Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 5

Wally Fry continues the study on Elijah and prayer.

Truth in Palmyra

Where were we? Oh yes, the young son of the widow woman Elijah has been living with has suddenly died. This was very unfortunate, and probably quite shocking to the two of them. It almost seems absurd to our minds that God would let something like this happen after supernaturally providing for them for such a long time? Why? Why? Why? Well, before we move in, I want to restate a great comment that was made about this previously, Ben over at Another Red Letter Day had the following to say:

Sometimes we ask why things happened, rather than looking at what God can do in our circumstances. Our Lord who makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes told the disciples they were asking the wrong question in John 9. I love how the Message Bible puts…

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Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 4

Truth in Palmyra

1 Kings 17:17,18

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. 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?

 This may very be a real “Say what?” moment. Things have been tough on both Elijah the Prophet and the widow woman he has been living with. Elijah has spent a year camped out by a brook, alone save for a providing bird. The woman had been living alone with her son, watching the land grow dry and her food run out. Then Elijah had come along and things may have seemed to be looking up.

The woman’s son…

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Elijah-How One Man Made a Difference-Part 3

Thank you Wally for sharing this with us. Good reading, great and powerful words and thoughts.

Truth in Palmyra

1 Kings 17:10-12

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. And she said, 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.

As we have covered, Elijah’s brook had dried up. The Lord had been taking care of…

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Always, Up to Date

“For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.” 2 Kings 18:6 (KJB)

Old, outdated, and antiquated are words we might hear from some older people about the Bible.  We would probably hear it more from the mouths of the young, liberally “educated” college student.

The kings of Judah and Israel before Hezekiah were probably thinking they needed to be more “Up to date”, and trying to fit in with nations around them.  After all the Law of Moses, and the commandments were hundreds of years old.  They were written for the wilderness wanderers.  What does that word have to do with me today; or the people I lead?

Israel had fallen. They had been taken captive into Assyria.  It was because they had forsaken GOD, and His commandments (18:11-12).  So how does this coincide with people of 2018, and days and years to come?

My answer to that is this:  If it was good enough for Moses, Joshua, and Hezekiah; Hezekiah after hundreds of year; then it is good enough for me.  Let me get one thing straight though.  It is certain that not one of us can be saved by keeping of the Law of God.  The Law was given to show us our weaknesses.  It is solely by the grace of God that we can be in the presence of God, approaching His throne, and truly worshiping Him.

The word of God, the Law of God is as up to date as next weeks Newspaper, television News broadcast, and it is as up to date as next years Person of the Year publication of Time Magazine. The word of God is still like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).

For Hezekiah, king of Judah loving GOD, and keeping His commandments was not a duty.  He loved GOD, he loved GOD’S word, and he lived accordingly.  Was Hezekiah perfect?  No!  He too was dependent upon the grace of GOD.

The full grace of GOD was displayed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross hundreds of years later (over 600 years), and Jesus was buried, and He rose from the grave.  It may have been around 2000 plus years ago; but He is still the only One who can save.

Old, Outdated, Antiquated?  Maybe we are the ones who have been outdated…  Something to think about.

Speak the Truth

“And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.” 1 Kings 22:14 (KJB)

The king of Judah, the southern kingdom; and the king of Israel, the northern kingdom were joining together to fight a common enemy who was Syria.  Jehoshaphat the southern king went to visit Ahab.  The characters and hearts of these two kings were completely opposed to the other.  Jehoshaphat was  a king who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD (22:42-43).  Ahab was so wicked he sold himself to do wickedness against the LORD (21:20, 25).

Micaiah, whose name means “Who is like the LORD?” is the same as that of Micah, the name of the prophet Micah of the Minor Prophets of the Bible.  I do not think they are one and the same.  Micaiah was a captive of king Ahab.  Ahab hated Micaiah, because he never spoke favorably to what Ahab desired.  He spoke what God said.

In this cooperative effort Jehoshaphat wants to hear what God says about going to battle against  Syria.  Four hundred prophets; and I would put a question mark around the word “Prophets” in that statement.  They only spoke what this king wanted to hear.  Jehoshaphat realizing that calls for a different prophet.  Micaiah is called, told to speak what the others have spoken, and he says the words of the verse above.

O how we need those who stand in pulpits today to speak the word of God, rather than the words of men.  We are told by Paul the apostle to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:14-15).  Ahab did not care for the truth.  Notice his words when Micaiah uses sarcasm to him what he wants to hear, “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?” (22:16)

The Christian pastor, preacher, deacon, Bible study teacher, bus driver, etc. needs the resolve, and to resolve to speak the word of God which is truth.  It is the only truth worth speaking.  Do not add to it.  Do not take away from it.

The Truth of God is powerful to change lives.  It is powerful to change your life.  Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the Living Truth (J0hn 14:6).  He is alive and well. He loves you so much that He went willingly to an old rugged cross, laid down His life, died, was buried, and He rose again declaring the victory over sin and death.  That is the Truth.

Resolve today to receive the truth, live the truth, and speak the truth in love for Christ.

The Certainty of GOD’S Word

“For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.” 1 Kings 13:32 (KJB)

To get a better understanding of these events I would recommend reading chapters 11 – 13 of 1 Kings. Especially pay attention to the thirteenth chapter.

