Tidbits From Daniel #1 ??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 11 No. 12

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 11 No. 12 Tidbits From Daniel #1???

 

I just concluded teaching a two-part course on the book of Daniel, and thought I would like to spend the next few weeks considering some of the jewels that can be found in this amazing part of God’s Word. Many people avoid studying the book of Daniel because of the prophecies that it contains, yet there is so much practical information that we miss when we neglect this precious and practical portion of The Word of God, which shows us how to live a blessed and wholly holy life before God and man.

The account of Daniel begins at the first Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, and most believe that Daniel was a mid-teen, or thereabout; and with that in mind, it becomes even more impressive that this young man and his three friends had the impact on Babylon that they did.

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand……..

3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs,

that he should bring certain

of the children of Israel,

and of the king’s seed,

and of the princes;

4 Children in whom was no blemish,

but well favoured,

and skilful in all wisdom,

and cunning in knowledge,

and understanding science,

and such as had ability in them

to stand in the king’s palace,

and whom they might teach

the learning

and the tongue of the Chaldeans.”   Portions of Daniel 1:1-4

Here we find Daniel and his friends—Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah—taken captive by the Babylonians, not for imprisonment, but rather to be trained for service to King Nebuchadnezzar (we’d call it brain-washing). While Israel had rebelled against God, and were receiving the judgment that God had warned them of, particularly by the prophet Jeremiah, Daniel and his friends were found to be faithful servants of God Almighty, caught up in the judgment of their nation. So what did these four young men do in this situation? Well, this my friends, is an amazing account worth spending the next few Sundays considering.

While we in our culture, would expect them to be angry, bitter and uncooperative toward their captors, the picture that God gives us of these young men ought to be inspiring and call us to examine our own walk with God. What are we willing to endure for the sake of ‘faithfulness’ to our God? What circumstances do we ‘use’ to ‘excuse’ our bad responses to God and others—those who are watching us to see if we will really live what we say we believe Let’s continue looking at the recorded account—it speaks very clearly.

Remember that according to the parameters set by the king, these were outstanding young men—

skillfull in all wisdom—

cunning in knowledge—

understanding science—

having ability to serve the king

teachable!

And on top of all of that, they were young men with—“no blemish….well favoured”! Some say there were dozens of them taken, and some accounts say it could have been a hundred, but regardless of how many there were, we do know that the record tells us that there were only four who stood fast before their God! These Jewish young men were taken to Babylon, offered the finest of the King’s food and drink, given the ‘royal’ treatment—but much of what was expected of them would have violate the Law of God.

And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank:

so nourishing them three years,

that at the end thereof

they might stand before the king.”    Daniel 1:5

It wasn’t simply the food that they were given, they were also given new names, to reflect Babylonian culture, in an effort to erase and replace their Jewish heritage. And this was especially note-worthy in light of these four faithful young men.

Now among these were of the children of Judah,

Daniel,

Hananiah,

Mishael,

and Azariah:

7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs

gave names:

for he gave unto Daniel

the name of Belteshazzar;

and to Hananiah,

of Shadrach;

and to Mishael,

of Meshach;

and to Azariah,

of Abednego.” Daniel 1:6-7

Daniel meant, “Judge of God”; Hananiah, “God has favored”; Mishael, “Who is what God is”; and Azariah, “God has helped”; so the Babylonians changed each of their names to a name that referenced a ‘Babylon god’ rather than Jehovah God of Israel! These young men had been transported hundreds of miles from their homes, their families and their Temple (which would later be destroyed by these same Babylonians); they are suffering the judgment caused by the disobedience of others, so what do you think they did? Well friends, we don’t have to guess! God tells us clearly what they did, not only Daniel, but his friends as well (How do we know? By their behavior and unity with Daniel, that’s how!)!

