148: The Light of the World

2 Kings 1-3; John 8:1-20

Key Verses

2 Kings 2:11-12
And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.

John 8:12
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jehoshaphat was a rare king that walked in the ways of the Lord. He ruled Judah while the evil king, Ahab, and his sons ruled Israel, and somehow, Jehoshaphat maintained peace between the two nations. Jehoshaphat aided Israel twice in war, and both times, before they entered the battle, Jehoshaphat asked to inquire of a prophet of the Lord…

And [Ahab] said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the Lord” (1 Kings 22:4-7).

And [Ahab’s son, Jehoram,] went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?” And he said, “I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” (2 Kings 3:7; 11)

Jehoshaphat depended on the Lord’s guidance. He understood the perils of walking on paths outside of the Lord’s will. It would be like traversing a mountain in the dark…extremely dangerous! Jehoshaphat needed light, and he sought it!

In today’s reading from John, we see Jesus proclaiming: “I am the light of the world.”

  • He is the spiritual light – illuminating the path to eternal life.
  • He is the moral light – living the absolute perfect life.
  • And one day, on the new earth, He will be the physical light… (Rev. 21:23).

Jesus is the light of the world – and we should seek Him passionately as we traverse the dangers in this world. We need Him. We need light!

As we follow Him, we also become lights. We are called to reflect the light of the Savior. This is our job. This is our purpose!

We know from our readings about Elijah, that this was Elijah’s job as well – to reflect the light of Truth amidst the Baal worship in Israel. And in today’s reading in 2 Kings, we see Elijah pass the torch to Elisha. Elisha will now bear the burden of light-bearer to Israel and its kings.

The darkness in this world can feel overwhelming. But we must cling to the Light as we reflect the light of Christ to the world. The darkness will never overcome the Light!

The light shines in the darkness. and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).

Keeping up with the Kings
Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat)
Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (Joram)

Day 146: The quiet work of God

1 Kings 19-20; John 7:1-31

Key Verses

1 Kings 19:12-13
And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

John 7:15-16
The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.”

Elijah had a great purpose, and he understood his purpose. He lived to defeat the apostasy in Israel. He battled against the worship of Baal and hoped for the people of Israel to turn to God with an undivided heart.

Elijah had just persevered through 3 years of drought, and led the people in a powerful display of God’s power. The people worshiped the Lord and killed the 450 prophets of Baal. Elijah must have thought he had won. His life purpose felt complete. The rain came and Elijah ran empowered by the Spirit all the way to Jezreel – to the home of Queen Jezebel.

I don’t know what Elijah expected… maybe for Jezebel to admit defeat, maybe fire from heaven to consume her, but he did not expect Jezebel to belittle his victory and threaten his life.

In the course of one rain storm, Elijah went from the heights of victory to the depths of despair. Consumed by disappointment, Elijah fled south through Judah to the southernmost town of Beersheba and further south into the wilderness. There, in complete despair, Elijah asked God to take his life.

We read in Chapter 19 of God’s graciousness to Elijah. God sends an angel to provide food and comfort. Elijah makes his way to Mount Sinai (Mt. Horeb) and God asks him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

It is an invitation for repentance. “Elijah, pour out your heart to me. Tell me your fears. Let me encourage you with my Truth.” But Elijah is angry and disappointed. He justifies himself. So God tries to reveal His ways…

He tries to show Elijah that the battle will not be won with spectacular displays of power, but in quiet, persevering strength. God’s voice was in the whisper – not in the wind, earthquake or fire.

But Elijah’s disappointment blinds him to the truth, so when God asks him again, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah’s answer remains unchanged.

God’s ways are quiet, yet strong. Mysterious, yet glorious. Invisible, yet powerful.

Jesus shows us the mysterious ways of the Father. Although Jesus demonstrated the power of God in signs and wonders, it was his humble sacrifice that broke the power of sin – and today, it is the Spirit that works quietly to turn our wandering hearts wholeheartedly to the Savior.

We must cling to these truths as we face disappointment and despair. God rarely offers “quick-fixes” to our problems, but works painstakingly slowly – to squeeze the most good out of every circumstance. Elijah’s character would be strengthened as he overcame his anger and despair and re-entered the battle to continue the fight against apostasy. We must also re-enter the battle – moment by moment – and continue to fight for righteousness to rule our hearts and our world!

