A Step of Faith

He told the king, “This is what the LORD says: Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!” So he died, according to the word of the LORD that Elijah had spoken. 2 Kings 1:16-17

Your mission, like Elijah’s, should you choose to accept it, is to go to the king and tell him face to face that because he has sinned, he will surely die – and soon! You have to give Elijah some credit, it couldn’t have been an easy task. First, it was a death threat against the reigning king, and secondly, it was a death threat against the reigning king! You can’t get much bolder than that.

Elijah provides us with an example of what a prophet can do when he knows that God has told him to do something. Had God not told him to that, Elijah would have bee executed on the spot. But God’s favor rested on Elijah.

It’s easy to look at these incidents in the comfort of our cozy room and think that God would never do that with us. We’re too soft. We’re too comfortable. We’re too [fill in the blank]. God wants to use ordinary people like us in extraordinary ways. Think of a time He’s already done that for you. It probably took a few steps of faith but you knew it to be the right thing to do. The same God who impressed upon Elijah the need to confront the King is the exact same God who is over us and loves us. He delights in our faith steps. He delights when we step out in faith for Him.

Pray and ask the Lord what step of faith He wants you to take, then Take it!

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Clarity

The angel of the LORD said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So Elijah got up and went down with him to the king. 2 Kings 1:15

Twice prior to this, the king of Samaria had sent a company of 50 men, and Elijah called down fire from heaven to incinerate them. This time, the captain of the Guard begged for his life and the angel of the Lord spoke to Elijah.

It seems that whatever the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, it was clear and unequivocal. I personally would love to hear the word of the Lord spoken to me with such clarity. Then certainly I would obey.

Well, He has spoken to us with such clarity.

  • Love your neighbor as you love yourselves.
    Turn the other cheek.
    Pray for those who persecute you.
    Do not slander or gossip.
    Pray for wisdom.
    Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
    Pray without ceasing.
    Give joyfully.

More often than not, we know the right path to take. We know what to do. Could the Lord be any clearer to us on those things that are written in Scripture?

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They Were Wrecked

Now Jehoshaphat built a fleet of trading ships to go to Ophir for gold, but they never set sail – they were wrecked at Ezion Geber. 1 Kings 22:48

There is something very troubling about this verse. Jehoshaphat spend a lot of money in personnel and material resources to build these trading ships but they never set sail. They never were able to do what they were intended to do. It’s interesting that out of Jehoshaphat’s reign, this is even mentioned.

I recall hearing about a missionary (long before computers) and as he was nearing completion of a Bible translation, a fire destroyed all his work. So, what did he do? Mourned his loss for a short time and went back to work translating the same Bible into the same language. To him there wasn’t a second option despite the tremendous setback: the Bible needed to be translated and he was the only person available to do it.

Throughout history, men and women on the mission field have experienced setbacks like this and have surged forward. Others, however, give up because of the discouragement. Today pray for that young family on the mission field – choose one: Indonesia, China, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Latvia – who has undergone discouragement and wants to give it all up. Pray that God would sovereignly meet their emotional and spiritual needs. Pray that they would renew their love for Him in this discouragement.

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Praying for Those Close to You

When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”
“Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for the LORD will give it into the king’s hand.”

The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD ?” 1 Kings 22:15-16

The prophet Micaiah was known to be honest, and the kings of Israel and Judah summoned him. It’s almost as if Micaiah made the first remark ‘tongue in cheek.’ The king called him on it and he told the truth. Either King Jehoshophat knew Micaiah’s tendencies or he was reading something very different than what he was “prophesying.” And a king must already know that people stumble over themselves when talking to royalty. They say what they think the king wants to hear.

Think about it this way, how many times have you completely ignored a response to: “how are you?” If you’re like me, “Fine, Thanks.” is more than sufficient. You don’t want to go deep. However, ask someone a second time with sincerely and you’re likely to get a little closer to the truth.

Today, pray for someone you are relatively close to. Pray that God will continue to ease their burdens as they throw them upon Him. Pray that you’ll get a glimpse into their world and then when you get that glimpse that you’ll pray even harder for that person.

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Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel. 1 Kings 22:1

This verse implies a lot, doesn’t it? It implies that either Israel was at war a lot, Aram was at war a lot, or both warred against each other a lot. Three years there was the absence of war, which is not necessarily peace.

Not much has changed in the world. Even today, Israel has many enemies. More than a billion Muslims would like to wipe Israel completely off the map. The leader of Iran has said so publicly. It’s actually a strange thing to witness because if you ask a hundred Muslims about the nation of Israel, at least 99 of them would say that Israel should be annihilated (the other one might be lying). So, they are united in their hatred directed towards Israel, then why can’t they all seem to get it together to do just that? I’m not at all advocating such actions but even as a non-participant, you have to step back and ask, “why haven’t they been able to do that?”

Yes, the Muslims tried in 1967 and in 1973 with other smaller skirmishes but God had protected them. Say what you want about their superior intelligence in the Arab world, their military skills and even great leadership, God still protected that nation.

The Bible tells us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May those who love you be secure.”
Psalm 122:6

Pray.

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