ripple effect: vacaville


d118 Mixed Emotions

Read Ezra 3:7-13.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* Josiah cleared out all the Baal, Molech, and Asherah stuff, along with all other things that would make idol-worship possible. Seriously, he did a ton. Then he reinstituted celebrating the Passover. The Israelites had not done this since the days of the judges! The Bible says that there was never a king as dedicated to following God as Josiah was. Josiah was killed in battle by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt. Then his son, Jehoahaz took his place.

* Jehoahaz only reigned for 3 months. He was wicked. Neco enslaved him and made Judah pay tribute to Egypt. Neco installed Josiah’s son, Eliakim as the new king of Judah. Jehoahaz died in Egypt. Eliakim (whose name was changed to Jehoiakim) was a puppet-king for Pharaoh and reigned for 11 years. He was also evil.

* And then Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, came an made Judah his servant for 3 years. Then Judah rebelled under king Jehoiakim, and they were raided relentlessly by their enemies. Jehoiakim died, and his son Jehoiachin took his place. Egypt stayed away from Judah from that point on because Babylon took over all of Egypt’s territories around Israel.

* Jehoiachin was the king of Judah for 3 months. He was evil too. Nebuchadnezzar raided Jerusalem, and Jehoiachin surrendered. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple’s artifacts and drug away all the goodies to Babylon. Not only that, he drug away all the people who were not the poorest to Babylon, including the king. He made Mattaniah (although he changed his name to Zedekiah), Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place.

* Zedekiah was king for 11 years in Jerusalem. He was evil, and he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. They went to war, and Nebuchadnezzar chased down Zedekiah, killed all his sons, cut his eyes, and took him to Babylon. Then the Babylonian general, Nebuzaradan burned the Temple and the palace in Jerusalem and tore down the walls around the city of Jerusalem. Then they took even the poorest back to Babylon, leaving only some farmers to keep up the land. They scrapped all the pieces of the Temple that were worth anything and took them back to Babylon. Then he executed all the priests and leaders of Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar installed Gedaliah as the governor of Jerusalem; but the people, led by a guy named Ishmael, killed him. They killed all the puppet government and fled to Egypt because they were less afraid of the Egyptians. In 2 Kings, we are left with the image of Jehoiachin being freed from prison and being allowed to have dinner with the new king, Evil-merodach in Babylon. Talk about total obliteration of the mighty nation of Israel!

* We’re skipping 1 and 2 Chronicles because they are mostly a rehash of the events we just covered.

* And then Ezra begins…

* To simplify things, let’s just say that there was a changing of the guard over the Jewish exiles…Babylon was overtaken by Persia. So, now Persia is in charge of the Jewish exiles. After 70 years of exile, God moves Cyrus, the king of Persia, to allow the exiles to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple (not only that, he would fund it)! He even went so far as to find all the articles from the Temple that were stolen by Nebuchadnezzar and gave them back to Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah. Then we see a list of who went back. From what I can tell, it was about 50,000 people. They even took up a collection to fund the rebuilding of the Temple.

* Two guys, Jeshua and Zerubbabel, rebuilt the altar; and they made offerings on it day and night.]

I promise the historical stuff is close to an end; and then, after that, I’m not going to try to sum up all the stuff we don’t hit on. I just felt that there needed to be a chronological account of what was going on, otherwise it just seemed like we jumped from story to story. Thanks for hanging with me over the last few posts.

1. How crazy is it that the king of Persia decided to actually pay for the building of the Temple? You KNOW God was involved in his head. Also, for a reference to how crazy the Persians were (before you think they were a bunch of softies), um, see “300.”
2. Imagine the sense of pride that these guys got to rebuild the Temple. All those guys who were under had only heard of Jerusalem, only heard of the Temple. This had to have been an amazing experience!
3. I know we sing “His love endures forever,” but can you understand the poignancy that the older Jews must have felt, knowing that some of them (in their darker times) probably thought that God didn’t love them anymore?
4. And then the old guys weep. How could they not? Some of them probably remembered how great it once was. This was not the same.
5. This is the essence of mixced emotions because some were crying out for joy. I just imagine tears and people not even knowing why they were crying.



d117 Over and Over Again…

Read 2 Kings 22:1 – 23:3.

