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Unexpected Result

February 21, 2015 Leave a comment

Sometimes things appear hopeless, and only a miracle with change the outcome.

The city of Jerusalem is under siege, and people have become so desperate they’ve resorted even to cannibalism to survive.

This hopeless situation changed overnight. Check out 2 Kings 6-7 for the full story.

 

Categories: 2 Kings, Jerusalem, time

Honest Money Collection

November 3, 2014 2 comments

Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid. He placed it beside the altar, on the right side as one enters the temple of the Lord. The priests who guarded the entrance put into the chest all the money that was brought to the temple of the Lord.Whenever they saw that there was a large amount of money in the chest, the royal secretary and the high priest came, counted the money that had been brought into the temple of the Lord and put it into bags. When the amount had been determined, they gave the money to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. With it they paid those who worked on the temple of the Lord—the carpenters and builders, the masons and stonecutters. They purchased timber and blocks of dressed stone for the repair of the temple of the Lord, and met all the other expenses of restoring the temple.

The money brought into the temple was not spent for making silver basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, trumpets or any other articles of gold or silver for the temple of the Lord; it was paid to the workers, who used it to repair the temple. They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty. The money from the guilt offerings and sin offerings was not brought into the temple of the Lord; it belonged to the priests (2 Kings 12:9-16, NIV).

Categories: 2 Kings, honesty

Elisha’s Final Days

February 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Now Elisha was sick with a terminal illness; and Joash, Israel’s king, came to visit him. He cried over Elisha,

Joash quotes to the prophet Elisha’s own words to Elijah before he ascended.

Joash: My father, O my father! The chariots and riders of Israel!

Elisha: Quickly find a bow and some arrows.

Joash did as Elisha instructed and brought a bow and some arrows back to Elisha’s bedside.

Elisha: Now grip the bow tightly.

So Joash gripped the bow, and Elisha placed his hands over the king’s hands.

Elisha: Now open the window facing east.

So Joash opened the window.

Elisha: Now launch the arrow as far as you can!

So Joash drew back the bow and launched the arrow as far as he could.

Elisha: That was the Eternal’s victory arrow! You will crush the Arameans at Aphek! You will do more than just win; you will ruin them! (pausing) Here, take these arrows.

So Joash took the arrows.

Elisha: Hit the ground with them.

So Joash hit the ground three times and stood up. But the man of God became angry at this.

Elisha: You only hit the ground three times! If you had hit the ground five or six times, then you would have completely ruined the Arameans. But because you only hit the ground three times, you will only defeat Aram three times.

Elisha then died and was laid to rest.

The Moabite bandits used to storm the land every spring. It was expected by the people. During the springtime, while a group of men were out burying a man, they spied a gang of bandits approaching themThey became afraid, so they threw the dead man’s body into Elisha’s grave. As soon as the dead man’s body touched the bones of Elisha, the dead man miraculously came back to life and stood up.

This miracle, which is unlike anything else in the Bible, must have happened years after Elisha’s death if nothing is left but his bones. Obviously this demonstrates the amazing power Elisha must have had in life, if simple contact with his remains revives a dead man. The demonstration of Elisha’s power, however, is not the author’s primary intention as he records this story. This story is an illustration of what’s about to happen in Israel; a renaissance is coming through their king, Joash (2 Kings 13:14-21, The Voice).

Categories: 2 Kings, elisha, joash

Floating Iron

February 14, 2014 Leave a comment

The students of the prophets spoke to Elisha.

Students of the Prophets: The place where we are staying with you is too small for us. Allow us to travel to the Jordan Valley, cut down trees, and build a house there for ourselves.

Elisha: Go.

One of the Students: Will you please travel with us, your servants?

Elisha: Yes, I will go with you.

Elisha traveled with them, and they cut down trees when they arrived at the Jordan. While one of the students was cutting down a tree, the iron of the ax broke off and dropped into the river.

Student of the Prophets (to Elisha): Oh no, master! This ax is not mine! I borrowed it!

Elisha: Where did it drop into the river?

The man showed Elisha where it had dropped into the water, and Elisha took a stick and tossed it into the river. Then the iron of the ax floated to the surface.

Elisha: Get your iron out of the water.

The man then grabbed it (2 Kings 6:1-7, The Voice).

