Not all the elect will hear

To give some background for the above title I will tell you that my wife, some of our family and I attended an ordination to pastoral ministry in a Primitive Baptist church on Saturday.  It was a blessing to see our son ordained into the ministry with the questions and the pressure that was put on him.

I decided there that I would not be considered a good candidate for the Primitive [Old] Baptist beliefs, or ordination.  My answers to many of those questions would have been rejected flat out.  The questions as to “Who does God love?” and their acceptable answer for that question is “Only the elect”.  According to my Bible we are told that God so love the world, that He gave His only Son.

Any way the thing that really caused me to question is the title statement, “Not all the elect will hear”, and I took that to mean the gospel.  Does that mean the “elect” as they call them will be in heaven anyway?  Again according to Romans, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17); that means they will hear.  God will send a messenger to his “elect” that they might hear.

I do not call myself a “Calvinist”.  I do believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation.  It is solely a work of God; and somehow by grace God gives enlightenment and life for faith, and the faith, to hear, believe and receive eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ.

But “Not all the elect will hear”.  That puzzles me.

-T.A. Blankenship

From a Facebook Friend

The following was posted on Facebook by a brother preacher,

H-E-L-L FIRE and D-A-M-N-A-T-I-O-N PREACHERS

Someone asked me yesterday;”Why are all of you Baptist Preachers H-E-L-L FIRE and D-A-M-N-A-T-I-O-N Preachers?”

Well, I didn’t know that there were that many that still were doing so, but for those of us that do, we do it for the same reason our cities have Tornado Sirens, we do it for the same reason that the Railroad puts Gates and Bells at its busiest and most dangerous crossings, we do it for the same reason that cities put up Signal Lights at their Intersections. We all do what we do to warn everyone that there is real danger approaching and that appropriate action needs to be taken in time to avoid sure disaster.
My friend, the Authoritative, Infallible Word of God tells all of us that all who are without Christ Jesus are:
1. Guilty Sinners – [Romans 3:23]
2. Condemned Sinners – [John 3:18; Romans 6:23a]
3. Loved Sinners – [John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 2Peter 3:9]
4. Wooed Sinners – [Matthew 28:19;Romans 10:14; 2Corinthians 5:20]
All Preacher’s and Christian’s are called of the Lord to woo and warn the Christ-less Sinner to come to Christ alone for salvation before it is too late and you go out into eternity to spend it in a Devil’s H-E-L-L, that is why we preach H-E-L-L- Fire and D-A-M-N-A-T-I-O-N, to warn you to flee from the wrath to come.

Would the same people who wished we would stop preaching H-e-l-l and D-a-m-n-a-t-i-o-n want their cities to pull down their Signal Lights, would they want the Railroad to remove their gates and bells at the dangerous crossings, would they want their cities to turn off all of the Tornado Sirens during the Tornado Season? I believe the answer is obvious, of course they would not. Yet H-E-L-L is a more CERTAIN and AWFUL reality than those possible events just mentioned. We dare not cease to warn the sinner. Preacher; PREACH IT, that is your calling, not to be popular or even liked, but to be Faithful.
~Jack Woodard

Thank you Brother Jack for preaching God’s Word. Jack also has a blog that would be a blessing to you.

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah and Elisha

Sometimes these two men can be confused; at least they used to be to me.  Elijah was the prophet who confronted Ahab, and the culture of the time; and the departure from the LORD God for man made idols; human imagination run amok.

Elisha is a young man when Elijah is called by GOD to anoint him “in thy room” (1 Kings 19:16).  He was still in his father’s home, because he was plowing with the oxen when Elijah came to him (vv. 19-21).

I ask myself what the reason is for GOD calling another prophet to take Elijah’s place.  Is GOD angry with Elijah, thus getting another?  Is the ministry of Elijah coming to an end?  Maybe soon?  If we read ahead we find that Elijah would confront Ahab another time; concerning Naboth’s vineyard.  We will look at that sometime later.

The LORD wants to put to rest Elijah’s assumption that he is the only true prophet of God.  The LORD tells him,

“Yet I have left Me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:18 (KJV)

Elijah obeyed and went as the LORD commanded him.  He finds Elisha plowing with twelve yoke of oxen.  That seems to be a plenty of ox power, and more than necessary; but that is what we are told.  It probably means that there were twelve teams of oxen plowing – a yoke containing two – and with a man leading  each yoke; and Elisha taking up the rearward.   The mantle of Elijah is mentioned in Scripture at least five times; the first in 19:13; the second in verse 19; then the other three in 2 Kings chapter two.

