Friday, October 30, 2009

PROPHET ISAIAH



“Hear the word of the Lord Almighty: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Your flesh and blood born to you will be taken away and become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon,” Prophet Isaiah prophesied with a heavy heart. On the receiving end, King Hezekiah of Judah had mix feelings. On one hand, Hezekiah was sad that the dreaded judgment of God was inevitable but on the other hand, glad he would not be there to witness it. The days of the southern Kingdom were numbered and sins spiralling out of control.
Isaiah’s ministry started when King Uzziah died. The late Uzziah (or Azariah) was one of the most successful kings since King David took control of Israel. When God struck him with leprosy because of pride, Judah was badly shaken. While everyone was moaning over the death of Uzziah, Isaiah’s eyes got hold of a different king in a vision. And all eyes should be on Isaiah’s heavenly King of kings, rather than on any earthly kings. The holy and glorious God shook Isaiah to his core and awakened him to a new task. His call was to be a prophet to his own obstinate nation and to the nations of the world.


The prophet’s early days of ministry were filled with rage of backslidden kings of Israel and Judah manipulating each other politically for survival and power. Further adding to the anguish to God was the entanglement with idolatrous nations of Aram, Assyria and Egypt. Even on the onset of Isaiah’s call, he prophesied of destruction and exile! And the damning reports of perpetual sins of the northern kingdom from his peers, Hosea and Amos confirmed the worst.


Right before Isaiah’s eyes, God strengthened the evil and brutal nation of Assyria instead of prospering his beloved Israel or Judah. God would bring to pass what he had said by all means, both judgment and promises. The names of Isaiah’s two sons had superbly illustrated that truth. His first, Shear-Jashub, “A remnant will return”, and the second, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, “Quick to the plunder” were God’s restoration and judgment in one statement. These signs were like power points accompanied the declaration of the prophet. The remnant theology was again brought to the forefront of a nation soon to be taken into exile.


The Lord’s anger burned against the northern kingdom and the resurgent Assyria did a Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz! The nation had not seen such devastation since its formation during Joshua’s days! Prophet Isaiah was swift in turning towards Judah, the diminishing light of a godly nation. Next to the conquering Assyria stood Babylon, another power that would be raised up by God for his purposes.


This time, Isaiah warned his fellow southerners to watch out, fresh from the background of destruction and humiliation of their northern neighbours. King Hezekiah knew about the gathering storm from Babylon. Although Hezekiah witnessed a miracle from God in defeating King Sennacherib from Assyria and a prolonging of his life by fifteen years, he wasn’t strong enough to change Judah from sliding further away from Yahweh.


As most prophets did, Isaiah prophesied against all foreign nations especially Assyria and Babylon where they were directly involved in the punishment of Israel. When both of these nations overcame their enemies, they would take pride in their prowess and gloat over all defeated foes, often giving glory to their worthless idols. No prophets would believe that any other so-called gods could be more powerful than Yahweh, the King of all kings! The God who controlled all nations would not stand idle and watch his name being laughed at. If these nations could open their eyes to see that it was Yahweh that strengthened their position and power! They were just instruments! How could clay speak against its potter! “Watch out you guys, Israel’s God will send another to destroy you,” Isaiah declared.


As the prophet’s ministry progressed, he saw the future plan of God. His heart must have calmed a great deal when he saw Cyrus, a king that would come and fulfill the remnant theology. More than that, Isaiah knew of God’s plan right up to the end of days! Where God would eventually lead Israel to complete victory under the coming anointed Messiah.


The main consolation for the man of God was the promised of a King in the lineage of King David. Not just any ordinary kings who blew hot and cold but instead, the King of kings would always reign with righteousness and justice. Emmanuel, or “God with us”, Root and Stump of Jesse, or simply the Servant were some of the names associating with the coming Messiah. He would be filled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing, doing great miraculous works for the glory of God. He envisioned a day that the Messiah would lead Israel to its greatest heights. Peace and prosperity would be the order of the day. How Isaiah longed for that day! How every righteous and right minded godly person would long for that!


Isaiah proclaimed with confidence and gladness, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” The invitation of God was clear! His love for the world would never die. “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon,” the prophet challenged everyone who desired to hear and hear good.


What would Prophet Isaiah say to us if he were to be alive today?


