Is all going well for you? I was at a Castle Rock pastor’s prayer time this morning. Someone asked how our churches are going and what kinds of things we were doing to encourage our community of believers into holiness. Can I just say how very proud of you all I am? Some were so taken back by the fact that many of you would give up food or sweets or TV or computers or facebook or alcohol for any length of time, let alone for 21 days. Then to top it off, for you to be reading the whole Bible in 90 days. We are part of a good thing Saints. Stay at it. Keep your hands on the plow moving forward.
Were any of you as puzzled today by the story of Jehu as I was? He is anointed king of Israel by Elisha and is commanded to rid the country of anything to do with Ahab and his family. We know they are scoundrels. They want to change the religion from their brand of Judaism to Baalism. Then he says, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.” Here is where it got odd, 10:18, “Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu weill serve him much.” What?! Whose side is Jehu on? He then packs a Baal temple with Baal priests, gives them new robes, and as they were trying them on (my addition), Jehu snuck outside, ordered the doors locked, and sent dudes in to annihilate them all. I had to read through it all a couple of times. As it turns out, Jehu pulled a fast one on them. He deceived them all. Interesting stuff.
A word about prophets and prophecy in 1 & 2 Kings. These men play an important role in these two books. The portrayal of these generally fits into what we know of prophets from elsewhere in Scripture, but a few characteristic features stand out her more sharply than they do elsewhere.
These terms show God’s claim upon them as His mouthpiece. The words are used sixty times in both books along with the moniker “man of God.” The Hebrew terms used here are ro’eh (seer), hozeh (one who sees visions), and nabi’ (prophet). The basic idea behind the word prophet was that this was a spokespersons or mouthpiece for God. Prophets spoke the words from God. Often repeating “Thus says the Lord.” True prophets were commissioned, or ‘called,” by God to speak for Him. True prophets were to reflect high moral character. One of their important functions was to foretell future events to God’s people. Sometimes it was new information. Other times the words were warnings of what was prescribed in the law if one did not adhere to the law. They were both “foretellers” and “forthtellers.” They were to explain the past, elucidate the present, and disclose the future. A bulk of Elijah and Elisha’s messages were directed at the abominable conditions of their own day.
There were court prophets, who had access to the king, were employed by him and served him diligently. These tended to only tell the king what he wanted to hear. Nothing in the likes of Nathan, Elijah, Micaiah, Elisha or Isaiah who usually confronted kings– at great personal risk– with messages they did not want to hear.
No two prophets get the airtime like Elijah and Elisha, they are a close second behind Moses. While Elijah confronted kings, Elisha main sphere of activity is mainly among common people. No prophet ever appoints a successor as Elijah does with Elisha. Recall the deity chart I sent yesterday, Baal is the Canaanite storm god. Recall the first thing Elijah is tasked with in 1 Ki 17, telling Ahab that it was not going to rain for the next few years. This is a direct assault on the god Ahab was serving. Yahweh has the real control.
I attached a few more charts today. The first one lists the kings of the north on the left, their years of reigning and how the kings of Judah on the right compare in the same time period. The next one shows how the kings intermarried and who was related to whom. The one shows the kings of Israel, the column that most fascinates me is the one which shows how each of them dies. Look at how many were assassinated.
The good news is that there were many good kings. There were instruments of the Lord at work, who cared about Him, and brought blessings to the land.
Be blessed in Jesus today. Pastor Mark.