The mantle seems to be used as a token or symbol of the power of God upon Elijah.  With it Elijah covers his face when he hears the still small voice, he cast it upon Elisha, he smote the waters of the Jordan River (2 Kings 2:8), Elisha receives it as Elijah is taken away (2 Kings 2:13-14); and then Elisha divides the Jordan using it as well.  More on that will come later in future study.

When Elisha passes by Elijah; Elijah cast his mantle upon him.  Now Elisha left his oxen, asked Elijah to go and tell his parents he was leaving, then he would follow him.  He would be Elijah’s student as a prophet; being prepared to take Elijah’s place in ministry of the Word of God.

“And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, ‘Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee.’  And he said unto him, ‘Go back again: for what have I done to thee?’  And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.”  1 Kings 19:20-21 (KJV)

Elijah’s telling Elisha to “Go back…” was telling him to do as Elisha had requested, but to not reject his calling.  Elisha goes and tells his parents of his calling in life, and they have a celebration, by the killing of Elisha’s yoke of oxen, and having a feast.  In his training as a prophet he was a servant unto Elijah.

Elijah was a faithful prophet of God.  Though he was weak in some points the LORD still used him.  In human weakness GOD is strong.  In our weaknesses God is glorified.

Be strong in the LORD and the power of His might.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah, and a Still Small Voice

Following the victory at Mt. Carmel Elijah has ran from Jezebel, in fear of losing his life; then, prays for God to take his life.  Depression, fear, and doubt has crept into the man of God’s life.  However, as I can look at this and see it God is by no means silent with Elijah.

God sends an angel and provides food and water for him (1 Kings 19:5-8), and then, he goes for forty days and nights in the strength of that bread and water.  Now, only God can give a man the physical energy and strength to make that type of journey with no other physical bread or water.  Moses did it on Mt. Sinai, evidently twice at least (Exodus 24:18; 34:28).

The LORD led Elijah to Mt. Horeb called the Mount of God, which is Mt. Sinai where Moses had been with God.

Elijah was in need of a learning experience, as many of us are at times.  We are pretty given to believing that God only moves dramatically, and visibly, and always powerfully; but that is not always so.  God will move in His own way and His own time; and it may not be through answering by fire.

The man of God, the prophet came to a cave, and he made his lodging there.  That is when the word of the LORD came to him again,

“And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said unto him, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah?’  And he said, ‘I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.’  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: and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”  1 Kings 19:9-12 (KJV)

Maybe, after the victory Elijah was expecting God to remove Ahab and Jezebel from the kingdom, or some kind of powerful and miraculous thing; but it did not happen.  We do not know what was in the mind of the man of God, but he ran for his life.  God asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?”.  It is kind of like He asked Adam in the garden, “Where are you?”  Have you ever had someone ask you a question they knew the answer to; only to get you to think things through.

The LORD and His prophet are in session together, and Elijah tells the LORD that he is the only one of the prophets of the LORD left.  He has felt that way since before the victory on Carmel (1 Kings 18:22).  He had much to learn yet.

The LORD sends the prophet out of the cave, to stand and witness events the LORD would cause to pass before him.  A strong wind which tore the mountain, and broke the rocks of the mountain; then, an earthquake; then a fire.  In all three of these catastrophic means we are told, “the LORD was not in” them.  There came that “still small voice”, and Elijah covered his face;

“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, and said, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah?'” 19:13

The wind, the earthquake and the fire did not spark much action from Elijah; but when he heard the still small voice he covered his face.  Surely he must have realized his fear, and realized the voice was that of God at work in his life.

He was still feeling as though he were the only prophet of God left in the land.  God tells Elijah to go and call Elisha the son of Shaphat (19:16) to be prophet in his place.  He also tells him that there are “seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal…” (v. 18)

It would seem that God is about to do something spectacular in the life of Elijah.  Even in our doubts and fears God is with us.  He still speaks to us.  Just because there is nothing dramatic with falling fire happening in our lives does not mean that we are forsaken; it is really the time for us to hear that “still small voice” and believe.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah, and the Hand of the LORD

The prophet of fire had been told by the word of the LORD that he would send rain on the earth (1 Kings 18:1), that he was to go and show himself unto Ahab.  The greatest trial of Elijah’s life had been won, the prophets of Baal defeated, and even sentenced to death, and the sentence carried out; and the rain had come, just as the LORD and the prophet had said.

“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 18:46 (KJV)

It seems to be abundantly clear by all that has came to pass, with the challenge of fire, the death of the false prophets of Baal, and the rain; that the hand of the LORD is upon Elijah.  Evidently Elijah was a very fast runner.  With Ahab in a chariot, and Elijah on foot; Elijah seems to have out run the king to the entrance of Jezreel.

We begin seeing something about Elijah that shows us that Elijah was only a man who had human flaws, just like the rest of us.  He had his moments of doubt, of fear, and feeling as though he stood alone against the mobs of Ahab and Jezebel.

