...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
ISAIAH 40:31

A Blog for Kids and Everyone.

This is a journey through God's word. The Bible is so amazing! There are a lot of great stories. Some that we know well and some will surprise us. We will have a lot of fun as we color, watch short cartoons and tell funny stories.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Elijah"s Disappointment (1Kings:19)

 So Elijah had just witnessed God's amazing power in discrediting the prophets of Baal. He ran all the way to the Gates of Jezreel. He even beat king Ahab there... and he was in a chariot! The king went to his wife Jezabel and told her all about Elijah and how the prophets of Baal had all been killed. She became furious!
   Meanwhile Elijah waited outside the gates of the city for word that the king and queen were now convinced that the true God of Israel was who He said He was. Elijah waited in excited anticipation. He knew that if the king and queen would turn from their false idols, that all of Israel would turn as well. Elijah looked up and he saw the king's messenger a long way off. He couldn't wait. He rushed toward the messenger to hear his message.
 "Queen Jezabel has issued this statement." Elijah waited to hear the words that he had waited so long to hear. And the messenger continued. "May the gods also kill me if by this time tomorrow if I have failed to kill you, just like you killed my prophets! In the words of the queen"
 Elijah was astonished. "What?" He knew he had to get out of there quick. He and his servant quickly left the gate of Jezreel. After a while Elijah told his servant that he wanted to be alone. So Elijah left his servant and continued on his journey the rest of the day on his own. The more Elijah walked, the more depressed he got. He kept going over in his head how he had failed. How things hadn't turned out like he planned. And how he was all alone.

  Sometimes we have such high expectations, that when things don't go how we planned, we get really down. Remember that no matter what, God is good and He is in control. It is OK to have expectations, but if we remember that God sees the bigger picture, and that His plan may not be ours, we can accept disappointment with the knowledge that God has this.

  Elijah finally got so tired of running that he fell asleep under a tree. As he fell asleep he prayed that God would just take his life because he was such a failure. While he was sleeping and angel appeared. "Get up and eat Elijah." The angel nudged him. Elijah woke up and he saw some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! Elijah ate and fell back asleep. The angel nudged him again. "Eat some more, for you have a long journey ahead of you." Elijah ate and drank some more and then he walked for 40 days until he reached Mt. Sinai. (Remember Mt. Sinai was where God gave the ten commandments to Moses)
  At Mt. Sinai, Elijah found a cave and rested there. He probably had negative thoughts in his head during the whole journey, because when he finally rested he prayed to God. "God, haven't I served you with all my heart? But still the people continue to turn their backs on you. They have killed all the prophets and now I am the only one left! They have also torn down your altars and replaced them with idols. I have had enough, God. I can't do this anymore!"
 God told Elijah, "Go stand outside." As Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by. A mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was so fierce that rocks were torn from the face of the mountain.  But the Lord was not in the wind. Then a strong earthquake shook the mountain. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then after that was a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire came a gentle whisper and Elijah heard the voice of the Lord.

  God was reminding Elijah that He was in control. Not only of nature, weather and fire, but also of circumstances. And that if we let ourselves be still long enough, we can hear from God. (Psalm 46:10) Then God reassured Elijah that he was not the only prophet left. There were 7,000 others. Then God told Elijah to go back to where he came from, anoint a new king of Israel and then anoint Elisha to take his place as prophet.
  Elijah did as Lord commanded. He found Elisha plowing a field with his oxen. He threw his cloak over Elisha's shoulders and walked away. Elisha left his oxen standing there and chased after Elijah. He knew that God had called him. "I am just going to run back real quick and kiss my parents goodbye." Elisha said, "Go right ahead." Elijah answered.

Monday, October 9, 2017

God shows up.... big time (1Kings 18)

  After the prophets of Baal spent all morning trying to get their god to answer them, Elijah called the people of Israel over to the altar of God. (Which he was repairing as he spoke) Elijah took 12 stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel to repair the altar. Then he dug a trench around the altar. He had the bull laid on the wood on the altar and requested that 4 buckets of water be poured over the bull, the wood and the altar. So they did as Elijah requested. Then he told them to do it a second time and they did. Finally he asked for a third drenching and they did it again. By this time, the trenches that were dug around the altar were overflowing.
  It was evening by now and Elijah went to the altar and prayed. "Oh Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel. I am your servant and I have done all that you commanded. Oh Lord answer me so that these people will know that you are the one true God."
 Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the bull, the wood, the stones and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! The people were in awe. They began to cry out "The Lord is God! The Lord is God!" Then the prophets of Baal were all put to death.