Categories: 2 Kings, elisha, miracle

Naaman’s Healing

February 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Naaman’s master considered him an extraordinary man. He was the military commander of Aram’s army, and he had won many important battles for Aram by the power of the Eternal. Naturally he was greatly esteemed by his king. Naaman was a fierce warrior, but he also had a skin disease. Now one time, the Arameans went out in raiding parties and took a little girl from Israel as their prisoner. The little girl became a servant to Naaman’s wife.

Girl (to Naaman’s wife): If only my master could be near the prophet in Samaria, the prophet there could heal my master’s disease.

Naaman became hopeful, and he went and told his king what the little girl from Israel said.

King of Aram: I am going to write a letter to Israel’s king, and I want you to take it to him immediately.

Naaman left with the king’s letter in his hand, plus 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and 10 sets of fineclothing. Naaman handed the letter to Israel’s king, and the king read it.

King of Aram’s Message: The man carrying this letter is my servant, Naaman. He has a skin disease, and I request that you heal him.

King of Israel (ripping his clothing): Who does he think I am—God? Why does Aram’s king think I have the power to kill and make alive again? What in the world makes him think that I can heal you of your disease? It is obvious that Aram’s king is trying to create trouble between us.

Elisha, the man of God, received word that Israel’s king had ripped his clothing, so he sent a message to Israel’s king.

Elisha’s Message: What has caused you to rip your clothing? Tell the man who has come to you for healing to come to me. Then he will be assured that a prophet lives in Israel.

The king told Naaman to go find Elisha, so Naaman showed up at Elisha’s door with his horses and chariots. Elisha did not show his face to Naaman, but instead sent instructions: “Wash yourself in the Jordan River seven times. The waters will heal you, and your skin will be back to normal. You will be cleansed.” Naaman boiled with anger as he left Elisha. He had come to his house expecting something much different.

Naaman: What is this! I came here thinking that Elisha would come outside and call upon the name of the Eternal One his God, and that Elisha’s hand would pass over my sores and heal my skin disease, not the waters of the Jordan River. The Abanah and Pharpar Rivers in Damascus are greater rivers than all the rivers of Israel combined, so why couldn’t I just go bathe in those and be healed?

Naaman then stormed away, boiling with anger. Later his servants approached and spoke to him with respect.

Naaman’s Servants: Father, if the prophet had told you to do some important thing, wouldn’t you have done what he asked? Why is it difficult for you to follow his instructions when he tells you, “Bathe yourself in the Jordan River, and be cleansed”?

So Naaman swallowed his pride, walked down to the Jordan River, and washed himself seven times, just as the man of God had instructed him to do. There, the miracle occurred. Naaman’s disease was healed: his skin was as new as an infant’s, and he was clean from the disease (2 Kings 5:1-14, The Voice).

Categories: 2 Kings, elisha, Health, Naaman

Elisha’s Miracles

February 12, 2014 Leave a comment

The wife of one of the prophets’ disciples pleaded with Elisha.

Woman: My husband who served you is now dead. He greatly feared the Eternal. You yourself know this to be true. The creditor is now trying to take away my only two children and make them into slaves.

Elisha: What is it that you want me to do? Do you have anything of worth in your house?

Woman: I don’t really have much of anything. The only thing I have in my house that might be of any worth is a jar of oil.

Elisha: Borrow as many large empty containers as you can. Ask neighbors for anything they can give to you. Be sure to collect a lot of them. Then enclose yourself in a room with only you and your sons. Pour oil into as many of the containers as you can. Set aside the full ones.

The widow went away from Elisha and enclosed herself in a room with her sons. One at a time, her sons held a container before her, and she poured. Soon all of the containers were filled.

Woman: Bring me another container.

Son: There aren’t any left.

It was then that the oil ran out. The widow then went back to Elisha, the man of God.

Elisha: Now go sell the oil, and pay the creditor what you owe. Then your children won’t be made into slaves, and you and your sons can live on the remaining money.

One day, Elisha traveled to Shunem. There was a well-known woman who lived there, and she convinced him to eat something. So whenever he walked by her house, he went in and ate.

Shunammite Woman (to her husband): This man, who comes by here frequently to eat, is a holy man of God. Can we please make a little room for him—just a simple setting: a bed, a lamp, a table, and a chair. That way, whenever he comes here, he can rest in his own room and have his privacy.

Elisha went by their house to eat one day, and he went and lay down in the upper room. He spoke to his servant, Gehazi.

Elisha: Tell the Shunammite woman to come here.

So Gehazi called out her name, and she came to him.

Elisha (to Gehazi): Tell her, “You have been fearfully attentive to us. We thank you for all of your care. Now what can I do to repay you? Would you like for me to speak to the king or the military commander on your behalf?”

