Daily Devotional Week 41 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (2 Kings 5 – 8)

Daily Devotional

Week 41 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (2 Kings 5 – 8)

Isaiah brought to a hopeless people a promise of hope from God, that a Child was to come Who would bring an eternity of freedom and peace, that that Child would be of the same ‘kind’ as the Lord God – not a mere man – fulfilling perfectly the promise of the perfected ‘Davidic king’ – which no mere fallen man could ever fill.

The anger of God against the rebellious Israelites would make their national punishment complete.

The burdensome domination of Israeli territory would be lifted.

At the end of this era of history the Lord would bring back only a remnant of the huge diaspora (displaced population) of Israelites.

The prophesy of God, as delivered through Isaiah, elaborated upon the coming Messiah, describing the pre-Fall Edenic peace that would come to all people and to every creature because “… there will be universal submission to the Lord’s sovereignty, the same sort of absolute state as when the waters completely covered the earth in Noah’s time.

He promised to even dry-up the Euphrates so that the path of their travel home would be eased.

Praise and thanks and worship would flow like a river:

“At that time you will say: “I praise you, O Lord, for even though you were angry with me, your anger subsided, and you consoled me.”

“Look, God is my deliverer! I will trust in him and not fear. For the Lord gives me strength and protects me; he has become my deliverer.”

“Joyfully you will draw water from the springs of deliverance.

“At that time you will say: “Praise the Lord! Ask him for help! Publicize his mighty acts among the nations! Make it known that he is unique!

“Sing to the Lord, for he has done magnificent things, let this be known throughout the earth!

“Cry out and shout for joy, O citizens of Zion, for the Holy One of Israel acts mightily among you!””

The peace and harmony of pre-Fall Eden will be restored when the Promised One, Jesus, returns.

Dear Lord, Humankind had an intimate relationship with You in Eden and chose to rebel, Israel had You as their King yet rebelliously-demanded a mere human king, and when it had been proved that no king or prophet could lead them back to You – You promised a Savior. May I always remember that there is no such thing as works-righteousness, because the entire history of humankind since the Fall proved it impossible; there is only the gift of Jesus the Christ. When You return – in the form of a glorified Jesus the Christ – it will be to ultimately restore the pre-Fall Edenic condition, absent the possibility of rebellion – ever. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 40 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (Amos 1 – 9, 2 Kings 14:23 – 15, 2 Chronicles 26)

Daily Devotional

Week 40 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (Amos 1 – 9, 2 Kings 14:23 – 15, 2 Chronicles 26)

The team was warned that their history of cheating had caught-up with them and they were being watched. They cheated anyhow, were caught and punished, and they lost the game.

Their chief rivals were watching, saw what happened, but did the same in their game – and suffered the same fate.

Wise counselors to the coaches warned them to turn away but they refused to listen – convinced that what had brought them past fame and victory would still work, despite threats of consequences.

The wise counselors were told to be silent and to not bother the coaches with their opinions.

After losing seasons the coaches were fired and their assistants hired in their places, but they continued the poor choices, losses followed, and they were fired and replaced over and over.

One of the teams chose a coach who eliminated most of the blatant cheating and his team did well for several years, then the other team also chose a coach who toned-down their cheating and the league – wanting to improve public relations, asked the referees to loosely enforce the rules.

Eventually the coaches became arrogant and trouble returned.

When have you experienced or observed troubles that flowed from disobedience yet the disobedience continued?

When corruption rules the day – disaster cannot be far away.

Dear Lord, When leaders compromise with Your great and perfect plan everyone around them suffers. May I take care to do things Your way and not make excuses for exceptions which are really a subtle form of rebellion. Please reveal to me a place in my life where I am at risk of trouble because of continuing sin, where I am not listening closely and not obeying fully, and/or where I have made excuses for something that I know to be offensive to You. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 40 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (Isaiah 6 – 8)

Daily Devotional

Week 40 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (Isaiah 6 – 8)

Isaiah shared his heavenly vision “I saw the sovereign master seated on a high, elevated throne …” and He was surrounded by angelic beings who celebrated “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord …”

He was frightened “Too bad for me! I am destroyed, for my lips are contaminated by sin, and I live among people whose lips are contaminated by sin. My eyes have seen the king, the Lord …” because his (and that of the people around him) imperfection could not survive the presence of the Lord God. He was correct.

“But then one of the seraphs flew toward me. In his hand was a hot coal he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Look, this coal has touched your lips. Your evil is removed; your sin is forgiven.””

It was at that moment that Isaiah heard the call “I heard the voice of the sovereign master say, “Whom will I send? Who will go on our behalf?”” … and he answered … “Here I am, send me!”

The Lord defined Isaiah’s prophetic ministry “Go and tell these people …” [who] “Listen continually, but don’t understand! Look continually, but don’t perceive!’”