 In Elijah's prayer we can see that this whole thing was God's plan. He had commanded Elijah to soak everything so that there would be no question that it was Him behind the fire and not some trick.  We
should never put God in a box. In other words, God can do more than we can even imagine. Ephesians 3:20 says it so well..... Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish so much more than we might ask or think.

  Elijah turned to Ahab. "t hasn't rained for 3 years, but I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!. Go home and enjoy a nice meal before it hits." Ahab headed home and Elijah took his servant and climbed to the highest point on Mt. Carmel. Elijah fell face down to ground and began to pray. Then he said to his servant. "Go and look out toward the sea."
  The servant returned to Elijah and said. "I looked out to sea, butI didn't see anything."
 "Go look again." Elijah replied, but again the servant saw nothing. The servant looked toward the sea six times, and then on the seventh time he saw something.
 "Master, I see a cloud rising from the sea. But it is no larger than a man's hand." he reported. 
 "Hurry to Ahab!" Elijah shouted. "Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don't hurry, the rain will stop you!" 
 Elijah's servant caught up with Ahab and told him about the impending storm. Ahab quickly left for his home in Jezreel. The winds were kicking up and the skies were getting darker and darker. Ahab had his horses pulling his chariot as fast as they could go! "Faster, faster!" He shouted.
 Now the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran faster than the horses pulling Ahab's chariot! Elijah beat Ahab to the entrance gate in Jezreel!

 Wow! Imagine being able to run that fast! God does some amazing things. Ahab just witnessed three of them in a matter of a couple hours. 1. God's fire from heaven 2. The end of a three year drought. 3. Elijah's turbo-speed sprint. 

  Next time we will see if witnessing these three miracles has an affect on Ahab's life and his attitude toward or God, or if his wife Jezebel has more influence on him. 


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Elijah and the Contest on Mount Carmel (1Kings 18)

  The drought in Israel was in it's third year. People were starving and dying of thirst. God told Elijah, "The time for the drought is nearing it's end. Go and present yourself to King Ahab." God was the one who told Elijah to go into hiding, now He was telling him to stand before the king. God's timing is always perfect. There are times that He wants us to be silent and other times that He wants us to speak up. Pray and listen for God's leading.

  Meanwhile, in the midst of the drought, King Ahab was more concerned about his horses and donkeys than he was about the starving people in his kingdom. He called Obadiah, his right hand man, to help him scour the countryside to find food for his horses and mules. Remember Obadiah from last time? He is a loyal follower of the true God of Israel placed in King Ahab's service. Obadiah hid 100 prophets in caves when the queen, Jezebel, was trying to have them all killed. Sometimes God places us in ungodly places so that we can be a light in the darkness.

  So, as Obadiah was out looking for horse food, Elijah was headed to the palace. They ran into each other along the way. Obadiah was shocked to see Elijah because King Ahab had been searching for him since the drought began. "Is, is that really you Elijah?" Obadiah asked.
  "Yes, it is." Elijah answered. "Now go tell your master that I am here."
 Obadiah was a little afraid to relay the message to King Ahab, for fear that the Holy Spirit would move Elijah into hiding again. But with some reassurance from Elijah, Obadiah went and told the king that Elijah had come and King Ahab went out to meet him. "
  So Israel's great troublemaker has returned I see!" Ahab snarled. The king was referring to the drought. Ahab either couldn't see or didn't want to see that his worship of false idols is what brought on the drought.
 As believers in Jesus, sometimes we bear the brunt of accusations. We get blamed for things that are clearly beyond our control. How do we respond? Don't argue or fight. Go to God and point others to Him.
 Elijah replied to the king. "I have made no trouble for Israel. God is responding with His mighty power to you, and your family because you have chosen to worship Baal instead of Him. Now go and bring the 450 prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel, and you may as well bring the other 400 prophets of Asherah as well. Then summon all the people of Israel. It is time for a contest of the gods!" Elijah didn't come up with this contest on his own. We see later in verse 36 when Elijah says that he has done this at God's command.