Shunammite Woman: No, that’s OK. I dwell with my own people.

Elisha (to Gehazi): Is there anything at all that I can do for her?

Gehazi: Actually, her husband is an old man, and she doesn’t have a son.

Elisha: Tell her to come here.

Gehazi called out her name, and she came and stood at the entrance to the room.

Elisha: This time next year, when spring is full of new life, you will hold a son of your own in your arms.

Shunammite Woman: That’s impossible, my lord! You are a man of great integrity, a man of God, so please do not deceive me, your servant.

But that time next year, the Shunammite woman did conceive and deliver a son, just as Elisha said she would. When the child was older, he walked out to his father, who was harvesting the fields with the reapers.

Son (to his father): My head hurts! My head hurts!

Father (to his servant): Take the child inside to his mother.

The servant brought the child inside to his mother; and about noon, while the boy was sitting in his mother’s lap, he died. She took his lifeless body and laid him down on Elisha’s bed. She then closed the door and went away.

Shunammite Woman (to her husband): I beg you to send me a servant and a donkey so that I can go find Elisha, the man of God. As soon as I do, I will come back here.

Father: Why is it that you are so anxious to find him today? Today is not a holy day—a new moon or a Sabbath.

Shunammite Woman: Don’t worry; all will be well.

She prepared the donkey and gave instructions to her servant.

Shunammite Woman: Go quickly! Don’t slow down unless I tell you to.

She rode quickly toward the man of God who was staying about a day away on Mount Carmel. As she approached,Elisha saw her at a distance.

Elisha (to Gehazi): Look! It’s the Shunammite woman. Go quickly to see what she wants. Ask her, “Is everything fine? Is your husband well? Is your son well?”

Shunammite Woman: Everything is fine.

When she approached the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground and hugged his feet. Gehazi approached to pull her away, but the man of God stopped him.

Elisha: Leave her be. Her very soul is distressed, but the Eternal has kept her troubles hidden from me.

Shunammite Woman: Was it I who asked for a son? I told you not to mislead me!

Elisha (to Gehazi): Prepare yourself, and carry my staff to where the boy is now. Do not acknowledge any blessing to anyone on your way there. If someone speaks a blessing to you, do not respond. When you get there, lay my staff on the boy’s face.

Shunammite Woman (to Elisha): As certain as the life of the Eternal and your own life, I will not leave without you.

Elisha then stood up and followed her to her house. Gehazi went ahead of them and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but nothing happened. The boy did not move or make a sound. Gehazi went back to Elisha and reported this to him: “The boy did not wake up.”

Elisha arrived at the house and saw the lifeless body of the boy lying on Elisha’s bed. He went into the room, closed the door behind both of them, and prayed to the Eternal. Elisha approached the boy and lay down, placing his mouth on the boy’s mouth, his eyes on the boy’s eyes, and his hands on the boy’s hands. He covered the boy with his own body, and warmth returned to the boy’s body. Elisha turned around and paced back and forth in the house, then he went back into the room and covered the boy’s body with his own body. The boy sneezed seven times, and then he opened his eyes.

Elisha (to Gehazi): Tell the Shunammite woman to come here.

Gehazi told the Shunammite woman to go inside the room, and she did.

Elisha: Lift up your son, for he is alive.

She fell to the floor before Elisha’s feet, bowing to the ground, and she wept with happiness. She picked up her son and left the room with him (2 Kings 4:1-37, The Voice).

2 Kings 21:1-3

April 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Manasseh was 12 years old when he inherited the throne. His reign in Jerusalem lasted 55 years. His mother was Hephzibah. He committed evil in the Eternal’s eyes, like the abhorrent practices of those nations driven out by the Eternal before the Israelites settled in Canaan. Manasseh reconstructed the high places his father, Hezekiah, had demolished. He constructed altars for Baal and crafted a sacred pole, just as Ahab the former king of Israel had done. He offered his praise to all the gods of the skies and was in service to them (The Voice).

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20kings%2021:1-3&version=VOICE

Categories: 2 Kings, hezekiah

2 Kings 20

April 11, 2013 2 comments

At that time, Hezekiah was deathly sick. The prophet Isaiah (Amoz’s son) went to Hezekiah.

Isaiah: This is the Eternal’s message: “This is your last chance to make your final preparations because you are not going to recover; you are going to die.”

Then Hezekiah faced the wall and began to pray to the Eternal.