Elijah coming off the greatest victory of his life; at least up to this point; faces the threats of Jezebel.  Upon hearing what Elijah had done,

“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.” 19:2

Elijah, the man, the prophet who had the “hand of the LORD” upon him, then, runs for his life.  Not only that he begins requesting that he might die (19:4); instead of taking his life the LORD sent and angel to care for his needs; feeding him a baked cake of figs, raisins, or something else, and giving him water to drink.  My, how the prophet was being ministered unto by the LORD through an angel.  It is proof that the LORD is not finished with Elijah.  The hand of the LORD is still on him.  The angel prepared the cake and the cruse of water.

My  the power of the angel’s food, the LORD’S food.  For Elijah went forty day and forty nights in the strength of that food (19:8).  I find it fascinating that often after great victories, comes great let downs.  Fears, doubts, and just not knowing what lies ahead, can bring temporary defeat.  This was a time of renewing for Elijah.  He was hearing from the LORD.

God took him to a place where he would learn about the greatness of the LORD and His Word, again.

The hand of the LORD is on all those who put their trust in Him.  Your trust is in Him through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; His death, burial and bodily resurrection.  Believe Him, trust Him, and God’s hand will be on you for blessing and eternity.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Sound of Abundance of Rain

Elijah had faced the greatest trial of his life, and won the greatest victory for the name of YaHWeH/Jehovah.  He had prayed a simple prayer to God,

“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.  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.”  1 Kings 18:36-37 (KJV)

The LORD God heard Elijah’s prayer, and did just what Elijah asked for.  Fire fell (v. 38), burnt the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust, and licked up the water in the trench which Elijah had placed around the altar to display the power of God.  This was no magicians trick; no wizards wand was needed; it was the fire of God falling just as the man of God had requested.

The people of the Northern kingdom of Israel fell on their faces declaring, “The LORD, He is the God; the LORD, He is the God.”  At that moment in time there was no doubt in their minds who the God of Israel and the earth was.  Now these prophets and priests of Baal needed to be dealt with; and they would be dealt with unto death.

“And Elijah said unto them, ‘Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.’ And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.” 18:40

When the LORD is God there is no room for false prophets and teachers.  They will be dealt with quickly.  The prophet Jeremiah was confronted by a false prophet, who prophesied differently from his own prophecy, and the LORD told Jeremiah to return to Hananiah and tell him that due to his lies he would die within the year (Jeremiah 28).  That prophet died by the hand of God Himself; just as the prophet had said.

Why deal so harshly and directly with false teachers and prophets?  These had in large part been responsible for leading the nation into apostasy, turning their backs on the GOD of Israel, leading them into all kinds of debauchery and rebellious living against the GOD  of all creation.  It needed to be seen by Israel that this will not be tolerated.

In this the Christian of 2012 can learn that the LORD God will not tolerate false teaching in the Christians life; and we are to weed out those teachings from our lives that distract us from Him; the LORD of the universe.  We are to keep our individual lives free from false teaching, teachers; from unholy living; and keep these things from our local congregations.  When a church begins propagating lies, heresy, and distracts from the Word of God and from our Lord Jesus Christ that church will fall, and its fire will go out.  No matter how large the attendance is, how great the crowd is at their weekly gatherings; it can still be without the fire of God.

When Elijah had dealt with the false prophets, then he told Ahab,

“And Elijah said unto Ahab, ‘Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.” 18:41

For 3.5 years there had been no rain.  The land was parched, dry, brooks were dry the rivers were low, water was in short supply.  Now without even seeing a cloud, the  prophet tells the king, “…There is a sound of abundance of rain”.  The fire of God had fallen from the heavens.  The people had seen the fire of God fall, and they had fallen on their faces crying out, “The LORD, He is the God” and the liars had been put away.  Now rain was coming.  Refreshment, renewing and restoration to the land was coming.

You can turn to the LORD God today, and live forever.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that He died for your sins, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave; and is one day returning for His own.  He is the fire that John the Baptist spoke of in Matthew 3:11.  “…He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire…”

When God’s people return to the LORD there will be and we can hear “…The sound of Abundance of Rain”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah, and the Challenge by Fire

As a young boy I can remember being fascinated by fire.  I took matches, and would set old brush piles on fire, while I got up the milk cows for milking, and watch it burn.  I never deliberatly burned anything that did not need burned, but I was still moved by watching the flames as they flickered and flared upwards.  As a teenaged boy I would go camping with friends, we would build fires for the light and the heat; and even then I was enthralled by the flames, watching it devour the wood fuel which was put on the flames.  It would seem that I am still fascinated by fire.