[We’re skipping a whole lot more again…

* Joash reigned 40 years as king of Judah. It says that he did right because he was heavily influenced by the priest, Jehoiada. One of his big things is that he funded repairs for the Temple. Then again, he also bribed Hazael to keep him from invading with all the stuff that was dedicated to the Temple. A couple of Joash’s servants ended up assassinating him. Joash’s son, Amaziah took his place as king of Judah.

* Jehoahaz was the king of Israel for 17 years. He was wicked and, consequently, invaded by the Syrians relentlessly. Jehoahaz prayed to God, and this spared the people. But his army was decimated. Jehoahaz died, and his son Joash (yeah, I know that’s the same name as the guy from Judah) became king of Israel.

* Israel’s Joash reigned for 16 years. His live was wicked, and he went to war against the Judahites. He died, and his son Jeroboam II became king of Israel.

* Elisha became sick during the reign of Joash of Israel. On his death bed, he prophesied that Israel would defeat Syria three times in battle, and then he died. There was some random fighting going on near the funeral procession, and a dead body fell in Elisha’s grave. The guy sprang back to life!

* War went on constantly between Israel and the Syrians, led by Hazael and eventually Ben-hadad II, his son. The Israelites took back their cities three times, though, according to the prophecy of Elisha.

* Amaziah was the king of Judah for 29 years. He was a good guy, but he didn’t remove the high places. He also killed all the people who conspired to kill his father. He had a major victory over the Edomites. Amaziah asked to meet in battle with the king of Israel, Joash. Joash thought that Amaziah was getting a little too big for his britches, but Amaziah took him on in battle. Judah got their butts kicked. Amaziah was captured and the walls of Jerusalem were torn down. Somehow Amaziah must have gotten away because he was eventually killed by his own people. Then they instally his son, Azariah as king of Judah.

* Jeroboam II was king of Israel for 41 years. He was wicked, but God also used him to restore the borders of Israel. He died, and his son, Zechariah took his place.

* Azariah was the king of Judah for 52 years. He was good, but he still left the high places. God made him a leper. His son, Jotham, was in charge really becase Azariah had to live in a separate house. Azariah died, and Jotham took his place.

* Zechariah was king of Israel for 6 months. He was sinful, and some guy named Shallum killed him.

* Shallum was king of Israel for 1 month. Some guy named Menahem killed him and reigned in his place. This guy was a real winner. He tore into a town called Tirzah and ripped open the stomachs of all the pregnant women.

* Menahem was the king of Israel for 10 years. He was evil. He tried to bribe, Pul, the king of Assyria to keep him from invading. Menahem ended up dying, and his son, Pekahiah reigned in his place.

* Pekahiah reigned for 2 years as king of Israel. He was evil, and his captain, Pekah ended up killing him.

* Pekah reigned over Israel for 20 years (finally, a little consistency!). He was evil; and, during his reign, the king of Assyria, Tiglath-pileser captured all the land of Naphtali and took the people captive back to Assyria. Then Hoshea killed Pekah and became king in his place.

* Jotham was the king of Judah for 16 years. He was a good guy, but he left the high places up. He rebuilt a gate of the Temple, but he was also raided by Israel and Syria during his reign. Jotham died, and his son Ahaz took his place as king.

* Ahaz was the king of Judah for 16 years. This guy wasn’t cool. He even sacrificed his son to a foreign god. Then Syria and Israel beseiged Jerusalem. Ahaz actually asked Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria to help him against Israel and Syria. Assyria ended up killing the king of Syria, Rezin and sacking Damascus. King Ahaz ended up going to see Tiglath-Pileser in Damascus, and he saw an altar he liked. So he had one of his priests, Uriah, make him one just like it. They took out the right altar and made offerings on this one instead. He also did a lot more defacing of the Temple to bring it up to Assyrian standards. Ahaz died, and his son Hezekiah took his place.

* Hoshea was king of Israel for 9 years. Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, invaded Israel; so Hoshea started paying tribute to Assyria. Apparently, Hoshea wasn’t giving him enough money because Shalmaneser imprisoned Hoshea and took over Israel for 3 years. After that time, the Israelites were taken away to Assyria and placed in a town of the Medes.

* An explanation is given as to why the Israelites were taken away: the people had sinned. God tried to warn them through prophets, but they would not listen and followed false idols. Only Judah remained (even though they weren’t perfect either). But, God removed Israel from His sight, letting them be taken away to Assyria.