Hezekiah: Eternal One, I beg You to remember that I have lived in faithfulness and given my heart to you and have practiced goodness before Your eyes.

Hezekiah was truly distraught and wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had departed from the middle court, the Eternal’s message came to him.

Eternal One: Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of My people, “This is the message of the Eternal One, the God of your ancestor David: ‘I have listened to your prayer and have witnessed the tears falling down your face; therefore I am going to heal you. I want you to go to the Eternal’s temple on the third day. I will add 15 years to your life, and I am also going to save you and your city from Assyria’s king. I will fight on behalf of this city in order to preserve My honor and My servant David’s honor.’”

Isaiah: Fetch a lump of figs.

They placed the figs on the king’s open sore, and he was healed.

Long before the discovery of penicillin and invention of pharmaceuticals, people understand how to use natural remedies readily available. A poultice of figs—and a healthy dose of prayer—successfully heal Hezekiah’s sore. Many other plants have similar healing qualities: wild, poisonous gourds are used in small amounts as purgatives; terebinth resin, frankincense, and myrrh are common antiseptics (even though they are more popular as cosmetics); and mandrake fruit is thought to cure female infertility. While future generations might question the healing properties of plants, they are considered powerful medicines to the people in the ancient Near East.

Hezekiah (to Isaiah): Should I be looking for a sign from the Eternal, a sign that tells me He is going to heal me and that it is time for me to go to the Eternal’s temple on the third day?

Isaiah: Yes, this is the sign the Eternal One will give for you to know He will uphold His promise to you: will the shadow move forward 10 steps or retreat 10 steps?

Hezekiah: It’s nothing special for the shadow to increase 10 steps. May the shadow retreat 10 steps.

The prophet Isaiah called out to the Eternal, and He caused the shadow on the stairs to retreat 10 steps down Ahaz’s stairs, which had been designed as a sundial.

During that period in time, Berodach-baladan, one son of Baladan, Babylon’s king, heard that Hezekiah was ill, so he sent him a gift and get-well messages. After Hezekiah received the gift and the letters, he gave Berodach-baladan’s messengers a tour of his treasuries and showed them all the silver, gold, spices, oils, armor, and everything else that was in the treasure house. He left nothing out of the tour of his house and province.

Isaiah (to King Hezekiah): What did those men tell you, and where did they come from?

Hezekiah: They came from a faraway land—Babylon.

Isaiah: How much of your house did you show to them? What all did they see?

Hezekiah: They saw everything. I left nothing out of the tour I gave them through my treasuries.

Isaiah: Listen to the Eternal’s message: “A time is near when everything in your house, including everything that your ancestors have contributed until today, will be taken to Babylon. Not one item will remain in your house.” This is the Eternal’s message. “A time is near when your sons, who are yet to be born, will be removed from your land and made to be eunuchs in the Babylonian king’s palace.”

Hezekiah: The Eternal’s message that you relayed to me is good.

(to himself) Is it not good that peace and truth will rule while I still live?

Is not the rest of Hezekiah’s story—his power and his construction of the pool and the conduit to provide water for the city—documented in the book of the chronicles of Judah’s kings? Hezekiah left this world to sleep with his fathers. His son, Manasseh, then inherited the throne (The Voice).

Categories: 2 Kings, hezekiah

2 Kings 19

April 10, 2013 Leave a comment

King Hezekiah tore his clothes after he heard what had been said. He then covered himself with sackcloth and entered the Eternal’s temple. Hezekiah dispatched the palace administrator, Eliakim, along with Shebna the lawyer and the priest-elders, to go meet with the prophet Isaiah (Amoz’s son). Eliakim, Shebna, and the elders all went wearing sackcloth.

Eliakim, Shebna, and the Elders (to Isaiah): This is Hezekiah’s message: “Today is filled with hours of sorrow, pain, anxiety, and reproof. Children are ready to be born, but there is no strength to deliver them. It may be that the Eternal One your God will disprove the words of Rabshakeh, whom Assyria’s king has sent to taunt the living God. So pray hard that your God, the Eternal One, will rebuke those words and save His few children who remain.”

King Hezekiah’s servants approached Isaiah, and Isaiah spoke to them.

Isaiah: Go back and tell your master, “This is the Eternal’s urgent message: ‘Have no fear of the blasphemy which the servants of Assyria’s kings have spoken. They are merely empty words. I am going to infect Assyria’s king with a spirit, and he will hear a rumor and go back to his homeland. There I will cause him to die by the sword.’”