God said “Look, this young woman is about to conceive and will give birth to a son. You, young woman, will name him Immanuel.” but before he reached the age of accountability “… the land whose two kings you fear will be desolate.” (He was an “Immanuel” rather than “The Immanuel”.)

The Lord used the term “Immanuel” (God with us) to describe the nation of Israel, as an earthly expression of His presence, and also as a vague shadow compared to Jesus the Christ – “The Immanuel” (God literally with/among us – in the flesh).

The Lord God warned Isaiah to take care not to follow the actions and thinking of the people:

“Do not say, ‘Conspiracy,’ every time these people say the word. Don’t be afraid of what scares them; don’t be terrified.”

“… recognize the authority of the Lord who commands armies. He is the one you must respect; he is the one you must fear.”

Isaiah was warned further that the people, filled with spiritual darkness in their rebellion, would ask him to call upon demons and ghosts and witches in the hope that the dead might tell them of the future of the living. It would be yet another act of foolishness and of rebellion; he was to ignore them as their just-punishment descended upon them.

Dear Lord, You are holy, we are not. May I be as aware of Your holiness as was Isaiah. May I never fear (as a child of God) that in the battles of life anything of significance, in the eyes of the Lord, will go other than the way that You decide. May I remember to respond appropriately and obediently to Your love and not give you a reason to discipline me. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 40 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (Isaiah 1 – 5)

Daily Devotional

Week 40 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (Isaiah 1 – 5)

Isaiah’s message from God compared the people of Israel to an ox and a donkey.

The Lord observed that they were beaten and bruised, suffering and over-run by their enemies, yet they persisted in their rebellion.

God preserved a few survivors, otherwise they would have been utterly destroyed, as were the people in Sodom and Gomorrah.

God said, through Isaiah, that He did not want their sacrifices while they were in active rebellion, and that He would not listen to their prayers either.

Wisdom: “Learn to do what is right! Promote justice! Give the oppressed reason to celebrate! Take up the cause of the orphan! Defend the rights of the widow!”

Grace: “Though your sins have stained you like the color red, you can become white like snow.” They had been warned and were without excuse were they to fail to repent of their sinful ways in rebellion.

He would purify, by fire, all who rebelled – regardless of their station in life. Only righteousness could result in reconciliation and restoration of their relationship with God – blessings would flow from that.

Consequences: Beginning with facial sores on the women whose pride and abuse of their sexuality was offensive to Him, then make the fronts of their heads bald, followed by destitution and slavery.

The strong young men would die in battle so that seven women would beg one man to marry them.

The desire of God was to bless obedient farmers in Jerusalem and wipe clean the shame of the women.

He had created a “vineyard” of opportunity for relationship and for blessing but the people had rebelled and made the “grapes … sour”, so He was about to destroy it all.

Dear Lord, You are holy and righteous and in return for your grace, protection, and provision You require that we respond in obedience and righteousness. May I be increasingly grateful and therefore increasingly faithful in seeking after righteousness-through-surrender to the working of the Holy Spirit in and through me. You ask for integrity, both in our relationship with You, and with fellow humankind. May I be attentive to what it is that You want, rather than what the world values, and so become a conduit of Your blessing and truth to others. Where I ‘talk the talk’ but do not ‘walk the walk’, because I’ve preferred the values of the world over Yours, redirect me. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 40 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Jonah 1 – 4)

Daily Devotional

Week 40 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Jonah 1 – 4)

The Lord said go and Jonah said no.

Jonah despised the Ninevites because of their exceptionally brutal conduct during war and their vicious treatment of captive people.

Because of his rebellion Jonah placed many others, the Ninevites, the sailors, and his fellow passengers, in jeopardy.

When confronted Jonah finally acknowledged his responsibility for the trouble and accepted that he had to sacrifice himself to save the others.

Jonah was rescued by God Who sent a great fish to swallow him, keeping him from drowning.

While inside the fish Jonah prayed and reflected, he confessed both his sin and his fear that his separation from God could be permanent – then he repented.

Jonah observed that – just as he thought he would die – God reached-out and saved him. He also observed that those who worshiped false idols would miss-out on God’s mercy.

The Lord caused the fish to swim to a beach near the city of Ninevah and to spit-out Jonah there.

Jonah obeyed the Lord God, went to Ninevah, and walked a third of the way across the city (one-days walk) then proclaimed the message he had been given “At the end of forty days, Nineveh will be overthrown!”

From the people to the king they were terrified and responded with repentance and fasting and they even turned “… from their evil way of living and from … violence”.

The Lord God was pleased with their repentance and relented from His angry judgment.

Jonah placed national/tribal emotions ahead of the calling of the Lord. The Lord God said that the Ninevites “… do not know right from wrong”, which means that they had never been taught about Him.

God gave Jonah a second chance, and later aided him in the hot sun, yet Jonah persisted in his hateful-unforgiveness toward the Ninevites.

