#Impact on Jesus Week 21
But Jehoshaphat also said to Ahab "First seek the counsel of the Lord." 1 Kings 22:5
Ahab is coming off his time of humility before God and has had his life spared somewhat despite his wicked living. Jehoshaphat, the son of Asa, now king of Judah, is living in peace with Ahab and they are visiting one another. Ahab remembers Ramiro Gilead is under Aram occupation and determines to go restore the city to Israel. He asked if Jehoshaphat would join him in war and Jehoshaphat agrees, but on one condition. First seeks Gods counsel.
Ahab brings in 400 prophets, all saying the same thing, "Go, God will make you victorious!" For some reason Jehoshaphat is not convinced and asked if there was a prophet of God they could inquire of. Ahab mentions Micaiah, (interesting not Elijah who is still around) but Ahab says Macaiah has never prophesied good about him.
Long story short, Macaiah eventually tells Ahab and Jehoshaphat that they will lose the battle and that God had allowed a lying Spirit to enter all the other prophets in order to trick Ahab into going to war so he would be killed in battle.
Ahab gets mad, locks up Macaiah, and goes to war. He is hit by a "random arrow" and dies. His body is buried and the blood washed from his chariot is locked up by the dogs in the street.
Ahab sought the counsel of the Lord and he was told the truth and could have stayed home. But he ignored what he was told and it cost him his life.
Jesus truly heard the message in this last chapter of the first book of kings. Not only was he to seek the counsel of the Lord, it was imperative to listen and take heed and obey. Seeking Gods counsel is worthless without listening and obeying (following). Faith without works is dead. Ahab had been spared so much, but his pride led him to ignore the voice of warning and he paid with his life.
Jesus knew that simply seeking his Father's counsel would amount to nothing if he was unwilling to follow and obey what he was told. If he ignored the counsel of the Lord, he surely would die a mortal man and his body would decay and he would eternally be separated. However, if he listened and obeyed, he would "dwell in the house of the Lord forever ."
Again, I am so grateful for these stories and the impact they had on Jesus so that he could become the perfect Passover Lamb and thus redeem his people, including me, into a right relationship with God our Father. These stories of encouragement and warnings are what made Jesus the Son of Man we so desperately needed so that he could be our perfect Sacrificial Lamb!
1 Kings 2-3 are some more of those stories that would have brought great encouragement and been exciting for Jesus to listen to. It is the story of the "passing of the mantle" from Elijah to Elisha.
Elijah is on his way to "go home" and Elisha knows in his heart it is going to happen (2:3). However, every time Elijah attempts to go ahead of Elisha, Elisha is persistent in his desire to stay with his master. Three times Elijah tells him to wait for him, three time Elisha refuses to leave his master's side.
As time draws near, Elijah asked Elisha what he could do for him. Elisha makes his famous request of a double portion of Elijah's Spirit to be upon him. This is a hard thing Elijah admitted, "yet, if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours!"
From this moment forward, Elisha was certain not to take his eyes off Elijah. He desperately wanted to be filled with the Spirit that moved so powerfully through Elijah and he has been told if he sees Elijah taken away, it would be his. I imagine his eyes were fixed on Elijah.
The moment comes and goes in a heartbeat. A chariot of fire swoops Elijah up and Elisha watches as it all unfolds. Elisha cries out and rips his clothes, his friend, his master is gone. However, Elijah's cloak floats slowly to the ground and Elisha picks it up. This is the same piece of clothing that Elijah performed his final miracle with, separating the waters of the Jordan (2:8). Now in Elisha's hands, he performs the same miracle in the eye sight of 50 prophets and they declare "The Spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha."
Elisha fixed his gaze on his master and received what his heart desired.
How Jesus leaned in heavily to this story. Jesus desired the Spirit of the Lord almighty to be on him just as it was Elijah and Elisha. From this short story, Jesus knew his eyes had to remained fixed on the one who could give him this Spirit, his Father in heaven.