Because of King Solomon’s departure from the worship of GOD alone, and his love for his wives, and women, the kingdom is taken from him when his son Rehoboam is crowned king.  A man by the name of Jereboam is God’s chosen king for the Northern kingdom of Israel, which is also called Samaria, Ephraim, and Israel.  Samaria is made up of ten tribes, and Judah is of the tribe of Judah mostly, and Judah is faithful to the dynasty of David.

Jereboam rebels against God’s word, and sets up idols at Dan and Bethel, golden calves actually, which is actually an affront to GOD [Jehovah/YHWH].

An unnamed prophet comes on the scene while Jereboam is worshiping at Bethel, and speaks the word of the LORD. As a sign he has said that the altar will split in  half, and the ashes be spilled on the ground, and it happens, seemingly under the very nose of Jereboam.  He is angry at the prophet, and while pointing to the prophet to have him seized, his arm turns to mush (dries up), then the sign was fulfilled.

What is so special about this story?  It is truly one of the unique stories of the Bible; and it teaches us a great lesson of faith, and hearing the word of the LORD ourselves, and testing all who claim to speak the word of the LORD.

In the above text of 1 Kings 13:32 we find the old lying prophet certain that the words of the prophet from Judah will be fulfilled.  Just as that altar was split, the ashes spilled onto the ground, they were fulfilled just as the prophet said by the word of the LORD.

There are many people today looking for something sure, solid, and strong.  Many are looking at other things other than to GOD and His word, and His Son.  Look no further than the word of God.  It is certain, sure, solid, and strong.  God is faithful.  He will not leave anything undone which He has spoken.

He has sent us His Son to die for us.  His name if Jesus.  He died on that old rugged cross, was buried, and He rose from the grave and forever lives.  Because He lives those who call on His name in repentance will live eternally with Him.  Call on His name.

That the World Will Know

“That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” 1 Kings 8:60  (KJB)

King Solomon had just ended a prayer during the dedication of the temple. During this dedication he now speaks to the people, and informs them that through these things which he mentioned in prayer the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God…  What are those things by which they may know?  It has to do with the way God loves His people:

  1. He chastises or disciplines His people when they sin;
  2. He hears and answers their prayers when they pray;
  3. He forgives their sins and delivers them out of their troubles;
  4. He keeps them in His hand, and protects them in their enjoying their blessings;
  5. He always reminds them, lets them know that there is no other God; all the others are powerless and false.

Now the question could come to us who are Christians, “How can all the people of the earth know that the LORD is God through us?”  We know and love Jesus, yet, the above things are for you and me as well.

It does say in the book of Hebrews chapter 12…

“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:8

Just wanted to remind you that no Christian can sin without consequences. We still are disciplined for our sin.

Let us let the world know of God’s holiness, righteousness, love, mercy, and grace. The cross of Jesus is where all of these were put on display by holy God.  Let the world know.

A Tall Order

Shiloah Baptist Church

The Scripture reading for today is 1 Kings 4 – 6…

“And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, ‘Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute My judgments, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I perform My word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.'” 1 Kings 6:11-13 (KJB)

In our text Solomon and the people were in a large building campaign of building the Temple which had been in King David’s heart to build.  It was not a commandment from God. You see nowhere where David or Solomon are given the design of it from God.  It was David’s design.  God allows its building because it was in David’s heart to always honor the LORD in…

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The Approaching Enemy

Are you fearful?  Does it seem as though the enemy is coming in around you? Do you feel surrounded by your troubles, trials, and fears?

Sometimes we all have them, and we deal with them the best way we know how, but often, the last thing we do is seek the Lord.  We need to remember, always, that He is not a spare tire, which we only use when we need it.

There was a prophet in the land of Israel who was in touch with God.  He even told the king of Israel where the Syrian [enemy] camp was located, and they would defeat the Syrians.  The Syrian king gave orders to find Elisha, but the prophet was not fearful; however the young servant of Elisha was afraid.  Hear the words of Elisha to the young man…

“And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.’ 2 Kings 6:16-17

Fear is an often mentioned topic in Scripture. I have heard said, that the phrase “Fear not” or “Be not afraid” or other similar ones are used 365 times from Genesis through the Revelation.  If so that would be one for each day of the year.

The story of Elisha and his servant is a marvelous one.  It is an encouraging event in Biblical history which has fascinated me, and others for many centuries, and millennial.   In the servants fear God opened the man’s eyes so that he could see that God was with them.

The child of God need never wonder in doubt about the presence of God.  God sent His Son Jesus.  He is called Emmanuel meaning “God with us”, and this One went to the cross as the atonement for the sins of mankind; so that we might always be in the presence of God.

Are you fearful today?  Look into God’s word.  Believe God and His word.  Trust His Son Jesus for salvation.  Turn from your sin to Him.  He is with you.

In looking at this event I thought of the Proverb which says…

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”  Proverbs 16:7

Please the LORD by coming to His Son Jesus.  He is the Son of God, God the Son.

Troubler of the Land

Are there any people or any one person who is the problem when a country, or land is troubled, and plagued by drought, famine, hunger, poverty, or disasters?  Do these things just kind of happen?  I think there are a lot of things we need to consider.  One is, does that nation or people group call themselves a people of God? Do they claim to live by the laws of God?  In the case of which we look at today the answer to those last two  questions is “Yes!”

