Tag Archives: 2 Kings

3 things that can change the way you worship

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Nehushtan (pronounced Nekh – oosh – tawn)

A brazen serpent created by Moses, no doubt a reminder of their wilderness excursion with the snakes and God’s deliverance. But not rather than a reminder of God’s salvation, it was an object of worship.

But then along comes Hezekiah, and at 25 years old he began to reign as written in the book of 2 Kings 18; and unlike his father Ahaz, he did what was right in the sight of God:

  • He removed the high places
  • He cut down the groves and last but not least
  • He broke the brazen serpent

It was said of him in verses 5-6 that “He trusted the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any before him. For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments which the Lord commanded Moses.

3 things made a notable difference in his leadership than any other leader before or after him:

He Removed the High Places

It’s not hard to look around and see the high places of the world, but looking inwardly is a discovery of my own high places of things that I have elevated above God in my life.

  • Technology consumes my time
  • Troubles consume my thoughts rather than trusting them to God
  • And that list could no doubt go on…

You too likely have high places that need torn down.

He Removed the Images

Theirs were literal handmade images of idolatry, but mine are more images: the way I view myself, others and above all God. Imagery is a powerful tool. Satan can contrive images in my head of who I or the world perceives me to be causing me to doubt who I am and God’s purpose and calling. It doesn’t take much talking to have me looking in the mirror saying “why on earth would God choose or use you. There’s no way He can move you past this failure.” And that image grows and grows to giant proportion until I can’t see God around it. Shari the failure. I too have some images I need to remove.

He Broke the Brazen Serpent

Israel was worshipping what was meant to draw people to the Creator rather than the Creator Himself. It was all about the serpent not the Savior.

We may not have a brazen serpent in our church to take our eyes off God, but many churches have lost sight of what it is we come to church for. There is a misconception of worship. Satan (the old serpent himself) has turned the altar into an object not to be worshipped but rather ignored. He knows that there is power in the altar, not from the location but from the Lord. And the one thing that will bring that power into a God glorifying moment is when people come with a worship frame of mind. Moses’ fiery serpent upon the pole that was written in Numbers 21:9 gave the people an object that they could look to for a reminder of salvation. We have that in the cross. Just above our altar is large wooden cross in the sanctuary. We don’t come to worship the cross… but the cross should serve as a reminder of the price God paid and cause our hearts to be lifted in praise and draw us to the altar to thank Him… Worship Him… Love Him.

Hezekiah was a great leader because he got rid of what was obstructing their relationship with God. We need some leaders to tear down some man made images of what God wants in church and worship God in the manner He deserves?

I’m headed to church! I pray you are too!

Just Shy of What God Desires

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2 Kings 17:38-39

And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods. But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.

It’s the early morning hours of the 2nd day of camp and all my campers are fast asleep in their beds and I’m alone in the lobby with nothing but the sound of the air conditioner kicking in and out and an occasional ba-ding from my computer from a missed command on the keyboard. I’ve read a few chapters in 2 Kings and again and again I read words like “and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.” Again and again God’s people suffer, and then they’d get a king who would semi live right but he would usually fail to take away the high places.

We’re always just shy of what God desires. And generation after generation we continue to pass that character trait along because very few, if any are sold out to God. And so this weekend we teach the byproduct of flawed thinking. American youth.

We’re just a little bit captive but we’re a lot creative about it. The high places for which the children of God worshipped idols were literally “high” places. Pieces of ground that were elevated with stone pillars, shrines or various shapes which were objects of worship. We no longer travel to higher ground to do our extra-curricular worshipping, we do that right at the house by elevating the importance of all things “not God.” God takes a close second for even the serious minded saint.

Worshipping God has been brought down to the level of common things and praise and shout worthy events like sports, music, etc. are placed upon the hill.

The word continues in the book of 2 Kings 17:40-41

 Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner.  So these nations feared the Lord, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.