Day 145: A Hard Choice

1 Kings 17-18; John 6:45-71

Key Verses

1 Kings 18:21
And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”

John 6:66-69
After [this hard teaching] many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

I have come back to this Scripture in John many times over the course of my Christian life. I typically come here when I am at a crossroads in my faith. Some call it a crisis of belief or a choice between fear and faith. Whatever you want to call it, I read this passage when I know God is asking me to walk down a difficult road. The disciples were at that crossroads. They had a choice to make… stay with Jesus and relinquish control of their lives or walk away to follow their own path.

In today’s reading from 1 Kings, we see many “crises of belief…”

First, the prophet, Elijah, risked his life and delivered an unwelcome message to the evil king Ahab that there would be a three-year drought in the land. By prophesying a drought, Elijah was telling Ahab that his little god Baal, who supposedly controlled rain and fertility, was powerless against the living God.

Then God told Elijah to flee east of the Jordan and that He would direct the ravens to provide food. This made no earthly sense. The land east of the Jordan was desolate with no reliable source for food. Also, ravens don’t even take care to feed their own young… why would they feed Elijah?? But what choice did Elijah have? He obeyed and God kept Elijah alive through the drought.

The widow of Zarephath also faced a crisis of belief. She had enough flour and oil to make one small cake of bread for her and her son to share, but Elijah asked her to give it to him – with the promise that God would provide enough flour and oil to feed all three of them through the end of the drought. The widow chose wisely. She chose life and God rewarded her obedience.

In Chapter 18, we read the familiar story of Elijah confronting the people as he organized a contest between himself and the prophets of Baal. Elijah challenged the people just as Jesus challenged the disciples. The people were faithless and silent. They didn’t have the faith to set aside their fertility god, Baal. They doubted the Living God.

Each time God calls me to obey, I have a choice. Do I echo the words of Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…” or do I remain silent, passive and ignore the voice of the Lord.

I pray for the grace to choose the Savior – I am more afraid of facing the perils of this life without Him than of facing what He has prepared for me. I desire obedience. I long for Jesus. I choose life.

Keeping up with the Kings
Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat
Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab

Day 354: The Suffering Church

Micah 1-2Revelation 11

We begin Micah today! Micah was a contemporary of Amos and Isaiah. He probably lived during the Assyrian invasion of Israel and their failed attempt to capture Jerusalem under Hezekiah’s reign. Micah brings God’s legal case against His people – outlining their many sins which justify the judgment that was to come. But there is a cycle of grace within Micah as he ends each judgment oracle with the promise that God would gather and restore. Today’s reading ends with the promise of the Shepherd-King who would come to redeem Israel (Micah 2:12-13)!

Transitioning to Revelation, we are still in the midst of an interlude (between the 6th and 7th trumpets) which shows what happens to the church. This chapter is subject to many different interpretations, but I believe that both the temple and the two witnesses are symbols for the church.

Let me briefly run through the symbolism (summarized from P. Gardner’s commentary, Revelation)…

  • 11:1 – Measuring the temple shows that the church is sealed and protected.
  • 11:2 – Outer courtyard of the temple represents unbelievers.
  • John’s vision of the temple hearkens back to Ezekiel’s 2nd temple vision (Ezekiel 40-48). One of the interpretations of this vision is that the restored temple is the New Testament church – especially since God’s presence returns to the temple. Now that Christ has come and been crucified – New Testament references to God’s temple or household refer to the church.
  • 11:3 –  The church will prophesy for 3.5 years. This time period is symbolic of half of the time of fulfillment (7 years) which shows that the time is limited and sovereignly controlled by God.
  • 11:4 – The two witnesses are called “the two lampstands” which is what the 7 churches were called in Rev. 2-3.
  • 11:4-6 – The “two olive trees” symbolize “two anointed ones (Zech. 4:11-14). Also, the special powers attributed to the two witnesses in 11:6, represent Elijah and Moses – who were also supported by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the church is empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Then we read in vs. 7-12 of the Beast killing the two witnesses, the world mocking them and then miraculously, after 3.5 days, they are resurrected. According to Gardner, this is probably not the final resurrection, because this is all happening before the 7th trumpet is heralded, in other words, before the final judgment. No, this seems to be only a precursor to the final resurrection.

If the two witnesses are the church – then it is the church which is killed by the beast and the church which is resurrected. We’ve seen this happen throughout history – how the church is persecuted so heavily that it seems to be wiped out, but somehow it grows and multiplies in spite of the persecution. Consider China…Mao tried to rid his country of Christianity, but today, there are millions of Christians in China!

