May 22. Elijah’s Transformation; Elisha’s Miracles Begin

II Kin. 2:1-25

Many years earlier, Enoch, a faithful man of God had been taken up into heaven without dying a physical death. Elijah, also a mighty prophet of God had been informed that his departure from earth would be similar. Apparently, his departure had also been revealed to Elisha and other prophets. Elijah’s work on earth had been completed.

Elisha refused to allow Elijah to travel without his accompanying him on his journey. Upon reaching the Jordan River, Elijah took his mantle and struck the water. God divided the river as He had done for Moses and the Israelites long ago and he and Elisha crossed to the other side on dry ground.

When the time came for Elijah to depart, a chariot of fire with horses of fire came down from heaven and a whirlwind took him away. Elisha had witnessed a great miracle as his friend and mentor had been taken to his glorious reward. However, he was also very sorrowful and he tore his clothes in mourning. Elijah’s mantle of authority had fallen upon Elisha as he was taken up. Taking the mantle with him, he struck the Jordan River as Elijah had done earlier and returned to Jericho upon dry land.

We are faced in the Scriptures with many evidences of the power of God and the saving power of the blood of Christ. However, we are like the apostle, Thomas who wanted to feel the scars and nail prints on the risen Christ before we will believe. The people of Jericho knew of the departure of Elijah, but they thought that he had possibly been dropped on top of a high mountain in the region. Upon their insistence, Elisha allowed them to search for the departed prophet until they were convinced after three days that he, indeed had gone directly into heaven.

Elisha was soon called upon for help. Jericho is possibly the oldest city on earth, but there was a dire problem. It being about 840 feet below sea level, its water was bad and the land was barren. He threw salt into the water and God sweetened it. The land began to flourish.

God does not look kindly upon blasphemy. A group of roguish young men were casting insults toward Elisha. When one blasphemes a man of God, he is also blaspheming God. They were mauled by bears because of their evil deed. Following those events, the prophet returned to Samaria.

#chronological-bible-study

May 21. Ahaziah Becomes King of Israel

I Kin. 22:51-II Kin. 1:18

During the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat’s reign in Judah, Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, became king of Israel. It is the duty of parents to properly train their children in the ways of the Lord. That did not happen in the case of Ahaziah. He followed in the wicked ways of his parents, Ahab and Jezebel. Neither did he remove the idol worship of Jeroboam, the first king of God’s divided people, Israel.

Accidents happen to kings as well as common people. Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his upper room and was severely injured. As his father had done, he also relied upon a false god by sending messengers to inquire of the outcome of his injuries.

An angel of the Lord sent Elijah to intercept the king’s messengers and to give them messages from the true God. The first was in the form of a rebuke asking if there was no God in Israel that they must inquire of the god, Baal-Zebub. God’s second message informed Ahaziah that he would not come down from his bed, but would die.

The king sent three different captains of fifty men to bring Elijah to him. “Man of God, thus has the king said, ‘Come down quickly.’” The first two captains issued the command that the prophet of God be submissive to the wicked king. In each incident, Elijah called down fire from heaven and the captain and his men were destroyed. God expects humility from His people. The third captain humbled himself and begged for the lives of himself and his men. That act of humility did not change the king’s message, but it did bring their safety and God did send Elijah to Ahaziah. The king died in his second year. Since he had no son, he was succeeded by his brother, Jehoram.

#chronological-bible-study

May 20. Jehoshaphat’s Reign

I Kin. 22:45-50; II Chron. 19:1-21:1

Good people and good kings make mistakes and sin. After the death of Ahab, Jehoshaphat returned home to Jerusalem. He was met by Jehu, the prophet who rebuked him for participating in Israel’s war.

However, the king had maintained his good qualities of trying to seek the Lord. In order to reform Judean worship he set up impartial judges in the fortified cities with Levites, priests and some of the chief fathers of Israel to serve in Jerusalem.

Another great accomplishment of Jehoshaphat was his reliance upon God to see him through a great threat from three groups of people that were not disturbed during the wilderness wanderings—Moab, Ammon and Mount Seir. Those people had mobilized themselves to, “throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.”