1. Trust in the Lord rather than putting your trust anywhere else.


2. Do not be proud just because God uses you to do His work.


3. God is in control over all the nations of the earth.


4. Nothing that happens in this world that God is unaware or suprised.


5. Your future is in God's hand and this solid rock foundation will never be shaken.


Friday, October 23, 2009

PROPHET MICAH



The headlines screamed these words in ancient Jerusalem Post, “Barefooted, Naked and Howling Madman on the Prowl!”


Yes, he was barefooted, naked, howling like a jackal and moaning like an owl but he was not mad. In fact he was Micah the prophet, completely heart broken by the nation’s complete disregard for their Master and God, Yahweh! Israel had committed incurable transgressions and Micah was called to be the very voice of judgment. He had been inconsolable, knowing that a great nation, a promised nation would be utterly destroyed. To add salt to his wounds, the enemy chosen by God would be Assyria, a foreign nation. Surely they would laugh and despise Yahweh, the name Israel supposed to revere. The unthinkable would soon become a reality. The humiliating act of Micah was to show the Israelites that their enemy would likewise humiliate and degrade them.


God had warned them enough. Yet, the voices of prophets Joel, Amos and Hosea were ignored to their own destruction. Micah was sent not for repentance but for submission to sins’ consequences. “Heed the rod and the One who appointed it. Am I still to forget, O wicked house, your ill-gotten treasures and the short ephah, which is accursed? Shall I acquit a man with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weight,” Micah shouted out the words of God. The court of God had decided. The charges were filed and a guilty verdict announced. A just God must let justice take its place. A sinful and stubborn nation must be brought to its knees to know godly sorrows. The rod would be Assyria and there was no escape. No more pleas to return but to face the music. Micah remembered Judah, the southern kingdom, “I pray that they heed this as an example.”


That day when King Assyria dethroned and conquered the last king of Israel, Hoshea, prophet Micah was overwhelmed at the downfall of a promised nation. So were Amos, Hosea and Isaiah, his contemporaries. Judgment of God was not unusual but this one was different and would badly shake the faith of the Israelites. “Yahweh, the Almighty God of Israel had been defeated,” they would reason. But to the prophets, God would never abandon his people forever. To them, Yahweh would never be defeated! They were believers of God’s promise to King David that his kingdom would rule forever. Thus the remnant theology was birthed at this troubled time. Micah remembered the day when the great prophet Elijah was so overtaken by pressure of carrying the weight alone for the nation. He felt defeated and wanted to die. That was when God revealed to him that there were still 7,000 Israelites that worshipped Yahweh and did not bow to Baal.


Although prophets were voices of judgment and repentance, the message of hope was equally as important. The remnant theology would eventually culminate with the Day of the Lord! That day would come that all Israel would be fully saved and restored. Micah declared, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labour gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth”.


Micah sadly watched the destruction of Israel but his eyes looked to the heavens for redemption. “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea,” Micah cried to the Lord.


And the prophet whispered softly the ancient promise, “You will be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our fathers in days long ago.”


What would prophet Micah say to us if he were still alive today?


1. Don’t be surprised when God does something we don’t understand.
2. Spare the rod, spoil the child.
3. God is just and therefore He must judge sin.
4. Our God is a God of hope, even though we think our situation is hopeless.
5. The Day of the Lord is coming soon! The second Coming of Jesus Christ, the predicted ruler from Bethlehem!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

PROPHET HOSEA



Prophet Hosea was heart-broken when his wife Gomer left for another man. Which husband would not feel intense pain if his intimate lover despised him and the kids? Last he heard of her was she had become a prostitute and to many it would spell an end to the relationship.


But to Hosea, it was not a surprise as he pondered over the words of God given to him before his marriage to Gomer. Their marriage was arranged by heaven but by far a heavenly marriage. While the prophet was seeking Yahweh over his next move, the Word of the Lord came, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulterous. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” Hosea knew of the intensity of Israel’s rebellion of God and his covenant.


Although it was difficult for Hosea to reconcile with a prostitute wife, the prophet knew that God's Words spoken through him, were the only hope for Israel. His prophecies were to become the last call of God for Israel to turn back. To God, this picture story was clear enough for all to see. The God of Hosea was willing to love and heal the unfaithful Gomer nation who despised God’s mercy and kindness.