But Daniel

purposed in his heart

that he would not defile himself

with the portion

of the king’s meat,

nor with the wine which he drank:

therefore he requested

of the prince of the eunuchs

that he might not defile

himself.” Daniel 1:8

One of the greatest words in the Bible—“but”—reveals exactly what kind of young man Daniel was, as well as his three friends. Daniel in the same situation as all the other captives, made a decision—a determined decision—that he would “not defile himself”! Daniel’s heart was set on God—and he decided to trust to God’s grace and provision rather than the King of Babylon’s desires. But don’t miss what Daniel decided, “that he would not defile himself”; it is so important that we understand that Daniel had determined that while he was ‘ceremonially’ defiled already (because he had been castrated, the ultimate defilement for a Jewish male) he would do nothing, that was within his power to control, to defile himself! Daniel was determined to be right before God, and he sets an example that many of us need to learn from today. Notice what Daniel did with his decision, “therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself”. Daniel respected the authority of those over him. He didn’t jump and scream, he didn’t call for a demonstration, he didn’t throw down his marbles and try to leave—instead Daniel exhibited the godliness of a man totally dependent upon God! Daniel “requested” permission to do things differently than the rules called for, in order to be “undefiled” before his God! Daniel exhibits the character of a godly follower of God/Jesus, who walked in righteousness in the easy or the difficult. Why do we so often excuse our choices with our circumstances? Daniel shows us that when we put God and His ways first, He will meet us where we are—standing for HIM!

Now God had brought Daniel

into favour

and tender love

with the prince of the eunuchs.

10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel,

I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink:

for why should he see your faces

worse liking than the children which are of your sort?

then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

11 Then said Daniel to Melzar,

whom the prince of the eunuchs

had set over

Daniel,

Hananiah,

Mishael,

and Azariah,

12 Prove thy servants,

I beseech thee,

ten days;

and let them give us pulse to eat,

and water to drink.

13 Then let our countenances be looked upon

before thee,

and the countenance of the children

that eat of the portion of the king’s meat:

and as thou seest,

deal with thy servants.

14 So he consented to them in this matter,

and proved them ten days.” Daniel 1:9-14

Here we have the hierarchy of politics, a leader who really liked Daniel, but he was afraid of the fallout of making a decision that might go sour! Yet Daniel and his friends continued on in their pursuit of the right way before their God, and asked the next servant in line, Melzar, to “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days”! These young men were willing to trust themselves to God’s total provision, and asked this servant to put them to “test” for 10 days, and that they would be willing to accept whatever decision he made, based on what ‘he’ saw in their appearance! No anger, no pouting, no demands, no bargaining with God—Daniel knew where he was situated; yet his faith was still in his GOD! He never wavered in his faith, because his faith was in GOD and not himself. And that is where we often go wrong—we continually try to be “self-sufficient”, and that is always temporary! Even as Jesus said, “without me you can do nothing”, Daniel understood that only God could deliver them out of their present dilemma, and that He would bring glory to Himself, and accomplish their ultimate good through His purposes for them in Babylon. Oh, what adventures they had in store! How about you and I—what are we missing out on?

So he consented to them in this matter,

and proved them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days

their countenances appeared fairer

and fatter in flesh

than all the children

which did eat the portion

of the king’s meat.

16 Thus Melzar took away the portion

of their meat,

and the wine that they should drink;

and gave them pulse.

17 As for these four children,

God gave them knowledge

and skill

in all learning

and wisdom:

and Daniel had understanding

in all visions
and dreams.

18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in,

then the prince of the eunuchs

brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

19 And the king communed with them;

and among them all was found none like

Daniel,

Hananiah,

Mishael,

and Azariah:

therefore stood they before the king.

20 And in all matters

of wisdom

and understanding,

that the king enquired of them,

he found them ten times better

than all the magicians

and astrologers

that were in all his realm.”     Daniel 1:14-20

There is so much that is overlooked in this passage, because we often pass right over the beauty of what God was doing for four young men of faith, who exercised their faith, and saw God display His glory to them and through them in an amazing way!

As for these four children, 

God gave them knowledge 

and skill 

in all learning 

and wisdom: 

and Daniel had understanding 

in all visions

and dreams.

Did you get it? “God gave them”……these who stood for God in faith, and God stood by them and made His glory to shine in them! And not only did God bless them to excel in this time of training and instruction, but they came out and stood before the King, who found them:

ten times better

than all …..”!

Did you get it again? Not only were they better than their peers, they were “ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm”! Ten times better—than all of the “magicians and astrologers” in service to the King! God had a plan for these young men, and the King of Babylon saw in them the extraordinary (the hand of God). Imagine that !!! God at work on behalf of His own! God at work in the midst of difficult circumstances! And that same God is at work for you and me, why would we choose to trust anything other than God The Father, and The Lord Jesus Christ? Glory!

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Reward Offered??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #455

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #455    Reward Offered???