The name of this blogsite “FIRE” and Hammer’, which comes from Jeremiah 23:29.  And my prayer, and heart longs to see the fire of God fall on His people; and for the glory of the LORD to be revealed to the world; and it one day will.

I wrote all this to lead us to the prophet Elijah’s challenge of fire to the prophets of Baal, and the Northern kingdom of Israel.  The drought had been on the land now for about 3.5 years according to the apostle James (5:17) and Jesus (Luke 4:25); and God had told Elijah it was time for some rain (1 Kings 18:1).  The nation, however, needed to know who was sending the rain.  They could not possibly go on thinking that it was Baal who through temple prostitution, illicit behavior, music and deceptions was doing the provisions for the people.  The drought would prove nothing for the glory of the LORD to just send rain.

Elijah gives word to king Ahab,

“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.’  So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.” 18:19-20 (KJV)

Now the stage is set, the challenge is issued; the faith of Elijah is on display for all to see.  I am sure there were those who were thinking, “What is Elijah doing?  God does not work like this.”  My thoughts are “Oh Really!”  One thing Elijah was sure of and that was that those prophets of Baal were deceivers, masters of deception; and in the challenge of fire he put at least one stipulation on the trial;

“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.   Then said Elijah unto the people, ‘I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.   Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:   And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God.’  And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.” 18:21-24

Notice, if you will the stipulation of the challenge; “…Put no fire under”  which indicates that Elijah was pretty positive that deception was at the heart of any power the priests or prophets of Baal had.  They would put a hidden flame under their altar, than call for fire, and with some oil, fire would arise from the altar; thus amazing and deceiving the people.  He too would “put no fire under” and would depend solely upon the presence, power and glory of the LORD for the fire to come down.

The prophets of Baal built their altar without any deceptive fire; killed their sacrifice; danced and shouted with all their might; all their heart; maybe they were sincere in what they believed, but what they sincerely believed just was not true.  They finally ended up cutting themselves, bleeding they continued to plead with the god who could not hear; because he is only the god of human imagination, human evil, human greed and lusts.  The sincere efforts of the worshippers of Baal failed; they wore themselves out physically; trying to appeal to this deity of the human heart (18:25-29).

Now, it is Elijah’s chance.  He is confident in Jehovah.  Why?  Because Jehovah/YaHWeH has sent him.   He does not build a new altar, but repairs the “altar of the LORD that was broken down”.  The altar of the LORD had been neglected, and rejected, and now was being repaired by the man of GOD, and He was going to be glorified again in Israel.  You can read the rest of the story.

Let me tell you, that Elijah simply calls out to GOD; after having the altar and the offereing and the wood drenched in water; and God answers by fire from the heavens,

“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.’  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.” 18:37-38 (KJV)

“The fire of the LORD fell”  it came down from above.  The LORD He is God.  Elijah knew that.  He was much more than sincere, he was faithful to believe the word of the LORD.  Christian, revival will not come by dancing, cutting, music, and alternative styles of worship.  Revival will not come through evangelism or evangelistic efforts; which are usually nothing more than human effort, with fire under the altar; rather than the fire of the LORD.

We are called on to be faithful in worship to the LORD, loving Him through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour; the reading and study of the Word of God and prayer.  When God’s people get right with God, then there will be great preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and many trusting Him.

The fire of GOD will fall.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah, Obadiah, and the King Ahab

The prophet received word from the LORD that it was time for the rain to come on Israel.  That meaning in essence that it was time to call the nation to repent of their sins; and it was to begin with the king, and the false religion he and his wife espoused in the land.  The worship of Baal was a vile and evil religion which was an earthy, self-centered, pleasure oriented religion; and led the children of Israel away from the God of all creation.  That was partly why Elijah had prayed for no rain; to show that Baal was powerless.

Elijah meets Obadiah, and tells him to take message to Ahab that he  was ready to meet with him,

“And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, ‘Art thou that my lord Elijah?’ And he answered him, ‘I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.'” 1 Kings 18:7-8 (KJV)

Now, Obadiah was a bit cautious, and knew that the LORD was protecting Elijah, and feared that the LORD might just go back to moving Elijah around, hiding him from the king, but Elijah convinces Obadiah to get the message to  Ahab that he wants to meet with him (18:9-15).

Notice the king’s words to Elijah when he does meet him,

“And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, ‘Art thou he that troubleth Israel?’  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.'”  1 Kings 18:17-18

It is accusation of dividing the nation, causing trouble.  I find it aggravating, insulting, and almost blasphemous to hear those who cry against the holy and righteous as always being the ones who are the “Troublers” of a nation or people.  That is what Ahab was charging against the prophet.  That is the cry of our post modern culture against those who stand against the unholy promotion of unholiness, and ungodliness.  Those who stand against same sex marriage are accused of being bigoted, haters, mean spirited, trouble makers.  We are supporters of what is holy, righteous and good.