Dear Lord, Your desire to bring hope to wretches like us, as well as to the historically-brutal Ninevites, is consistent with Your character as a loving God of grace and of mercy. May I praise You for Your patient and persistent love for me. May I not make it necessary for You to get my attention in such a profound way. May I be a willing instrument of Your mercy, as You lead people to repentance, no matter who they are. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 40 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (2 Chronicles 24, 2 Kings 14:1-22, 2 Chronicles 25)

Daily Devotional

Week 40 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (2 Chronicles 24, 2 Kings 14:1-22, 2 Chronicles 25)

Joash was only seven years old when he became king of Israel – so Jehoiada assisted him greatly in purging the land of false idols. When Jehoiada died, at the age of 130, Joash listened to the bad counsel of members of his court and turned-away from God.

Amaziah began his time as king in loyalty to God but after the Lord gave him victory over the Edomites he brought home their false idols and worshiped them.

When a prophet of God challenged him he was threatened with execution, so the prophet did not trouble him further, other than to inform him that God had decided to end his reign and his life badly.

[Note: God may or may not have protected this
prophet but His message was delivered and there was no point in
challenging the rebellious king further.]

Amaziah challenged King Joash of Israel. Joash warned him to not be too bold after only one victory but Amaziah continued to threaten them so Israel attacked and defeated Judah.

Amaziah was captured, and the walls of Jerusalem were destroyed. He was in captivity many years and then assassinated.

The pattern of blessed loyalty to God versus troubles for rebellion continued for the kings and for the people of Israel and Judah.

Why would the kings, sons of blessed-for-obedience kings, choose the path of rebellion and trouble rather than that of faithfulness and blessing?

When have you experienced or observed someone speaking-up for the truth of God only to be ignored or punished by those who claimed to be followers of Christ?

Dear Lord, Despite the clear history of failure that resulted from rebellion against You – king after king still chose rebellion – and brought trouble to their people. May I take care not to drift into rebellion. Please reveal to me someone who is being faithful to You – and faces challenges as a result. They may be domestic or foreign missionaries, leaders or members in a local fellowship, or activists within the larger community of faith. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 40 Day 2 OT (chronological) Monday (2 Kings 9 – 13)

Daily Devotional

Week 40 Day 2

OT (chronological)

Monday (2 Kings 9 – 13)

Jehu marched to Jezreel where king Joram of Israel was recovering from his battle injuries and king Ahaziah of Judah was visiting him. When Jehu refused to reply to the two messengers he sent, and they were informed that the chariot driver drove wildly in the style of Jehu, Joram – joined by Ahaziah, rode out to meet him.

Jehu killed Joram then chased and killed Ahaziah as well. As he was chasing Ahaziah he encouraged his men by quoting the prophesy of God’s vengeance against the families of both kings.

Jehu then went into Jezreel and was challenged by Jezebel. He challenged her eunuchs to prove their loyalty to him as their new king and they threw her out the window. She died and was devoured by dogs just as had been prophesied.

Jehu convinced the frightened leaders in the home town of Ahab to kill his sons, then he killed the rest of his family and associates. He also killed forty-two of the relatives of Ahaziah.

Jehu tricked the priests of Baal into their temple and had them all killed, he destroyed their temple, their idols, and their altars.

Jehu did not destroy the sacred cows and therefore was only partially obedient to the Lord God. He was promised only four generations of descendants as kings.

Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah conspired to destroy the rest of Jehu’s family line after his death, but his sister hid his son Joash. The priest Jehoiada gathered warriors to protect Joash and then crowned him king of Judah.

They executed Athaliah, and Mattan the priest of Baal, and destroyed the temples and artifacts of the worship of the false god of Baal.

Joash/Jeh’oash became king at seven years old and generally followed the Lord God, other than failing to abolish the high places of improper worship.

King Hazael marched on Jerusalem so Joash/Jeh’oash sent all of the gold and gold articles he could find and Hazael was satisfied to turn away from his attack. In that same year that Joash/Jeh’oash caused the repairs to the temple in Judah to finally begin.

Dear Lord, Your prophesies always come true, even though fallen man makes things messier than they need to be. May I trust You and not try to rush things that You have ordained. Partial faithfulness to You results in partial blessings from You. Idolatry may be too much attention focused on a mere human celebrity – displacing the Lord God. It may be a hobby or money, a worry or an obsession, it may be something from the past or the present which I refuse to allow the Lord to heal, it may be a lust for a pleasure in this world or a retreat from the world to where I am useless for evangelistic-missions. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 40 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (2 Kings 5 – 8)

Daily Devotional

Week 40 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (2 Kings 5 – 8)

Naaman, a Syrian general, had a skin disease and a captured Israelite servant girl told his wife that he could be healed by a prophet who lived in Samaria. Naaman traveled to see Elisha but when he arrived, expecting a formal and official welcome, Elisha sent a messenger to him to dip in the Jordan River seven times and he’d be cured.