Let us hear from God’s word…

“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. 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.”  1 Kings 18:17-20 (KJV)

Because of the godlessness of Ahab and Jezebel, and their leading the northern kingdom of Israel into rebellion against the LORD God, Elijah had prayed for a period of no rain.  It was a 3.5 year period without rain.

That poses the question; “Who is really a troubler of a land or country?”  The answer to that question with a Biblical answer is the one or one’s who depart from God’s law and His word.

Elijah was accused by the king of being the troubler, but Elijah turned that back around telling the king, “…You and your father’s house have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and have followed Baalim”.  They departed from the living God, to follow a fake God, who had no power, no life, nothing to give, but destruction.

Who troubled Israel?  The one’s who departed from the word and law of God.  Who troubles our land?  The one’s who have departed from the word of God, and the law of God fulfilled in His Son Jesus Christ.

Let us return to the LORD our God with all our  heart.

Loving the King

“And David was then in the hold, and the Philistines’ garrison was then at Bethlehem. And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate! And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD, and said, My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? For with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mightiest.” 1 Chronicles 11:16-19 (KJV)

This is an historical account of the events of 2 Samuel 23:15-17. It is written following the returning of the Babylonian exiles some 430 plus years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

What would you do for love of the king? These three mighty men of David heard his desire for a drink of the cool, fresh water from the well of Bethlehem; and they broke through enemy lines; risking their lives; to get king David a drink of it.

For the Christian; we have no king but King Jesus. He is the Son of God, and God the Son. He is the Redeemer of all men. He gave His life for all upon the cruel, rugged cross of calvary. He gave His life that we might live. Yet, He rose again, and came out of that grave three days later victorious over sin and death, hell and the grave; and He lives forever. He will save all who will call upon His name. He saves from sin’s condemnation, death, hell, shame.

What would you do now; for love of the King?

The Surrender

“And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you.” 2 Kings 25:24 (KJV)

Surrender is never a pleasant topic; especially for those with strong personalities, and stubborn hearts.

The prophet Jeremiah had told the people of Judah to surrender to Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar, because he was going to come and capture the people, take the articles from the temple, and leave it in ruins (Jeremiah 27:12ff). Now it had occurred and a governor of Judea had been appointed. Gedaliah (Jehovah is great) was speaking words of encouragement to some people who had came to him seeking advice.

Surrendering to the enemy is not easy. Surrendering to God is often not easy, because we have our own ideas; our own way; and God’s way is not always what we desire at the start. The question is: Do we want God as our enemy? That is what we make Him when we say no to His plan, His way

In the end; this is not so much surrender to Nebuchadnezzar as it is surrender to GOD.

“Fear not” God will have His way with our enemy, and He will have His way in your life and mine.

Enquire of the LORD

“Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.” 2 Kings 22:13 (KJV)

The words of God’s book is the word of God. The most important book ever penned down by the hands of men; and sadly it is the most rejected book. Though it was written down by the hands of men the word of God is the verbally inspired, inerrant, and infallible word.

Josiah, the youngest king of Judah to begin ruling, saw the importance of the word of God. It is said of Josiah that “he did right in the sight of the LORD”; and that was due to his reverence, trust, and faith in God and His word.

Upon hearing the word of God Josiah took action. It would have first been upon his own heart and life. The first place of action for us today is to hear the word of God; then to act upon it.

We are sinners according to the word of God (Romans 3:23), and we need a Saviour if we are to be in fellowship with God, and that is Jesus Christ Son of God, and God the Son.

Turn to God, to His word, and to His Son.

Praying for Help

“Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech Thee, save Thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the LORD God, even Thou only.” 2 Kings 19:19 (KJV)

The king of Assyria had sent Rabshakeh his commander of the Assyrian army to threaten, to defame, to despise, to show contempt for Judah, her king, and her God.

Being the man of God king Hezekiah was he went to God in prayer, laid the letter of mockery out before the LORD and prayed.

An ongoing theme through out all of the Old Testament, is “Know that the LORD is God” or that “GOD is the Lord”. That phrase can be found at least 63 times in the prophecy of Ezekiel. Here it is again in the prayer of Hezekiah.

The LORD God is our only help.  He alone will hear prayer.  We access His throne only through the sacrifice of His Son.

Since it is so readily mentioned throughout Scripture, then, we should get the strong impression that the world needs to know that the He is “the LORD God”, and that there is no other; and that He is known solely through His only offering for sin. That is His Son Jesus Christ.

Putting Away Evil

“He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan. He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses. And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.” 2 Kings 18:4-7 (KJV)

Hezekiah, a king that did right in the sight of the LORD (v. 3). He was the son of an ungodly king (Ahaz), and “did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD” (16:2).

Hezekiah loved God, the LORD with all that he had. He even destroyed an article which Moses had made in the wilderness – the brazen serpent (Numbers 21:4-9). He called it “Nehushtan” believed to mean “that bronze thing”. The people of Judah had gone to worshipping it making an idol of it, even burning incense to it. It is believed that they may have taken on the Canaanite demonism of believing that serpents were fertility symbols.

A symbol that had been lifted up in the wilderness portraying sin being put to death on a tree (John 3:14-15); and looking to it to live; made a source of grief to a godly king.