Rabshakeh returned to the Assyrian king who was now battling against the city of Libnah because he had heard that the king had abandoned Lachish.

Sennacherib then received word about Tirhakah, Cush’s king: “He is preparing to fight you.” So Sennacherib sent a message again to Hezekiah.

Sennacherib’s Message: Hezekiah, king of Judah, I warn you not to be fooled by your God, on whom you rely, when He says, “Jerusalem will not be conquered by Assyria’s king.” Surely you have heard about how the kings of Assyria demolished all the nations completely—every last one of them. Do you really think you will be rescued? Were the people of those nations saved by their gods when my fathers attacked? Were Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and Eden’s sons in Telassar ever rescued? No! And what happened to the kings of Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim’s city, Hena, and Ivvah?”

Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers, read it, and then placed it before the Eternal in His temple.

Hezekiah (praying to the Lord): O Eternal One, Israel’s God, who sits above the winged guardians, You alone are God of all the kingdoms on earth, the One who made heaven and earth. Eternal One, open up Your ears and Your eyes so You may hear and see. Listen to the words Sennacherib uses to reject the living God. Eternal One, I certainly know that the Assyrian kings have destroyed the nations and lands. I know how they have thrown the gods of the nations into the flames of the fire and destroyed them, but those gods were created out of wood and stones by men. Eternal One, our True God, I pray You save us now from Sennacherib’s conquest—the fate that all the other nations have suffered—so that every nation on earth will know that You alone, Eternal One, are God.

Isaiah (Amoz’s son) sent a message to Hezekiah.

Isaiah’s Message: This is the message of the Eternal One, Israel’s God: “Because you have come to Me about Assyria’s king, Sennacherib, I have heard every word you have prayed.

This is the Eternal’s message against Sennacherib:

    “She has abhorred and ridiculed you,
Zion’s virgin daughter.
She has ridiculed you behind your back,
Jerusalem’s daughter!
Whom have you rebuked and spoken blasphemies against?
Whom do you speak loudly against?
And arrogantly lift up your eyes
against the Holy One, Israel’s God?
Your messengers have been your vessels of rebuke against the Lord;
you have spoken, ‘In the company of my countless chariots,
I arrived at the mountain heights.
At the most distant lands of Lebanon,
I chopped down the tallest cedars
and the finest-looking cypress trees.
I went to its most distant resting place,
in its deepest forest.
I made wells in the ground
and quenched my thirst with foreign waters;
With the bottom of my feet I soaked up
every last drop of Egypt’s rivers.’

    Don’t you know?
I did this thing a long time ago;
From the beginning, I planned it.
I have now done it,
So that you might cause strong cities
to turn into piles of rubble.
Those who lived there were weak;
they were distressed and humiliated.
They became like the grass that grows in the field
and also like the green herb,
Just like grass that grows on the roofs of houses
but is burned by the sun before it gets too high and thick.
But I am aware of everything you do
when you sit down, when you go out, when you return—
and I am aware of your fury against Me.
Because you have raged against Me,
because your arrogance has flooded My ears,
I am going to insert My hook into your nose
and harness your lips with My bridle,
And I will send you back in the direction
from which you came.

“This will be the sign for you: for the first year, you will feast on what grows on its own; for the second year, you will feast on what grows from the original source; and for the third year, you will prepare the soil, gather, plant vineyards, and feast on their fruit. Whatever is left of Judah’s house will again spread its roots down into the soil and grow upward with fruit. A remnant will depart from Jerusalem; survivors will depart from Mount Zion. This will all be accomplished by the intense passion of the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies.”

This is the Eternal’s message regarding Assyria’s king: “He will not approach this city, nor will he shoot an arrow toward it. He will not approach it with a shield in hand or construct a ramp against it. He will go back the same way he came, and he will not approach this city.” This is the Eternal’s message. “I will defend this city in order to preserve it for My own honor and for the honor of David, My servant.”

That night one of the Eternal One’s heavenly messengers invaded the Assyrian camp and struck 185,000 men. When they woke up the next morning, the camp was filled with corpses. Assyria’s king, Sennacherib, went away and returned to his own land, Nineveh.

One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god, Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword. Then they fled to Ararat. Sennacherib’s son, Esarhaddon, then inherited the throne (The Voice).

Categories: 2 Kings, hezekiah

2 Kings 18

April 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Hezekiah’s Reign

Categories: 2 Kings, hezekiah
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