2 Kings 18:5-6 He TRUSTED in the LORD, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him.
For he CLUNG to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses.
The Bible was finished before your name could be added to the list of great men (and women), but you can still be great. Do you want to be great?
Be like Hezekiah. First he trusted in the Lord, then he clung (clung = held very tightly or stuck like glue). These are two wonderful secrets to greatness. Jesus repeats this secret for greatness, but Jesus uses the words "believe" for trust and "abide" for cling. Abide means to stay and not be moved. Like cling, it means to stick with it and hold on tightly.
Trust in the Lord Jesus. First, trust in what He did on the cross to take away your sins. Believe in him for eternal life. Then trust Him for everything in life. He is your Good Shepherd. He lives now to take care of His sheep, and He does the job well if you trust Him to do it.
Second, cling to Jesus and His Word. If you stay in the Bible, and you obey the Bible, you will stick close to Jesus. You will know his voice. He will direct your life. If you step away from the Bible and listen to your own voice, you will follow yourself and you will lose your way in life.
Greatness is about being close to the Great One. Most smart people never become great. Most rich people never become great. Most important people never become great. But everyone who believes in Jesus and abides in Jesus becomes great. Greatness is not about me; it is about Jesus.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
2 Kings 17:15 Israel
And they followed VANITY [EMPTINESS] and became VAIN [EMPTY] ,
and went after the nations which surrounded them,
concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them.
Israel followed the unsaved people around them. Israel did the empty things unsaved people do. They went to the empty places unsaved people went. They copied the empty worship of their unsaved neighbors. Israel was so full of empty that they became empty people.
Colossians 2:8-10 The Church
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and EMPTY [VAIN] deception, according to the customs of [unsaved] men, according to the elementary principles of the [godless] world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the FULLNESS of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made COMPLETE…
Believers in Christ have the fullness of God in Christ. Don't go back to emptiness and become empty! Don't trade the fullness of Jesus Christ for the emptiness of the unsaved! Follow Christ, who is the fullness of God, and you will become complete and full of the fullness of Christ.
"Works well only when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap."
No one would want a work review like this, but this is very close to what God said about Jehoash. All children need close supervision, but God wants his children to grow up into men and women of God.
2 Kings 12:2
Jehoash did right in the sight of the LORD
all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
How is your life for God when you are not supervised?
=========== Note ============
Yesterday, Nancy and I listed all the men and women who influenced our lives as teachers, leaders and role models. We love these people, but not one of them is hovering over us to make us do what is right. They taught us to lean on God, to feed ourselves from the Bible, to be responsible helpers in the church, to work without close human supervision.
Paul teaches that bad teachers work to make people dependent on them and their ministries. Bad teachers teach people to seek the teacher and not the Lord. They train people to work only under human supervision and no independently. They train people to fail.
They eagerly seek you, not commendably,
but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them.
2 Kings 10:30 The Wars of Jehu:
The LORD said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in executing 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."
2 Kings 10:31 The Walk of Jehu:
But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel sin.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27 Paul's walk (running) and Paul's war (boxing):
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim;
I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
Jehu almost became a good king. He could have been Israel's first and only good king. He warred well, but he disqualified himself by his walk (his daily life). I feel badly for the man. Coulda! Woulda! Shoulda! But he was not careful to walk in the Word of God.
Are you good at war? Are you a good Bible teacher, a good evangelist, a powerful leader, or a gifted counselor? Are you also careful to feed yourself the Bible every day; or are you careless about your own personal obedience? Many great workers for God have been disqualified because they were careless about their own holiness. It is heartbreaking, and it hurts the people who follow them.
In the New Testament, Paul teaches that Christian success depends on warring well (using your spiritual gift) but also walking in holiness. Paul did not want to be a good preacher and a bad "liver." He was heartbroken for men who warred for God but were unwilling to walk for God. He was concerned that he would follow their example and be disqualified.
Be careful. Win the war. Walk the walk. Do it all!
2 Kings 6:4-7
[Elisha] went with them; and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, "Alas, my master! For it was borrowed." Then the man of God said, "Where did it fall?" And when he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there, and made the iron float. He said, "Take it up for yourself." So he put out his hand and took it.
These workers were needy because of the work of God. They gave their lives to the word of God and service to God's people. They did it with no promise of public support. No tax money from the nation of Israel was used to support the prophets as it was for the priests and Levites.
Today, God still cares for the smallest things of life for those who give themselves to God for service and trust in Him to care for them. God wants young men and woman for special servants, and He cares for every young man or woman who serves Him. He cares for them when they grow old also. He does not discard his faithful servants in their old age.