Evil in any form should be scorned, despised and held in contempt by any child of God. It is evil to worship any God, but Jehovah. He is worshipped solely though the death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God, God the Son Jesus Christ.

As Hezekiah “clave to the LORD”; so too must we who are called Christian. To be Christian is to be “Christ like” or “Like Christ”; and He hated evil. He hated it so much He went to the cross in our place and took the punishment for our sin; even becoming sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21); and taking the wrath of the Father in our place.

Believe Him today, and be saved for eternity.

Right and Wrong

“In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah to reign. Sixteen years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned two and fifty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done; save that the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burnt incense still on the high places.” 2 Kings 15:1-4 (KJV)
Of Menahem king of Israel “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” 2 Kings 15:24

In reading the history of the kings of Judah and Israel you will notice phrases “…he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD…” or “…he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD…”

In our day it seems the terms “Right” and “Evil” need to be defined. Right is what GOD says is right. Evil is what GOD says is evil. Right is good. Evil is bad, or wrong. If anyone stands against what God, the LORD says is right you stand against God and right. There is no redefining it. It is absolute. As God never changes; neither does His Word.

Just for note and study Azariah is also known as Uzziah. Uzziah was not perfect for he tried to usurp the office of the priests, and that is why verse 5 tells us that he had leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:16-21). His son Jotham aided him in the rule of Judah.

Stand on the side of God and His Word. You will be noted for doing what is right in the sight of the LORD. That does only come through the One who was right in all that He did, as He was obedient to the Father even unto death; even the death of the cross. His name is Jesus. Believe Him. Place your whole life, heart and being in His hands.

Bone of Life

“And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.” 2 Kings 13:20-21 (KJV)

Elisha’s death was not a good thing for Israel. It spoke of their death, their future captivity. Just as Elijah was honored after his departure, and during his departure (2 Kings 2:11); so too was Elisha honored following his death.

In Elisha’s life and ministry there had been resurrections (2 Kings 4:31-37), and other great miracles (chapter 5 Naaman is healed of leprosy).

Here is a man being buried by his family possibly. The Moabite invaders are coming suddenly, and in haste they put the body of the man in an already prepared tomb; which is the tomb of Elisha. They get more than they expect, and as the body of the dead man touches the bones of Elisha; showing all that there is life after death; the man is resurrected.

This power shows us that Elisha is still living. It shows us that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Mark 12:26-27).

Jesus the living Son of God, and God the Son came out alive after 3 days in the tomb. He Himself is the giver of life. Believe Him to be delivered from death; and to live eternally with Him.

The LORD Has Done that Which He Spoke

“And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king’s sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning. And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye be righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these? Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done that which He spake by His servant Elijah.” 2 Kings 10:8-10 (KJV)

The purpose of Scripture is to glorify the LORD God. Through Scripture we see God’s working through the people He chooses, and loves, and through those who hate Him too.

Through Jehu the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah the prophet was fulfilled just as the prophet had spoken (1 Kings 21:17-29). God will never leave undone any word that He has ever spoken. He shall bring it to pass.

The self-righteous among us will declare that this judgment is horrible. How can a god like this be a god of love? If God does not judge evil, how could He be a God of love? Would be a more viable question in my thinking.

Some of the self-righteous thinking people may even think, “The god of the Old Testament is different from the god of the New Testament.” Not so. Look how God dealt with sin in the New Testament. He gave His own and only Son to die for our sins; and He is the One who slew Him. “God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” “Smitten of God and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:5-6). And Jesus Himself as He was dying for our sins cried out, “My God, My God why have you forsaken Me.” (Matthew 27:46)

Who are we; finite beings; that we should or could question, or accuse the Infinite GOD?

GOD will fulfill every word. Not one word will fall to the earth, or return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).

Open His Eyes That He May See

“And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:15-18 (KJV)

Any time the king of Syria made a move against Israel the plot was spoiled. He believed, at first, that there could be a traitor in their midst. It was revealed to the king that the prophet Elisha was the spoiler of their plot; and sent soldiers to catch the prophet and bring him in.

In Dothan the servant of Elisha sees the army, sent to fetch one man; and becomes frightened asking Elisha, “How [What] shall we do?” Elisha answers, “Fear not…” and explains, “they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

Elisha was seeing a far greater host surrounding themselves, and the Syrian soldiers. It was a heavenly host of angels with horses and chariots of fire. Elisha prayed for his servants eyes to be opened that he might see; then prayed to blind the eyes of the Syrians; and the LORD did according to the word of Elisha.

God’s protection for His people is beyond any protection we can provide for ourselves. When we walk in the power and fear of God; there is nothing else we need to fear.

Open our eyes Lord, that we might see and know that YOU are with us.

For Thus Saith the LORD

“And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat. And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD.” 2 Kings 4:42-44 (KJV)

Time after time God authenticates the work and ministry of Elisha. It is authenticated by his speaking the word of the LORD, and it comes to pass, just as God has said.

The above verses show a similar work to that of the Messiah in Matthew 14:15-21 where Jesus feeds 5,000 men with 5 loaves and two fish; and Matthew 15:32-38 where He feeds 4,000 men with 7 loaves and a few fish.

I also think of the apostle Paul’s words,

“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Your greatest need is to know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour and to be known by Him.

The power, the mercy, grace and love of God is amazing and powerful.