Just as Elijah faced the king and told him “I have not troubled Israel; but thou and thy father’s house…”  You have troubled Israel.  Those who stand against God, righteous living, holy conduct, Biblical teaching, and Biblical conviction; they are the troublers of our nation and lives.

We are faced with a challenge.  Will we live for God?  Will we live by the words of the Bible, the words and life of Jesus Christ; or will we go along to get along?  I choose to live by the words of Jesus, the words of the Bible;

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”  John 8:47 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Prophet Cries Aloud

The following was a post by Jack Woodard on Facebook.  It is so true:

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.” [Isaiah 58:1]
“Preach the Word; be instant (diligent) in season, out of season…” [2 Timothy 4:2]

True Prophets never wait to be asked for a comment when it comes to the sins of their people and their Nation, they are quick to make sure the Lord’s Authoritative Voice is heard. America should not be waiting on a Prophet to cry out against the open and blatant sins and sinners among us. There is no more pitiful sight than to see our Nation overrun with Bold Sinners and our Pulpits filled with Timid Preachers.
~Jack Woodard

Preach it Jack.

T.A.

Elijah in Prayer

No where in the context of the writing about Elijah are we told of Elijah’s praying, however, the New Testament does tell us of Elijah’s prayers,

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  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.   And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”  James 5:16b-18 (KJV)

So we know that Elijah had power with God, and he received that power because of his commitment to God and earnest prayer.

As we were looking at Elijah ministering to the widow of Zarephath I neglected to mention that this widow was a Gentile.  As Jesus mentions in Luke (4:25-26) there were widows of Israel who could have used some help, but God sent Elijah to Zarephath instead, due to the hearts of the people of Israel being in rejection of God and His Word.

Now as Elijah is praying “the word of the LORD came” to him…

“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.'”  1 Kings 18:1

This third year could possibly be the third year since he came to stay with the widow and her son.  God is ready now to call Israel to repentance, and to return to Him; and He will use Elijah to call the prophets of Baal to a challenge of fire.  We will not get into that just yet.

We notice in the verses to come that there was a servant of Ahab’s who was a God fearer, and had protected some of the other prophets of God;

“And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: for it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)” 18:3-4

Ahab had called on Obadiah to search with him for water in fountains, brooks, and grass for caring for the king’s animals.  It seems quite pointed to see a king searching for food for his animals while maybe a unconcerned about the needs of the people.

We need to learn from Elijah the necessity of prayer.  However, without faith in God, much prayer avails nothing.  The power of prayer is not praying.  The power of prayer is GOD.  And Elijah loved the LORD, and believed Him and trusted Him unto life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Name: LORD of Hosts

The reading of the prophecy of Jeremiah can be a difficult read; and even difficult to write about; especially if you focus on the judgment part of the prophecy.  Jeremiah lived through much of the fall and destruction of Jerusalem, Judah and Israel.  He also wrote many promises of God.

“As I live,’ saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts, ‘Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come.’” Jeremiah 46:18 (KJV)

One of the things I learn as I read the Bible, and that I am reminded of everyday is that God is the Supreme Ruler over the earth.  The phrase in the verse above, “…the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts” is used in two other verses  – 48:15 and 51:57.

The LORD of hosts is King of every nation, tribe and tongue, and His will will be done.  His name will be glorified.  Egypt of the above verse was prideful.  The remnant of Judah who had been left behind by Nebuchadnezzar, had asked Jeremiah to seek the LORD and they would follow His guidance about what they were to do.  They were to stay in the land of promise; yet they disobeyed the LORD, and chose to go into Egypt seeking security from Babylon.  They would, instead of finding security, find themselves a part of another captivity, because Babylon was going to come to Egypt conquering them.  He is the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

In the second verse the word is against Moab,

“Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.” 48:15

Moab, thinking themselves strong, mighty, and secure would fall by the “King, whose name is the LORD of hosts”.  Egypt, Moab, Ammon, Bozrah, Edom, and even Babylon would fall by the decree of the King; “the King whose name is the LORD of hosts”.

No king or president or senator or congressman or any leader can stand long against the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.  He is the King of kings, and the LORD of lords.  One day every tribe, tongue and nation will bow before Him.  The One whose name is above every name.  The One to which every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah; Man of God

Those of us who have been involved in church and Christianity; and even some other religions know the term “Man of God”.  The basic idea behind the phrase is that a man is faithful to believing God, His Word and living it in His life.