I believe we are living through this part of Revelation, and that the church will suffer until the final judgment comes…

We read of this final judgment at the end of the chapter (11:15-19) when the 7th trumpet sounds. The elders sing of the God who was, and the God who is (11:17), but they do not say the familiar “The God who is to come” because he has come! This is the day when the unbeliever will be judged and the believer will be rewarded. This is the day our Shepherd-King will come again and gather His people and we will enter His rest!

I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob;
I will gather the remnant of Israel; […]

Their king passes on before them,
the Lord at their head (Micah 2:12-13).

Disclaimer: I humbly and cautiously offer an interpretation of the book of Revelation based on my Reformed understanding of Scripture, an Amillennialist eschatology, and a heavy reliance on the book, Revelation, The Compassion and Protection of Christ by Dr. Paul Gardner.

Day 152: Floods of mercy

2 Kings 11-14

As I read through these chapters in 2 Kings, I’m struck by the long-suffering patience of God. After almost 300 years of being independent of Judah, has there been one king of Israel that did “right” in the eyes of the Lord?? Even Jehu, who demolished Baal worship, “was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of  Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin” (2 Kings 10:31).

But God continues to show mercy… continues to wait for repentance. Consider this example from today’s reading:

Now Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now (2 Kings 13:22-23).

God seems to give Israel every chance to repent. He waits and waits and intercedes and sends Elijah and waits and sends Elisha and waits and waits some more. But in the end, Israel does not repent, and Israel will be destroyed.

God’s mercy to Israel reminds me of a quote from Charles Spurgeon…

Slow to anger. He can be angry, and can deal out righteous indignation upon the guilty, but it is his strange work; he lingers long, with loving pauses, tarrying by the way to give space for repentance and opportunity for accepting his mercy. Thus he deals with the greatest sinners, and with his own children much more so: towards them his anger is short-lived and never reaches into eternity, and when it is shown in fatherly chastisements he does not afflict willingly, and soon pities their sorrows.

From this we should learn to be ourselves slow to anger; if the Lord is longsuffering under out great provocations how much more ought we to endure the errors of our brethren! And plenteous in mercy. Rich in it, quick in it, overflowing with it; and so had he need to be or we should soon be consumed. He is God, and not man, or our sins would soon drown his love; yet above the mountains of our sins the floods of his mercy rise.

– taken from The Treasury of David (Psalm 103:8)

Yet above the mountains of our sins the floods of mercy rise. Beautiful. Both the truth and the words… are beautiful!

Keeping up with the Kings

  • Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat), Ahaziah (killed by Jehu), Queen Athaliah, Jehoash (only surviving son of Ahaziah: good), Amaziah (good)
  • Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (or Joram, son of Ahab), Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam II

Day 151: It’s all in the details…

2 Kings 8-10; John 9:1-41

In 1 Kings 19, God instructed Elijah to anoint Elisha as his replacement, but God also told Elijah to anoint Hazael to be king over Syria, and Jehu the son of Nimshi to be king over Israel.

Finally, in today’s reading of 2 Kings, we see these instructions fulfilled, through Elisha. And by anointing Jehu king over Israel, God uses Jehu to fulfill the prophecy He made to Ahab (through Elijah) back in 1 Kings 21…

Thus says the Lord: ‘In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick [Ahab’s] own blood.’

And of Jezebel the Lord also said, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel.’ Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat. (1 Kings 21:19; 23-24).

Because of Ahab’s repentance, God relented and saved the inevitable prophesy for his son, Jehoram. We read the fulfillment in all of its gory detail in today’s passage.

The intricate, sovereignty of the Lord is displayed as he uses sinful men to carry out his holy purposes. God orchestrated every detail and every word of his prophecy came to pass… including the destruction of Baal worship in Israel. Amazing.

In today’s Old Testament reading, God’s glory is revealed in the sovereign execution of judgment. Conversely, in today’s New Testament reading, God shows his glory in the restoration of sight to a blind man.

The disciples assumed that the man’s blindness was the result of God’s judgment either for the man’s sin or his parents’ sin. But Jesus refutes the traditional thought that all suffering is brought about by God as judgment. Some suffering occurs so that God’s glory might be revealed through deliverance.

This was the case for the man born blind. God used his “light and momentary suffering” to reveal His glory through healing. Jesus also used the physical healing as a symbol for spiritual healing… insinuating to the Pharisees that they were spiritually blind because they claimed to see. “Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.’ ” (John 9:39).

Was the glorious healing worth the years of suffering? I believe so. The suffering that the man endured primed his heart to receive the gospel. After years of suffering, he knew he needed a Savior. The eternal blessing always outweighs the temporal suffering!