The names of the three children of Hosea thundered loudly from the heavenly roof top the seriousness of God’s words. Each child’s name appeared more drastic in judgment than the previous one. Jezreel meant “God plants or scatters” showed how God would eventually plant or scattered them somewhere else, away from the promise Land. Incidentally, the city by the same name, Jezreel, was also the abode of the evil king Ahab and the gory death of Jezebel. And the prophet could not have forgotten the blood-shed of Jehu’s murderous campaign there as well. Hosea’s second child, a daughter, Lo-Ruhamah meant “No mercy” signalled that God would finally despise his beloved if Israel still stubbornly persisted in her sins. The third child, a son by the name of Lo-Ammi meaning “Not my people” began a severance of a relationship between God and his people. Yet, when God asked Hosea to take back his disgraced wife, there was this sense of amazing grace and hope. What an amazing God!
Hosea had witnessed succession of evil and hopeless kings in his call as a prophet of Yahweh. From King Jeroboam II to Hoshea, the last king of Israel, the nation had deteriorated spiritually to a breaking point. Canaanite worship, ritual drunkenness and temple prostitution were common sights and sounds. The saddest part for the prophet was the degradation of worship to Yahweh. Some rituals were still followed but their hearts were hollow. The words of Hosea epitomised the grief of God, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings”.


When Israel sins began to destabilise the nation, the king scrambled for alliances again, this time with Egypt and then Assyria, unaware that the latter was God’s impending instrument of judgment. Hosea knew that these fragile treaties were added sins of distrust of their God, Yahweh.


Hosea’s name itself was a call for reconciliation, “God is Salvation!” The prophet reminded them of their birth as a nation and how God protected and nurtured them like every good parent would. God spoke through Hosea, "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim (Israel) to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them”.


What a God! What a Father! What amazing love!


God was waiting patiently for his wayward son to return and reunite. Before Hosea retreated onto the background and silenced by God, his last words were penetrating for Israel and for generations to come.


“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them”.


What would Prophet Hosea say to us if he were still alive today?


1. God is a Loving Father.


2. God's grace is absolutely amazing.


3. God sees everything we do and He knows what is in our hearts.


4. God can use nations to do His bidding.


5. Let us hunger after God's Word and be a discerning believer of Christ.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

PROPHET AMOS


“Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there!” Amaziah the priest shouted at prophet Amos. The travelling prophet from the South could not keep his comfortable business running since the Lord called him. Amos was a contented shepherd and farmer in a land of plenty at that time in Judah, under the reign of King Uzziah, the son of Amaziah. But he was alarmed at the wickedness of his fellowmen and women from the North. “The Lord roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem,” Amos borrowed few words from Prophet Joel’s prophecies to kick off his series of pronouncements. “Do not think God is far away from seeing what you guys did up there,” Amos thought to himself.


King Jeroboam II and his priest had grown weary of Amos prophesying doom to the king and the kingdom. Jeroboam had previously won some battles and enlarged Israel’s territories. God gave him victories through the prophecy of Prophet Jonah, not because he was righteous nor endearing to God. It was purely out of God’s promise to keep Israel’s name being blotted out. All prophets and most Jews would remember the promise so graciously given to Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Amos prophesied the impending reversal of Jeroboam’s victories if he did not repent.


All was well when Amos started to preach against nations surrounding Israel. One by one, nations were prophesied against due to their wickedness and idolatries. When Judah was included in the prophecies of God’s wrath, eye brows were raised. Perhaps, the prophet himself would have taken it doubly hard when the words came out of his mouth. Indeed, God showed no favouritism. Consequences of sins loomed dangerously to anyone who dared to commit them.


Once Amos’ prophecy touched on Israel, all hell broke loose. The damning prophecy had overwhelmed the proud Jeroboam. He was angry with Amos, a foreign prophet as far as he was concerned. God had seen enough of treacherous evil being brazenly committed. The rich were getting richer and prouder while the poor being greatly marginalised and trampled down. From the king to the priest right down to the so-called prophets, all had gone astray. A complete revamp was what Israel needed. Only a total turnaround could prevent God from pouring out his wrath on his people.


Before Amos’s prophecies got to Jeroboam, he had been fed with positive messages from the false prophets. His security was shaken to its core when his own demise was pronounced! Instead of putting on sackcloth and fear God, Jeroboam put on defiance and shunned Amos. The rebellion signalled the end of Jeroboam and the eventual fall of Israel. In a vision, Amos saw the ripe fruit in a basket and wondered what it meant. God declared, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.”


The words of God spoken shall never return to him void and shall accomplish their purposes. Somewhere out there, a nation had been prepared for Israel’s destruction. Assyria would be awakened while Israel slumbered.


Amos preached on regardless, knowing full well that destruction would be near. But in his heart, he knew his God would never blot out the name of Israel. Thus he declared with confidence the Word of the Lord, “I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them.”