 

And, behold,

I come quickly;

and my reward is with me,

to give every man

according as his work shall be.

13 I am Alpha and Omega,

the beginning

and the end,

the first

and the last.” Revelation 22:12-13

As Jesus finished the “Revelation” which He gave to John, He reminds us all that there are rewards. Throughout scripture we see that all will “give an account” before The God of God’s, and Lord of Lord’s—our soon coming King of King’s, Jesus!

And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh

a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:16

Our wonderful Lord Jesus is coming again, and makes it clear that “my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be”. We need to heed His words, and our ways, even as God reminds us through the Prophet Haggai:

Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts;

Consider your ways.

6 Ye have sown much,

and bring in little;

ye eat,

but ye have not enough;

ye drink,

but ye are not filled with drink;

ye clothe you,

but there is none warm;

and he that earneth wages

earneth wages

to put it into a bag with holes.

7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts;

Consider your ways.” Haggai 1:5-7

God reminded those who had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon to rebuild the Temple, to “consider” why they were encountering such difficulty! And told them that they had done “their work” and left “His work” undone, therefore He was causing their wheels to spin (Blanche’s paraphrase!). God called them, as He still calls us, to “consider” our ways and see if they align with HIS way! Who are we serving? Are we serving God or self? Whom we choose to serve will be reflect our affections. Do we love God, and others before ourselves? Or are we primarily focused on meeting our own needs first? The answer matters, and God knows the true answer, even if you’ve been lying to yourself.

When we belong to Jesus, our lives are to be a reflection of His glory, and be a ministry of His grace and truth to a lost and dying world. Are we working for and in Him or something else? Are we following the example and leadership of our Lord and His indwelling Holy Spirit, whom He has given to us? Are we doing HIS work? And before you answer quickly, remember that His work, is Spirit led, Spirit filled, and Spirit directed—only done by keeping our eyes on Jesus, and following His lead (See Heb. 12:1-3+)!

In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them,

I have meat to eat

that ye know not of.

33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them,

My meat is to do the will

of him

that sent me,

and to finish his work.

35 Say not ye,

There are yet four months,

and then cometh harvest?

behold, I say unto you,

Lift up your eyes,

and look on the fields;

for they are white already

to harvest.

36 And he that reapeth

receiveth wages,

and gathereth fruit

unto life eternal:

that both he that soweth

and he that reapeth

may rejoice together.” John 4:31-36

God’s work IS the work that we are called to do, “he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (See Hebrews 11:1-6), and our motivation comes from whose we are—for Jesus makes it clear, “without me you can do nothing” (See John 15:1-5)

And in closing, Paul reminds us that our works come out of our relationship to God, and the work of HIS Spirit; our own “works” will never bring us into relationship with God!

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship,

created in Christ Jesus

unto good works,

which God hath before ordained

that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:8-10

Seeking To Receive Or Provide??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #454

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #454 Seeking To Receive Or Provide???

 

Now faith is

the substance of things hoped for,

the evidence of things not seen……

6 But without faith

it is impossible to please him:

for he that cometh to God

must believe that he is,

and that he is a rewarder

of them

that diligently seek him.”   Hebrews 11:1 & 6

When we follow Jesus, we are to be a people of faith! The author of the book of Hebrews describes faith for us; it’s not ‘pie-in-the-sky by-and-by’, but rather a sure confidence in an unfailing creator. It is “substance” and “evidence” that our God IS God; and time and time again throughout history HE has shown Himself faithful, and continues doing so still. His hand is present everywhere, in everything, but we often fail to recognize His presence and His work!

Abraham was one who recognized the call of God, and saw His hand at work in his life. But I’d like us to take a bit of a different approach to Abraham’s legacy than we normally do, and with the culture and climate of today, I think it a worthwhile study. We live in a “me” culture—a culture of ‘selfies’, me first, my needs, rights and entitlements take precedence over any other options around us. Yet Abraham had a different approach to life—not always doing it perfectly– but continually doing life by drawing closer to God, and pursuing that which was pleasing to HIM!

When called to leave his home, family and country, he went—not perfectly– but he went in the right direction, and grew more and more intimate with God on the journey. And that ought to be our pursuit! But there was a difference about Abraham that we often overlook amidst his success, affluence and influence.

By faith Abraham,

when he was called to go out

into a place which he should

after receive

for an inheritance,

obeyed;

and he went out,

not knowing whither he went.

