How to doom a kingdom, part II (We serve a powerful God)

Of course, Micaiah doesn’t say anything good about Ahab, just as the latter is accustomed to. He then goes on to report one of the most amazing as well as terrifying visions of the old testament:

I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left;and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another.Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.” (vs. 19-23)

God’s sovereignty is a motivation for discipleship

This passage may be an eye-opener to some. It shows our Lord from a perspective that we don’t necessarily come to think of naturally. This is a God who intervenes in his creation. A God who decides by his sole will because he answers to no one. People take offense on this, but God is sovereign over his creation. This story is a great example of how God decides of the fate of people, in a way. One must not forget that Ahab also brought this on himself. After all, it was he who decided to sin for all of his life, to marry Jezbel, to hate the Lord and ignore the warning of his prophet. We have a great example of the way in which God’s will and human choice interact with each other here. It seems that God always gets his way without breaking the will of anyone. The knowledge of this fact should make us seek his glory and rejoice in him, because in the end, he will give us what we really want!

The ensuing battle (Ahab obviously ignores the warning) is almost comical. The king tries to escape his fate – or rather, divine providence – by disguising himself. Being the coward that he is, he even tells Jehoshaphat not to disguise himself in the hopes that he will be killed in his place. However, God opens the eyes of the Syrians and they see that he isn’t the king of Israel, ignoring him. As always, God preserves the faithful!
Now God shows that he always gets his will:  But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. (v 34) One man fires a random arrow and hits the king at the small area where he is vulnerable! No one can defeat the will of God, under any circumstances!

With this knowledge, we are left to say If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 Being aware that nothing can stop God and that he cares for the faithful really helps me in my daily life. Let us stand strong and fight the good fight trusting our Lord, the Lord of hosts! Let us seek his kingdom knowing that he will provide us with everything we need. Let us seek his glory, for he will reward it!

How to doom a kingdom, part I (We serve a powerful God)

One of the passages I read today is one of the most interesting ones in the Bible, in my opinion. This is because it gives a tiny little bit of insight into the doings of our God, in a similar fashion to the books of Job or Revelation. I am always fascinated when I can see a little of God’s glory and supremacy like that!

The text is in 1 Kings 22:1-40. A few quick words on the setting: Jehoshaphat reigns in Judah. One of the better kings in history, he lives for the Lord (He walked in all the way of Asa his father. He did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the Lord. v. 43a). He also married family of Ahab, who reigned over Israel.This is one of the most evil kings in the history of God’s people. He pretty much always did the opposite of what God had ordained. (There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited.He acted very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel. Chapter 21:25f)

The first part of this text can teach us a few very important things that apply in manhood, leadership, worship, life, and everything else important. Continue reading

A feast with consequences

King Belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. Daniel 5:1 ESV

What’s so special about what looks like any feast?
At the time, the Persian army stood before the gates of Babylon. They had just beaten Belshazzar’s father, King Nabonidus, in the Battle of Opis, effectively beating the Babylonians and clearing the path for the capital.

However, no panic is recorded to have happened at their arrival – Babylon was the most powerful stronghold of its time, and it’s inhabitants simply regarded it as impregnable. It is understandable that king Belshazzar was very self-confident, which explains with what mindset he was able to feast at a such a time.

Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. (v. 2)

In his drunkenness, he becomes so proud as to utterly disregard the God of Israel, the God which the former king Nebuchadnezzar II had known to be the one true God. He ignored everything he had witnessed (He was alive during the events of chapter 4) and defiled the Lord through his abuse of the treasure.

By the time he (literally) saw the writing on the wall, it was too late – that same night, the Persians took Babylon without resistance and killed Belshazzar. Daniel, however, preserved by his Lord, lived on to serve at the court of his new master, the King of Persia.

Since most of us obviously aren’t drunken kings under siege, what does this event teach us? I, for one, often behave like Belshazzar. Not only am I constantly in danger of – or, more likely, actually being proud, but I also make mistakes of large scale. I never was drunk, but I still “feast” in war-time. I often play games or read Tom Clancy novels when I should actually be communicating with the Lord, praying, reading, singing, thinking, taking notes, … In short, I ignore the war that I live in. And it’s pretty hard (spoiler: impossible) to survive in this war as a human. We aren’t strong enough.

This chapter is a reminder to humble ourselves under our God. And to stay alert. Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak, says Jesus in Mk 14:38. Let us watch, wary of the war in us!

Shun Babblings – by Henry Morris III, D.Min.

This is a repost of a daily devotional I am subscribed to done by the Institute of Creation Research.
You can find the original at http://www.icr.org/article/7490/
 

Shun Babblings

by Henry Morris III, D.Min.

“But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus.” (2 Timothy 2:16-17)

Paul’s earlier warning about “word fights” (2 Timothy 2:14) is strengthened in the text above with a different emphasis. Word fights are “picky” debates started by quarrelsome people. They are useless and divisive. They create conflicts and schisms.

Profane and vain babblings, however, are worldly and valueless “noise.” Less obvious and more subtle than fighting, they have the effect of destroying godliness. “But refuse profane |ungodly| and old wives’ fables |myths, baseless stories|, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7).

Because “godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8), Paul strongly urged Timothy to “keep |guard| that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20-21).

The “oppositions” spoken of are the “antithesis”—the conflict, the stand against knowledge. Paul calls this anti-knowledge a pseudonumos—a false name. It sounds like knowledge but is not true.

The results of these “babblings” are not good. Ungodliness will increase. Error will eat away at spiritual health and truth like gangrene. The two church leaders that Paul mentions, Hymenaeus and Philetus, are listed as examples of such a cancer. They taught that the resurrection had already occurred for the saints.

Peter’s warning is very similar: “Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness” (2 Peter 3:17).

HMM III