What would Prophet Amos say to us if he were still alive today?




1. Do not take your blessings as being God’s favour all the time.
2. The rich must help the poor and the strong must help the weak.
3. Beware of false prophets who proclaim only prosperity gospel
4. Do not hear only what your itchy ears want to hear.
5. God does not show favouritism. Sin is sin and sinners will have to bear the consequences.


Next: Prophet Hosea
http://psbible.blogspot.com/2009/10/prophet-hosea.html

Monday, October 12, 2009

PROPHET JONAH



“Lord, take away my life. It is better for me to die!” prophet Jonah spoke angrily.


His temper had risen under the hot and humid atmosphere on a hill in the outskirt of Nineveh. On the absolute contrary, God, with his ever-abounding patience and grace, spoke gently with the fuming prophet.


“Have you any right to be angry?” the Lord asked rhetorically. Indeed, a prophet must only be a servant, obedient only to his master.


When Jonah sat under a shade, pondering over the city, his anger began to slip away as he cooled down. Unbeknownst to Jonah, God had sent a worm and wind to blow away his comfortable position and Jonah began to whine again. Surely God had not finished his conversation with the prophet yet. “Do you know that this city has 120,000 children and thousands of precious souls that needed my truth?” the Master of the Universe spoke, his voice was soothing. “Should I not be concerned about this great city?” he added with a plea of compassion.


Jonah knew God was referring to this great city not in physical term but to its population, created in his image and greatly loved. The prophet’s heart needed to be transformed and he himself knew it. His fame at home grew when he prophesied successfully to King Jeroboam II regarding the ruler’s endeavours. Jonah was a true patriot of Israel and he was glad that God showed favour to Israel even though Jeroboam II, the son of King Jehoash, was sinful throughout his reign. But when it came to other nations, he wished they all would be subjected to his Israel. When God summoned him over to Nineveh, a city reputed to be pagan and cruel, he rejected the call swiftly. One thing was sure, Jonah knew very well of whom he served, a God who was compassionate beyond measure. And he didn’t like it. In fact he hated the idea of Nineveh being shown mercy. He had tasted God’s mercy at home when he even prospered evil Jeroboam II. Jonah had heard of Elijah’s ministry and he would certainly like to see fire coming down from the sky and destroy the wicked once and for all. He knew God might not be so willing to burn and destroy. The only option he took was to run the opposite direction as far as possible. At least a chance that God would call someone else. Or better still, call off his plan of mercy.


When the storm came upon the ship he was on, Jonah knew right away God had tightened the rope around him. On the request of the prophet himself, the sailors threw him off the ship, sacrificing him in order to maintain calm onboard. What was Jonah thinking when he offered himself to be sacrificed? Was it mercy for the sailors? Suicide? Both reasons probably. In the end, Jonah was cornered.


In the shadows of death came a rescuer, a big fish, its tummy big enough to keep him alive for three days. Of all places, inside the fishy and slimy darkness of the big fish, Jonah prayed for forgiveness. A place of extreme discomfort brought out a transformation to the reluctant prophet. Jonah was the not the only point in God’s relentless manoeuvring, it was more towards his mercy for Nineveh. Yet his answer to Jonah’s prayer in the belly of a fish showed God’s care and providence whether toward one rebellious servant or an entire wicked city. He answered prayers from under the sea to far away lands, whoever cried out for his help.


Jonah finally stepped into the city of Nineveh where he was once so reluctant to preach. The city was huge and needed three full days to declare fully the Word of God. But when the prophecy was preached on the first day, the words already cut through the hearts of the people. The huge ripples ripped through the hardened hearts of the poor as well as the rich, right up to the king.


The incredible success of God’s Word sent great joy to God but a tinge of anger to Jonah. A great irony that an Israel’s prophet took offense of God’s compassion while a wicked city rejoiced at the mercy of God. Perhaps, Jonah’s heart needed another fish story but no, God sent a worm and some words of concern.


What would Prophet Jonah say to us if he were to be alive today?


1. Let God be God and let us all be obedient servants.
2. God is a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love. Don’t get angry with that when he showed it to others we don’t like.
3. If God can use a worm to do his work, he can use you!
4. God doesn’t let us go so easily. He is always there for us, making sure you are at your best that he created you to be.
5. God loves the world that he doesn’t want a single person to be lost without him!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

PROPHET JOEL



Every time Prophet Joel thought of King Jehoram, he would fume. Disgusted with Jehoram’s “Look-North Policy” towards evil Ahab, his father in law, and his mindless murders of his own siblings, Joel looked up to the heavens for answers. He knew that the proliferation of evil would be catastrophic to Judah and Jerusalem.