May we too learn to fix our eyes on the one from whom our help (The Holy Spirit) comes, Jesus Christ our Lord.
So I am making up for yesterday in my Impact thoughts, hope you don't mind. 2 Kings 4-5
Elisha's story is full of one amazing thing after the other. A woman's oil jar flows freely till her debt is paid in full plus extra. 4:1-7
A childless woman who is kind to Elisha is granted her hearts desire to be a mother only to have the child die. Elisha prays over the child, like Elijah he lays over the child, and presents the child alive again (wonder what became of this young boy?) 4:8-37
A pot of stew is poisoned and Elisha throws flower in it and it is good to eat again. 4:38-41
There is very little bread to present to 100 men, but Elisha tells them to feed them and boldly proclaims they will take up extra, and they did. 4:42-44
What is clear is that Elisha had come to not only believe God could, but that He would hear him. Elisha had seen the miracles performed through Elijah, he had watched Elijah be taken away, immediately the Spirit came upon him and he saw the Spirit working through him and Elisha chose to not look at the circumstances, but to look at God's ability and willingness to meet the need.
It is clear these stories each had an impact in the life of Jesus, each miracle performed by him in his life. Water overflowing as wine in jars that had been filled. New life given where death seemed to reign. Small amounts of food feeding more than one could fathom and extra being collected at the end.
Jesus did not just post a remake of an old movie in his life by doing these miracles, he learned from Elisha to not look at the circumstances, but to keep his eyes on the God who could, and would. He learned to focus on Gods ability and willingness to hear his prayers and move through his life.
Then Naaman arrives in chapter 5, seeking healing from leprosy. Elisha sends him to the "nasty Jordan river" to dip 7 times. Not only is he sent to dip, but Elisha sends the message through a servant, not even seeing Naaman himself. After being convinced, Naaman obeys and is healed! Again, Elisha looks past the disease and sees the Healer, God. Jesus faces lepers in his life and because he had learned of the power of God over this disease through Elisha's story, Jesus looked past the disease of those he healed and looked to the Healer, his Father.
Jesus' confidence in his Father is strengthened through the stories in Elisha's life and Jesus is prepared for the circumstances he would face. Jesus' life was radically impacted by each of these moments in the life of Elisha, and because of that he learned to focus on His Father and trust Him to perform miracles in his behalf.
I pray today that I learn to look past my circumstances and past the diseases, and see my God who is able and willing to move on behalf of those who fully put there trust in Him like Elisha, like Jesus!
2 Kings 6-7 are so good I read them two days in a row. I compare it to maybe a modern day book or movie you watch/read over and over because it grips you every time.
That is how I picture these stories were to Jesus as he grew up. I can hear him ask Joseph and Mary, "Can you read that one again please?"
The king of Aram is furious! Every move he makes against Israel is useless because someone is a evidently a spy who is leaking his strategies. He calls together his advisers, looking to conduct a mole hunt, only to realize that Elisha is telling every secret he has as "if he were in the kings bedroom." In other words, the king or Aram cannot hide any of his schemes because of this "man of God." Therefore, he sends an army to kill him!
The army arrives while Elisha sleeps in Dothan, and Elisha's servant comes running into the room in terror. He has seen the army sent there to kill them and he is terrified. Elisha calmly says, "No need to worry, the number of those who are for us is greater than those who are against us!"
Elisha's servant I am sure peaked out the window and maybe for a brief moment wondered if maybe the heat had gotten to Elisha. By his count, there was two of them against a whole army. Quietly Elisha says "Lord open his eyes so he may see." With the next peak out the window, the servant sees a vast army with horses and chariots of Fire!
Elisha ask the army to be blinded, then he leads them into Samaria where they see again and realized they are now in grave danger. But Elisha orders them to be fed and cared for and sent back home. Showing mercy to those who came to kill him.