9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise,

as in a strange country,

dwelling in tabernacles

with Isaac

and Jacob,

the heirs with him

of the same promise:

10 For he looked for a city

which hath foundations,

whose builder

and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:8-10

Abraham (Abram first, till his name was changed because he believed in, and received the promises of God!) was looking for a city far beyond ‘Canaan’, yet his journey led to “a land” of the promises from God of; a land that would come to his descendants, rather than himself. That amazes me—this man set out on a journey to seek, pursue and find God and God blessed him, but not with things which we would often expect—God promised Abraham a land, a nation, and a people, and even more importantly a “seed”—the Messiah, who would come of Abrahams offspring. Yet Abraham never saw these promises fulfilled, but believing they would come–and they did—he accepted the promises of God and provided for those who would come after him, by his faith and dependence on God’s perfect provision. (See Gen. 15)

Therefore sprang there even of one,

and him as good as dead,

so many as the stars of the sky in multitude,

and as the sand which is by the sea shore

innumerable.

13 These all died in faith,

not having received the promises,

but having seen them afar off,

and were persuaded of them,

and embraced them,

and confessed that they were strangers

and pilgrims on the earth.

14 For they that say such things

declare plainly that they seek a country.”    Hebrews 11:12-14

While they were seeking “a country”, we often forget that God, who “is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”, calls us to look up—not around (Although God blesses us daily with “abundantly more” than we even recognize)—for what it is laid up for us, is in HIS kingdom and presence. We must tune our hearts and minds to consider those who come behind us, to leave a godly heritage over any earthly reward! Not a popular message, but one that I think we desperately need to hear today. Jesus Himself clearly reminds us to keep our focus heavenward, and not to be ‘earthbound’ by the foolish greed of the world. Abraham only ‘saw’ Isaac, Jacob and Esau in the flesh, but he believed that God’s Promise would come, and that his descendants would receive the ‘land’, that they would be a ‘nation’, and that the promised ‘Messiah’ would come of his heirs—heirs of not just an earthly land—but heirs of an eternal kingdom. He was concerned about providing an example of faith and obedience, more than the material things that he would leave behind! What about us?

Lay not up for yourselves treasures

upon earth,

where moth

and rust

doth corrupt,

and where thieves break through

and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures

in heaven,

where neither moth

nor rust

doth corrupt,

and where thieves

do not break through

nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is,

there will your heart be also.”   Matthew 6:19-21

In closing this morning, let’s examine our own hearts. Where is ‘my’ treasure? Am I more concerned with receiving more ‘treasure’ or providing a heritage of faith that leads others to the cross? If you or I leave our children and family millions of dollars and no Jesus, what will they have? May we be faithfully living out the gospel in our daily lives, praying and yielding to God so that others see Jesus in us!!!

Then said Jesus unto his disciples,

If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross,

and follow me.

25 For whosoever will save his life

shall lose it:

and whosoever will lose his life

for my sake

shall find it.

26 For what is a man profited,

if he shall gain the whole world,

and lose his own soul?

or what shall a man give

in exchange

for his soul?Matthew 16:24-26

Will you join me in seeking Him today, and if you don’t know Jesus, He may be knocking at the door of your heart? If He is, won’t you open the door and let Him in, and begin this amazing journey of faith, creating a legacy of eternal life more than temporary riches?

Behold, I stand at the door,

and knock:

if any man hear my voice,

and open the door,

I will come in to him,

and will sup

with him,

and he with me.”  Revelation 3:20

Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand Fed??? Bible Ballistics: Vol. 11 No. 11

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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 11 No. 11 Hand Fed???

 

I know this is a bit of a strange title for a Bible post, but it just seems to fit what I’d like to share with you today, as we look as Elijah; a powerful and unique prophet of Israel, yet a man of flesh and blood just like you and me, one whom God provided for in unusual ways. Yet Elijah was a man often misunderstood, so let’s begin our consideration of him in the book of James.

Elias was a man subject to like passions

as we are,

and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain:

and it rained not on the earth

by the space of three years and six months.

18 And he prayed again,

and the heaven gave rain,

and the earth brought forth her fruit.”    James 5:17-18

James calls us to a life of humility, prayer and openness in our lives—not the “ranting and venting” that many are known for on social media—but an openness of our faith and dependence on our Father God, Jesus His Son and the directions and promptings of His Holy Spirit, which He has given to direct our steps from within! In this passage James gives us an example of Elijah (also called Elias in the New Testament) and his life of prayer and dependence on God.