The Peril of Mocking God

“And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.” 2 Kings 2:23-24 (KJV)

Elisha, like Elijah whom had just been caught up to God in a whirlwind (2:11) was a prophet to the northern kingdom. Israel was an idolatrous people. They hated God, and the “old ways”. They had been led in this way by godless leadership. Because of this the children grew up mocking God, God’s word, and God’s messengers [prophets].

It is believed that the “children” mentioned in the text were most likely in their teen years. They were old enough to be apart from their parents, and any form of guardianship to be where they were. We also need to realize there were probably at least 50 of them. Today (2015), we would call them a “Gang”, and evidently an unruly one; so for anyone to start blaming God, His prophet or whatever you like would be foolish.

These people were mocking God, God’s prophet and His word. They were an immediate threat to the prophet. To blame God, or Elisha for this tragedy is indeed foolish. The blame lies with the children/youth, their parents and the culture in which they lived.

In the New Testament it is written;

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galations 6:7

There is judgment for mocking God, His word, and His messengers.

For Sale: One Soul

“And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.” 1 Kings 21:20 (KJV)

The confrontation of Ahab by God’s prophet Elijah was following one of the most horrendous acts of murder and treachery in history and Scripture. With the direct scheming, plotting, and lies of Jezebel; to which Ahab was complicit; to murder, and rob citizen Naboth the Jezreelite, of his vineyard.

Note that Ahab considers Elijah an enemy. That in itself speaks volumes of Ahab’s heart. King David; even following his heinous acts of deceit and the murder of Uriah; welcomed the prophet Nathan into his courts (2 Samuel 12:1-14). Anyone who speaks the word of God should be our friend.

How does one begin to sell themselves? The selling of oneself to evil or good is up to that individual. To sell oneself to evil begins with the lust of the eye; the lust of the flesh; and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Jesus Himself was tempted in these three things; from which all sin comes; when He went into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)

All it takes to sell yourself to evil is to see God and His word as antiquated, and without merit in the world; or personal life and living. To see God as a liar; or even non-existent; and to make your own deities.

Hear the words of Jesus,

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37

Sell yourself rather to the Lord Jesus Christ. He has paid for you with His own life.  Call upon His name, trusting in His death, burial and resurrection, and He will deliver you from your sin and condemnation.

Stand for Righteousness

“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 Nation was under the rule of a godless king, who was ruled by a demonic, and godless woman. God would show Himself strong and reveal Himself; but who would be the man who would stand before this godlessness?

How would the man of God stand? Upon what would he stand? First of all he would confront the king. Secondly he would stand upon the word of God; and take the message of God to this ruthless, evil ruler.

Christian there is no other thing for us to stand upon with a sure and strong foundation than the commandments, the statutes, the law, the judgments, the precepts, the testimonies, and the way of God. When we begin to rob the power of the word of God, by putting it below technology, science, finance, homes or family; then we have a major problem. Society weakens, culture worsens, and evil flourishes.

Stand of the word of God; begin by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ who bled and died for your sins; and was raised again bodily from the grave. He is returning to earth one day to put away sin forever.

You Can Build on the Word of God

“In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.” 1 Kings 16:34 (KJV)

The above verse takes place during the reign of Ahab over the northern kingdom of Israel. There is much evil. Ahab “did evil above all that were before him” (v. 30). Sacrifices of children were welcomed under his reign, and his marriage to Jezebel was in outright defiance to Jehovah, and His word.

Joshua had put a curse on the rebuilding of Jericho; that is the setting up of a fortress such as it was when the walls came down by the power of God. The Word of God declare…

“And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.” Joshua 6:26

Some have said that Hiel sacrificed his sons because that was an evil time for accepting such things. Yet, whether it was an intentional sacrifice or just out and out defiance of Joshua’s curse Hiel’s sons died in the rebuilding of Jericho.

The point of the verse, and what I want you to see is that God fulfills His word. Not one word will be diminished. Not one word will fail. You can trust the word of God.

Jesus said,

“Whosoever cometh to Me, and heareth My sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” Luke 6:47-48

and the apostle Paul wrote,

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11

There is only one sure foundation, and that is Christ Jesus.  All the others lead to death, and destruction.  Believe Jesus and live.  You can build with assurance on the Word of God.

God Does Not Lie

“He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.” 1 Kings 13:18 (KJV)

The North and South has divided into two kingdoms. Judah is ruled by Rehoboam, a son of Solomon. Jeroboam rules the northern kingdom called Israel; and has led Israel into idolatry, even to the worship of calves set up in Bethel and Dan.

There are two unnamed prophets in this text. One has come with the word of God to Jeroboam of his fall, and as a sign the altar was torn, and the ashes on it spilled onto the ground, just as the man of God had said.

The man of God had been given a direct commandment from God to turn and go home without eating or drinking, and to go home a different way than that which he came.

The prophet of our verse above had heard of the prophet from his sons who were present at the altar when it was torn, and went to him with a lie.

As I read this today I was reminded of the apostle Paul’s words to the Galations,

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Galations 1:6-9

One way to discern what is from God; He never changes His word. God’s Word is stable, steadfast, and sure.  Men lie. God does not.

In the Sight of God

“And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.” 1 Kings 11:6 (KJV)

The wisest, and the wealthiest of all kings among men “did evil in the sight of the LORD”. He was noted by men, as being a good king, even by the Queen of Sheba.

