20:3-4 ‘Your silver and gold are mine, and so are your wives and the best of your children!'"
"All right, my lord the king," Israel's king replied. "All that I have is yours!" I couldn't help but think about how people with destructive addictions—alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, illicit sex—so readily do the same. I have been the casualty of these kinds of choices by others. I have also been the one making those kinds of choices when I was younger. There is little thought of the selfishness and wake of casualties for an addicted person.
20:11 "A warrior putting on his sword for battle should not boast like a warrior who has already won." What a great quote! A good one to apply to our lives in keeping humility.
20:13 "This is what the Lord says: Do you see all these enemy forces? Today I will hand them all over to you. Then you will know that I am the Lord." I am learning so much about God's sovereignty these days and how even evil people are tools for God's purposes. Notice how God doesn't fully shun Ahab though he was described as one of the most evil kings of Israel. But instead, God matter of factly uses him for a purpose. This so goes along with the verse (He created some as vessels of righteousness and some as vessels of destruction). Why? Verse 13: FOR HIS GLORY. How can He reveal His power and victory (not to mention a host of other attributes) unless He has the contrasting vessel to reveal it??
20:23 After their defeat, Ben-hadad's officers said to him, "The Israelite gods are gods of the hills; that is why they won. But we can beat them easily on the plains. This is still the tactic Satan uses on believers. He doesn't usually attack during times of spiritual highs, he bides his time, crouching in the shadows, waiting until we are down and discouraged. Then he heaps his arsenal at us, trying to hamstring us while we're down. And we are often easily beat at these times!
20:27 Israel then mustered its army, set up supply lines, and marched out for battle. But the Israelite army looked like two little flocks of goats in comparison to the vast Aramean forces that filled the countryside! Just last night I had this experience! I was surrounded by an enemy much bigger and stronger. However, He came to my rescue. I wish I could share more, but now is not the time. Thank goodness that the Lord delights in rescuing the underdog! He delights in strutting His stuff and getting glory for His awesome deeds! (vs. 28). We can either be the benefactor or the casualty of this glorious display of power, depending on our response to His work in our lives. I know which side I want to be on.
20:29 The Israelites killed 100,000 Aramean foot soldiers in one day. Can you imagine looking over a valley with 100,000 dead soldiers (probably a good thing if they were the opponent)? Can you imagine how intimating the whole army was in that valley? I wonder how many people were there...it sounds so scary!
20:36 "Because you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, a lion will kill you as soon as you leave me." And when he had gone, a lion did attack and kill him. Ever notice how many lions attack people in the Bible? When I saw "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" movies, I cried each time I saw Aslan, mighty and fierce lion, yet how gentle and loving and approachable he was to children. I thought they did an excellent job of portraying Jesus. Just talking about it makes me feel like I need to rent that movie again...
20:35-43 I love the Lord's visuals!
21:3 But Naboth replied, "The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance that was passed down by my ancestors." Naboth is indeed a godly man who won't "sell out his birthright." This is more than just a picture of a little family owned vineyard. This is a picture of Israel, the Vineyard of the Lord (see many parables of Jesus), being offered to sell of the land that was given to them by Him. And this is why they have displeased the Lord through the centuries-they have made alliances, trade agreements, and sold off their inheritance to surrounding pagan nations. On another level, this is also a picture of the last days, when those adhering to truth and clinging to the Vine will be falsely accused and put to death! Notice it was all done "in the name of God (vs. 9, 12)."
King Ahab is just like a little boy throwing tantrums. Say verse 6 in your best tantrum-throwing toddler just before being put down for a much-needed nap! He reminds me of one of my family members.
21:25 No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord's sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel. Think a marriage partner doesn't really matter or really have an influence on your life? Think again! Ahab seems to be a little spoiled puppet at Jezebel's beck and call. We can name a slough of kings who had the same story, as we did with Solomon.
21:29 "Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has done this, I will not do what I promised during his lifetime. It will happen to his sons; I will destroy his dynasty." This is sort of a bitter sweet verse. On the one hand, God's mercy is great and he forgives even the worst of sinners like Ahab. But on the other hand, Ahab's descendants have to deal with his consequences. I think that perhaps they follow in his steps and are evil which is why God's anger doesn't turn away from them. They only inherit the judgment based on their own evil actions.
13:3 So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way. I have made this point before, but when did we ever forsake fasting? The NT believers did it, especially before choosing spiritual leaders and dedicating them! And don't forget that Jesus also fasted.
13:9-10 ...Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. Then he said, "You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? I think we should try this sometime. This appears to be the kind of attitude we should have toward intentional sheep stealers (I'm quite certain I'll meet more!).
Psalm 137 A grizzly Psalm indeed, but also a prophetic Psalm, both of the spiritual captivity of Israel and God's people, as well as a true captivity to Babylon and deliverance (MK). I just learned this week that the 3 world empires all had Babylon as the capital at some point. The 4th is prophesied to also have its capital there. We'll see if it's literal or not, but remember from our Genesis study that Babylon is rebuilding and planning to become a prominent international tourist city.
Proverbs 17:16 It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning. This verse could have saved many a parent a lot of dough.
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