Generation after generation continued in captivity because they refused to completely destroy the high places. They feared the LORD, but they served the images. Today’s church is no different. We fear God… we fear judgment, wrath, disappointment. We genuinely want to live right. Much like children we truly want to please our Father, but… we have this image to protect. The image in the high places. It’s kind of silly in perspective to the Heavenly Father, but the world says our image is important so we hold on tight and refuse to let go. The world says it’s okay to scream and holler at a ballgame or other event until you’re so hoarse you can’t speak, but Heaven forbid we lift a voice of Amen in a service. We’ll send kids to camp because it’s fun and wonderful, but we won’t send them to church on Sunday because it’s too early and it’s the world’s day off. We spend hundreds and thousands on the latest and greatest to make us happy but can’t figure out why those doggone kids won’t put up their iPhone in a service and listen to the preacher. The high places take priority.

When Satan took Jesus to the exceeding high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world saying “All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Jesus told him to Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And then the Devil left. ~ Matthew 4:8-9

No images. No high places. Just God. We need to stop worrying about “our image” and just worship…

A Great Word for the Day!

Persistence

If I’m anything, I’m persistent. But that still doesn’t stop the interference of Satan or the flesh of Shari that often arises in the form of discouragement or aggravation. I’m persistent… not patient. And there’s always plenty of avenues to take to another direction, re-plan the plan, so to speak; and plenty of people to tell you that perhaps that wasn’t God’s plan for you after all. So how do you know that you know? The same way everyone who’s been anyone has known for thousands of years, Stop, drop and listen, that’s how I roll! It was how Elijah and Elisha rolled as well in 1st and 2nd Kings.

Now… I’m not in the league of either. But I serve the same God. Elijah stopped the rain, and then started the rain in 1 Kings 17 and 18.

1 Kings 17:1

And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.

1 Kings 18:41-44

41And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, 43 And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. 44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down that the rain stop thee not.

Seven times Elijah sent his servant up to look toward the sea. Six times there was nothing, and the seventh time there but a little cloud the size of a man’s hand. But Elijah wasn’t concerned with the size of the cloud, because he knew from his perspective something that looked small was anything but from God’s perspective it was an abundance. Elijah believed that before the first drop appeared because he’d heard it from God (vs. 41).

The things that God spoke into my heart in 2010… (7 years ago) have yet to come to pass. But God continues to say serve. He continues to say serve where I am. It ain’t easy. But He never promised that it would be. I’m waiting for the mantle to fall.

So was Elisha the successor to Elijah. He too believed in his calling. When he received word that Elijah’s job was about to be open he never left Elijah’s side, even though Elijah said stay.

Elijah said I’m going to Bethel, you stay here. Elisha went to Bethel.

Elijah told Elisha to tarry there, he was going to Jericho. Elisha went to Jericho.

Elijah told him to tarry there, he was going to Jordan. Elisha went to Jordan.

Elisha was persistent. He persisted until the mantle of Elijah rested on his shoulders and he received a double portion of his spirit.

Elijah’s seven time miracle of the rain, was followed by Elisha having two seven time miracles.

When the child died who he had blessed the Shunemite family with, Elisha in faith brought the child back and seven times the child sneezed when he was revived. And when Naaman was afflicted with leprosy, Elisha instructed him to dip in the Jordan seven times and be healed and so he was. Elisha proved the double portion blessing of Elijah more than once, but he wouldn’t have proven it once if he hadn’t have persisted when Elijah said stay.

And so it was my word this morning as I arose at the crack of dawn and God said read… and then said write… and then said… persist. And so it now is our word. Yours and mine. Because I don’t believe for a second this message is only mine, else God would have stopped with read…


If the Lord impresses up on your heart to support this ministry it would be much appreciated!

 

But Now… Somebody get my fiddle!

chick fiddler2 Kings 3:15

But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.