Meanwhile, God had already prepared armies from the Philistines and the Arabs for Judah’s eventual judgment. The hated Jehoram was utterly defeated, goods plundered and family enslaved. To make judgment complete, God afflicted the king with an incurable disease and he died in great pain. As usual, to provide the continuation of the Davidic kingdom, God preserved Ahaziah, who miraculously escaped unharmed by the raiding conquerors.


Prophet Joel remembered of how the Spirit of God had come upon a Levite and he had caused great victory for King Jehoshaphat. He smiled as he stood in awe of God’s power!


And then the vision came. In the vision, he saw a great multitude of God’s people being empowered and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Although this was difficult time for Judah and Jerusalem, there would come a time of great works being wrought by God’s Spirit. It was all possible as the prophet’s mind flashed back to Moses’ days when the great deliverer himself said, “I wish that all Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”


“The time will come where greater works shall be done for Yahweh’s glory,” Joel spoke to himself and grinned.


The people who suffered much under Jehoram’s chaotic rule were very much encouraged. The prophet summoned them to repent as their God would once more restore Jerusalem for his glory. From ministers of the temple to the farmers, young and old, rich and poor, they needed to put on sackcloth and gather a fast.


The prophet declared, “Yahweh says, ‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full. Never again will my people be shamed’” The drought caused by swarming locusts would be replenished. The suffering would turn to celebration of harvest! Oil, wine and grain would overflow to satisfaction for all!


In Joel’s mind, the nations that attacked Judah were like a drop in the ocean to God. Which nation could be stronger than the Creator of the Universe? Who could upstage the Ruler of the Earth? They would be brought down and destroyed with one strike! To the prophet, the future of Jerusalem was very much secure under the mighty hands of God. God fought battles for righteous kings before and He would continue to fight for them. And the people must understand that too.


Joel’s God-given vision in which he prophesied to the people also meant for distant future, something the prophet himself would not enjoy seeing. He spoke of the Day of the Lord that would set an unprecedented time of restoration for Jerusalem. And God would rule from Mount Zion, forever. The prophet put it more animatedly, “The Lord roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem!” The Lion of Judah prophesy of old would be fulfilled!


What would Prophet Joel say to us if he were still alive today?


1. God is a God of second chances.
2. The spoken Word of God will come to pass no matter how long it takes.
3. No nations will ever stand against the Might of God.
4. Jerusalem will be the centre of the reign of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the prophesied Lion of Judah.
5. Don’t give up. God will fight the battle for you.


Note: The dating of Joel has been much debated. I am taking an older date after some research and reading of the Word. My position may not necessarily be your position and that’s perfectly alright.


( I have taken the story of Jehoram from 2 Chron. 21)


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

PROPHET ELISHA




If Jerusalem Post existed that day, the headline would scream, “ARE WE ONE AGAIN? King of Judah aligns with King of Israel”.


The animosity between the southern and the northern kingdoms of Israel had been bitter since the nation broke into two. The bitterness was sweetened somewhat by Jehoshaphat son's marriage into Ahab’s family. What was Jehoshaphat thinking when he took in Ahab’s daughter as his daughter in law that day? Was it his vision or curiosity that Israel could be one again? Or was it to strengthen his kingdom? The intermarriage and the alliance with Ahab to fight the Arameans began the thaw in the relationship between the two kingdoms. God’s unhappiness with Jehoshaphat for collaborating with Ahab was overshadowed by the great awakening in the land that the king of Judah administered.


When King Joram took over from his Baal-worshipping brother, Ahaziah, son of Ahab, as king of Israel, he allied with King Jehoshaphat of Judah to fight the Moabites. Interestingly, this march included King Edom, a previous enemy of Israel.


The three kings comprised of three different categories of spirituality. King Jehoshaphat was a godly king who worshipped and followed Yahweh. Then there was the Edomite king, a pagan, whose sole purpose of joining forces was to continue to rule. Lastly, King Joram, a very much confused king.


Prophet Elisha was unhappy with the alliance and particularly Joram, whose heart was far away from Yahweh. Fresh from his double portion of anointing of Elijah, his predecessor, Elisha knew God wanted him to do even more. Elisha and the band of prophets never wanted Elijah their master to leave as the great prophet had done astounding miracles right before their eyes. After he was taken up gloriously to heaven in chariots of fire, the company of the prophets went searching for him but to no avail. They finally understood that God’s plan and focus had turned toward Elisha, their new master. God gave Elisha’s authority in the eyes of his followers by a miracle and a judgment. The healing of the curse land brought great relief and hope. And the mauling of wicked youths by two bears signified a seriousness of God’s business, under Elisha’s ministry.


