June 22, 2021

2 Kings 3:1-4:17

We’re not sure what would compel King Jehoshaphat to once again, allow Judah to  join forces with Israel, and even Edom, but he does…in war against Moab. As they travel by way of the wilderness of Edom, they find themselves without water. Jehoshaphat is wise in looking to God for provision, he asks for a prophet of the LORD – Elisha obliges because of the presence of the King of Judah (2 Kings 3:14).

In order for Elijah to hear from the LORD, he has a request:

2 Kings 3:15 (NKJV) “But now bring me a musician.” Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.

Pastor Chuck Smith comments on this, “There seems to be a definite tie between the music and the anointing of God upon the prophet. This happened often in biblical days. And this is why we give a prominent place to music in our worship services today. It prepares our hearts for the Word of God and opens the door for the working of the Spirit in our lives. Paul said in Ephesians 5:18-19 that (worship) music is a sign of being filled with the Spirit.” 

God provided water for the three kings and gave them victory over Moab – nothing is too hard for Him. The victory would have been absolute, had it not been for the horrendous act of the king of Moab offering his son as a burnt offering.

Warren Wiersbe comments, “Hoping to get some good out of the war, the king of Moab attacked Edom alone, but he failed to conquer. In desperation, he even sacrificed the crown prince. The deed was so repulsive to Judah and Moab that they left the field in great anger against Israel for ever getting them involved. When you join forces with those who do not love God, you never know what will happen to embarrass or offend you or to disgrace the Lord’s name.” 

Elisha has that double-portion of the spirit of Elijah and uses it for the glory of God and the good of the people. God is able to help multiple nations simultaneously, He is also assists a widow, and a barren woman who has shown hospitality to the prophet. Nothing is too big, or too small, whether it be something globally, nationally, financially, or in the family – God is moving, guiding and providing, let’s just keep praying and believing!

Acts 14:8-28

Paul and Barnabas continue on in what we refer to as “Paul’s First Missionary Journey.” In Iconium they preached the gospel. Some believed, others opposed, God was moving, but because the opposition escalated to the point of danger, they moved on to the next city.

In Lystra it all began with Paul discovering a lame man who had the faith to be healed, even though this man had never walked. Paul spoke healing words over him, and the cripple from his mother’s womb, not only walked, he leaped! The people saw, and in awe deified Paul and Barnabas (Wiersbe calls this a greater danger). Exaltation is a greater danger then persecution.

Paul and Barnabas react appropriately, however, tearing their clothes as they cry out in protest. The “Great Men” in the Bible are men with a nature like ours (James 5:17) as I’ve always said, “The best of men are men at best.”

Pastor Chuck commented by saying, “God uses common people. God uses ordinary men to accomplish His work. God wants to use you! You say, ‘Oh no, not me!’ Yes you! The men God uses are always surprised that God would use them. Who knows what God could do through your life if you were fully yielded to Him.”

The accolades don’t last too long (men are fickle) and the Jews from Antioch and Iconium come and speak evil against Paul. They therefore stone him to death (it’s probably at this time that Paul is caught up to the third heaven – 2 Corinthians 12:2). God brings him back, raises him from the dead and the next day he departs to Derbe, and then does something so amazing! He goes back to those very cities – where his murderers are – where he’s a wanted man! Wow, he must have really cared about those new Christians. Sandy Adams said, “Paul could have avoided danger by returning to Antioch via land, but Paul was not one for taking the easy way out. He returns the way he came. Paul was willing to risk his neck not only to save sinners, but also to strengthen saints.”

Paul’s words carry a little more weight, considering the fact that he was just stoned to death:

Acts 14:22 (NKJV) “strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’”

There are no words to adequately articulate the immensity of this first missionary journey! It eventually ends, they set sail for their home church (their sending church) and we read in:

Acts 14:27 (NKJV) “Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”

The above map is from the website: thebiblejourney.org (link to map)

Psalm 140:1-13

David once again, prays for God to protect him from those (there were many) who rose up against him; they were evil men, violent men, men who planned evil things in their hearts. They apparently spoke the language of Lucifer – lies! Many wars start and are waged with words, arent’ they? It’s demonic and does so much damge!

Psalm 140:3 (NKJV) “They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips.”

So David prayed:

Psalm 140:6-8 (NKJV) “I said to the LORD: “You are my God; hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD. 7 O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle. 8 Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further his wicked scheme, lest they be exalted.”

There were many who wanted to kill David because of the lies that were spoken about him. Under the leadership of King Saul there was an entire army hunting David down – but David prayed – and God protected him.

We need to do the same thing. One of the most difficult realities of life (even as a Christian) is people will “talk.” They want us to worry, or get engaged in the mud-sling ring. Don’t even go there. Go to God. Notice what we read in:

Psalms 109:4 (NKJV) “In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer.”

Let’s give ourselves to prayer. Let’s trust the Lord. It can be “dangerous” as a true disciple of Christ, but as we pray and trust – we can know that God will maintain our cause; we will thank Him and dwell in His presence. (Psalm 140:12-13)

Proverbs 17:22

A good word, a big smile, a positive outlook, even a sense of humor, it does us good.

But the person who refuses, who chooses not to look up or cheer up, does damage on the inside, it dries the bones; they won’t grow up and they may never even be able to stand up…the way God wants them to.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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