One thing that will almost assuredly bring joy to my soul is music. And stringed music that much more; it’s the basics that I love. So my “But Now” verse for today was literally music to my ear when I see the Lord setting the stage for victory through a bluegrasser! (Yes I know that’s a stretch, but a girl can dream can’t she?) Although it was harp that was played, it was still the foundation for the fiddle that would come along in the 16th century. And it matters not to me what particular instrument but rather the fact that God used it and my favorite thing in the world (the Word of God) together.

To set the stage for you in this text, it is the story of two Kings, normally at odds with one another. But this day they had formed an allegiance against a common enemy. King Jehoram of Israel met with Jehoshaphat king of Judah and together they met with the king of Edom and made this agreement in 2 Kings 3:7-8

And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses. And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.

But as they traveled, 7 days into the journey they ran out of water and then began to wonder if it was God’s will at all for them to go to this battle, and whether or not He had set them up to get them killed!

10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!

Ha! can I relate to that one. Halfway down any road in life I’ve asked myself that question, so you’ll find me throwing no stones at the kings. But here they are at the crossroad of battling Moab or tuckin’ their tales and turning home and they decide to seek the wisdom of God, which would come through, at that time, a man of God named Elisha. They’re not as privileged as we who are saved today and seek God’s wisdom from within.

I love Elisha’s response when they arrive to ask him to seek God for them; he has to get at least one jab in to the king of Israel who at that time worshipped other gods. He promptly tells him if it wasn’t for his buddy he’d not give him the time of day. That’s Shari quoted… read it for yourself…

14 And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.

Elisha preached it like it was, and the king of Israel did not take him to a happy place. But here comes the fiddle! Okay it was a harp. But before Elisha gives them an answer he needs to set the tone for worship and he does that through stringed music. The rest of the story, they find water and they win the battle through the hand of God!

The lesson here? Before any battle, be it of flesh or foe we need to seek the Lord and we need to do so with a heart of worship. The Battle is His alone. Elisha set his mind on the things above by using the tools below. We have them at our disposal… we just fail to use them. One of my favorite fiddle pieces that would cause Squire Parsons to grimace at the least is “Beulah Land.” Oh…. I have but to lay my bow to the string and draw the first note before God enters my presence… I think He likes Squire’s song too.  Are you facing a battle and needing an answer? I suggest you take Elisha’s advice and call the minstrel, and make sure it’s a song God likes…

But now… Somebody get my fiddle.

The Accountability Factor in America

The Heading caught me this morning as I flipped through my Ryrie Study Bible… “He Reforms the Nation.”…

Who reformed the nation? Josiah. I love his story! Crowned king at eight years old, reigning until he was thirty nine in Jerusalem and it says that he “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.” 2 Kings 22:2

Oh for a Josiah in America…

He made the church fiscally and physically accountable

22:4-5 ~ Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people: And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the Lord, to repair the breaches of the house,

I don’t think that it’s rocket science to know that churches (I speak collectively) have stopped holding themselves accountable. It’s been the topic of conversation a couple of times in my teen class lately to beware of high dollar preachers who use God’s money to fund their high dollar living. I’m all about providing for a Pastor, and I think he deserves top quality stuff, after all he’s in charge of our spiritual health and that’s a pretty hard job. But I don’t think any preacher needs a 10 million dollar home and a Mercedes in the garage paid for by the collection of the saints. Now… if he has other moneys coming from other incomes and he chooses to use it for that, that’s his business. However… on that note I think he’s going to have some explaining to do the Lord.

But that lifestyle makes me nauseous when there are so many people struggling in their lives, so many ministries that are could use money for the furtherance of the gospel and the glory of the Kingdom. I heard someone say the other day, and I may have mentioned it previously but it really stuck in my soul that we need to pray for “enough.”  And then I think that anything above “enough” should be prayerfully and purposefully used.

He made the church Spiritually accountable

22:11~ And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king’s, saying, Go ye, enquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.

They, like us today, were without excuse. We have the book; now it’s up to us to adhere God’s expectations.

He made them politically accountable

23:1-3 ~And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord.  And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after theLord, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.