When many people look at this verse they don’t dig deep enough—they read that Elijah prayed and things happened, or didn’t happen—and they often take this as a license to be presumptuous upon God! Many in our culture have twisted God’s Word to make prayer a way of ‘twisting’ God’s arm to get what we want; they have missed the call of our Lord Jesus to have a heart that is ready to “delight thyself also in the Lord…” even as Jesus put it in The Model Prayer:

Thy kingdom come…..Thy will be done….

Elijah had a heart after God, but James already knew that, and when we read in this letter “he prayed earnestly that it might not rain”, James knew that Elijah hadn’t been presumptuous, but that he was doing what God told him to do. How about you and I? Have we allowed God to lead and direct our steps, or are we walking our own way?

And Elijah the Tishbite,

who was of the inhabitants of Gilead,

said unto Ahab,

As the LORD God of Israel liveth,

before whom I stand,

there shall not be dew nor rain these years,

but according to my word.” 1 Kings 17:1

God sent Elijah unto Ahab, the king of Israel (the northern kingdom, known as ‘Israel’, who had a continual string of kings who had refused to obey God for many years); Ahab was the most wicked of kings and you might remember his wife, Jezebel!

And Ahab made a grove;

and Ahab did more to provoke

the LORD God of Israel to anger

than all the kings of Israel

that were before him.” 1 Kings 16:33

Elijah didn’t come to speak for himself, or to show off his “prayer prowess”, but he came to Ahab at the bidding of God, and relayed the message of God to a wicked king. Note, it wasn’t a message that Ahab or anyone else would have been eager to receive, but Elijah not only prayed, he took the answer, knowing it could cost him his life at the hands of this wicked, evil, idolatrous, un-repentant king!

And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,

3 Get thee hence,

and turn thee eastward,

and hide thyself by the brook Cherith,

that is before Jordan.

4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink

of the brook;

and I have commanded the ravens

to feed thee there.

5 So he went and did according unto

the word of the LORD:

for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith,

that is before Jordan.

6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh

in the morning,

and bread and flesh

in the evening;

and he drank of the brook.

7 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.” 1 Kings 17:2-7

We often miss the fact that while God made provision for Elijah in unusual ways, Elijah was also enduring the drought that God had sent! Yet Elijah pressed on, knowing that his GOD was faithful, and the people needed to hear from God rather than their wicked kings and leaders. God wanted Israel to look to Him and trust Him. While we don’t have time to look at all the things that God did for Elijah, I do want us to look at the provisions that God made; in particular one that even Jesus confirmed.

And he said, Verily I say unto you,

No prophet is accepted in his own country.

25 But I tell you of a truth,

many widows were in Israel

in the days of Elias,

when the heaven was shut up

three years and six months,

when great famine

was throughout all the land;

26 But unto none of them was Elias sent,

save unto Sarepta,

a city of Sidon,

unto a woman that was a widow.” Luke 4:24-26 (See 1 Kings 17:8-24)

Jesus validated the account of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath/Serepta, knowing that the people as a whole were only interested in what they “saw” and “ate”; like the account of the day after HE fed the five thousand!

The day following,

when the people which stood on the other side of the sea

saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; 23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)

24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples,

they also took shipping,

and came to Capernaum,

seeking for Jesus.

25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea,

they said unto him,

Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

26 Jesus answered them and said,

Verily, verily, I say unto you,

Ye seek me, not

because ye saw the miracles,

but because ye did eat of the loaves,

and were filled.

27 Labour not for the meat

which perisheth,

but for that meat

which endureth unto everlasting life,

which the Son of man

shall give unto you:

for him hath God the Father sealed.”    John 6:22-27

Much like these people, we get our eyes on the material rather than the spiritual—and Jesus calls us, as well as them, to seek “for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life”! Even as He told the disciples in John 4 as He encountered the ‘woman at the well’.

But he said unto them,

I have meat to eat

that ye know not of.

33 Therefore said the disciples one to another,

Hath any man brought him ought to eat?

34 Jesus saith unto them,

My meat is to do the will of him

that sent me,

and to finish his work.” John 4:32-34

When we pursue God, He is ever making provision for us and directing our steps. Even as Elijah, so let’s look at one more account of His walk with God, and the other end of the “prayer” which James mentioned.