The LORD had promised Solomon a kingdom continuing (9:1-9), yet the king violated the commands and word of God; thus it was taken from him and given to another.

Evil in the day of 2015 is much defined by the world outside of the Word of God. Evil has become good; and good is now evil (Isaiah 5:20). It is more so in the United States of America than any other nation; I have heard. We have “Political Correctness” to deal with.

It is no longer evil to practice sodomy; but is acceptable by many to marry same sex individuals. God still calls it an abomination. It is evil to say it is an abomination. Not according to God and His word though – It is still an abomination for man to lie with man, or woman to lie with woman in immorality (Romans 1:18-32).

According to PC people a Christian cannot live their own lives in their personal businesses, by their faith; and it is evil by them to speak of Jesus and the cross, except in places of worship, maybe.

“In the sight of the LORD” is the key. People may read the chapters of today, and see that Solomon married many wives, for political causes, and even though it was against God’s commands they will commend him for it. In the sight of the LORD it is evil. He violated the word and will of God. Also note 1 Kings 11:29-39.

We as Christians are to judge sin by what God calls sin. It matters not what the world says of us. We are told, “Judge not lest you be judged”. Guess what; we are already judged, and by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are found “Not Guilty”. We still need daily washing, cleansing and forgiveness (1 John 1:9).

What God says is evil, or an abomination, or sin; it still is.  It does not matter where the PC Police, politicians, president, or kings may stand; what counts in the end is what God has said, and continues to say.  I stand with God and His Word.

People of the Earth… Know that the LORD is God

“And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant. The LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers: let Him not leave us, nor forsake us: that He may incline our hearts unto Him, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and His statutes, and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that He maintain the cause of His servant, and the cause of His people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: that all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes, and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:54-61 (KJV)

Prayer was given by Solomon in veres 15-53, a prayer of dedication for the Temple. The above verses are a blessing on the people, and what is required of them.

The ultimate responsibility of the people of God, Israel, is found in verse 6o “….That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.”  That is the desire of God through the cross of Jesus Christ and through those who are Christians; through the Church, the Body of Christ on earth.

The Christian’s life lived is to show forth to the world that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. We do that through the Spirit of Christ Jesus who is in us. Our lives are to be a continuing, growing testimony of the glory and power of God. Is it?

When the Church ceases to fear God; we cease to fear sin.  When we have ceased to fear sin, then we have adopted the gods of the world around us, and there is no differentiation between the two. Then, the people of the earth have no motivation to fear God, or to know Him.

Word Performance

“And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute My judgments, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I perform My word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel. So Solomon built the house, and finished it.” 1 Kings 6:11-14 (KJV)

The LORD will perform His Word.  Not one jot or tittle shall pass away (Matthew 5:18) till all shall be fulfilled.

Just as Solomon needed the assurance of the LORD, and to be reminded of his calling, and responsibility; so too does the child of God, who has been cleansed by the blood of the crucified, buried and risen Jesus Christ; today.

The Anointed King

“And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king. The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon. Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.” 1Kings 1:32-35 (KJV)

The kingdom of David was fairly well at peace, until the king committed adultery with Bathsheba, and murdered Uriah. Following that tragedy in the life of David his judgment was continuing conflict within his own family.

Adonijah, a son of David, tries to set himself up as king (1 Kings 1:5); and Nathan the prophet comes to Bathsheba to warn her. It has already been stated that God loved Solomon (2 Samuel 12:24), and has been promised the kingdom.

Notice how David sends Solomon out declaring him king, rather than Adonijah; “…Cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule…” Absalom was not the new king of Israel; he was dead. Adonijah was not the new king of Israel; he is too full of himself.

Just as the first two kings were anointed by a prophet and a priest; so too is Solomon. The new king, anointed by God was Solomon. This is the family dynasty of kings into which Jesus the King of all kings has been born; and He ever lives.  Jesus Christ will reign forever.

Trust Jesus the Christ, Son of God and God the Son King in your life.

Chariot of Fire

This will be my final study in the life of Elijah; Prophet of fire.  It almost seems that this great prophet of God has arisen by the hand of God, the calling of God; out of the ranks of the unknown of people.  Now every Jewish, and Christian individual who knows the Old Testament or the New Testament has heard of Elijah.

He has challenged the prophets of Baal; liars, deceivers, cheats and thieves; leading the people of Israel away from YHWH, and toward destruction.  Of course, if people are deceived, it is usually by their own choosing, and willingness to follow what they want and choose to hear.

Ahab practically called Elijah the “Troubler of Israel” (1 Kings 18:17-18), when was the weak, spineless, spiritually bankrupt king of Israel who was troubling Israel; as Elijah said it.

Now, I want us to turn our attention toward the final day in the life of this prophet of fire.  It is no wonder to call him that.  It was a challenge of fire that Elijah challenged the prophets of the false gods.  It was with fire that God heard Elijah’s prayer, and answered by fire; and as we shall see Elijah was called into the presence of the LORD by fire.  WOW!