The king realized that he had no power over such a great multitude that they were facing. He prayed for help. The prophet Jahaziel gave them instructions from the Lord. “Do not be afraid…the battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord…”

What followed was mass confusion. “For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.” Judah spent the next three days gathering the valuable spoils of precious jewelry from the bodies of the slain.

The people of Judah along with their king rejoiced and blessed the Lord for His deliverance from their enemies. Word spread among the other kingdoms of how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Judah. Peace reigned the remainder of Jehoshaphat’s twenty-five years as king. After his death, his son Jehoram became king of Judah.

#chronological-bible-study

May 19. Ahab’s Final War with Syria

I Kin. 22:1-40; II Chron. 18:1-34

Three years after Israel’s war with Syria and Ahab’s treaty with Ben-Hadad, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah had become friends with Ahab. Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram had married Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah. That mistake formed a family and political alliance between the two kings.

Through a series of requests for advice from Ahab’s prophets and God’s prophet, Micaiah, Ahab and Jehoshaphat’s armies joined forces to capture Ramoth Gilead from Syria. That was after Micaiah had prophesied that he saw, “all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd…” Ahab’s four hundred false prophets had advised war, but the true prophet of God spoke the true word of God.

Ahab disguised himself as a regular soldier and went into the war. He was mortally wounded and died that evening. After his burial, his blood was washed from the chariot, “and the dogs licked up his blood…according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken.” His son, Ahaziah then became king of Israel.

#chronological-bible-study

May 18. Ahab Commits Murder

I Kin. 21:1-29

It seemed to be a simple and honorable request. Naboth’s vineyard was next to Ahab’s palace in Jezreel (probably a home away from home). He offered what seemed to be more that a fair trade for it. However, Naboth had inherited it and would not consider the trade. Because of his disappointment, Ahab’s wife, Jezebel devised a scheme to have Naboth falsely accused of blasphemy against God and the king. That crime was punishable by stoning.

Even though Ahab probably did not touch a stone, he was guilty by consent of the murder of an innocent man. The sin of covetousness led to the cruel crime against Naboth. Property of public criminals became the property of the king—a bitter victory for Ahab.

Again, the prophet, Elijah was the bearer of bad news to Ahab. The message from God was that the dogs would lick his blood and that his posterity would have no succession to the throne of Israel. Whoever died in the city would be eaten by dogs and the birds would eat those who died in the country.

Ahab and Jezebel were extremely wicked in following idols instead of following God. However, Ahab showed remorse and repentance at the words of Elijah and God postponed the calamity against his family until the reign of his son.

#chronological-bible-study

May 17. Ahab’s War/Treaty with Syria

I Kin. 20:1-43

Israel and Syria were bitter enemies. Through an exchange of messages between Ahab and Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria, Ahab agreed to surrender to the Syrian king. However, Ben-Hadad raised the stakes and a prophet from God informed Ahab that God would deliver Syria into his “hand today, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” Ahab’s army consisted of seven thousand, two hundred thirty two men against the mighty army of Syria. With God’s help, they “killed the Syrians with a great slaughter.”

The next spring, Ben-Hadad again attacked Israel and suffered a great defeat losing one hundred thousand men in battle and another twenty-seven thousand when a wall fell on them. The Syrian king and his army fled in defeat. In an effort to save his own life, he offered to restore all the cities that his father had taken from Israel and to allow the Israelites to set up market places in Damascus, the Syrian capital. Ahab agreed to the treaty and there was peace between the two kingdoms.

God was displeased with Ahab for making a treaty with Ben-Hadad instead of destroying him. He sent a disguised prophet to the king to make His displeasure known. After revealing himself, the prophet spoke the Lord’s words, “Because you have let slip out of your hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people.” Upon hearing the message from God, Ahab returned home sullen and displeased.