We have seen where the “Man of God” confronted the king Ahab and told him of an absence of rainfall until he [Elijah] calls for it.  We know from the book of James that it was 3.5 years.  That is a drought.  We have read also where God provided for the prophet, the man of God, by sending him to a brook off the Jordon River, and God supplied him bread and meat until the brook dried up; and then he sent him to a widow woman with a young son; and he asked her to give him her last portion of food.  Because of the woman’s faith, she fed Elijah, and her barrel of meal never ran out; as the King James says, “Wasted not”, neither did her container of oil run dry.

While the man of God is present in the home of the widow and her son; the son dies; and the woman is very distraught.  She is like many of us.  Since the man of God is in the house and home, then, “How can such an evil and bad thing happen to us?”  Now before someone goes off on a tangent fit let me first explain that it does seem implied by the reading of 17:18;

“And she said unto Elijah, ‘What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?'” (KJV)

Remember in John 11 Lazarus a close friend of Jesus was on his death bed; Mary and Martha (Lazarus’s sisters) sent for Jesus, but he lingered where he was.  Jesus said,

“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”  John 11:4

To read the rest of the event we find that Lazarus died, was buried, and had been dead four days; and Jesus calls his name and Lazarus comes out of that tomb alive.  God receives the greater glory by the resurrection of Lazarus, then by healing him of a sickness.

The resurrection of the widows son, helped the woman see more clearly that Elijah was the man of God.  She announces in the final verse of chapter 17,

“Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.”  1Kings 17:24 (KJV)

The man of God in today’s world may not raise anyone to life after being dead; at least in the physical sense.  However, the man of God will be able to clearly present the way to knowing God, having fellowship with Him, and how God declares one to be righteous.  That is by way of the cross of Jesus Christ; His death, burial and bodily resurrection.  Believe the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will experience resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Widow Challenged by the Prophet

The brook Cherith to which the LORD had supplied for Elijah was dried up due to the drought which Elijah had prayed for, received, and was supplied for by God.  Could God have not kept the stream flowing, water coming just for Elijah, rather than moving him on somewhere else?  He could have, but He chose not to do so.  There was  a widow woman, with a son who was about to come to terms with the possibility of starving to death; so the LORD sent the prophet to her.

Zarephath is the place where she lived, and to which Elijah went.  According to Strong’s it means “Refinery”; so there may have been some sort of oil refining going on in that location.  This widow woman, unnamed, has a young son she is providing for, and she is about to fix their last meal; and the LORD sends Elijah to her, and he presents her with a challenge,

“So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, ‘Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.’  And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, ‘Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.'” 1 Kings 17:10-11 (KJV)

Does Elijah know this woman is in dire straits?  He probably knows she is needy, that this woman needs some hope, and God sent him to help her.  Do you ever notice the circumstances God brings into our lives, good and bad, are often the means by which God shows Himself strong, and at work in His people’s lives?  This woman tells Elijah,

“As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”  verse 12

The economy stinks.  It has not rained in months, maybe a year or two, and this woman has great need.  Some would say; and I know they would because I have heard it; “How dare a man of God to ask a widow down to her last bit of food, feed him first”.  Who does this man think he is?  First of all he is a prophet of God.  Not the first one, or the last one, but he is one who is faithful to the LORD.  This widow was about to be blessed and provided for throughout the final months and days of the drought.  The prophet believed God would provide.

The prophet uses two of the greatest words you will find in Scripture to speak to the woman,

“And Elijah said unto her, ‘Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.  For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, ‘The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.’   And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.  And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.”  17:13-16

We are not told how Elijah knew to speak these words to the woman.  I think it could be possible that Elijah was walking with God, he knew the heart of God, and God knew Elijah’s heart, that anything Elijah would speak that glorified the LORD would come to pass.  No man walking with God will speak contrary to the will or glory of God.

Would to God that had that walk.  That is my prayer.  How about you?

Walking with God is possible only through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit who comes to live within is always with you, and leads you in your walk with God, to glorify Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Commanding the Ravens; Feeding the Prophet

When a prophet preaches the Word of God to his nation or to his church he must realize that word will affect his life too.  Elijah was certain to find this out shortly after he pronounces judgment by drought upon Israel, and king Ahab.

We also find that the LORD takes care of those He calls, and equips as well.  When Elijah told Ahab of the drought coming God already had a place for the prophet to go; to a brook; and there he would have water to drink and bathe, and God would send ravens with “bread and flesh” to eat in the morning and evening.

“And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, ‘Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.  And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.’  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.  And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.  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 (KJV)

For those who have a problem with the Sovereignty of God, and His directing the affairs of this world, we need to hear what the Word of God says here.  “I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there”.  The LORD has the perfect place already for the prophet.  The prophet must be obedient to the LORD’S leading and follow.