And it came to pass after many days,

that the word of the LORD came to Elijah

in the third year,

saying,

Go, shew thyself unto Ahab;

and I will send rain upon the earth.

2 And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria……17 And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him,

Art thou he that troubleth Israel?v

18 And he answered,

I have not troubled Israel;

but thou,

and thy father’s house,

in that ye have forsaken

the commandments

of the LORD,

and thou hast followed Baalim.

19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.

20 So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.           

21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said,

How long halt ye between two opinions?

if the LORD be God,

follow him:

but if Baal,

then follow him.

And the people answered him not a word.”    1 Kings 18:1-2, 17-21

Elijah wasn’t concerned with popularity, but with following and obeying his God, so he called the people together that they might see the hand of God and return to HIM! Most are familiar with the account of Elijah and the prophets of Baal and the challenge to call for a sacrifice to be supernaturally burned up proving who is the “true” God.

And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice,

that Elijah the prophet came near,

and said,

LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel,

let it be known this day

that thou art God in Israel,

and that I am thy servant,

and that I have done all these things

at thy word.

37 Hear me, O LORD,

hear me,

that this people may know

that thou art the LORD God,

and that thou hast turned

their heart back again.

38 Then the fire of the LORD fell,

and consumed the burnt sacrifice,

and the wood,

and the stones,

and the dust,

and licked up the water that was in the trench.

39 And when all the people saw it,

they fell on their faces:

and they said,

The LORD,

he is the God;

the LORD,

he is the God.” 1 Kings 18:36-39

Did you see the issue? Elijah was following and obeying God, with a purpose of manifesting the glory of God and calling the people back to God Almighty, who loved them! Same now as then—our prayers are to be Spirit led and not flesh led! Yet there is even more to the story! While Elijah had a great victory with God, and the people acknowledged God with their words—the challenge for us is the same today—will we simply ‘speak’ allegiance or will we “be” aligned and devoted to our God! But when we stand with God there will be those who hate us for it—and Elijah was no exception. He prayed and the rain stopped—he prayed again and the rain came—but only at God’s leading, direction and provision.

And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink.

And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel;

and he cast himself down upon the earth,

and put his face between his knees,

43 And said to his servant,

Go up now,

look toward the sea.

And he went up,

and looked,

and said, There is nothing.

And he said,

Go again seven times.

44 And it came to pass at the seventh time,

that he said,

Behold, there ariseth

a little cloud out of the sea,

like a man’s hand.

And he said,

Go up, say unto Ahab,

Prepare thy chariot,

and get thee down,

that the rain stop thee not.

45 And it came to pass in the mean while,

that the heaven was black with clouds

and wind, and there was a great rain.

And Ahab rode,

and went to Jezreel.

46 And the hand of the LORD

was on Elijah;

and he girded up his loins,

and ran before Ahab

to the entrance of Jezreel.”     1 Kings 18:41-46

Elijah prayed, and it rained—but by God’s direction, and provision! Elijah knew whom he served, but the boom was about to be lowered by the enemy! Yet God was there with him even then!

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.

2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying,

So let the gods do to me,

and more also,

if I make not thy life as

the life of one of them

by to morrow about this time.

3 And when he saw that,

he arose,

and went for his life,

and came to Beersheba,

which belongeth to Judah,

and left his servant there.

4 But he himself went a day’s journey

into the wilderness,

and came and sat down under a juniper tree:

and he requested for himself

that he might die;

and said,

It is enough; now, O LORD,

take away my life;

for I am not better than my fathers.

5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree,

behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him,

Arise and eat.

6 And he looked,

and, behold,

there was a cake baken

on the coals,

and a cruse of water

at his head.

And he did eat and drink,

and laid him down again.

7 And the angel of the LORD came again

the second time,

and touched him,

and said,

Arise and eat;

because the journey is too great

for thee.

8 And he arose,

and did eat and drink,

and went in the strength of that meat

forty days

and forty nights

unto Horeb the mount of God.”    1 Kings 19:1-8

Often times when we see great victories, we will encounter great spiritual warfare (often, before, during and after, it’s why we must put on the “armor of God” each day—see Ephesians 6:10-18) and yet even when it catches us by surprise, our God is always faithful to meet us where we are. There is no rebuke here, just a time of God’s provision for Elijah to be “hand fed” by angels, and given time to sleep and be refreshed; for our God knows that there are things that drain us not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and zap our strength and stamina. It’s not a sin to “REST”! We all need it, and God will provide if we will but listen to the voice of His Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts and minds!

