Spiritual Rants: June 18 “H-A-L-T” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Kings 19:1-21 Acts 12:1-23 Psalm 136:1-26 Proverbs 17:14-15

Old Testament: 1 Kings 19:1- 21

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1 Kings 19:1-8  H-A-L-T

Ahab told Jezebel what had happened with Elijah and Jezebel swore she’d kill him.

Elijah found out and ran for his life to Beersheba.  He sat under a tree and asked Yahweh to take his life.  It was quite a change of character for Elijah after being so bold.  But to be fair to Elijah, he may have been a little stressed out after his encounter with all the false prophets, then having to off them all and run down the hill.  Charles Stanley says in such situations we need to be especially careful.  When we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired we have to be especially alert to attacks from Satan.  Elijah was all of those things.

So the first thing Yahweh did was send him an angel with some food and water.  (The angel was quite possibly an appearing of  Jesus Who is often deemed the “angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament.)  Then the angel told him to eat some more.  Elijah ate some more and was so refreshed he was able to travel forty days and nights to Mount Horeb.

1 Kings 19:9-21  Caving In

Elijah camped out in a cave in the mountain and Yahweh spoke to him there.  “What are you doing, Elijah?” Yahweh asked.  “I’ve done a lot for you,” Elijah replied.  “Now I’m the only one left to stand up for you but the queen is looking to off me.”

So Yahweh told him to stand on the mountain.  The Lord passed by him.  There was a gigantic storm, big enough to break rocks.  But the Lord wasn’t in that storm.  Then there was an earthquake but the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake.  Then there was a fire but, again, the Lord was not in the fire.  Then there was a gentle whisper of a voice. So Elijah wrapped himself up and went and stood in the entrance of the cave.  Yahweh said to him again, “What are you doing Elijah?”  Elijah gave Him the same answer, that he’d been doing God’s work, he was the last one left and now people are looking to off him.

Yahweh said to him, “Go back to Damascus and anoint Hazael king of Judah and anoint Jehu king over Israel.  Then anoint Elisha as a prophet in your place. If anyone escapes Hazael will be offed by Jehu and whoever escapes Jehu will be offed by Elisha.  And by the way, you’re not the only one left.  I have 7,000 people that have remained faithful to Me.”

Elijah went out and found Elisha.  Elisha was plowing with twenty four oxen.  Elijah threw his cloak on him.  Elisha wanted to kiss his parents goodbye.  Elijah said, “What do I care?”  After sacrificing a couple of the oxen, Elisha and his family ate them.  Then Elisha took off to follow Elijah.

New Testament:  Acts 12:1-23

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Acts 12:1-23  Knock, Knock, Who’s There?

It was about that time that nasty old King Herod grabbed some of the church members with the intent of abusing them.  He killed James, the Lord’s brother and head of the Jerusalem church, with a sword.  When he saw it made the Jews happy, he arrested Peter, too.  It was the time of Feast of Unleavened Bread.  He put him in prison under four squads of armed guards hoping to bring him out for trial after Passover.  A lot of people started praying for Peter.

Just before Peter was going to be brought to trial the next day, Peter was dozing between a couple soldiers while still in chains.  There were guards outside the room, too.  An angel appeared all of a sudden causing light to shine in the room.  The angel shook Peter awake and told to hurry and get up.  Peter’s chains just fell off of him.  The angel told him to pull up his robe and put on his sandals.  Peter thought it was only seeing a vision.  They went right past the first and second guard and through the gate that just happened to open on its own.  Then the angel went back to wherever angels go.

It started to dawn on Peter that he was free so he walked over to Mary’s house who was the mother of John Mark.  There was a large fellowship meeting there praying for him.  He knocked on the door and Rhoda answered (of course!  it was Mary’s house, get it?).

Rhoda was so excited to see Peter that she forgot to let him in and ran in to everyone else to tell them Peter was there!  They told her she was crazy and must be seeing a ghost.  Poor Peter kept knocking at the door so they finally let him in and they were dumbfounded.  He told them to chill so he could tell them what happened.  He told them to get the news to James and his fellowship.  Then Peter took off.

Meanwhile, back at the jail, the soldiers were in a tizzy trying to figure out what had happened to Peter.  Herod put out a search for him but came up empty so he had the guards offed.

Herod went down to Tyre and Sidon.  He was mad at him but they wanted peace with him because he was feeding them!  Herod put on his royal apparel one day and sat on his throne to address them.  The people were schmoozing him, yelling, “He’s a god, not a man!”  Then an angel of the Lord struck him down for not giving God glory.  Worms ate him and he went to the place where evil kings go.

 

Psalm 136:1-26   A Hymn By Anonymous

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Psalm 136:1-26   He-sed, She Said

I can save you some time reading this psalm.  Every single verse has the refrain, “For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”  So you can breeze through the second half of every verse.

If you’ve been reading through this commentary every day, I could probably wake you up at 3:00 a.m. and ask you what hesed means and you’d say, “God’s binding, faithful, covenantal love.”  So perhaps it’s good to expand on that here since hesed is mentioned 26 times, once for each verse.

The King James translates hesed as “mercy.”  The NASB renders it “lovingkindness.”  The NET translates hesed as “loyal love.”    The ESV and RSV have “steadfast love.”  The Holman Christian Standard “His love is eternal.”  NET “for his loyal love endures.”  The NIV just puts “love.”