It does not occur to preachers some times, but what we preach affects us too.  Even if you are not a preacher, but are a follower of Jesus Christ the Word of God is for you too.  You can obey God and His Word; or you can be disobedient and completely miss God’s provision for your life.

God’s provisions are more bountiful and wonderful than anything our disobedience can give us.

Elijah did as God commanded went to Cherith, which flowed by the Jordan.  I cringe a little when I think of having ravens bring bread and flesh to eat.  However, what God provides He cleanses.  What He blesses is good to eat.

The LORD of creation still commands the birds of the air, the fish of the sea (think of Jonah here), the beast of the forest, the cattle in the fields and upon the Thousand Hills Ranch :).  He still blesses His preachers, prophets, and His people who will trust Him in drought and in flood.  He provides by His own hand.

Commanding ravens and feeding prophets is no problem for the one who is Lord of all.

Teach me LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

YAH is God

I have become fascinated with the prophet of Elijah in the past few years, and maybe so in the past few months.  He is known as the prophet of fire, and the reason for that title becomes apparent as you read the Scriptural accounts of his ministry and life.

The name Elijah means, “My God is Jehovah [YHWH]” or “YAH is God”,  and thus the title of this post.  I want to spend some time looking more into the life of Elijah who seems to just appear on the scene in the days of the rule of Ahab and Jezebel over Israel; the Northern kingdom.

“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 (KJV)

The above verse is the first mention of Elijah in the Bible, but certainly not the last.  According to my check, Elijah’s name is mentioned at least 108 more times through the New Testament with thirty in the New Testament.  Being a “Tishbite” and since it seems that no one knows the location of a city by this name, then maybe the Strong’s application may be of service to us,

“tishbı̂y  tish-bee’  Patrial from an unused name meaning recourse; a Tishbite or inhabitant of Tishbeh (in Gilead): – Tishbite.”

Notice the word “recourse”, and that could apply more to the person’s; the prophet in this case; interest and heart.  Recourse meaning,

“1: a turning to someone or something for assistance or protection: Resort  2: a source of aid.”  MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY

So could this not mean for us that Elijah was from Gilead, and had a burden for the children of Israel to turn to the One whom they were refusing for the protection and aid they really needed?  I think it is a great possibility.  The  prophet was a man who had a heart for God and for the Northern kingdom to turn to God.

Elijah told the king Ahab that there would be no rain, or dew until he called on the LORD God to give it.  We know from the epistle of James that was three and one half years without dew or rain (James 5:17).  Oh, how the people of God today need a heart like Elijah who will spend time with the LORD, know His heart, preach His Word, even to the kings of the earth; and tell them what God is about to do.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Life is Short

We hear of  people living to be 90 to 100+ years of age.  We marvel at reaching such ages.  We read, however, in the Scriptures of people living to be hundreds of years in age, then dying.

The Psalmist wrote,

“Behold, Thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before Thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.”  Psalm 39:5 (KJV)

And these are words that we know and hear.  Every human being knows that life is short, and many seek to live much longer.  We read in Psalm 90,

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is there strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (90:10)

The measure of a “handbreadth” is probably one of the shortest physical measures of man.  It is used to measure the height of a horse.  We are told that a horse is 14 hands high, and that means at the top of  their shoulder.  David says, “Life is short.” and it is.

A few years ago I was reading where the Psalmist had written, “So teach us to number our days…” and I began to think seriously about how old I was in days.  I did some calculations and came to a conclusion, and I still number my days.  To this day I am now 20,950 days old.  In days, at least to me, that does not seem so long.  I was just thinking if I had a dollar for every day, it would not equal a poverty level annual income.

Life is short.  So we best be sure that our lives are in connection with the LORD of Hosts through His Son Jesus.  The Psalmist has written the word “Selah” at the end of this verse.  I take that word to mean, “Pause and reflect” on what has just been said.  Life is short.  Let us reflect the image of God in a dark and dying world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Diminish Nary a Word

The prophecy of Jeremiah the prophet to Judah and Israel was a hard word to preach.  It was especially so for a man who loved his people, and his nation; however, it was the word of the LORD, and Jeremiah was going to proclaim it, and it would be better for the people to have listened.  It is still so in the 21st century among God’s people; good to listen to the Word of the LORD.
Just as the LORD told Jeremiah,

“Thus saith the LORD; ‘Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: if so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.”  Jeremiah 26:2-3 (KJV)

He was also to never cut short or lessen the words of promise given by the LORD.  This prophecy is full of promises from God as well as warnings.  There are so many who lessen the promises of God to Israel.  Make them only good for them as long as the nation believes like they think they ought to believe; lives as they think they ought to live.