And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.  And Elijah said unto Elisha, ‘Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel.’ And Elisha said unto him, ‘As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.’ So they went down to Bethel.  And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, ‘Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day?’ And he said, ‘Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.’  And Elijah said unto him, ‘Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho.’ And he said, ‘As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.’ So they came to Jericho.  And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, ‘Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day?’  And he answered, ‘Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.’  And Elijah said unto him, ‘Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan.’  And he said, ‘As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.’  And they two went on.  And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.  And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, ‘Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee.’  And Elisha said, ‘I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.’  And he said, ‘Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.’  And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.  And Elisha saw it, and he cried, ‘My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.’  And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; and he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, ‘Where is the LORD God of Elijah?’ and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.  And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, ‘The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.’ And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.”  2 Kings 2:1-15 (KJV)

Our view of Scripture from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22 will help us determine a Biblical understanding of what happened to Elijah.  If we do not believe the Genesis account of Scripture and merely give it a nod as Scripture, but leaves much unsaid, then we may do the same with the rest of Scripture.  Merely giving it a nod without viewing it as without error and God-breathed we could explain all of Scriptural miracles as myth, allegory, or just a fine story.

However, if we acknowledge the truth of Genesis 1 through 11, and Genesis 12 through Revelation 22 as well, then we must see the previous miraculous events as well as that of Elijah’s being caught up in the chariot of fire as actual events, which happened just as God describes them in His Word.

Elijah has obeyed the LORD, by anointing a new king for Israel, and by anointing the new prophet in his stead (Elisha), following his run-in with Jezebel.  We are not told how much time as elapsed between these two events – the challenge to the prophets of Baal, and the chariot of fire.  However, it has been enough time for Elijah to give Elisha some training, and prepare him for his own journey with the LORD.

Let us take a few moments and think about this Chariot of Fire.

First of all it was the means by which God took Elijah out of this world.  Second, it was the means by which Elisha was initiated into the prophets ministry, and prepared him for a life of faith.  Third, it put the other prophets on notice that Elisha had the Spirit which was upon Elijah upon him.

This was an expected event.  Elijah knew the event was about to happen; Elisha knew the event was about to happen; and the other prophets were were watching knew it was going to happen.  They asked Elisha, “Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head today?”  They asked him two times.  Elisha wanted to be there when it happened.  I say, “Who would not have wanted to be with him?”

Was Elijah’s being taken a punishment for his run from Jezebel?  In no way.  It was more a reward for his faithful service.  Now he would be in the presence of the Lord, and without having experienced death.  We can be fairly well assured that Elijah’s body was changed in the process of this great event.

There is coming a great event for the faithful Christian.  A day when our bodies will be changed “In a moment; in the twinkling of an eye…We shall be changed.”  Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.

Jesus was raised to life following the crucifixion, and burial with a new body, and forty days later ascended up into heaven to be forever with His Father.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and your house, and you will be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Elijah and Elisha

It has been several weeks since posting anything on Elijah.  I will finish up with this post and one more following.

As you recall the ministry of Elijah was as a prophet of fire.  It seems that the fire of the LORD was upon his life.  He heard God.  He spoke what God commanded him to speak; without fear or favor; and was not intimidated by kings or princes.  You might say he was a bit intimidated by an evil queen; shown by his running for his life, rather than by confronting her.

After Elijah ran from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:1-3) he is told by God to anoint Hazel king over Syria, and Jehu king of Israel; and lastly to anoint Elisha prophet “…In  thy room.”   Meaning of course; to take the place of Elijah.  The ministry of Elijah may have been cut short due to his fear and running from the evil queen.

Let’s look a little at the man whom Elijah anointed in his stead.  Elisha was plowing with a dozen yoke of oxen.  He was probably in charge of his father’s field; and himself had command over one yoke in particular; but was the leader of 11 [eleven] other yoke.  There was a total of 24 head of oxen, and at least twelve men, including Elisha.  It is quite clear that Elisha was a farmer and evidently a fairly well to do one at that with twelve yoke of oxen; and hired servants.

“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.  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 19:19-21 (KJV)

First of all Elijah would have known that his ministry was nearing an end.  Second, he would have known that the word of God would continue to be proclaimed.  Third, this was probably God’s way of showing Elijah that he was not the only one who could or would preach the word.

Notice some things about Elisha.  First of all he was busy doing the work of his life’s training – he was busy at laboring.  Secondly, he recognized the messenger of God’s word and was willing to leave all for God’s sake and for God’s glory.  Third,  he was showing responsibility in “burning the bridges” behind him to show his commitment to the service of Elijah and the LORD.  In the sacrifice of the oxen, he committed himself to the LORD’s work, and following the life of the  prophet of God.  In short Elisha did what needed to be done, and he did it with the haste that was necessary.

May the God of all glory and power get the Christian of the 21st century to be committed to serve the LORD with such devotion and diligence.

-Tim A Blankenship

Ahab’s Unbelief

In 1886 a man was born who would become a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and preached a sermon, which is one of the best known sermons of all time.  The sermon is titled “Payday Someday”; and the preacher is Robert Greene Lee.

Payday Someday is a narrative sermon dealing with the event of Naboth’s vineyard, and the wicked, sinful, murderous actions of a king and queen of Israel; and their peril.  The sermon is in print, and it would be a good read.  I hope those who read this will be motivated to read R. G. Lee’s work.

Ahab has been given ample opportunity to trust the LORD, believe Him and live a life that will glorify the LORD; but instead he has a greedy, murderous heart which brings himself to eternal peril, and the fires of hell.