 So Ahab gathered all the people of Israel. He brought the 850 prophets to Mount Carmel. Then Elijah began to speak to the people of Israel. "How long will you waver between two gods. You cannot be loyal to both! (Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 6:24) Today is the day that you will choose one or the other. If Baal is god.... choose him, but if the one true God of Israel is God.... then worship only Him!"
 Then, at God's command. Elijah began to direct the set-up for the contest. "Bring me two bulls and some wood. The prophets of Baal get first choice. Let them choose a bull, prepare it and lay it on the wood on their altar." Elijah continued. "I will prepare the other bull on the other altar. Then call on the name of your god. I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by setting fire to the wood is the one true God." And all the people agreed.

 So the prophets of Baal prepared the bull and began to call on the name of Baal all morning, shouting, "Oh Baal answer us!" But there was no answer. They began to dance wildly and chant around the altar they had made..... but still not a hint of a reply.
   By afternoon Elijah started to have fun with the situation and began to taunt the prophets. "Maybe your god is away on a business trip, or perhaps he is sleeping. Maybe he is in the bathroom or deep in thought. I think you have to call a little louder!" So they shouted louder and even began to cut themselves, thinking that would get Baal's attention.... but still nothing.

  Sometimes we think that things of this world will satisfy our hearts. We try harder and harder to get them, and sometimes when we do get them, they don't satisfy. Giving all our attention and efforts to something and putting God second is a modern idol. It could be money, popularity, power, attention or material things. They eventually leave us feeling empty. But there is a desire in our hearts that can only be filled by a relationship with the one true God.

Next time we will see if Baal ever answers and the extravagant measures Elijah takes on the other altar.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Elijah fed by the Ravens and the Widow's son (1Kings 17)

 It was near the end of King Asa's 41 year rule in Judah that a man named Ahab became king of Israel. He was a very bad king.... and his wife, Jezebel , was even worse! She was worshiper of Baal, a pagan god of fire and fertility. So to keep her happy, king Ahab worshipped Baal as well and had a huge temple built for the pagan god. Jezebel despised the one true God, and tried to have 100 of God's prophets killed. But another prophet named Obadiah, who worked for the king,  hid the prophets from her in a couple of caves. He brought them food and water daily.

  God was very angry with king Ahab and Jezebel. He sent a prophet named Elijah to speak to the king. "As surely as the Lord God of Israel lives, the God whom I worship and serve, there will be no rain during the next few years until I give the word." Elijah said.

  King Ahab and Jezebel were furious. God told Elijah to get out of there quick and hide near a brook. "Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you. For I have commanded them to bring you food." God told Elijah. So Elijah did as the Lord said. He camped near the brook and drank from it, and he ate the food that the ravens brought to him. They brought him bread and meat every morning and every evening. But because there was no rainfall in the land, the brook that Elijah was drinking from began to dry up. Then the Lord said to Elijah, "Go and live in the city of Zarepath. There is a widow there who will feed you." So Elijah went to Zarepath.

We can really see the obedience of Elijah. God told him to confront the king, which was very risky, and he did it right away. God sent him into the wilderness to depend on Him for food and water and Elijah followed God's instructions. Finally God sent him to a widow. Elijah obeyed again. so what does God want from you and me? To obey Him, even if it is difficult and to trust Him, even if it seems impossible.

 When Elijah arrived at the city gate, he saw a widow gathering sticks. "Will you bring me some water?" He asked. As the widow was going to get him some water he called out to her. "Could you also bring me some bread."
 But she said, "I swear that I don't have a single piece of bread in the house. My son and I are starving! I was just gathering some twigs for a fire to make a last meal for me and my son with the handful of flour I have and a tiny bit of oil that is left in the bottom of a jar, then we will die."
 Elijah answered her, "Don't be afraid, go ahead and make your 'last meal'. But make me some bread first. Afterward there will be enough food for you and your son. The Lord our God says that there will always be flour in your bin and oil in your jar until He allows it to rain again!"

 The widow did as Elijah asked. She and her son ate many meals from the replenishing supply of flour and oil. For no matter how much they used, there was always flour in the bin and oil in the jar.... just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.

  God blessed the widow for believing and acting on God's promise. God promised her the flour and oil to her through the prophet Elijah. God has many promises for us in His word, the Bible. He wants us to believe His promises and act accordingly. This is true faith. (James 1:22)

  Some time later, the widow's son got very sick, and then he died. The widow cried out to Elijah. "Why did this happen? Did you come here to punish me for my sins by killing my son?"
"Give me your son." Elijah said. Then he laid the boy out on the bed in the upper room. Elijah began to pray and he stretched himself out over the boy. Three times he did this and on the third time, the boy's life returned to him! Elijah brought the boy downstairs, gave him to his mother and said. " Look, your son is alive!"
 The woman fell on her knees and said. "Now I know that you are a man of God and He speaks through you!"