The word hesed is used about 250 times in the Old Testament.  It always implies a loving relationship.  Often it indicates that God will be faithful even though His people are unfaithful (cf. 2 Tim. 2:13; also Hosea 4:1; 6:4, 6; 10:12; 12:6; Joel 2:13; Jonah 2:8; 4:2; Mic. 6:8; 7:18, 20; Zech. 7:9 where hesed is translated unchanging love, kindness, loyalty, lovingkindness, and faithfulness in the NASB).  Ryrie says (cf. Hosea 2:19) that in the Old Testament, “communion, deliverance, enabling, enlightenment, guidance, forgiveness, hope, praise, preservation are all based on God’s hesed.)

This psalm was to be repeated by all men and women in worship making it kind of a he-sed, she said recitation for the congregation.  Most probably part of the congregation voiced the first part of the verse and the other part of the congregation recited the refrain, “For His lovingkindess is everlasting.”

Do you believe the Lord is good (v. 1)?  If you don’t, you will be miserable in life.  You won’t feel like God is treating you right.  If you understand that he is good, you will believe that anything he allows in your life is good for you (cf. Rom. 8:28, 32; James 1:17).

Because He is good, we should thank Him . . .  a lot (vv. 2-3, cf. Eph. 5:20; 1 Thess. 5:18).  We should thank Him for the great things He has done for us (v. 4).  Do you?

How can anyone think that the world made itself?  Is that crazy?  They say they don’t know how it did but they’ll figure it out someday.  That’s science, they say.  Wow.  I recently heard an astronaut asked if he could tell there was a God from his view in outer space when he was up there.  He said that if you’re in space and believe in God that being up there will reinforce that belief.  But if you don’t believe in God, it will reinforce that belief, too.  Huh?  You can believe two completely contrary things at the same time?  And I had thought that astronauts were smart.  By the way, he never explained how being in space and looking down on God’s creation could reinforce the idea that there is no God.  I think I know why.  Because that kind of idiocy cannot be explained!  It’s obvious that by looking at the world that there is a God (vv. 5-9, cf. Rom. 1:20).

The psalm goes on to recall Israel’s history from the time of the extinguishing of the Egyptians’ firstborn children, through the Red Sea and wilderness, to the destruction of pagan kings Sihon and Og (see yesterday’s entry Hallelujah and Hallelujah! on Psalm 135) and their possession of the land promised to them (vv. 10-22).

The main reason that the Jewish nation should praise the Lord is that He remembered them when they were down (v. 23).  He rescued them when they were down (v. 24).  He fed them in a land where there was no food, the wilderness (v. 25).

For all the reasons in verses 1-25, the Jews knew they should give the Lord thanks (v. 26a).  But, most of all, they should give Him thanks, because, “His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

Do you believe that?

Proverbs 17:14-15   Just Walk Away, Renee

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My wife often tells me, “Just walk away.”  She’s often right.  That’s what I should do.  She says that people can tell when someone is being a horse’s rear-end.

Years ago I memorized, “Have nothing to do with stupid, senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels” (2 Tim. 2:23  RSV).

All of the above is to say, that you shouldn’t get in a fight if you can help it (v. 14, cf. Rom. 12:18).

There’s two main ways you can get in trouble with the Lord.  One is side with those who are evil, (v. 15a).  The other is to side against the ones doing God’s will (v. 15b).  He hates them both though they are usually the same people (v. 15c).  Just walk away from people like that.

 

Choose Life: Scripture:   1 Kings 19:12  NASB    “A Still Small Voice”

“After the earthquake a fire, [but] the LORD [was] not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.”   1 Kings 19:12

 

This passage is well known because of the King James rendering of the end of the verse, “a still small voice.”  More recent translations usually have “a soft whisper” or “a gentle whisper.”  God had been known to speak from a fire, the burning bush (Exod. 3:2).  He had gotten the Israelites’ attention through an earthquake before (cf. Nu. 16: 22). But, now, the Lord was not speaking through anything as noisy as an earthquake or as blatant as a fire, He was speaking in a whisper.

This is one of the most important parts of the Christian life that believers ignore these days.  Perhaps they are not taught since it is not generally taught in seminaries.  In fact, if anything, it would be frowned upon in seminaries.  Yet anyone who reads their Scriptures cautiously will not fail to find hints that God often speaks to His followers subtly and through the Spirit (see blogs Sensitivity To The Spirit and Spiritual Sensitivity).

When Elijah spoke, no one could miss it.  But Elijah had to learn what all us should learn, God often speaks subtly and we need to have an ear out to hear His voice.  But if we are diligent, we will not miss it (cf. John 10:3-5).

Are you listening for God’s voice?

 

If you do, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   

It has been my experience that God does not often speak to me subjectively.  He seems to speak to me that way more when my head is in the Scriptures.   Sometimes I will go long periods of time without hearing from God subjectively, especially during times of suffering (cf. blog Flying On Instruments).

Are you cultivating a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit?  Do you memorize and study the Scriptures?  It is an exciting thing to walk intimately with the Lord.

 

 

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   Knock, Knock, Who’s There?

 

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