In 1 Kings 20 we see that Ahab is given a chance by the king of Syria to avoid battle; and that is by surrender to him.

“And Benhadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it.  And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, ‘Thus saith Benhadad, thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.’  And the king of Israel answered and said, ‘My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have.’  And the messengers came again, and said, ‘Thus speaketh Benhadad, saying, ‘Although I have sent unto thee, saying, ‘Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children; yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.'” 1 Kings 20:1-6 (KJV)

One thing we can perceive from this text is that surrender in the case of evil is never a good thing.  When Ahab surrendered to Benhadad this evil king wanted even more.  Invasion into their very homes was what came next.  Even Ahab sees that this will not work and sends message to Benhadad (v. 9).  Then we read of a “prophet” who came to Ahab.

“And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, ‘Thus saith the LORD, ‘Hast thou seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.’  And Ahab said, ‘By whom?’ And he said, ‘Thus saith the LORD, ‘Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces.’ Then he said, ‘Who shall order the battle?’ And he answered, ‘Thou.'” 1 Kings 20:13-14

Who this prophet is we are not told.  It does not have the markings of Elijah.  I think that had it been Elijah we would have his name here; but it is not.  However,  see how the LORD promises Ahab that He will give him the victory over Benhadad. “Behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day.”  Note the purpose of the victory; “…thou shalt know that I am the LORD”.  The LORD would be perfectly just to let the siege continue, and the destruction, but He gives Ahab a chance of restoration.

At least two other times God gives Ahab chances of trust and belief in Him.  He sends the prophet once again (v. 22) and tells him that Syria will return, then, He sends another prophet, who tells him;

“Thus saith the LORD, ‘Because the Syrians have said, ‘The LORD is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.'” 20:28

Ahab is a rebel in the cause of the LORD, and thus his greed and lust for power, land, prestige, and prominence takes control of his heart and life.

There is much warning here for all who will hear that if we refuse the grace and mercies of God when they are presented to us our hearts will grow cold, hard, and our ears will grow dull to the hearing of the words of the LORD.  When the LORD speaks; hear Him.  When the LORD moves; move with Him.  What the LORD does; do along with Him.

Ahab will progress from bad to worse as we look at the next chapter; and we will see the prophet Elijah once again as he confronts the king of Israel; yet again.

The move toward God begins in hearing the message of the cross of Jesus Christ; His death for our sins; His burial, and His bodily resurrection.  Hear, repent and believe the Lord Jesus Christ.

-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 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

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 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

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

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

Day 26 – David, Priest and King

David, as a shepherd boy, had a heart for God.  While he was doing the task of taking care of the family flock and herds he meditated upon God and His Word; writing and singing songs [Psalms].  He would become angry when ever he heard and enemy or anyone defy the name of Jehovah [YHWH].  While Saul is still king David is anointed by Samuel to be the future king of Israel; and he honors God’s anointed king Saul, serving him faithfully; even thought king Saul hates him.

There is an episode in David’s life after he becomes king of Israel when he endeavors to bring the Ark of the covenant to Jerusalem; the holy city; the city of David.  In his first attempt he fails to follow the direction of God’s Word and commandments, and a man named Uzzah perishes as he reaches out to secure the ark as the oxen stumble (2 Samuel 6:1-11; 1 Chronicles 13:7-14).

I have heard several individuals say something like, “David danced naked before the LORD”, but that is a very false assumption, based on the words of David’s angry wife, Michal, daughter of Saul.

My reading this morning was 1 Chronicles 10 -23, and this story was retold for our benefit, and maybe with a little more detail.  That is why we must, as Christians, be diligent in the reading and study of the Word of God.

After the failed attempt at bringing the Ark to Jerusalem David went to the Word of God, rather than following the example of the Philistines (carrying the ark on a cart, pulled by oxen), and David discovered.

“For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not after the due order.  So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel.  And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD.” 1 Chronicles 15:13-15 (KJV)

In Second Samuel 6:14 we read, “David was girded with a linen ephod”, and in First Chronicles 15:27 we read,

“And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen.”

In this we see David has taken on the role of priest.  David is a picture of Christ here.  When king Saul tried to be a priest (1 Samuel 13:8-16) he was soundly rebuked for doing so, and lost the kingdom for it.  What marks the difference for these two kings?  First Saul was of a rebellious spirit, and refused to wait on the LORD; David on the other hand had a heart to do what God pleased, and seek His counsel.

If an individual has a heart for God, loving His commandments, hiding His Word in the heart, and cherishing His every moment with Him, then they will have the heart of a priest; as David did, and as Jesus Christ the Son of God has as well.

Michal, Saul’s daughter despises David when she sees him coming into Jerusalem without the garments of a king; but rather the garments of a priest;

“Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, ‘How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!”  2 Samuel 6:20

Maybe it was her pride of being a kings daughter; her lack of a  heart for God, but due to her actions against her husband she never gave birth to children.

Those who are in Christ Jesus are priests and kings, according to Revelation 1:6 and 5:10.  If you, however, do not love the Word of God, and are failing to hid it in your heart that you not sin against Him; then it is highly questionable whether you are known by Him.

David danced before the Lord in priestly garments.  When we put on Christ He is the King of kings and Priests of all priest; and we are kings and priests through Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship