God is a deliverer.

God is a deliverer.

2 Kings 3

After the death of King Ahab, Mesha king of Moab decided to rebel against Israel. So Jehoram (the new king of Israel), Jehoshaphat (king of Judah), and the king of Edom set out to attack Moab and put down the rebellion. On the way to battle, they ran into quite a problem: "After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them." (vs 9)

Ruined {ex10:7}

Photo © Unsplash/Thu Trang Nguyen Tran

Photo © Unsplash/Thu Trang Nguyen Tran

The question Egypt's officials
put to their king
haunts me

How was he so blind
or so stubborn
or so arrogant
that he didn't see how
everything he loved
was slowly crumbling around him

Or did he see

Maybe the problem wasn't
that he didn't know
but that he did

Maybe the problem wasn't
that he thought he wasn't ruined
but knew he was
and thought there was
still a chance

still a way
he could fix it

One more opportunity
one more try
one more day
to start over
to redouble his efforts
to get it right

Maybe the problem wasn't that Pharaoh
didn't know Egypt was ruined
but that he still believed
he could repair the damage

But there is only
One
who can restore

There is only
One
who can rebuild

There is only
One
who can recover
all that has been lost

and it’s not us—

To be ruined
is not the problem

The problem is
we no more want to obey
than Pharaoh did
those two little words
God spoke:

Let. Go.

 

God brings life to dead places.

God brings life to dead places.

2 Kings 2

God is life. No matter how barren a place, no matter how dead, His Spirit can bring new life. At least, that’s what we see happening in this chapter of 2 Kings: "The people of [Jericho] said to Elisha, 'Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.' 'Bring me a new bowl,' he said, 'and put salt in it.' So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, 'This is what the Lord says: "I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive."' And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken." (vs 19-22)

God provides answers to unasked questions.

God provides answers to unasked questions.

2 Kings 1

After the showdown between God and Baal on the top of Mount Carmel, it’s hard to imagine how there could have been anybody left in Israel who still believed in false gods. However, truth is usually stranger than fiction! So, when Ahab’s son Ahaziah wanted to know if his health condition was going to get better, he sent a coalition to talk to Baal: "Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, 'Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury.'" (vs 2)

God isn't always in favor of agreement.

God isn't always in favor of agreement.

1 Kings 22

This has to be another one of my all-time favorite chapters in the Bible. Who has ever heard of the prophet Micaiah? But why isn’t he upheld more often as an Old Testament Bible hero? Micaiah: the prophet with a hot mouth. I love him. And one of the things I love most about him is that he wasn’t just willing to go with the crowd. He was determined to do what he believed was right—even if it went against the grain.

God knows what is needed.

God knows what is needed.

1 Kings 21

This chapter appalled me. More than once! I know I’ve read this chapter before, but it obviously didn’t make a lasting impression then. Today, it was as if I had read it for the first time. At first, I was appalled by Jezebel. She seemed to have absolutely NO problem forging her husband’s name and enlisting the help of false witnesses in order to engineer the death of an innocent man. Just when you thought you’d seen the depths of evil in Israel, that was a nasty surprise.

God doesn't easily give up.

God doesn't easily give up.

1 Kings 20

Ahab has to be the most wicked king in Israel’s history. So that’s why I found it interesting that, in this chapter, God is still trying to get through to him. I mean, if I didn’t know that God was a total genius, there could be times when I might think that He was a little thick. But I just don’t think He can help Himself. When He sees an opening, He takes it.

God wants us to go all in.

God wants us to go all in.

1 Kings 19

For those of you who may not be fans of poker, there frequently comes a point when a player will go "all in." That means that he will bet everything he has left because he believes he has the best hand at the table. Everything is on the line. If he has the best hand, he may be in a position to win the whole game. But if he doesn’t have the best hand, he could lose everything.

All Hail {ex9:23}

Photo © Brian Gary

Photo © Brian Gary

A monstrous storm of hail
fell
such as Egypt had never seen before
and hasn’t seen since.

It smashed trees.
It smashed crops.
It smashed people and flocks.
It smashed everything it touched.

But the one thing it didn’t smash
was Pharaoh's implacable heart,
that dense little rock
beating in his chest.

God could undo Egypt,
but He couldn’t undo the king.

All hail the power
we’ve been given
to fortify or destroy
our own personal dynasties.

 

God is pure awesomeness.

God is pure awesomeness.

1 Kings 18

At the risk of sounding like a bad flashback from the 80s or 90s, I couldn’t pass this up as the title of today’s blog. This has got to be one of my all-time favorite chapters in the Bible. It seems like I’ve been hearing this story ever since I was a little girl, and it never ceases to amaze me. So, this was a great excuse to sit back and just marvel at God.