How exciting this story was to Jesus. It is a thriller and shows again the amazing power of God. Jesus learned to rest in the comfort of knowing that there were more for him than were against him. When the crowds wanted to stone him, he could boldly walk (pass) through them knowing there were more for him than against him. When he stood before Pilate, he knew if he wanted to simply forgo the cross, there was more for him than against him. Through his choice to die on the cross, he won the victory and all his enemies (sinners like me) were led into captivity and could have been destroyed by his hand, but like Elisha, Jesus choose to show them mercy and feed them and care for them.
Jesus lived his life in a confidence that there was always more for him than against him and he learned this truth through stories like the one in 2 Kings 6.
I pray today that I will learn to live my life in this same confidence, that God is for me, therefore my enemies are always outnumbered. I also pray that as he makes my enemies my footstool, that like Elisha, like Jesus, I will treat them with kindness so they too can hopefully come to rest in the confidence that God is for them!
Thank you Jesus for allowing Elisha to impact you.
2 Kings 9 tells of the fulfillment of Gods promise to Ahab to remove his family from the earth. God had promised to destroy Ahab, Jezebel, and remove the rest of his male family from the earth. However, because Ahab humbled himself before the Lord, God put the implementation of this promise on hold for a bit. 2 Kings 9 tells of the beginning of the promise coming to pass.
As Jesus reads of Elisha sending a prophet to anoint Jehu king and tel him what he will do, he certainly is reminded of Gods faithfulness to always keep His promises. God may have withheld his hand of fury for moment from Ahab and his family, but God was not going to forget the blood they spilt and idolatry they led Israel in forever and God kept his promise.
Jezebel was told her body would be eaten by dogs and not buried. Jehu orders some men to throw her out of a window and she splatters in the street. Later that evening Jehu sends some people to bury her body, but when they get there, they find only a mangled mess as the dogs had eaten her, leaving only a head and her hands. Again, God kept his word.
In an odd way, these stories would bring comfort to Jesus because they were proof God would never fail to keep his word. Because God had promised to uphold him with His mighty right hand, he could be certain it would happen because he learned through this story and others that God always kept his word. If God promised to raise him from the depths of death, Jesus could be confident it would take place because God kept his word. If he faltered and fell to temptation, Jesus could be certain he would forever be cast away, because God keeps his word. However, if he obeyed fully, surrendered to trusting God, put all his hope in his Father, then he knew he would be shelters in His strong tower, protected by His shield, and lifted up above his enemies. Why? Because God always keeps His word!
But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant. . . To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence. 2 Kings 13:23
What a powerful message this was to Jesus. 2 Kings reads like a soap opera of one king after the other not obeying the Lord fully. Some served or obeyed him more than others, some just ignored his laws and decrees.
Chapter 13 mentions Jehoahaz, king of Israel and how he did evil in Gods eyes. During his lifetime the Israeli army was reduced to nearly nothing.
His son, Jehoash, followed him as king and he did evil in the Lords eyes as well. He led Israel in the worship of other gods and "caused them to sins" like Jeroboam.
During his lifetime, Elisha dies and Jehoash weeps over him dying. Hazael the king of Aram is heavily oppressing the people, and God listens to their cries. Jehoash's father had sought Gods favor (13:4) and God heard him and came to their help despite the fact he was not serving God with all his heart. God came to help because his people were being oppressed.
In 13:22, we again see this oppression against the people being heavy and that is where we read that God was gracious and came to their aid despite their ignoring of Him and worship of other Gods. In other words, God had made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and He was going to fulfill his promise.
Jesus reads this in the middle of being hated, Rejected, ignored, and mocked. Yet, he learned from his Father to be gracious to his people, those whom he loved despite their sin against him, and he learned commitment to fulfill his promise to save his people from their sin. His father was gracious and had compassion on them. So Jesus learned to be gracious and have compassion. That is one reason why he could say, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do!"