May 1

Read II Kings 1 -- 3

King Ahab died in battle against Syria as had been foretold by the faithful prophet Micaiah (I Kings 22:17-38). Ahab's son Ahaziah then became king. Soon Ahaziah had an "accident" and fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick (seriously injured). He sent messengers, and said to them, inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron whether I shall recover from this disease (injury). (On the way), the angel of the Lord said to Elijah . . . go meet the messengers . . . and say . . . Is it because there is no God in Israel, that you go to inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus says the Lord, you shall . . . surely die (II Kings 1:2-4). Ahaziah's servants returned and told the king what the prophet Elijah had said. But, instead of repenting and turning to the Lord, Ahaziah, like his mother Jezebel, expressed hatred for the prophet of God.

Ahaziah refused to recognize that the hand of God was in all the tragedies that had occurred in his family. The first dreadful event was the prophesied death of his father Ahab, then his mother Jezebel's prophesied terrifying death, and now his own "accident." Ahaziah's hostility toward God hardened his heart. So he died according to the Word of the Lord (1:17).

We may or may not be responsible for our circumstances, but we are responsible for the way we react to them. We can decide to be angry with the people and circumstances that God brings into our lives, or we can see them as messengers from the Lord, who seeks to transform us into the likeness of Christ.

Ten years before Elijah's departure in a "chariot of fire," the Lord said to him: Anoint . . . Elisha . . . to be prophet in your place. . . . So . . . Elijah found Elisha . . . plowing with twelve yoke of oxen . . . and Elijah . . . cast his mantle (robe) upon him (I Kings 19:16,19), designating Elisha to replace him. At the time Elijah called Elisha to join him, Elisha was a prosperous young farmer. To accept Elijah's calling would mean Elisha would have to forsake all his financial securities and follow the prophet.

Elisha immediately converted his plows into firewood and offered one yoke of oxen as a sacrifice to God. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him as his servant (19:21). Elisha's actions demonstrate that the key to one's usefulness in the Kingdom of God is to immediately respond to our opportunities to serve the Lord, regardless of how insignificant the task may appear.

Just prior to Elijah's translation into Heaven, Elisha again revealed his spiritual discernment and loyalty to God, which qualified him to be Elijah's successor. Elijah said: Tarry here . . . for the Lord has sent me to Bethel (II Kings 2:2). But Elisha was determined to continue with Elijah on his journey from Gilgal to Bethel, on to Jericho, and then across the Jordan River (2:3-8).

Like Elisha, providential circumstances have placed each of us exactly where we are today to determine the sincerity of our commitment to the Lord. Jesus said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Luke 9:23).

Christ Revealed: In the taking up of Elijah in the whirlwind and the dropping of the mantle -- a symbol of the presence of God and power that remains with His faithful servants (II Kings 2:8-15). This is a type of the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and the sending of the Holy Spirit to indwell the believers, giving us power to evangelize the world (Luke 24:51-53; Acts 1 -- 2).

Word Studies: 1:8 girt means clothed; girdle of leather means leather apron around his waist; 2:24 tare means mauled or mangled them; 3:9 fetched a compass means made a roundabout march; 3:27 offered him means as a sacrifice to the god of Moab.

NOTE: Definitions may not agree with present-day usage as given in your dictionary; we attempt to explain the thought expressed in the original language.

Prayer:

BPM Staff: Letha Hash · Pray for your church leaders · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in honor of Judy and David Bailey · Country: French Guiana (168,000) on the northern coast of South America · Major Language: French · Religious freedom · 88% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving (Psalms 147:7).

Optional Reading: Romans 4

NOTE: Bible Pathway covers the Old Testament with devotional and commentary insights over a nine-month period, January through September. Each day during these months, an optional reading of one chapter a day from the New Testament will also be listed. The October, November, and December issues will provide a daily commentary on the New Testament readings. Thus, the reader goes through the New Testament twice each year using the Bible Pathway plan.

Memory Verse for the Week: James 5:16