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Solomon Takes a Wrong Turn (1Kings 10-16)

 King Solomon became well known for his wisdom and his wealth. Kings and queens from all over would come to see these things for themselves. Once the Queen of Sheba came for a visit. "I heard all these stories about your wealth and wisdom." She exclaimed. "But you are even wiser and wealthier than I ever imagined."
 King Solomon was so rich, that even his drinking cups were made of gold! He also built up a huge force of Chariots and horses. Solomon had 1,400 chariots and over over 12,000 horses!

 The problem with having all this stuff, is that we tend to lose focus on what is important (namely God, others and eternity), and Solomon fell into the same trap. Not only did he amass large quantities of everything, he also began marrying many women. Most of them were from other countries and worshipped other Gods. God's clear instruction was not to marry foreign women because the women would lead their husbands to worship their gods. But Solomon had lost his focus. God became very angry with Solomon for his heart had turned away from Him. God appeared to Solomon twice to warn him about not obeying His commands, and now Solomon was doing exactly what God had told him not to do.

 Being away from God left a big empty space in Solomon's heart. He tried to fill it with possessions, women, parties, reading and many other worldly things... but he discovered that nothing can fill the place in our hearts that is meant for only God to fill. Solomon even wrote a book about all he had done in his life looking for fulfillment. It is found in the Bible. It is called the book of Ecclesiastes.
He finishes up the book of Ecclesiastes with this conclusion: "Obey God, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge all we do, even in secret, whether good or bad." Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

 Solomon died when he was sixty years old. His son Rehoboam became king. But because of Solomon's disobedience, the peace that Israel enjoyed for forty years was about to come to an end. Rehoboam got rid of his father's counselors and surrounded himself with advisers that were not very smart. They told him to be the strictest and toughest king that Israel had so far. So when the Israelites approached Rehoboam and asked him to lighten their harsh labor demand and reduce their heavy tax burden, he told them that the taxes would be even higher, and the labor more harsh!
 One of Solomon's labor leaders was named Jeroboam. He had been replaced by the new king with a man named Adoniram. But the people stood with Jeroboam and rebelled against the new king. The people made Jeroboam their new king. This split Israel. Now they had two kings. Rehoboam ruled over the southern kingdom which consisted the tribe, Judah. Jeroboam ruled over all the rest of the tribes in the north.

 Remember that God promised David that he would always have a descendant on the throne. Well He kept His promise. David's grandson Rehoboam ruled in Judah 18 years. During his reign, Judah drifted farther from God. Jeroboam was even worse! He made golden calves for the people to worship! Doesn't that sound familiar? Moses' brother, Aaron did the same thing when the Israelites got impatient waiting for Moses to come back down the mountain in Exodus 32.
 The next several chapters list the kings of the northern kingdom and the kings of the southern kingdom. Most of the kings didn't do what was right in God's eyes and there was a constant civil war between the two kingdoms. However, a king named Asa, a descendant of David, did what was right in God's eyes and Judah began to return to the one true God during his and his son Jehosaphat's rule.

 Solomon's sin had repercussions on all of Israel. Do we consider how our sin will affect others? We cannot foresee what the consequences will be, but we can know that the promises of God are true. Obedience to God's rules is not meant to rob us of our fun. It is meant to protect us and to fulfill our exciting purpose which God has prepared for us long before we were even born. If we fill our hearts with the things of God and not with things of this world, our lives will be amazing and exciting!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Solomon Settles in as King. (1Kings 3

    Last time we saw that King Solomon, (who had just recently become king) was faced with a dilemma. Two women both claimed to be the mother of the same baby! They each cried to the king. "No! He is my son!" And they traded accusations back and forth. 
 "Enough!" King Solomon said. Then he repeated the story back to them to make sure he got it right. So what is a king to do?

  "Bring me a sword!" he shouted. Everyone was puzzled..... "what would the king want with a sword?" Some of them chucked to themselves. 
 So a sword was brought to the king and then he said, "Cut the child in half and give each woman half."
 Then the woman who was really the mother of the child and who loved him very much cried out. "Oh no my lord! Give her the child. Please do not cut the child in half! 
 But the other woman said, "All right, he will be neither yours nor mine. Divide him between us!"
  Then the king said, "Do not kill him, but give the baby to the woman who wants the child to live, for she is his mother!"