Naaman was angered at the apparent disrespect and dismissed the instructions but when he turned away in anger to return home his servants persuaded him to reconsider. They argued that if the prophet had challenged him to a more onerous process he’d have complied so why not give it a try? Naaman did so and was healed.

Naaman returned to the prophet’s home, testifying that there was no God but the God of Israel, he offered the gifts he had brought but Elisha refused them. Naaman asked to take a load of dirt home so he could only make offerings to the God of Israel. He also asked for forgiveness that the king of Syria would require his company when he went to worship their false god – Elisha told him to go in peace.

Four men who were ceremonially unclean from a skin disease were starving outside the besieged city gates of Israel and decided to defect to the Syrians in hopes of food – they knew they would die of starvation, so if the Syrians killed them they’d be no worse off.

When they arrived in the Syrian camp they found it abandoned. The Lord God had caused them to hear the sound of chariots and they thought the Samarians had hired Egyptians and Hittites to attack them. There was food enough for an army, so they ate, then decided to tell the others.

The people stormed out of through the city gate, trampling to death a soldier who had doubted Elisha, thus fulfilling the prophesy of abundant food and nothing for him.

Elisha warned the Shunnamite woman, whose son he had healed, to take her son to another region as a famine was coming. She went to the land of the Philistines and when she returned she petitioned the king for the return of her property. Elisha’s assistant, Gehazi, was just-then telling the king of Elisha’s expressions of God’s power – including the story of bringing the Shunnamite woman’s son back to life – so the king inquired then hearing her story returned her property and all that her property had produced while she was gone.

Elisha traveled to Damascus, in Syria, when the king was ill. The king requested an oracle from a prophet and his assistant found Elisha. Elisha stared at Hazael then cried as the Lord God revealed to him the horrors he would visit upon the Israelite people, then he shared that imagery with Hazael – who didn’t understand until Elisha told him he would become king. Hazael gave the Ben Hadad the news of his recovery then smothered him to death in his sick bed and took over as king of Syria.

Dear Lord, You grant blessings on Your terms and in Your time, and You often do so through Your human servants. May I never imagine that Your gifts, poured out through me, are for only for my direct or indirect (financial or other) benefit. Being used as Your instrument of blessing is more than enough. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 39 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (Obadiah 1, Ps alms 82 – 83)

Daily Devotional

Week 39 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (Obadiah 1, Psalms 82 – 83)

Obadiah was the Lord God’s prophet to “… the people of Esau”, Edom. Esau had done the forbidden, married a Canaanite woman, actually three of them. There is no Biblical evidence why Esau wasn’t effectively discipled by his father, if due to his father’s neglect, or his refusal to learn. Esau later failed to demonstrate any serious interest in a relationship with the Lord God. His descendants, with few notable exceptions, continued in the same way – becoming increasingly hostile to the children of God.

Obadiah recited the list of their offenses, especially those against Israel and Kudah, and then warned them “For the day of the Lord is approaching for all the nations! Just as you have done, so it will be done to you. You will get exactly what your deeds deserve.”

Obadiah compared the tribes and nations “The descendants of Jacob will be a fire, and the descendants of Joseph a flame. The descendants of Esau will be like stubble. They will burn them up and devour them. There will not be a single survivor of the descendants of Esau! Indeed, the Lord has spoken it.”

Esau was in trouble from the womb as the omniscient-Lord God knew his heart and He knows the beginning through the end. He is the Creator of time and therefore not limited to temporary linear time. He always kept His part of every covenant. The entire Word of God teaches that, in the end, all of ones striving for the acquisition of worldly things, which was the obsession of Esau’s descendants, would discover it all to be worthless – only a saving relationship with the Lord will have lasting value.

Obadiah described Esau’s land being given to others then said “Then the Lord will reign as King!”

When have you observed someone, filled with arrogance toward the Lord God, do well in the world’s eyes – only to end their life empty and sad?

Dear Lord, Esau made many choices, most of them poor ones. The Lord God knew His heart and therefore his future, thus Esau was “hated” for the purpose of the future as he was an unfit instrument – Obadiah delivered the inevitable prophesy. May I recognize that each decision that I make, piled on top of those which came before it, has a cumulative effect. Before I drift into an Esau-heart may Your Holy Spirit find enough teachability in me to lead me to repent and return to a right-place before You. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 39 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (2 Kings 1 – 2)

Daily Devotional

Week 39 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (2 Kings 1 – 2)

After Ahab died and his son Ahaziah became King – God’s prophesy of trouble (caused by Ahab’s disobedience) began; Moab rebelled against the rule of Israel and then King Ahaziah of Israel was badly injured falling through lattice on the upper floor of the castle.

Ahaziah sent for a prophetic word from the prophets of Baal – which meant that he was consulting Satan. Elijah made that clear when he declared “You must think there is no God in Israel!” God told Elijah to intercept Ahaziah’s messengers so they could return word he’d die right there in his bed.