#chronological-bible-study

Hello Internet Friends

Hello Internet Friends;

Sorry to be late with the Bible studies. I have been in the hospital since Saturday recovering from a collapsed lung. Here are the studies for May 14, 15 and 16.

James

May 14. BAAL’S PROPHETS DEFEATED/FAMINE ENDS.
I Kin. 18:17-46

Ahab’s greeting to Elijah: “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” Many of us today are like the king. As we suffer the consequences for our sins, we blame others for our pain. Elijah had the proper response stating that Ahab and his father’s house had brought on their troubles because of their forsaking the commandments of the Lord and following the Baals.

In order to show who the true God is, Elijah instructed Ahab to bring the children of Israel, the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah to Mount Carmel. It is said that followers of Baal believed that Mount Carmel was sacred to him. The challenge from Elijah would allow favorable conditions to his opponents thus giving more credence to the Lord.

After the false prophets had prepared their choice of the two bulls and had placed it on the unlit wood, they called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, but no fire came to consume their offering. They became more intense in their calls and until time for the evening sacrifice, “there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.”

Elijah’s turn: He repaired the broken down altar of the Lord and took twelve stones, representing the twelve tribes. After digging a trench around the altar, he placed his prepared bull upon the unlit wood as the other prophets had done. BUT, to make the demonstration more interesting, he ordered four pots of water to be poured out upon the sacrifice and the wood, also filling the trench. That was done three times in order to assure that everything was thoroughly soaked and fireproof. Instead of the incessant calling, leaping and self-cutting, Elijah simply prayed to God. Fire of the Lord immediately, “fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.”

The people were convinced that, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” At Elijah’s command, the false prophets were seized and taken to the Brook Kishon were he executed them.

Elijah prayed seven times for rain and after the seventh time, a small cloud appeared, followed by black clouds and wind, producing a heavy rain. After more than three years the drought had been broken.

May 15. ELIJAH STRUGGLES/ELISHA JOINS HIM. I Kin. 19:1-21

Elijah’s thrill of victory over the god, Baal was short-lived. Upon learning that Baal’s prophets had been slain by him, Jezebel sent word to him that within twenty-four hours he would also be dead. The prophet then fled to Beersheba in Judah. In a state of depression, he went a day’s journey farther and sat under a broom tree. There, he prayed that the Lord would take his life and place another person in his place as prophet.

Even God’s people sometimes become discouraged for various reasons. All may seem hopeless, but we should remember that we are not really alone. God still has work for us to do. An angel appeared to Elijah with food and water and he ate and drank. That happened a second time and he was able to press on for another forty days and nights to Mount Horeb without further nourishment. Upon Elijah’s report that Israel had forsaken God and that all of His prophets in Israel except himself had been killed, God stated that there were seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal. They probably had to worship in secret to protect their lives.

God outlined the work that was to be accomplished by Elijah. He was to anoint Hazael as king of Syria; Jehu to be king of Israel and Elisha to succeed him as God’s prophet. Those successions were not to be immediate. However, Elisha did join him at that time to help in his work.

May 16. JEHOSHAPHAT BECOMES KING OF JUDAH. I Kin. 22:41-44;
II Chron. 17:1-19

A psalmist once said, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Jehoshaphat continued in the leadership of his father, Asa as he followed the Lord’s ways as king of Judah. He became king at thirty-five years of age in the fourth year of Ahab’s reign in Israel. The new king walked with God as David had done before him. He refused to follow the false gods that were around him. “Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand…”

In addition to having God present, a nation’s strength is fortified by its ability to defend itself against its enemies. As Israel had previously been a bitter enemy of Judah, Jehoshaphat fortified his cities with troops. With God on his side and the cities fortified, the kingdoms around were afraid to make war against Judah. Instead, some of his neighbors presented him with tribute and other gifts.

One cannot be obedient if he does not know what to obey. Jehoshaphat sent Levites and priests with his leaders to teach the people in the cities of Judah. With the citizens being taught God’s ways and the cities being well fortified, Jehoshaphat reigned as a rich and powerful king.

#chronological-bible-study