* The king of Assyria sent people from other places in his kingdom to live in the land of the Israelites. But God caused lions to kill the settlers. The king realized that this was a “God thing,” so he sent one Israelite priest to live in Bethel and teach the settlers how to fear God. That didn’t really help. Yeah, they acknowledged God and set up priests for him; but they also worshipped their many gods: Succoth-benoth, Nergal, Tartak, Adrammelech, and Anammelech. This went on for many generations.

* Hezekiah was the king of Judah for 29 years. It says that he did all that David had done in worshipping God. He tore down everything that seemed idol-like. The Assyrians could not overtake him, and he even defeated the Philistines. In the sixth year of his reign, Israel was taken away. But Judah was NOT.

* This didn’t last for long, though. Soon Judah was invaded by King Sennacherib of Assyria. Hezekiah tried to bribe him from destroying Jerusalem. Assyria’s general told Hezekiah that they were going to take out puny Judah. Hezekiah sought after God by going to the Temple and seeking out a prophet named Isaiah. Isaiah told Hezekiah not to worry, that God would cause a false rumor to send the Assyrians home.

* More junk was talked from Assyria through the form of a letter to Hezekiah. Hezekiah pleas to God on behalf of his people and the fact that this Assyrian king, no matter how big he is, is defiling the name of I AM. Isaiah gives God’s answer: Assyria’s going down if they want to step to Jerusalem. God then struck down 185,000 Assyrian soldiers, and Sennacherib went home to be killed by his own sons.

* Hezekiah got sick, and Isaiah told him that he would die. Hezekiah prays to God, and He adds 15 years to his life and keeps Assyria away. Unfortunately, Hezekiah went on to show the prince of Babylon all the riches of Jerusalem. Isaiah scolded him, and told him that everything he has, including his sons, will be taken to Babylon. Hezekiah died, and his son Manasseh became the king of Judah.

* Manasseh reigned as king for 55 years. He was evil, rebuilding the high places that his father had destroyed. He also worshipped Baal and Asherah. It says that he was worse than the people of the nations that the Jews had driven out. And God threatens to “wipe out” Jerusalem like someone would wipe a dish and put them at the mercy of their enemies. Manasseh died, and his son Amon took his place.

* Amon only reigned 2 years in Jerusalem. He abandoned God and worshipped idols. He was killed, but then the people killed the killers and places Josiah as the new king.]

OK…all caught up.

1. Another super-young king. Hey, the last one was pretty good.
2. Alright, another good guy on the straight path.
3. So…Josiah wants to pay for the repairs of the Temple. They took the collection before, but they never used if for repairs.
4. Isn’t it crazy that the Law had been neglected so much that it was hidden in some random storage room in the Temple? This was what the Jews were supposed to live their lives by. Totally neglected.
5. Josiah mourned when he read the Law of God. No wonder. Judah had been “winging it” for centuries. I’m sure things weren’t exactly the way they should have been in Judah.
6. Josiah knew they couldn’t stand before God, but how bad was it? He decided to get word from the prophetess, Huldah…
7. Huldah says that God is angry but not angry at Josiah. God is going to spare Josiah from seeing all the disaster that is going to come upon Judah. I guess that’s a good thing.
8. Josiah’s reaction? Read the entire Book of the Law to everyone who could hear it and make a covenant with God. He committed himself to follow God, and so did the people (or did they really…). Only time will tell…



d116 Make Way for the Seven-Year-Old King!

Read 2 Kings 11:1-21.

[We’re skipping a lot…

* When all the prophets are trying to cut wood to build a place, one drops his borrowed axe into the Jordan River. Elisha tosses a stick into the water that makes the iron axe float!

* Every time Joram, the king of Israel went out to ambush the Israelites, Elisha would tell Joram the game plan (even though he was miles away from the king of Syria). The king of Syria sent out guys to take him out. When the Syrians surrounded the city, Elisha’s servant wigged out. Then Elisha allowed his servant to see what he saw: an army of fiery horses and chariots of God. Then Elisha struck the army blind and led them into Samaria to the king of Israel. Elisha instructed the king to feed them and send them home. He did, and the Syrians didn’t raid Israel anymore.