God knows the future.

God knows the future.

1 Kings 16

Tucked away into this chapter was this curious little detail: "It was during [Ahab's] reign that Hiel, a man from Bethel, rebuilt Jericho. When he laid its foundations, it cost him the life of his oldest son, Abiram. And when he completed it and set up its gates, it cost him the life of his youngest son, Segub." (vs 34) What in the world does this have to do with anything else in the chapter? And why did this man, Hiel, have to pay such a dear price for rebuilding a city?

God is looking for willingness.

God is looking for willingness.

1 Kings 15

There is a lot of controversy in Christian circles over the issue of obedience to the law, sanctification, perfection, etc. Some people say that perfect obedience to God’s law is required for salvation. Others say that the law was nailed to the cross with Jesus, so there is no law to keep. Still others say that Jesus kept the law perfectly so we wouldn’t have to. He keeps it for us. To be blunt, I think they’re all wrong.

God is not blind.

1 Kings 14

This was one of those Bible stories that I hadn’t remembered reading before. King Jeroboam wanted to know what was going to happen to his son (who was ill). So, he immediately thought of Ahijah, the prophet who had prophesied that he would become king of Israel. (It’s interesting, isn’t it? After years of worshiping false gods, it’s pretty clear that Jeroboam still knew who to go to when he wanted some real answers.)

Photo © Unsplash/Ryoji Iwata

Photo © Unsplash/Ryoji Iwata

But, just in case he had angered the prophet with all his heathen worship, Jeroboam decided to send his wife in disguise. You see, by this time, the prophet was blind, and Jeroboam thought he could pull a fast one on him. However, all that time Jeroboam had spent away from the one true God must have made him forget that God could see just fine: "Now Ahijah could not see; his sight was gone because of his age. But the Lord had told Ahijah, 'Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son, for he is ill, and you are to give her such and such an answer. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else.'" (vs 4-5)

So, the gig was up before it had even begun. Ahijah delivered bad news to Jeroboam’s wife, and shortly after, Jeroboam’s son died. The salient point in all of this? God is not blind. In this particular instance, God’s prophet was blind, but God told him who was coming. He was not fooled by the queen’s disguise.

Photo © Unsplash/Finan Akbar

Photo © Unsplash/Finan Akbar

God is not blind. He knows the truth about you. We might pretend to be someone other than we are, put on a "disguise" for those around us, but God knows the real story. We might even fool a few people, but we’re not fooling God. He knows the truth about us. And if it frightens you that He knows the truth about you, all you need to do is learn the truth about Him!

Blood and Water {ex7:20}

exodus-struggle-blood-and-water-poem.png

I love this river
I have stood on its banks
frolicked in its swell
almost been swept away by its current

But
I won't soon forget
the moment I met You
and I realized
that the mouthful of
—what I thought was—
clear, cold, refreshing water
was nothing more than
coppery, hot, metallic blood

I'd like to say
that since that moment
I've never cupped my hands again
to draw this putrid liquid
up to my mouth
but You know
that personal Niles are hard to abandon

I've been kneeling
at this river
my whole life
and You know just how
deep a canyon
it has carved in my heart

Still You couldn't bear
to leave me here
fervid and thirsty
never having tasted
Water from the Fountain
that will never
run dry

 

God's ways are everlasting.

God's ways are everlasting.

1 Kings 12

What a beautiful little nugget there is tucked away in this chapter of 1 Kings. Solomon has died, and his son Rehoboam has taken over the throne in Israel. The people—who had endured hard labor under Solomon—came to Rehoboam and asked him to ease up on them a bit. After asking for some time to think it over, Rehoboam consulted his father’s advisers. This is the advice they gave him: "If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants." (vs 7)

God knows what He's talking about.

God knows what He's talking about.

1 Kings 11

So, God had given Solomon incredible wisdom, massive amounts of wealth, and great fame. What He hadn’t given Solomon was a thousand marriage licenses. In fact, In Deuteronomy 17, God (in prophesying the fact that Israel would, in the future, demand a king to rule over them) specifically commanded that the king was not to take multiple wives. If he did, God said, his heart would be led astray.

God has no problem with wealth.

God has no problem with wealth.

1 Kings 10

Did you notice that as you read through today’s chapter? Whoa! God certainly has no problem with wealth! I was amazed by the fact that Solomon had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. Who needs 12,000 horses?! And this was just in addition to his palace and all the other things he acquired over the years as his fame spread far and wide. In the description of Solomon’s palace, the Bible says "nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom." (vs 20) Solomon was, by far, the richest man in the world—probably in the history of the world!