God gives renewal, as Elijah went on the rest of his journey, he heard from God in a new and vibrant way (and while God sometimes speaks in new ways to us, we aren’t to base our decisions or choices on the spectacular, but on the historic faithfulness of God and HIS Word!)!!! God showed Elijah that HE wasn’t necessarily in the spectacular, but in the simple things from God, which speaks to our hearts!

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.

And, behold, the LORD passed by,

and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD;

but the LORD was not in the wind:

and after the wind an earthquake;

but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire;

but the LORD was not in the fire:

and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it,

that he wrapped his face in his mantle,

and went out,

and stood in the entering in of the cave.

And, behold, there came a voice unto him…..

15 And the LORD said unto him,

Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus:” 1 Kings 19:11-15

Whatever your need—rely on God’s provision today! Simply rely upon HIS faithfulness, stay in His Word, and put on that armor of God each day, and you can be ready for the battles that will come! Remember, God will meet you in those times of need: “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him”, (Psalms 37:7a)! Amen and Amen!!!

All His Ways Are Good??? Bible Ballistics: BBs #453

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Bible Ballistics: BBs #453 All His Ways Are Good???

 

God is ever at work in our lives—and HE is good all the time, for goodness is HIS nature! He is righteous and true, holy and just, He IS love– among His other attributes. As I heard it described recently, God isn’t a jumble of part goodness, part love and part all these other things to make a “Job’s mix”; but God is 100% love, 100% truth, and on and on with all the attributes of God! So as God is working in our lives, HE is always just, true and He is love! When things seem to overwhelm us, our God has it in control—whether for our instruction, our growth, our correction, or our increased usefulness in the Kingdom!

Behold, happy is the man

whom God correcteth:

therefore despise not thou

the chastening

of the Almighty:

18 For he maketh sore,

and bindeth up:

he woundeth,

and his hands make whole.”   Job 5:17-18

As an old praise song says:

Praise Him in the morning, Praise Him in the noontime. Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him when the sun goes down!” (Lyrics by Byron Cage)

We are to praise Him with our lives, not just our tongues, and when our hearts are set on HIM, we will find the peace, confidence, and joy that comes only from walking with Jesus! And we can walk with complete confidence in God’s sovereignty in every thing that is going on in our lives. Just “fix your eyes” on Jesus and:

Trust in the LORD,

and do good;

so shalt thou dwell in the land,

and verily thou shalt be fed.

4 Delight thyself also in the LORD;

and he shall give thee the desires

of thine heart.

5 Commit thy way unto the LORD;

trust also in him;

and he shall bring it to pass.

6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness

as the light,

and thy judgment

as the noonday.

7 Rest in the LORD,

and wait patiently for him:

fret not thyself

because of him who prospereth

in his way,

because of the man who bringeth

wicked devices to pass.

8 Cease from anger,

and forsake wrath:

fret not thyself

in any wise

to do evil.” Psalm 37:3-8

God is ever working on our behalf and I pray that you can find comfort today for whatever issues you are facing. God is at work on behalf of His children, whether for correction, or for training, or to draw you nearer to Himself!

And ye have forgotten the exhortation

which speaketh unto you

as unto children,

My son, despise not thou the chastening

of the Lord,

nor faint

when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth

he chasteneth,

and scourgeth every son

whom he receiveth.” Hebrews 12:5-6

Scripture goes on to assure us that God is ever working in our lives for our good and His glory, that we will be a minister to others in all our ways—often when we’re not even looking!!!

Now no chastening for the present

seemeth to be joyous,

but grievous:

nevertheless afterward

it yieldeth

the peaceable fruit of righteousness

unto them

which are exercised thereby.

12 Wherefore lift up the hands

which hang down,

and the feeble knees;

13 And make straight paths

for your feet,

lest that which is lame

be turned out of the way;

but let it rather be healed.”    Hebrews 12:11-13

So whatever you are facing, remember that God is at work in all who belong to Him. And if you don’t belong to HIM, you can come to HIM today!

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:

if any man hear my voice,

and open the door,

I will come in to him,

and will sup with him, and he with me.”   Revelation 3:20