* But…Ben-hadad, king of Syria, decided to beseige Samaria. The Israelites were so bad-off that they were eating their babies to stay alive. Because of this calamity, Joram wanted Elisha to pay with his head. The Joram’s guard goes to seize him, but Elisha promises that there will be plenty of food tomorrow. The next day, a couple of lepers decide that they would rather take their chances with going to the Syrian army for mercy than die outside the city of Samaria. So, they go and realize that the former Syrian camp is a ghost town. God had caused them to hear a huge army around them, and they fled, petrified. The lepers raided booty for awhile, but they eventually told Joram. Everyone ended up getting plenty of food. Also, the guy who came to “arrest” Elisha was killed according to a prohesy that Elisha had made.

* The Shunammite woman (who had her kid brought back to life by Elisha) left Israel during the famine because Elisha had warned her. When she came back, she got all her land back because Joram was fascinated with Elisha’s “power” over life and death.

* Ben-hadad was sick, so he sent his servant Hazael to find out what his future held. Elisha told Hazael that Ben-hadad would recover from the sickness, but then he would die. He stared down Hazael and began to weep. Hazael asked why, and Elisha said that it was because of the future pain that Hazael would wreak on Israel as the new king of Syria. When Hazael returned, he told Ben-hadad that everything was going to be ok. The next day he choked him to death.

* Then we learn about the new king of Judah: Jehoram. He was king for 8 years. He married Ahab’s daughter, so he was a low-down rotten king too. God spared him, though, to honor the promise he had made to David. His claim to fame was that he couldn’t defeat the Edomites, so they were no longer under the rule of Judah. He died, and his son, Ahaziah became king of Judah.

* Ahaziah only reigned one year. He was also inter-married with the house of Ahab, so he was a bad dude. He and his buddy, Joram (king of Israel) went out to fight Hazael, king of Syria. Joram got hurt, so Ahaziah went to visit him.

* Elisha ends up telling one of his assistant prophets to annoint Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat (if I’m keeping track, that would be Ahaziah’s uncle?) to be king of Israel. The prophet went and told Jehu that he was to kill off all of Ahab’s descendents from Israel to serve as punishment for the way that Ahab and Jezebel treated God’s prophets. After this meeting, Jehu was proclaimed king.

* So Jehu was on a collision-course to find Joram (non-anointed king of Israel) and Ahaziah (the bad king of Judah). Joram saw Jehu coming, and he sent out messengers to see if he came in peace; but it appears that the messengers joined Jehu’s forces. The two kings came out to meet Jehu, and Jehu basically let Joram have it about the “whorings” of Baal-worship. Joram tried to leave, but Jehu shot him in the heart with an arrow. He just so happened to kill him on the land of Naboth (the guy that Jezebel had killed so Ahab could have his vineyard). This fulfilled a prophecy of Elijah. Jehu also ended up killing Ahaziah with an arrow. So…if you’re tracking, all the descendents of Ahab are dead and there is a leadership void in Judah now. Whew…

* Then Jehu had his sights set on Jezebel (yeah, she was still alive as the “queen mother” of Israel). Jehu shouted up to a tower, “Who’s on my side?” And three of Jezebel’s servants shucked her out the window, her blood splattering everywhere. Jehu went inside and told the servants to bury her, but the dogs had already eaten her up (according to the word of Elijah).

* Jehu had all of Ahab’s seventy sons killed and had their heads delivered in baskets to him in Jezreel. Jehu then killed all of Ahab’s loyal followers. Jehu was traveling back home when he came upon a random group of people. Turns out they were relatives of Ahaziah (aka…relatives of Ahab), so Jehu had them all killed. Jehu takes a guy named Jehonadab into his chariot. And he shows him his zeal for God by killing all the descendents of Ahab in Samaria.

* I love this. Then Jehu and Jehonadab call a huge assembly to let (wink, wink) all of Israel know that Jehu is going to serve Baal like no other. So…when all the Baal prophets show up, he sets up his army outside the temple and has them ALL killed. Awesome. Then he burns the pillar of Baal.

* It says that Jehu did well, but there were places he didn’t deal with. He left the golden calves of Jeroboam out, for one. It says that, during that time, Syria really was doing a number on Israel, by splitting the territory. Anyway, then Jehu dies; and his son Jehoahaz reigned in his place.]