  Word of Solomon's wisdom spread quickly throughout the land. Everyone was in awe as they realized what amazing wisdom God had given to the king to administer justice.  
Solomon also grew in wealth just as God had promised and soon he was the wealthiest king in the world! God also promised that there would be peace in Israel during Solomon's reign, and there was peace for all forty years that Solomon was king. During this peaceful time Solomon was able to write 3000 psalms and 1000 songs.
  What do you do in your "peaceful' times? Do you focus on yourself? or ponder the things of God? 
  Before David died, he told his son, Solomon, that he always wanted to build a temple, but God said that Solomon would be the one to build it. So King Solomon began work on the temple. He wanted it to be amazing, and with all the riches he had, the finished temple was spectacular! The interior walls were overlaid in gold. It took 7 years to complete the temple. Then he built a magnificent palace. It took 13 years to complete it. 

  Now it was time to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the new temple. There was a great ceremony. There were so many sacrifices that no one could keep count. The priests picked up the Ark using the poles and carried it into the temple. 

 Then King Solomon said a prayer, blessing all the people of Israel and dedicating the temple to the Lord. He had the priests offer up more sacrifices. (about 142,000 animals in all).  The king and all the Israelites continued the temple celebration for seven days. Then it was time for the Festival of the Shelters... or Sukkot. (Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. ) and the people celebrated another 7 days. After the two weeks of celebrating, God appeared to Solomon a second time. (Remember last time God appereared to Solomon was when Solomon asked for wisdom) 
 God told Solomon that He would dwell in the temple that he had built. (I'm sure Solomon was relieved to hear that) And He also reminded the king that if he continued to follow Him and obey Him, that things would go well for him and that he would always have an ancestor on the throne of Israel. 

 It seems like God was always reminding the kings to trust, follow and obey Him. .... and those reminders are not only for kings. God wants to remind us to trust, follow and obey Him. Why? Because He knows what is best for us, He loves us and He is good. Just like God made promises to David and Solomon. He has made thousands of promises to us..... and they are all found in his word...... the Bible. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Death of David and the Wisdom of King Solomon (1Kings:2-3:22)

  So Solomon secured his seat on the throne as king of Israel. David was getting very sick and called for Solomon to be at his bedside. David had some advice about being king for Solomon. Now, I would think that his advice would deal with the King's treasury or who not to trust and how to maintain power, but David didn't address any of these things (directly). He told Solomon to obey God and listen to His commands. David knew that if Solomon would obey the commandments and if he put God first in all things, that all would go well for him.  Put first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added onto you. (Matthew6:33) 

 Soon afterward, David died. David was king over Israel for a total of 40 years. Now Solomon was on his own. Remember Adonijah, another one of David's sons, from last time? He ran to the temple and grabbed ahold the horns of the altar and asked for mercy and Solomon spared his life, even though Adonijah had tried to make himself king. Well Adonijah was at it again. He tried to use Solomon's own mother, Bathsheba, to trick Solomon into relinquishing his kingship, but Solomon saw right through Adonijah's plans and had no choice but to have him executed.

  One evening after making many sacrifices to God, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream. "What do you want?" The Lord asked him. "Whatever you ask, it will be given to you." Most people would have asked to be rich or to live a long life or for revenge on their enemies. But.... King Solomon answered. " I am a very young man (He was 20 years old at the time) and I don't really have the wisdom to rule your people. Please give me the wisdom I need to be a fair and just and good king."
 God was very pleased with Solomon's answer. Solomon was thinking about how to take care of
God's people rather than focusing on himself.  God told Solomon that since he didn't ask for gold or long life or any other selfish thing, that He would not only give him wisdom, but also wealth beyond his imagination, and He told Solomon that he would live a long life if he obeyed the commandments.
Now to Him, who is able to do far more than we ask or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20)
   We can learn a very valuable lesson from this chapter in Solomon's life.  God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. He works His good through us so that others will be blessed, AND so that we will be blessed in the process! God is so amazing!! And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others      2 Corinthians 9:8