Let us look at some of those promises.  My reading this morning took me from chapter 25 – 38.
The nation had forsaken the LORD and His Word refusing to hear the words of the prophets, including the warnings of Jeremiah; and they would suffer for it by going into Babylonian captivity, Jerusalem being burned to the ground, the temple being destroyed, and defiled.  It happened just as Jeremiah, by the Word of the LORD, said it would.

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, ‘that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.  And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.’” 31:27-28

Despite the fact that God was going to judge them, He wanted to assure them, that just as surely as He was going to tear down, He would also bring them back,and build them up again.  He goes on and says in verse 34, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Just how good, how strong, how enduring is the covenant of God with Israel/Judah?

“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: if those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the LORD, ‘then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.’  Thus saith the LORD; ‘If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done,’ saith the LORD.” 31:35-37

And the prophet by the Word of the LORD says again,

“And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,  ‘Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, My ministers.  As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister unto Me.” 33:19-22

Just as the Word of the LORD for punishment, chastisement cannot be diminished so too is it true of His promises.  Hear again,

“Thus saith the LORD; ‘If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.’” 33:25-26

The Word of the LORD is sure, it is true, it is eternal; and not one word shall be diminished.  The LORD will accomplish every word of it.  He will be glorified, and all the world shall know that He is GOD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Living LORD

I am looking at Psalm 18 this morning.  It is a Psalm which David wrote while fleeing from Saul the anointed king of Israel for the time.  Time after time God delivered David from the hands of his enemies, and Saul the king.  David never thought of king Saul as an enemy; even though the man sought many times to kill David himself.

In David we find the faith of a child.  The kind of faith our Lord Jesus speaks of,

“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me.  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  Matthew 18:3-6 (KJV)

In  the eighteenth Psalm David speaks much about the LORD, His way, His word, trusting Him, and in the verse for which the title comes he has written for all time and eternity;

“The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.”  Psalm 18:46

One of the things that strengthens faith is knowing that God is the living GOD.  All others are dead, buried, on display, and the imaginations of wicked hearts.  Our God lives, even though He was crucified, died, was buried; He rose again bodily from the grave, and is alive forevermore.

He is the Rock of Ages.  He is to be exalted.  He is to be worshipped.  He is the Living LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When a Peace Partner is not a Peace Partner

That is when there are the conditions placed that Abbas does toward Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Addressing the Tunisian parliament on Monday, and sounding a bit like a character out of the children’s series Pokemon, Abbas stated, “I choose you, Netanyahu.” [The speech was delivered in Arabic, so it only sounded cartoonish when translated to English.]
To ensure no one thought he had started to actually like or admire his Israeli counterpart, Abbas added, “You are the prime minister of Israel, and I am forced to work with you.”
But Abbas’ apparent sudden reversal came with some strings attached. Abbas insisted that for talks to resume, Netanyahu must abandon the idea that Jews can live in their biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, as well as in the eastern half of Jerusalem.
“You [Netanyahu] must also choose between settlements and peace, for those who want peace do not think of settlements,” said Abbas.”

When it comes to peace with Israel, how can you compromise on the promise of God?  God’s promises to Israel concerning the land in particular.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Peace Treaty with Israel Dead???

An article in Israel Today quotes a new Egyptian presidential candidate as saying,

“The Camp David agreements do not exist anymore. They are an historic document whose place is now on the shelf. The purpose of the agreement with Israel was to establish an independent Palestinian state.”

To that I say all nations will one day be at peace with Israel, and Jesus Christ will be King.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Happy Man

Happiness can be fleeting.  It is often measured by how well one’s life is going.  If one get’s a surprise check or an unexpected amount of cash in the mail, or slid under the door, or show up in the car, or win the lottery; then, one can be very happy.

Happiness defined by the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Dictionary means,

“1: a state of well being and contentment; also : a pleasurable satisfaction 2: aptness”

There is a “Happiness” gained by being godly.  There has been much written on the Psalms and the First Psalm is no different.  The word in the Bible for Happiness is “Blessed”, though the word means so much more than the definition of happiness in the above mentioned dictionary.

The First Psalm begins,

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”  Psalm 1:1 (KJV)

Jesus Christ begins the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes with the word “Blessed”.  There are also seven “Blesseds” in the Revelation.  If you would like you may click on the link and read more about the Lord’s happiness that He gives.

The man is happiest when he is walking with the Lord in His Word, doing His will, going His way, and worshipping and praising only the great and mighty God who has made all things, and mankind in His own image.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:3 (KJV)

The individual is haughty and proud is not an individual who fits our Lord’s description of “Happiness”.  The “Blessedness” of the Lord is enduring.  The happiness of the world is fleeting, and dependent upon circumstances.  When you walk in the happiness of the Lord, you walk in the light of the Lord.

Have a blessed day.

-Tim A. Blankenship