Elisha agreed to counsel with the three kings concerning the impending battle against Moab only at the request of the righteous Jehoshaphat. The works of God wrought by the prophet Elisha in this battle marked the beginning of his ministry to the nation. That Yahweh’s name would always be lifted high and honoured!


Throughout his ministry, whether with his own disciples or others, inside this nation or faraway lands, the prophet would perform great works of God with compassion and zeal. He was shouted at by the Shunammite woman’s distress in losing her son, yet he brought the child back to life by the power of God. Syrian commander, Naaman, scolded him for asking him to wash in the Jordan river, yet he continued to pray for his healing. Once he helped to capture the army of the Arameans and King Joram wanted to kill them all but was stopped by the prophet. Instead, Elisha asked to provide a feast for them and then had them released. Through Elisha, Yahweh’s fame was broadened outside the borders of Israel, far and wide. Indeed, Yahweh was not only Israel’s God but the God of all nations!


God knew the alliance between the three nations would never work. In fact no evil in the land would stand strong without God’s judgment! First Edom rebelled against Judah. Then under Elisha’s counsel, a prophet was sent to Israel to anoint Jehu as king and to carry out God’s judgement on the house of Ahab. Jehu assassinated King Joram of Israel and all the household of Ahab, including Jezebel. This was in accordance to the prophecy given earlier by the prophet Elijah. God’s spoken word would never fail! God’s judgment would be inescapable and to be carried out under His discretion. The grandson of Jehoshaphat, Ahaziah, perished too in the hands of Jehu as the king of Judah walked in the pathway of evil Ahab.


Jehu cleared out Baal’s priests in the land and followed Yahweh but only for a short period of time. Later, he sinned against God and was replaced by his son, Jehoahaz, as king of Israel. At this time, the Arameans became much stronger than Israel. For a long time, Israel was subdued by the power of the Arameans. Meanwhile, Attaliah, daughter of Ahab, the mother of Ahaziah, took control of Judah and wanted to destroy the royal family. God preserved Joash, a son of Ahaziah. God always preserved a "son" of David as His promise to this nation that Davidic kingdom would reign forever! All prophets understood this. As expected, when Attaliah was overpowered and killed during her brief rule, Joash, a "son" of David, took over.


After Jehoahaz died and Jehoash took control of Israel, Elisha was gravely ill. Even in his illness, he was still concerned of Israel being overpowered by Aram. The prophet would always serve the Lord, in health and in sickness. When Jehoash came to visit, Elisha declared to him the Lord’s plan of victory over Aram. The prophet gave him arrows to shoot out of the open window. Then he asked the king to strike the arrows on the ground. Jehoash struck just three times albiet half-heartedly. The king’s hesitance had caused Israel to only overpower the Arameans three times instead of a complete victory. Elisha had seen enough of half-heartedness of kings. He had had enough with idolatrous rulers of this precious land of God. But his eyes were not on earthly kings but on the King of all kings. Yahweh, the Master of the Universe was not only the absolute Supreme Leader of both Israel and Judah but all the nations on earth.


When Elisha died and was buried, one dead man got thrown into his tomb and touched Elisha’s bones. He was raised back to life. Could it be that Israel one day be raised back to life even though at this point, it was dead spiritually? Absolutely! The raising of the dead in the Elisha’s tomb could also symbolise that the ministry of the prophets would continue. The voices of the prophets must continue to be heard and followed!


KINGS


ISRAEL


AHAB; AHAZIAH; JORAM; JEHU; JEHOAHAZ ; JEHOASH

JUDAH
JEHOSHAPHAT; JEHORAM; AHAZIAH; ATTALIAH (AHAB'S DAUGHTER); JOASH

What would prophet Elisha say to us if he were still alive today?

1. Sin will drown out the guiding voice of God for your life.
2. You can be successful for a short time without the Lord but it would be cut short.
3. Consequences and judgment will follow your sins to the very end if you do not repent.
4. Look up to God in faith instead of focusing on people and things of the world. God is the Supreme Leader of this Universe.
5. Always be whole-hearted in your worship of God like king Jehoshaphat!



Next: Prophet Joel
http://psbible.blogspot.com/2009/10/prophet-joel.html