Whew…

1. Did you know that Judah had a queen? Hmm…well, when Athaliah killed all the boys off, that’s what happened.
2. Cool that Jehosheba hides the last heir, Joash. This also means that God is being faithful to the promise of having an heir of David all the time.
3. A priest named Jehoiada charges the guards to protect little king Joash. This kid had to be pretty young. But then they anoint him as king.
4. Imagine how Athaliah felt when she heard that! She yells out treason? Um…isn’t she the one who killed off all the candidates to be king of Judah?
5. Then Jehoiada makes a covenant for the people of Judah to be God’s people. Wow…it’s been awhile since we’ve heard that. I like that they are cleaning house.
6. Little Joash is going to grow up in an environment free from Baal-worship and with a priest as a mentor. Let’s see how he does.



d115 Prophet Profit?
August 14, 2007, 10:33 am
Filed under: 2 kings, ahab, baal, elisha, gehazi, god, jehoram, jehoshaphat, mesha, naaman, rimmon

Read 2 Kings 5:1-27.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* We learn that Jehoram, the son of Ahab, became king of Israel and that he was a bad (not as bad as Ahab) guy. Mesha, the king of Moab, owed Israel a lot of sheep and wool; so Jehoram recruited Jehoshaphat (king of Judah) to march out against him. Problem is, they ran out of water in the process. So, they called on Elisha to find out what to do. Elisha basically told Jehoram to go to the prophets of Baal, like his mommy and daddy; but then he said that he would give them the water and Moab in battle because of God’s favor of Jehoshaphat. And water came out of nowhere. Elisha also caused an “optical illusion” to occur. Mesha thought that the water looked like it was blood, so he sent his men down to take plunder…turns out, it wasn’t, and they ended up getting their butts kicked.

* A widow of a prophet-fried of Elisha’s ends up being in serious debt and having some guy threaten to take her sons away as slaves. Elisha’s solution is to have all her neighbors donate containers. Then he miraculously makes it possible to fill all the containers with oil that she can sell to pay off her debt.

* A really nice lady from Shunem would prepare meals for Elisha every time he passed by. Eventually, she had a mini-apartment built for him; so he could stay there on his journeys. Elisha asked his servant, Gehazi, what he could do for her to repay her kindness. It turns out that she was old and had no children, so Elisha made it so that she could conceive a son. Years later, the son ended up getting sick and dying. His mother laid the son down on the bed in Elisha’s place and set out to find Elisha. She finds Elisha and Gehazi, and she begs them to help her. Elisha sends Gehazi to place his staff on the head of the child, but nothing happens. Elisha ends up going himself and lies on top of the child. The child awakens!

* At another time, someone accidentally threw some deadly ingredient into a pot of stew that was for all the prophets. Elisha tells them to toss some flour in it, and it becomes pure. A random guy comes with a gift of some bread for Elisha. Elisha says to serve the 100 prophets. The guy says there is not enough, but Elisha makes it possible for everyone to eat and for there still to be some left.]

Elisha sure is powerful. I guess he did get that double-portion.

1. Naaman was a great warrior, but he was also a leper. Man…imagine that! You would definitely have a psychological advantage in battle with no one wanting to touch you.
2. Notice that it says that the Lord gave Syria (foreigners) victory against Israel (His people). This is the price that they’re paying for Ahab and Jehoram’s poor leadership.
3. The slave girl worked for Naaman’s wife. Imagine being a slave girl to a woman who had a husband that was a leper. Did she ever even really go near him? I mean…not to be suggestive or anything, but…do you think Naaman ever slept with his wife? And the slave is her slave.
4. That slave girl was bold. But, you can’t argue with compassion. And she’s showing Naaman that she cared about his health as a person…not her master. Compassion.
5. Notice the king is willing to pull out all the stops for Naaman. Also notice that the king seeks Naaman’s rejuvination from the king (um…he and Elisha are not really friends).
6. So…when the letter gets there, Jehoram’s in a panic. He thinks that this is a set-up. Because, why would he possibly cure the general of the army that his been raiding his country? Even if he wanted to, how could he?
7. Elisha overhears. And Elijah knows what to do. This probably made Jehoram even madder.
8. Elisha doesn’t even great this “dignitary.” He just tells him to go into the Jordan. Simple instructions, right?
9. Naaman gets a little too prideful, thinking his rivers are just as good, thinking that there was going to be more ceremony to this healing.
10. Thank God his servants talked some sense into him. Isn’t it funny how we don’t accept God’s solutions because we think they are too easy?
11. Being healed won Naaman over. It makes you wonder why God doesn’t use this method more often.
12. Naaman tries to give Gehazi a present, but he wouldn’t take it (as per the orders of Elisha, more than likely). Naaman says that he will worship God, then. He also asks for “pre-forgiveness” for when he has to walk into the temple of Rimmon (the Syrian god) and bow with his king. Interesting.
13. Why does Gehazi run to get a present?
14. Naaman has no idea that Gehazi is lying, trying to skim gifts off the top. Uh oh…
15. Ironically, Gehazi then becomes leprous for trying to profit from being a prophet.