Ahaziah sent soldiers to get Elijah three times, the first two Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume them, the third time the captain begged for mercy and God instructed Elijah to go to Ahaziah.

Elijah delivered his prophesy in person and Ahaziah died. His brother Jehoram followed him as king because Ahziah had no son.

Elisha, knowing in his Spirit that the Lord God was to take his mentor (Elijah) away refused to part from him and ordered prophets in the three towns that they visited to be quiet when they prophesied Elijah’s imminent departure.

When it was time Elijah asked Elisha what gift he wanted, he asked for twice Elijah’s prophetic gift, to which Elijah replied that it was a lot to ask but would be granted if Elisha witnessed Elijah’s departure. He did.

When they first crossed the Jordan Elijah struck the water with his cloak and it parted. On his return trip, without Elijah, Elisha did the same (also using Elijah’s coat) and the watching guild of local prophets bowed in respect to Elisha’s gift from God.

The prophets told Elisha that there were problems with the local water and the Lord made it pure.

Some young people disrespected Elisha as he traveled outside of Bethel and they were killed by bears.

When have you observed a Christian consulting instruments of evil for spiritual guidance, such as a “Magic 8-Ball”, Tarot cards, Ouija board, horoscopes, fortune tellers, or other witchraft?

Dear Lord, When we look for truth from any spiritual source but You we are in rebellion and in trouble. May I never consult anything but Your Word and Your Holy Spirit for spiritual truth. Please reveal to me any place in my life where I may engage in a superstitious or otherwise non-Biblical means of dealing with an unclear situation. Elijah mentored Elisha so when his time was done Elisha was ready to do all that he had done and more. May I mentor one or more people so that they will be equipped to serve You in much greater ways than I have. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 39 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (1 Kings 20 – 22)

Daily Devotional

Week 39 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (1 Kings 20 – 22)

Ben Hadad, still king of Syria, gathered thirty-two other kings and attacked Israel on the mountain, but the Lord God protected them. They gathered again and attacked in the plain, and again the Lord God delivered Israel. But instead of killing Hadad, as the Lord had instructed Ahab, he made a treaty – which disobedience brought judgment upon Ahab and the people.

Ahab wanted the land of Naboth and offered to buy it, or he offered to trade better land for it, but Naboth refused to sell land that had been in his family for generations. When Queen Jezebel heard of it she schemed to have Naboth falsely accused and stoned to death on Ahab’s behalf.

When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead he went to take the land but the Lord God sent Elijah to confront him with a terrible prophesy of punishment for the murder of Naboth and for Ahab’s persistent rebellion.

When Ahab responded with a repentant heart the Lord God postponed the punishment, the obliteration of Ahab’s entire family, until after his son took the throne.

Ahab of Israel and Jehosophat of Judah joined forces to attack the Syrians who occupied Ramoth Gilead. Ahab consulted the 400 prophets of Asherah whom Jezebel supported, and they encouraged them to attack, but Jehosophat insisted that they consult a true prophet. Ahab resisted because he did not like bad news – as expected, the true prophet, Micaiah (after first mocking Ahab and the false prophets a bit) prophesied disaster.

Ahab and Jehosophat ignored the prophet of God and attacked – they were defeated. Ahab was mortally wounded and his blood was licked up by the dogs – just as Elijah had prophesied.

Jehosophat ruled Judah for twenty-five years and continued the mostly-faithful example of his father Asa, removing all male cultic prostitutes who had escaped Asa’s purge. He did fail to remove the pagan places of worship on the high places. His son Jehoram followed him as king.

In Israel Ahaziah followed Ahab as king and was as evil and rebellious as his father and mother.

Ahab knew, when his evil wife Jezebel said she’d take care of things with Naboth, she would have him murdered, but he said nothing – which is why God held him responsible for the murder.

When have you observed a leader who tried to live faithfully, and who made small efforts to deal with bad doctrine within the fellowship, but who still seemed blind to or unconcerned about other obvious evidences of sin?

Dear Lord, Those who fail to follow Your teaching, and those who refuse to listen to Your voice of correction, are doomed to disaster. May I be always-accountable to You, often through faithful fellow Believers who prayerfully hold me to Your Word, and may I be obedient in my choices. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 39 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (1 Kings 19)

Daily Devotional

Week 39 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (1 Kings 19)

Jezebel was furious when she heard what Elijah had done and sent word that she intended to see him dead.

Elijah was fearful, in his flesh, and fled to the desert to hide. There the Lord God provided for him food and water.

When He asked Elijah why he was there he replied that despite his faithfulness his life was at-risk – so he wanted God to take him home.

The Lord God ignored Elijah’s request and instructed him to go to the mountain – there He revealed Himself to him, demonstrating His omnipotence, after which He gave Elijah new instructions.

Elijah was to anoint Hazael king over Syria, Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha as his successor. Elijah set out to do as instructed.

