Invitations & Excuses - Sermon from Luke 14
Christ in you the hope of glory' A video presentation of Wednesday evening's Bible study text from Colossians 1:27
Video Presentation of last Sunday's reflection on Zoom of 2 Timothy 4:7-8
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This series of daily Bible notes ends for a time after the biblical fortieth day, in looking once again at the ‘Friends in High Places’ who protected Elisha and his servant. We have seen over these forty days how Elijah and Elisha, two unique individuals had a purpose in God’s plan. They showed character in the times of crisis in which they found themselves, and as such, they leave us with much to think about and follow in our own time of crisis today.
I believe that what we are shown in these verses should be a great comfort, as we are shown that no matter our circumstances, no matter even how we might feel; we are not alone. If we can take to heart Elisha’s rapid faith-filled prayer, we are shown that God’s help is indeed only a prayer away. Continue reading
What I am referring to is what the Bible calls’ ministering spirits’, powerful beings that we cannot ordinarily see, but who exist to do God’s will, and to help God’s people.
Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14
These Verses in 2 Kings 6 bring home the reality of these ‘friends in high places’ to Elisha’s servant. It is only when his eyes are opened that He sees what he hadn’t before. He can discern God’s firewall around him, ( vs 17) He sees what Elisha could see, he sees what God wanted him to see, and also what the devil didn’t want him to see! The prophet’s servant is shown the reality of Angelic presence, of a spiritual dimension of which we are often unaware. But before this – things were different! Continue reading
Naaman’s Confession in 2 Kings 5:15 does in some senses read like other similar confessions in the Bible. “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.”
This is a statement of Naaman’s Faith, but we must notice it is a fledgeling faith. It is an immature faith ( vs 17). He is so impressed by this God who is able to heal, as no other could that he determines that he will worship this God, ( read vs 17) Two mule loads of earth seem to show Naaman’s ignorance of this God. He knows this God, but very little. He seems to have a mixed Polytheistic view that this God is like other gods, who would prefer the earth of his own land, believing that God could only be worshipped on his native soil. His God is small, and his knowledge of him imperfect. Continue reading
I believe that the way God works in the case of the Shunammite’s son is a pattern of how personal God’s care is of hurting people. And also a model for the church to follow in its caring for hurting, grieving people too. There is genuine concern for the woman and her son, in Elisha’s actions. Shutting the door, closing out all distractions, Elisha takes it to the Lord in prayer, in the room the woman had set aside for him. Praying to God seeking the help of the God whom he served, and physically touching the child, giving him the kiss of life. Elisha isn’t acting in ignorance, or with apathy, but with determined purpose, that the woman whom he had given the promise to before would not have her hopes cruelly dashed again. Continue reading
The Story of Elisha and the widow’s oil is not only one of the best known of this prophet’s miracles. It is also an account which has parallels with the earlier passage of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath ( 1 Kings 17:7 ff) – She is along with her son dying of hunger – they have only a little flour and some oil. Which they are going to eat, and then wait to die of hunger. But Elijah asks for a cake. Can we imagine the widow’s thoughts? ‘ We are dying of hunger, and this wild-eyed freak wants a cake!’ No, the widow does as Elijah asks( 1 Kings 17:15) and is blessed. And so here also (in 2 Kings 4:1-7) there is the test of faith. Continue reading
Elisha’s answer to the widow is positive and practical. “How can I help?” He is positive in his response; he’s also practical in what he does. The main issue is getting the debt paid.
All she has is a little oil, probably olive oil in a jar. A little oil was all that God needed. It is fascinating how God works in miraculous ways, in the little things. There are many examples of a little becoming much in scripture. We have the case from the book of Judges of Gideon’s army reduced to a mere handful ( Judges 7) There is the story of David versus Goliath in 1 Samuel 17); we have the account from the life of Elijah, which is so similar to this one ( 1 Kings 17). The flour and Jug of oil of the widow Continue reading
In 2 Kings 4, we encounter one of the best-known miracles in Elisha’s ministry. The widow’s oil.
We are confronted in the Bible with a God of supernatural miracles, and miracles are indeed a big part of Elisha’s ministry. There is the temptation to dismiss this account from 2 Kings 4:1-7 as some would as being simply a Saga, a Novella, folklorist motif a part of oral tradition assoc with ancient times. That is how some see this passage. Indeed if we go along with the scholars, this didn’t happen. To go with some scholars is to hold that Elisha didn’t exist except in the imagination and the stories around the campfire of the Hebrew people. Continue reading
Is this a prophetic voice for today as well? Think of the parallels, the nation’s club together to ally against a common enemy, they try to form a strategy to defeat this common enemy, but they struggle to even meet the challenge of this common enemy. Until someone asks What about God? What is God saying in all this ?” What I see in these days of Coronavirus is a nation, and nations running about in blind panic without reference to God. We are falling and failing as we are addressing this issue without reference to God. What is God saying to our nation? What is God saying to the Church? Is God even speaking to or through the Church anymore? Continue reading
We can at times find ourselves facing situations which are so overwhelming, so difficult, that we think God Himself couldn’t turn things around. We find ourselves just now as a world in entirely uncharted waters. Nothing has prepared us adequately for coping with life during a global pandemic. However, thankfully God has a different perspective from ours. Where we see only impossibilities and problems, these things are an easy or a light thing ( ESV) in the eyes of the Lord. Continue reading
Bethel was a place of great promises and blessing being to Jacob. Later on, though things changed. The House of God became a Place of Rebellion against God. During the time of the kings, after Solomon was dead ( but before the time of Elijah & Elisha ), the ten tribes of the North rebelled against Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. Under the leadership of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. In a bid to stop his people travelling far south to Jerusalem to worship at the temple, Jeroboam erected two golden calves as idols, which the people of Israel worshipped. He set up one in Dan in the far North, and one was set up in Bethel. 1 Kings 12: 32 shows how he also offered sacrifices to the golden calves and had pagan priests serve there. Continue reading