d113 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
August 12, 2007, 4:07 pm
Filed under: 1 kings, 2 kings, ahaziah, baal, baal-zebub, elijah, elisha, god, jehoram, jehoshaphat

Read 2 Kings 2:1-12.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* We get a closer look at Jehoshaphat, king of Judah for 25 years. He is known for being a good guy, ending male shrine prostitution. He wasn’t perfect, though, because people still made offerings at high places. After he dies, his son Jehoram takes the throne.

* We also learn that Ahaziah stunk as king of Israel for his two years. Still was as a punk who worshipped Baal. This provoked God to anger.

Entering 2 Kings…

* King Ahaziah took a fall and got sick. He wanted to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron (anyone else thinking of Bohemian rhapsody), to find out if he would live or not. Elijah intercepts these guys on the way and tells them that he’s going to die. It’s not like there isn’t a God in Israel! The guys went back to Ahaziah, and he realized that it was Elijah who had told them this. Ahaziah sent 51 soldiers to “get” Elijah. When they came, he said, “If I’m a man of God, let fire come down from heaven to consume you and your fifty.” Fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. This happened again. The third leader wised up and begged Elijah not to killing (after all, he was just doing his job!). So, Elijah went to Ahaziah and told him he was going to die. Another guy named Jehoram (popular name?) became king of Israel in his place because Ahaziah had no son.]

1. I love how casually the Bible mentions that Elijah is going to be taken into heaven by a whirlwind. Oh…that’s normal.
2. Elijah…Elisha…confusing I know. Eli Manning is an EliSHa, for anyone who cares.
3. Crazy how Elijah being taken up by God is common knowledge. Elisha knows and so do the sons of the prophets in Bethel. Elisha’s response: “Shhhh.”
4. Same thing happens when they go to Jericho.
5. Elijah causally parts the Jordan River with his cloak so the two can pass through. Dude…that’s three miraculous water partings.
6. Elisha wants a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Nice request. Um…any takers on what that really means?
7. Amazing image. Horses and chariots of fire swooping down to take Elijah to heaven. The guy doesn’t die. He’s just warped up to heaven. Anyone seen “Ghost Rider”? Yeah, I bet it was like that!
8. And, of course, Elisha is super-stoked because he saw the whole thing–meaning that he would indeed have a double-portion of his master’s spirit. Now, if only Eli Manning could get a double-portion of Peyton Manning’s abilities.
9. How cool is it that Elisha tears up his old cloak. I guess he’s going to need a new one. But that’s for tomorrow.

I want to go out like that. Just a small request. How cool would it be to get swept into heaven by a chariot of fire with lit up horses!?!



d110 How Majestic Your Whispers
August 9, 2007, 2:07 pm
Filed under: 1 kings, ahab, baal, elijah, elisha, god, hazael, jehu, jezebel

Read 1 Kings 19:1-21.

1. Imagine going home to tell your wife what happened on the top of Mt. Carmel, knowing full-well that Jezebel is a big-time Baal-worshipper. Shoot, she’s the one who got Ahab into him.
2. Elijah just put on an amazing show of God’s power. Shoot, he talked smack that would have put Shaq to shame, too. So, isn’t it amazing how scared he is of Jezebel now that “reality” is starting to sink in about the potential consequences of his actions?
3. Dude wanted to die. To die? This is hard to understand. Have you ever been worn out to this point, where you felt like if God decided to take you then and there that you’d be fine with that option?
4. God brought him an angel when he was down. The angel fed him. Fed him so much that it fueled a 40-day journey.
5. Elijah felt lonely, like he was the only one. But, God came to him.
6. Wind, earthquake, fire…no. A whisper, that’s where God chose to make Himself known to Elijah. Why do you think He chose a whisper?
7. Elijah covered himself up after the whisper. Why?
8. God basically tell Elijah that He’s going to clean house through more players, so he won’t be alone: Hazael will be king of Syria, Jehu king of Israel, and Elisha a new prophet. And, with this dynamic in place, all of the Baal worshippers will be vanquished.
9. Elisha is covered with Elijah’s cloak (a sign of a passing of responsibility). Then Elisha takes his former life and sacrifices it to God. Sounds kind of what Christ-followers need to do.