All three men would be the Lord’s instruments of judgment for rebellious Israel as only 7,000 had remained obedient to the Law.

May Elijah have become a little too arrogant in his flesh during his interaction with the false prophets, or perhaps emotionally-exhausted, so much so that when threatened in the flesh he panicked?

The Lord God answered his prayer to obliterate the water-soaked altar and offering, empowered him to kill the 450 prophets of Baal, and invigorated him to out-run the chariots – so why would Elijah fear a threat from a mere human, Jezebel?

When have you felt threatened and forgotten that you serve an omnipotent God?

Dear Lord, When we are obedient to You, the omnipotent God, we have nothing to fear from mere humans – no matter their earthly power nor the fierceness of their rage. May I never shrink from Your service, nor fear for my well-being, due to threats from mere humans. Please reveal to me any place where fear is interfering with my confidence to serve. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 39 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (1 Kings 18)

Daily Devotional

Week 39 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (1 Kings 18)

Obadiah, a loyal servant of the Lord, had (unbeknownst to Ahab or Jezebel) hidden 100 prophets from her murderous intentions.

Obadiah was summoned by Ahab to assist him as they each searched half of the kingdom for a source of water. As he traveled he met Elijah who had come out of God-assisted hiding from Ahab.

Elijah told Obadiah to bring him to Ahab but Obadiah was afraid Ahab would kill him and thought Elijah’s request was unfair – given his loyalty to the Lord God. Elijah insisted and Obadiah obeyed.

Elijah instructed Ahab to gather all of the false prophets at Mt Carmel, together with the people, then once-gathered he challenged them to build an altar with a sacrificial bull and to call upon their “god” to set it ablaze.

They did so. Elijah taunted them when there was no response, to which they responded by cutting themselves and dancing more and more furiously – until they collapsed in the wasted effort.

Elijah then presented his offering. Had the people flood it three times with water, and when he prayed the Lord God not only consumed the offering but He also consumed the water and the rocks with fire from Heaven.

The Lord God demonstrated His power before all of the people, the king, and the 450 prophets of Baal.

Elijah had the people seize all of the false prophets and take them to the Kidron Valley where they were executed. Romans 6:23 says “The wages of sin are death …” Denying the Lord God and promoting a false god, as the false prophets had, was the worse sort of sin.

Elijah then prophesied the coming of rain to break the drought.

Ahab and Elijah’s servant traveled back to Jezreel using chariots, meanwhile, the Lord God empowered Elijah to run so fast he arrived head of the chariots.

Dear Lord, At the end of all of the demonic fraud and noise there is only one true God and that is You. I humbly agree to fearlessly stand for and with You in the face of false teaching, to teach the truth, and to trust You to give me courage and wisdom. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 39 Day 2 OT (chronological) Monday (1 Kings 17)

Daily Devotional

Week 39 Day 2

OT (chronological)

Monday (1 Kings 17)

Elijah was given a tough task early in the record of his ministry as a prophet – to tell a king that disaster was to come upon the land due to their sin – which flowed in part from his poor leadership.

Prior kings had been violent toward prophets so as Elijah brought bad news he was fearful.

The Lord provided for his immediate needs then relocated him. He equipped a widow (who was unaware of her role) as His instrument of miraculous provision – endless flour and oil.

The people, due to their foolish kings with false idols, false priests, and false prophets, were spiritually-confused.

The widow’s son suddenly became ill, and was dying, so she accused Elijah of being the cause.

Elijah also appeared to have a weakness of faith, because he prayerfully questioned the Lord’s motives – but then he asked for healing, which the Lord granted.

His faith, and his credentials as a prophet (in the eyes of the widow), were enhanced as a result.

God made provision for Elijah’s food and housing to facilitate His perfect timing to deal with the evil King Ahab and the rebellious people.

When have you doubted someone in Christian leadership then had their ‘credentials’ affirmed because the Lord God used them as His instrument in a manner clearly consistent with His Bible?

Dear Lord, When You call you empower and provide. May I be alert to where You are moving so that I may be a useful instrument. Today I will confess, repent, seek – and accept – forgiveness from You for the times that I have doubted Your perfect wisdom. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 39 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (2 Chronicles 18 – 23)

Daily Devotional

Week 39 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (2 Chronicles 18 – 23)

Jun was doing well before the Lord but Arno, the latest successor to Jerry, was a mess.

Arno asked Jun to work together on a major project against some common competitors.

Jun agreed but insisted on consulting the elders at the fellowship he attended, Arno wasn’t pleased as true people of faith frequently criticized his methods.

The elders asked some piercing questions of Arno, then – after some prayer – announced that they did not believe the cooperative effort would go well for Arno, indeed it would be the end of him as the leader of his organization and the stress would kill him.

Arno and Jun thought them too melodramatic, decided to ignore them, continued as planned.

The effort failed and Jun cried-out to God to not let it bring down his organization, since he had been obedient and his business supported a lot of faithful people, and God chose to rescue him.