Conforming started at the top and worked its way down from the King to the people. If there is any hope for us to have the heading in America that “He reforms the nation” it’s going to have to go from top to bottom; but I can assure you it’s going to have to start at the bottom and works its way to the top. America is going to have to hold our government accountable…but first the churches in America are going to have to take a long look at how they’re handling the Word of God that is so readily available but seems seldom read. The church is going to have stop conforming to the world’s standards and expecting the world’s compensation for a service that Christ said was every Christian’s responsibility.

Are you waiting for the mantle to fall?

While countless people have come in and gone out of my life that I’ve loved, those who have had a “great” spiritual impact on my life have been fewer than those who have had a great personal impact on my life. Both are important and I don’t want to diminish the latter, but of those who have had a spiritual impact I believe they’ll have rewards in Heaven. 1 Peter 5:2-4 says “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” It is my prayer that I will have that impact on people in my life; not that I’m anybody, but that the presence of God in my life will be evident to the point that someone wants what I have and for God’s glory alone.

In 2nd Kings Chapter 2 we find the story of two such men, Elijah and Elisha, and this morning as I read their story I caught a glimpse of that road to Glory for which every saint of God should strive for.

Vs. 9-15 ~

Evidence of the Spirit at Work in our Life

Vs. 9 ~ And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

Before Elijah left, Elisha had seen the Spirit of the Lord at work in his life. It will do little good if our legacy for the Lord is the last five minutes of our life. Our friends and family need to see the lasting affect over time. They need to see God in the good days and the bad. Elisha had seen that, he wanted that! He’d seen Elijah:

1. Stop the Rain (1 Kings 17:1)

2. Multiply the Oil (1 Kings 17:2)

3. Raise the Dead (1 Kings 17:22, 23)

4. Bring Fire from heaven on the soaked altar (1 Kings 18:38)

5. Bring on the rain (1 Kings 18:45)

6. Bring fire down on 51 soldiers. (2 Kings 1:10)

7. Bring fire down on the second 51 soldiers (2 Kings 1:12) and

8. Part the river Jordan. (2 Kings 2:8)

Our Evangelism Needs to Continue

Vss. 10-13 ~ And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.  And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;

When Elijah had gone, Elisha mourned but went back and stood at the bank of Jordan where he and Elijah had stood before. When we’re gone there should be someone standing in the gap that we’ve left; we should be leading leaders, training those we love to evangelize those they love. If Jesus tarries I want the next generation to evangelize the next generation and the only way that will happen is if we have them ready before we leave.

Evolving takes humility

Vss. 14-15 ~ And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

After Elijah left, Elisha was there, and when Elisha was gone those who had been watching seen Elisha’s miracles too! Elisha had asked for a double portion of the Spirit that was upon Elijah. Elisha’s miracles were as follows:

  1. Jordan River divided (2:14)
  2. Waters at the spring of Jericho healed (2:21)
  3. Bears from the woods, destroying the mockers (2:24)
  4. Water for Kings (3:20)
  5. Oil for the widow (4:1-4
  6. Gift of the son (4:16,17)
  7. Raising the child from the dead (4:35)
  8. Healing of the potage (4:41)
  9. Bread multiplied (4:43)
  10. Naaman healed (5:10)
  11. Gehazi smitten (5:27)
  12. Caused the iron to swim (6:6)
  13. Sight to the blind (6:17)
  14. Smiting blindness to these men (6:18)
  15. Restoring sight to these men (6:20)
  16. Miracle after his death, man comes to life by touching Elisha’s bones (13:21)

Sixteen!!! The double portion.

It is said that those who watched were the sons of the prophets having been formally trained, while Elisha was taken from the plough. When they perceived that God was on Elisha (as He was Elijah) they readily submitted to him as their father in the faith. They weren’t worried about his resume. Evolving (changing into) men and women of God takes humility. A willingness to have a servant’s heart to receive the manifold blessings of God.

If we want to see God move we’ve got watch for opportunities as Elisha watched Elijah; pray specifically as Elisha asked for the double portion; and when it’s our turn we need to stand accordingly.