109 Carmelized Pagans
August 8, 2007, 2:26 pm
Filed under: 1 kings, ahab, asherah, baal, elijah, god, jezebel, obadiah

Read 1 Kings 18:16-46.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* God tells Elijah to go to Ahab, and He will being rain to the land. Ahab summoned a real prophet, Obadiah (this guy was hiding prophets from Jezebel because she was killing them all). Obadiah was supposed to be looking for grass for the king’s livestock, when he saw Elijah. Elijah told to Obadiah to tell Ahab that he’s in town. Obadiah was scared that he’d get killed for letting Elijah come around Ahab. Elijah said he won’t be long in coming to Ahab.]

Ooooooh…I love this story. Maybe my top five in all of the Bible!

1. I love how Ahab thinks that Elijah is the problem. Hmm… Couldn’t be that chick he’s sleeping with, could it?
2. I wonder where Elijah got the number 450 from. That’s a lot of prophets. So…he’s begging for a showdown. Mano a 450 manos.
3. How long do you think it took for this to happen? Do you think that in the mean time of gathering all the prophets Ahab thought long and hard about killing Elijah then and there?
4. You know, it’s easy to pick on the Israelites for worshipping Baal and Asherah. But we worship other gods like Money, Lust, Power, Ego… If God is God, follow Him. Right?
5. Big crowd. No words. What could they say?
6. Interesting that Elijah says that he is the only one of the Lord’s prophets left. What about Obadiah? Is this just a figure of speech meaning, “Hey, it’s just me here.”
7. Anybody wonder if Elijah is doing that whole “putting God to the test” thing here?
8. “What you say is good.” Those “people.” Hmm…good like entertaining or good like this will make it so that we no longer follow a pagan god?
9. Junk talking #1: “since there are so many of you.” He he he…
10. Has Baal ever done this before? I mean, did the prophets really believe that they were going to be able to call down fire from heaven? Had they had meals from ravens?
11. Morning till noon. That’s like six hours. That’s longer than a church service in Mexico (inside joke for the mission trip team). Dancing too.
12. Junk talking #2: “Shout louder!” He he he…
13. #3: “Surely he is a god!” He he he…
14. #4: “Perhaps he is deep in thought!” Chuckle…
15. #5: “or busy…” He he he… Baal is not hear at the moment, but if you leave a message, he’ll be sure to get back to you.
16. #6: “or traveling” He he he…Baal is in the Virgin Islands this weekend. Sorry.
17. #7: “maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So…the prophets of Baal end up trying to create a “holy” snooze alarm for their God. They also cut themselves up…I guess to show how willing they were to do anything for a sleeping god.
18. They went all day. All day. No response. No one answered. No one paid attention. He he he…I think the writer is getting a little sarcastic here too. Love it.
19. Four large jars of water! This is a drought! Is he crazy?
20. Again! Whoah!
21. Again! Nuts! Imagine how they all felt to see this guy doing this during a drought!
22. Boyscout tip #1: water doesn’t help wood burn.
23. I love that this is all about showing that God is God and turning people’s hearts toward Him.
24. And God sent fire. Wow.
25. The people fell on their stomachs and cried out that God is God. Hey, wouldn’t you!
26. There must have been a ton of spectators this day because it wouldn’t be easy to seize 450 men, no matter how cut up and tired they were.
27. Elijah had them all killed. Wow.
28. Then Elijah says rain is coming. And, although the “fire”works was something. This was what they really needed. And apparently Ahab was now a believer because he went and ate.
29. Elijah prayed. Then he sends his dude to check the weather report. And a cloud is coming.
30. Then Elijah does his Reggie Bush impersonation and jets down the mountain and beats a chariot to Jezreel. Crazy.

Dude…good times.