Arno’s business suffered major losses and when the extent of the damage became apparent he had a heart attack and died.

The elders, and many in his organization, challenged Jun for foolishly partnering with Arno.

Jun then instructed everyone in his organization to listen to the counsel of properly identified “elders”.

A major challenge came to the organization and Jun asked his leadership and the elders to pray and the threat was turned away.

Jun made a deal with Arno’s successor, Alan but the deal fell through and both lost money. Once again the elders challenged Jun for partnering with an unbeliever.

Jun died and Jed assumed control. He was an evil man who fired his brothers and circulated rumors about them which destroyed their reputations. He also purged anyone he thought might question his decisions. When he died he was buried in a pauper’s grave and no one attended his funeral but a volunteer minister.

Abo was evil like his father, Jed, and he died suddenly after only one year in control. Abo’s step-mother Agnes tried to take control and fired all who questioned her right to do so, but was arrested and convicted of several crimes and sent to prison.

Dear Lord, Please reveal to me somewhere my walk with You may be compromised by bad teaching or my contribution to the cause of someone (or some organization) that is not aligned with Your will. Please also reveal to me someone for whom I may pray – someone who is being faithful to You and who faces challenges as a result – they may be domestic or foreign missionaries, leaders or members in a local fellowship, or activists within the larger community of faith. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 38 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (2 Chronicles 17)

Daily Devotional

Week 38 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (2 Chronicles 17)

Jun started out well. He purged the most corrupt within the organization, filed company reports on-time and honestly, and relocated the training retreats to healthy locations – eliminating the drinking, gambling, and other distractions.

He sent managers throughout the network of locations and affiliated businesses to inform them of the reforms and to provide free training as to the updated procedures.

Their competitors trembled as they remembered when the business was a dominating competitor, before the in-fighting and ethical problems.

He updated safety procedures, minimized waste and delays, and invested in modernized technology.

He built-up the auditors and quality-control staff and equipped them well.

He actively participated in a local Christian fellowship and promoted the same throughout the organization.

The Lord blessed his obedience in work and in worship with success and respect.

In old testament history Jehoshaphat made a wise choice to obey the Lord God, and wiser still to teach the people to do the same. Jehosaphat made all the right moves, faithful to God, in his early days as king.

Dear Lord, We often begin well, and You bless us in our faithfulness. May I endeavor to begin well every day so that You may bless others through me. I will humbly and energetically act, within my authority, to excise influences which offend You and replace them with those which encourage righteousness. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 38 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (1 Kings 15:25 – 16)

Daily Devotional

Week 38 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (1 Kings 15:25 – 16)

One key element in a clinical diagnosis of insanity is often the repetition of the same behavior while the patient genuinely anticipates a different result.

Jerry’s daughter Nancy emulated her father in sin so God allowed Barac to seize control of the company after only two years. Barac fulfilled the warning that Jerry’s family was headed for disaster and ruin.

Barac was no better than Jerry or Nancy but clung to control of the business for twenty-four years. Because of his unpleasant leadership style his family name was tarnished and they were doomed to eventually lose control.

Barac’s son Evan followed him for only two years when Zell accused him of embezzlement and seized power. The board of directors immediately rebelled and chose Oren instead. When Oren announced the change in leadership Zell tried to shoot him, he was arrested, and imprisoned. Oren led the company for twelve years.

Oren was as dishonest and unpleasant as the others in his family, was convicted of embezzlement, and was imprisoned – and his son Alan followed him as leader. Alan had no more integrity than the others but was clever enough to avoid major legal trouble and led the company for twenty-two years.

In the history recorded in the old testament Solomon opened the door to evil and most of those who followed him as king seemed unable to bring themselves to purge it from the land.

Dear Lord, The path of rebellion is common to fallen man, and the negative consequences are predictable. May I act upon the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and refrain from offending You. Please reveal to me a place where I have tolerated the influence of evil. I will purge the evil where I have the authority to do so. It may be as a community leader, an educator, a ministry leader, a parent, a peer-leader, or some other role (including choices that I make that appear to only impact me). It may be dishonest practices, unhealthy influences, the failure to enforce Biblical directives for accountability and discipline, wrong doctrine, disrespect toward “elders” or peers, self-destructive behaviors, etc. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 38 Day 5 OT (chronological) Wednesday (2 Chronicles 11:5-12, 1 Kings 14:21-31)

Daily Devotional

Week 38 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (2 Chronicles 11:5-12, 1 Kings 14:21-31)

Red died and was replaced by his daughter Anna.

Anna mounted a social media campaign to entice new and old business from Jerry. Her business was much smaller so she humbly asked God to help her and was successful in gaining a great deal of new business.

But Anna was unwise, she boasted that it was all due to her own skill, and she continued the irresponsible high-risk business practices of Red. She died and Ada replaced her.