Here is the story of the story the cleansing of Naaman the Leper.
2 Kings 5:1-27
“his master...her mistress...my master...his master...my servant...his servant...My father...your servant...your servant...your servant...your servant...my master...your servant...the servant...my master...My master...his servants...his master...Your servant.”
Sometimes I can only see the healing of the leper when I read this chapter, and I miss the major theme---the relationship of servant and master.
Only one other chapter in the entire Bible (Genesis 24) has more occurrences of the word “master.” In the story of Naaman we learn lessons of slavery and service. Here are a few:
The highest of authorities and greatest of men are only servants. The humblest of servants have the greatest of love for their masters. Masters reward faithful service and discipline unfaithfulness. Servants guard the interests of their own masters and not their own interests. Servants owe an explanation for their behavior only to their masters. The masters of servants are under masters and all masters are under God. One of the greatest lessons is that God works His great eternal purposes through the humblest of obedient servants at the oddest of times.
The highest title a child of God can own is “servant” or “slave.” Non-Christians work throughout their lives to be free and to be their own master, but they end their lives in the darkest slavery. Christians work their lives to become the lowest of servants, and end their lives as Sons of Glory and children of the King.
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My respect?” says the LORD of hosts to you.
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He is gracious to us.
2 Kings 4:1
Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves."
God loves and cares for widows, orphans and strangers, but this woman is the widow of a full time worker! This prophet unlike the Levites did not even have a garden. His widow could only look to God. At that time God's people were spending their money on religion but not God. They were living for themselves not others. Even Elisha, the prophet had nothing to give from himself, but he pointed her to the care of God. God did not fail.
Father, thank you for caring for those who have spent themselves for the sake of your name. Thank you for loving the widow, the orphan and the stranger.
Violent mobs of lawless young men from the cities of the USA are in the news. Elisha was met by a similar mob of young men from the apostate city of Bethel. These young men were lawless God-rejecters who followed the manmade religion of Israel. They were making fun of the prophet of God and the translation of Elijah. They are predecessors of present-day lawless mockers who make fun of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and His judgment of sin.
2 Kings 2:23-25 The Return of Elisha to Bethel after the Translation of Elijah
Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, "Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!" When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.
2 Peter 3:3-7 The Mockers of Today
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
The curse of God is as real as God's sunshine. The Lord Jesus came, He was made a curse for you on the cross, he went up to heaven, and He is returning as King and Judge. Your curse on you or your curse on the Lord Jesus? You make the choice.
I stopped taking selfies. I went through five different cell phones and none of them would take a good picture of me. Stupid phones! I don't know what is wrong with cameras these days. They all made me look old, tired and overweight. Where can I find a better camera? Please help me.
But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here that we may inquire of him?"
1 Kings 22:7
Most TV preachers and many church pastors tell you how wonderful you are. Isn't that nice!? But isn't there one prophet of the Lord who will tell you the truth? Don't you ever wish for a father who will tell you when you are wrong? Don't you ever hope for a brother who is brave enough to correct you and be honest with you?
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
Now it came about after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
1 Kings 21:1-3
The end of the story? Ahab had Naboth killed, and for the price of a few bribes (or political favors) to false witnesses, he received the property for free. It sounds so contemporary!
Ahab's father Omri bought Samaria. There is no record that his inheritance was near Samaria. There is no record of his lineage. Some have suggested, based on his name, that Omri was not an Israelite, but a mercenary who rose to power within the ranks of the army of Israel and then usurped the throne. No one but God knows.
But we do know there is no record of Omri ever occupying his own inheritance. He and his son either bought the inheritances of others or took them by force if they refused sale. This brutal governmental "efficiency" led to the rise of a short-lived but prosperous dynasty. It had the appearance of succeeding, but it sowed the seeds of its own destruction, by ignoring the laws of God.
God presents the history of the northern kingdom as a model for disaster, a warning. The southern kingdom, Judah, was to look and learn from their "sister Samaria." Judah did not learn, so they also were swept away. A country such as our own which claims to be founded on a Judeo-Christian foundation should also understand Judeo-Christian consequences. Neither countries nor individuals can presume to possess the blessings of God without also accepting the disciplines of God. A country that uses the name of God for its own enrichment and then elects leaders of questionable heritage and moral character, usurps the authority and property of its own citizens, and ignores the laws of God will in the end be swept away. We are on a slippery slope.
Is there a bright side here? Yes, there is. The King of Glory is coming. He will rule in righteousness, and of the increase of His peace there shall be no end. God is a very patient teacher. He has demonstrated over the course of all human history that man is unable to govern himself.
For me to live is Christ.