God’s intricate handling of the details of our lives reveals a benevolent, powerful and sovereign God. C.S. Lewis’ allegorical depiction of Jesus as Aslan in his book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, captures both the terrifying and comforting aspects of God’s sovereignty…

“Is he—quite safe?”
[…]
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver […] “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” (-C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

Keeping up with the Kings

  • Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat), Ahaziah
  • Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (or Joram, son of Ahab), Jehu, Jehoahaz

Day 148: The Light of the World

2 Kings 1-3; John 8:1-20

Jehoshaphat was a rare king that walked in the ways of the Lord. He ruled Judah while the evil king, Ahab, and his sons ruled Israel, and somehow, Jehoshaphat maintained peace between the two nations. Jehoshaphat aided Israel twice in war, and both times, before they entered the battle, Jehoshaphat asked to inquire of a prophet of the Lord…

And [Ahab] said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the Lord” (1 Kings 22:4-7).

And [Ahab’s son, Jehoram,] went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?” And he said, “I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” (2 Kings 3:7; 11)

Jehoshaphat depended on the Lord’s guidance. He understood the perils of walking on paths outside of the Lord’s will. It would be like traversing a mountain in the dark…extremely dangerous! Jehoshaphat needed light, and he sought it!

In today’s reading from John, we see Jesus proclaiming: “I am the light of the world.”

  • He is the spiritual light – illuminating the path to eternal life.
  • He is the moral light – living the absolute perfect life.
  • And one day, on the new earth, He will be the physical light… (Rev. 21:23).

Jesus is the light of the world – and we should seek Him passionately as we traverse the dangers in this world. We need Him. We need light!

As we follow Him, we also become lights. We are called to reflect the light of the Savior. This is our job. This is our purpose!

We know from our readings about Elijah, that this was Elijah’s job as well – to reflect the light of Truth amidst the Baal worship in Israel. And in today’s reading in 2 Kings, we see Elijah pass the torch to Elisha. Elisha will now bear the burden of light-bearer to Israel and its kings.

The darkness in this world can feel overwhelming. But we must cling to the Light as we reflect the light of Christ to the world. The darkness will never overcome the Light!

The light shines in the darkness. and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).

Keeping up with the Kings
Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat)
Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (Joram)

Day 146: The quiet work of God

1 Kings 19-20; John 7:1-31

Elijah had a great purpose, and he understood his purpose. He lived to defeat the apostasy in Israel. He battled against the worship of Baal and hoped for the people of Israel to turn to God with an undivided heart.

Elijah had just persevered through 3 years of drought, and led the people in a powerful display of God’s power. The people worshiped the Lord and killed the 450 prophets of Baal. Elijah must have thought he had won. His life purpose felt complete. The rain came and Elijah ran empowered by the Spirit all the way to Jezreel – to the home of Queen Jezebel.

I don’t know what Elijah expected… maybe for Jezebel to admit defeat, maybe fire from heaven to consume her, but he did not expect Jezebel to belittle his victory and threaten his life.

In the course of one rain storm, Elijah went from the heights of victory to the depths of defeat. Consumed by disappointment, Elijah fled south through Judah to the southernmost town of Beersheba and further south into the wilderness. There, in complete despair, Elijah asked God to take his life.

We read in Chapter 19 of God’s graciousness to Elijah. God sends an angel to provide food and comfort. Elijah makes his way to Mount Sinai (Mt. Horeb) and God asks him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

It is an invitation for repentance. “Elijah, pour out your heart to me. Tell me your fears. Let me encourage you with my Truth.” But Elijah is angry and disappointed. He justifies himself. So God tries to reveal His ways…

He tries to show Elijah that the battle will not be won with spectacular displays of power, but in quiet, persevering strength. God’s voice was in the whisper – not in the wind, earthquake or fire.

But Elijah’s disappointment blinds him to the truth, so when God asks him again, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah’s answer remains unchanged.

God’s ways are quiet, yet strong. Mysterious, yet glorious. Invisible, yet powerful.

Jesus shows us the mysterious ways of the Father. Although Jesus demonstrated the power of God in signs and wonders, it was his humble sacrifice that broke the power of sin – and today, it is the Spirit that works quietly to turn our wandering hearts wholeheartedly to the Savior.

We must cling to these truths as we face disappointment and despair. God rarely offers “quick-fixes” to our problems, but works painstakingly slowly – to squeeze the most good out of every circumstance. Elijah’s character would be strengthened as he overcame his anger and despair and re-entered the battle to continue the fight against apostasy. We must also re-enter the battle – moment by moment – and continue to fight for righteousness to rule our hearts and our world!