Ada used mailing lists and business networks from past businesses to reach out to other businesses and to advertise “Under New Management”.

Ada purged the company of most of the high-risk business practices but he retained some of the former questionable training retreats – which were both costly and hosted by questionable organizations.

He removed the high-interest and questionable-ethics loan sources, he restored an advisory committee, and he prayed to and he (mostly) obeyed (for a time) the Lord God. He failed to eliminate the training retreats at locations promoting drinking, gambling, and other distracting activities.

A larger corporation, funded by a foreign country, tried to take away his business customers and associates but Ada prayed and local businesses refused to help them destroy Ada. The government announced major regulatory restrictions on the foreign investors.

Meanwhile, Jerry had died and after the failure of Nancy – Barac assumed control.

Ada and Barac were constant bitter competitors.

Barac mounted a huge campaign against Ada. Ada used the company’s emergency funds to hire a foreign hacker group to mount an electronic attack against Barac’s business computer systems – that disrupted Barac’s organization so badly they had to cut funding for their campaign against Ada.

Ada’s pastor heard what he had done and informed him that his unethical practices were unacceptable and he needed to make things right. Ada tried to have the pastor removed but only created a lot of conflict within the church, all of the conflicts had worn him out – he fell ill and died.

He was replaced by his son Jun.

Dear Lord, You bless the faithful and allow calamity to come to the unfaithful. May I remember that blessing is conditioned upon my choice to be faithful – You are a holy God Who does not reward rebellion. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 38 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (2 Chronicles 11:5-12, 1 Kings 14:21-31)

Daily Devotional

Week 38 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (2 Chronicles 11:5-12, 1 Kings 14:21-31)

Red, seeing that Jerry was in trouble, took on some secret high-interest loans in an attempt to make his business appear stronger than it really was – in order to attract some customers away from Jerry.

A number of business associates saw what he was doing, separated their resources, and sought other partners in business.

Red felt freed of their criticisms and demands for responsible fiscal practices and took risks even his father would not have taken.

Red never troubled himself to consult people of wisdom, he avoided Christian fellowship, and he never prayed. His idols were fame, fortune, and the facade of power.

God allowed a foreign corporation to buy-up many of the resources Red was losing due to non-payment of loans and forfeiture to the government due to unpaid taxes.

Red was allowed to remain as a figurehead as his father’s name still carried some value with potential customers.

Red and Jerry battled for the same customers continually.

Red died and was replaced by his daughter Anna.

Given the contrast between the great blessings of Solomon, while he was faithful to the Lord God, and the troubled times when there he rebelled – why would Rehoboam not have figured out the spiritual cause of the troubles?

When has a new leader followed a failed leader and copied their destructive choices, despite the clear evidence that they would suffer the same outcome?

Dear Lord, You have Your perfect plan and even the rebellion of kings will not deter You. May I be more attentive to Your plans than my own, may I never fear man more than You, and may I actively seek to more nearly follow You in all that I say, think, and do. Please reveal to me a place in my life where I am tolerating evil and as a result am making myself vulnerable to the agents of the enemy. I will humbly accept the chastising of Your Holy Spirit and I will immediately remove from my life the “altars”, “idols”, and “shrines” to the world that are polluting my spiritual life. They may be obsessions with money, power, or sex, the abuse of alcohol or drugs, experimentation with the occult, the idolatry of celebrities, or some other worldly obsession which interferes with the pursuit of a more righteous walk. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 38 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (1 Kings 13:33 – 14:20)

Daily Devotional

Week 38 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (1 Kings 13:33 – 14:20)

Jerry, a former manager for Red, continued to make poor choices, despite the opportunity to build a responsible network of businesses in alliance with those who left Red.

A brilliant young accountant, one of those who encouraged Jerry to lead family and business associates away from Red, was among those who warned him that he was headed for the same trouble as Red – but he refused to listen.

Jerry was guilty of the same arrogance, greed, and situational-ethics that plagued Red – when he died he left a mess of confused strategy and personal distrust behind.

One of his daughters, Nancy, successfully assumed his leadership role.

In full historic Biblical context it’s important to observe that rebellion like Adam and Eve’s followed by Cain, Esau, the residents of Sodom & Gomorrah, and the Israelites (over and over as they traveled from Egypt) was not the end of rebellion – the people of the ten Israelites tribes who left Rehoboam were willing accomplices in Jeroboam’s sin.

Jeroboam knew what was right but continued to act in ways that he should have known would anger the Lord God; perhaps it was the impact of sudden power, or perhaps it was the evil influence of the false gods Solomon had allowed into Israel.

Dear Lord, You have told us what You expect – loyalty and respect toward You. May I be careful to compare my deeds to Your Word and my heart-condition to Your expectation of growing holiness. Today I will confess, repent, seek and receive Your forgiveness for my own rebellion, great and/or small. I will then take meaningful steps to change direction and establish meaningful accountability so that I do not drift back into rebellion. Amen. dmc2016