It didn't take long before Solomon was given an opportunity to test out his newly acquired wisdom. One day two women came to the palace. They were each trying to approach him carrying the same baby. King Solomon thought to himself, "This looks very strange." When they reached the foot of the throne, each woman told their story. The first woman said, " I live in the same house as this woman. We both gave birth at the same time. There was no one else in the house at the time. This woman's baby died in the darkness of night when he was just three days old. So she took the dead baby, crept into my room while I was sleeping, and switched out her dead son for my very much alive son! When I woke up in the morning, I recognized right away that the dead baby was not my son, and I knew what this woman had done."
 Then the second woman spoke. "It is as she said my Lord, however, her baby was the one who died and now she is trying to say that my son is the one that died. This is my son I tell you!"
"No! He is my son!" the women traded accusations back and forth. 
 "Enough!" King Solomon said. Then he repeated the story to make sure he got it right. (A true sign of wisdom. He did not want to make a decision on what he thought he heard, but on the facts. A good thing for us to remember)
 OK, so what will the new king decide? How will he demonstrate the abundant wisdom that God has given him? We shall find out next time..... Or you can read ahead to 1Kings 3:23-27.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Solomon Becomes King of Israel (1Kings1)

 As we get into the book of 1Kings, we find that David is getting old. He is sickly and cannot even stand, so he rules over Israel from his bed. Everyone knew that David did not have much longer to live, including his son, Adonijah. Adonijah was next in line for the throne according to birth order, but Israel was not like other nations. God appointed the next king, not birth order. But Adonijah didn't see it that way. He got 50 men together and some horses and chariots to escort him around. He figured if he looked like a king and acted like a king.... the throne would be his for the taking. He recruited a few of David's top officials including Joab, his top military leader and Abiathar, the leading priest. They agreed to support Adonijah in his bid to become king even though David had promised the throne to Solomon. Joab and Abiathar thought about what was best for them and not about God's will.

 We do that all the time, don't we? I know that is is God's will for me to forgive, but I want to hang on to that feeling I have toward someone that has hurt me. But God's will is ultimately for our own good, and He knows that forgiving is the key to setting our mind and our hearts free.

 Well Nathan the prophet, (Remember him? He confronted David about his sin with Bathsheba.) heard about Adonijah's plan to become king and told Solomon's mother, Bathsheba about it. He told her that she must tell David right away because Adonijah had already made sacrifices and was throwing a huge banquet to honor himself as king. Nathan told Bathsheba to go to David's bedside and tell him about Adonijah, then he said that he would come in and confirm the story so that David would have no doubt that it was true.
 So Bathsheba went in and asked David. "I beg your pardon my lord, but didn't you promise me that my son Solomon would succeed you as king?  (1Chronicles 22:5-9) It appears that Adonijah has not even waited for your blessing. He has declared himself king, and is having a great feast right now as we speak."
 Then Nathan came in and asked the king, "Have you appointed Adonijah as the next king without consulting any of your trusted advisors? He has already exalted himself as the next king!"

From his bed David declared to Bathsheba, "As surely as the Lord lives, your son Solomon will sit on the throne!" Then He said to Nathan, Zadok the priest and Benaiah, "Quick, gather up my officials. Take Solomon down to Gihon Spring. Let him ride my royal mule for the journey. When you get there, anoint him with oil, blow the trumpet and shout 'Long live King Solomon!' Then when you return with him, Solomon will sit on the throne."
 The 3 men did as David had asked. They anointed Solomon, blew the trumpets and shouted "Long live king Solomon." Then there was a great parade back to the castle. The people were all shouting, playing flutes and making a joyful ruckus.
 When Adonijah and Joab heard all the noise, they were confused. Just then the son of Abiathar, the priest who supported Adonijah, came running up to them in the middle of their feast..
 "I hope you have good news for us so we can continue celebrating." Joab said.
 "No, in fact it is troubling news for Adonijah and all who have supported him. King David has just made Solomon king. The loud roars that you heard were all the people cheering as they paraded back to the palace where Solomon is now sitting on the throne!"
 When all who were celebrating with Adonijah heard the news, they were afraid for their lives. They all got out of there as fast as they could, because the new king could have anyone executed. Adonijah feared for his life especially. He ran to the sacred tent and grabbed ahold the horns of the altar. (This was a holy place and Adonijah hoped that king Solomon would respect that and not have him killed). Word soon reached Solomon that Adonijah was pleading for his life in the sacred tent. Solomon sent one of his men to the tent to assure Adonijah that as long as he was loyal to the king, he would not be harmed. Adonijah went to the temple, threw himself at the feet of king Solomon and thanked him for his mercy.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Consequences of the Census (2 Samuel 24)

  So the anger of the Lord burned against Israel because they had rebelled against His decision.... again. God used David's sin to enact punishment against the entire nation of Israel. When we left last time, the prophet Gad had relayed God's message to David. David had a choice to make about the punishment that would be executed against the nation of Israel. Here were the three choices. Either three years of famine, three months of fleeing from their enemies or 3 days of a deadly plague.

