OYB June 17
Julie FerwerdaAre you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
- 2009 Jun 17
18:11-12 And now you say, ‘Go and tell your master, "Elijah is here."' But as soon as I leave you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you away to who knows where. This verse is a great clue in the disappearance of Elijah on the chariot later (with Elisha). Elijah had great God-given powers, and one of them was that he was often "transported" from place to place by the Spirit. In the event where people have believed Elijah was carried to "heaven" in his chariot, he is actually just transported to another place, and Elisha gets to watch. Even the words "to who knows where" indicate that this has happened before and nobody knows where he's doing to show up next. How do I know (I think I discussed this recently)? There is evidence that Elijah wrote a letter to a king who was in power AFTER his disappearance in the chariot. There are many websites that teach about this, but here you can find a nice concise and easy to follow commentary in this informative article.
18:21 Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, "How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!" This is the choice always before each person. It reminds me of the choice God sets before man via Moses in Deuteronomy—"Today I set before you a choice, the choice of life or death, blessings or curses." Then again through Joshua, "Choose this day whom you will serve." And now through Elijah. Interestingly, this choice has been offered through three different Christ types.
Even though we may not realize it, we all waver between two opinions in our daily lives. Every time we make a choice to dishonor God or to accomplish our own will (instead of looking to Him for His will), or engage in habit sins, we demonstrate that we have wavered. Let us live each day intent on one opinion, or one choice: we serve one God only, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
18:30-32 Then Elijah called to the people, "Come over here!" They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the Lord. This is a powerful picture of the altar of the Lord being restored, the foundation being laid with the 12 stones (also a picture of the apostles), and soon to follow the sacrifice being received from heaven (Jesus being accepted as the atoning sacrifice by God).
18:37 "O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself." Wow, this is a prophetic verse about the day when God saves Israel and writes His laws on their hearts so that they will always fear Him. Notice that regardless of their unbelief, God has "brought" (past tense) them back to Himself.
Here's the New Covenant with Israel: "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." Jeremiah 31:33-34
...and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB. THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS." Romans 11:26-27
18:38-39 Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, "The Lord-he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!" The Lord our God is a consuming fire! As soon as the sacrifice was completely consumed or "consummated," the people's eyes were opened and they saw God for who He is.
11:18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life." What a beautiful jewel of a verse!
135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. How BIG is our God? Does He accomplish His will on earth? Wow, if we really stop and think about this verse, it doesn't leave any stone unturned. God has a will about His plan for the ages, and not one bit of His will and plan can be thwarted.
Consider this verse: "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24 KJV). By the way, if you look this up other versions, the word used in place of "will" is "desire." However, if you look it up in Greek, the word is "Thelo" and it means, "to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose."
Here's another verse that uses the word "desires" but the word again in the Greek is "wills." So then He has mercy on whom He desires [wills], and He hardens whom He desires [wills]. Romans 9:18" Wills completely makes more sense in context, but they had to use "desires" so that it would match up with all the other places they mistranslated it.
Today, stop and marvel at the power of your God. He is not in the business of "damage control" over His creation (Plan B). He accomplishes all His purposes (Plan A). "But the plans of the LORD [Plan A] stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations" (Psalm 33:11).
I'm on a roll now. Don't try to stop me. Here are a few more verses:
In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:9-12
The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. Psalm 33:10
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11
What an awesome God! Rejoice today that man cannot undo His plans, purposes, and will! But He will accomplish everything He wills AND desires!