  If you had a tough decision like this, what would you choose? I know what I would NOT choose. Since I would be the king, I wouldn't have to worry about a famine, because the king had plenty of food stored up. Or I wouldn't have to worry about fighting off the enemy, because as king, I would be protected at all cost. I wouldn't pick the plague, because death could strike anyone at any time. As king, I would be as vulnerable as anyone else in the kingdom. So that would definitely NOT be one of my choices..... but that is exactly what David chose. He knew that he had sinned. (he takes full blame at the end of the chapter) and he says in verse 13., "Let me fall into the merciful hands of our Lord. If he sees fit to inflict me, then so be it."

  So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel and it last three days. Seventy thousand people died throughout the nation. But as the death angel was in Jerusalem, he stopped at the threshing floor of Araunah. (A threshing floor was a hard floor where a wheat farmer would crush his crop to remove the grain from it's husk by having oxen drag a large heavy board over it) When David saw the angel of the Lord. He prayed that the plague would end and that if anyone else should die, it would be David himself. Just then Gad the prophet came to David and said, "Build an altar to God on this very site. So David went to Araunah, the man who owned the site where the altar was to be built. Araunah was a little nervous because the king wanted to talk to him. "Why have you come my lord?" he asked.
  David replied. "I have come to buy your threshing floor so that I could build and altar to the Lord there, so that He will stop the plague."
 "Please take it my lord. And here are some oxen for the offering and wood to make the fire. I will give it all to you, and may the Lord your God accept your sacrifice." Araunah answered.
   David insisted. "No. I must pay you for the place, the oxen and the wood. For what kind of sacrifice would it be if it cost me nothing?"

  The word sacrifice itself means to give up something. If David took the threshing floor, the oxen and the wood and offered it up to God, it would have been Araunah's sacrifice. We must remember that when we live our lives for Jesus, we are giving up our own desires and plans and replacing them with God's. But the amazing thing is that God loves us so much! His desires and plans for us are for our own good. He wants the best for us! The Bible says that the more we give up for Him, the more we have! That is called a paradox, and the Bible is full of them. (The last shall be first..... the humble will be exalted... to name a couple of examples.)

 So David bought the threshing floor, the oxen and the wood. Then he built and altar and sacrificed to the Lord. The plague stopped right there at the threshing room floor!

  The amazing thing about where that threshing room floor was located was that it was on Mount Moriah. The same place where Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac to God a thousand years earlier. And it is also the same place where Jesus sacrificed his life for us on the cross a thousand years later! God is so amazing!
 Well that finishes the books of First and Second Samuel. Next time we will be starting First Kings.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

David Takes a Census (2 Samuel 24)

 So now Israel was enjoying a time of peace and unity. However, God's anger burned against Israel. David was God's own anointed king. The people had sided with Absalom because he seemed more kingly to them. He was tall, good-looking and charming. But David was God's chosen king. God was going to discipline the people and He used David's pride and yielding to the devil's temptation to do it.

 David knew God's Word. In Exodus 30:12 it says not to count the people because counting equals ownership..... and Israel is God's people. But David gave in to the temptation and called in his general, Joab. After David finished explaining how he wanted Joab to go throughout the kingdom, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, and count the people, Joab replied. "May the Lord allow you to live long enough to see a hundred times the amount of people in the kingdom as there are today. Please do not sin against God by doing this." Never the less,  the kings word prevailed over Joab and the captains of the army. (The captains warned David as well. When there are several objections to your plan, it is time to rethink what you are about to do.)

 Why did Joab object so vehemently to David's plan. Perhaps he knew how it would affect the people, or he was looking out for the king. Or maybe he was thinking about himself. he was a general after all. Why should he stoop so low as to be a people counter. His pride was at stake! Speaking of pride, by ordering the census, David was feeding his own ego. Israel had grown enormously, he wanted to take the glory and the credit for himself.
 Pride is the sin of all sins. It was pride that toppled Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden. Pride is a preoccupation with ones self. What letter is in the middle of pride? I. And what letter is in the middle if sin? That's right....I. Putting ourselves above everyone is sinful pride. Pride also puts God in second place. God should always be first, and at the center of everything we do or say.

 So the census was taken. It took about 10 months to count the people. David had 10 months to change his mind and stop the census, but he didn't. God will always give us a way out of yielding to temptation. (1 Corinthians 10:13) When faced with temptation. STOP and pray. God has an exut strategy for you and He will show it to you. Sometimes it is simply saying "no".

  It turns out that there were 130,000 fighting men in the kingdom, which translates to 6 million people. Do you think David confidently sat back after the census was complete and said, "That's what I'm talking about!"? No. He did just the opposite. He felt guilty. He knew that he had sinned.
  Why do we feel guilty when we sin. It is because The Holy Spirit convicts us. We have Jesus living inside of us (If we have made Him the Lord of our life. Here is a link from a past blog telling how we can have this.  http://mrbiblehead.blogspot.com/2010/03/choosing-god.html). And Jesus would not be content with sin. So it is time to repent. I know, the word repent sounds harsh, but it is simply being sorry and turning from our sin and toward God. And that is just what David did. However, there was still a consequence. When I repent, I do not get off scott free. There is a price to pay. God was going to discipline Israel because of their recent actions, so he sent a prophet named Gad to give David this message.  "Choose one of these 3 punishment and I will do it says the Lord. Will you choose three years of famine, three months of fleeing from your enemies, or three days of severe plague throughout the kingdom."

"This is a desperate situation!" David replied. But he knew how he had to answer.

Next time we will see which punishment king David chose, and why.

Monday, January 2, 2017

David returns to his throne. (2 Samuel:20-23)

  So David started back to Jerusalem to reclaim his place as king of Israel. But now there was major disunity among the people of Israel. Half of the Israelites were supporters of Absalom, and now that he was dead, the people were arguing among themselves. David knew that he had to unify the country again, so he began with a few individuals who had been against him and showed them mercy.
One was Shimei, a man who cursed David as he was running from Absalom. Shimei begged the king's forgiveness. David ignored the advice of his advisors and did not have Shimei or any other person that showed remorse put to death. David showed kindness and mercy to the people of Israel.

The tribes were also fighting among themselves about which one supported David more faithfully. David put an end to the bickering and treated all the tribes equally and fairly.

 There were some individuals who still were completely against David. They began small revolts against David's leadership. One was Sheba. He blew a trumpet in the streets and shouted. "We will have nothing to do with David. Come on men of Israel! Follow me!" Sheba began to muster up a small group of revolutionaries, but David quickly put and end to it by sending his general, Joab, to take care of Sheba once and for all. Joab chased Sheba to the city of Abel-beth-maacah. The town's people saw Joab and his men ready to knock down the walls of the city to get this one man. They sent a woman out to speak with Joab. " Please don't knock down the walls of our good city. If it is one man you are seeking, we will find him and take care of him for you. Don't worry, you will be sure that we have taken care of him." She pleaded with Joab.
"Ok." He replied. Then Joab and his men waited to see what would happen. Pretty soon, Sheba's head came flying over the wall! I guess they took care of Sheba all right! Joab blew the trumpet and the troops returned to Jerusalem with the news.

David also knew that some of Israel's allies like the Gibeonites were not happy, so he went to them. He made peace with them.  David knew that the Gibeonites had been angry with Israel since Saul treated them badly. But now they were on David's side.

Finally, the Philistines were up to their tricks. They knew that since Israel was in such disarray, it was their opportunity to attack and finally defeat Israel once and for all. The sent in some giants from Gath. A few of them were relatives of Goliath. But David and his men defeated them in several battles.

So God used David to bring peace and unity back to Israel. David set a wonderful example of how a leader can unite his people after a time of disunity, and we can see some things we can do when we are leading, whether it is a small group or a whole country.

 Then David sang a beautiful song of praise to God. It is found in 2 Samuel chapter 22. David recalls all the times that God was there for David during his most difficult times. Then David praises God for who He is....not only for what He has done. We should think back in our own lives about all the times God was with us during tough times, and praise Him for who He is, the creator of the universe!.... and out Father who cares deeply for each one of us as individuals.