Monday, August 22, 2016

Standing

Standing on the promises

That's the lyrics to an old hymn. One I have heard countless times. 

There are hundreds of promises in the bible. 
Promises for comfort that I cling to.
Promises of protection I count on. 
Promises of Jesus' return that I stand on.

I've been reading and studying Kings for a few weeks.  Kings 1 and 2 are great books. You can see God work in the lives of Israel thru His promises.  
Israel wanted a King, like everyone else.  God didn't want them to have a King at all but they begged and he eventually gave them what they wanted.  He loved them so much that he gave in just like I will sometimes with my kids when they beg.

One of the kings was King Omri, Omri was an awful King and an all around terrible guy. If it was bad then he had a hand in it. 
Under his rule Israel was pretty much thunder dome. 

Omri eventually died and as with kingship it was passed to his son Ahab. Ahab was surprisingly even worse. In 1Kings 16:25 the bible tells us that Omri did more bad than any other king in Israel's history.
His son and new king, Ahab gets his own description, it's identical as his fathers until vs 33 when it says not only did he do more things that were evil in the sight of God but he did more to provoke the anger of God than anyother king. 
The king at the time was Ahab and the bible says that of all the kings of Israel up to him he was the one that provoked Gods anger the most. 

When my kids do something wrong I do get mad. If I tell them specifically not to do something and then they do it right in front of me I get furious. It provokes my anger.

Israel had turned once again from a God. It had gone beyond disappointing him with their actions. 
We all disappoint God from time to time in the choices we make. The friends we hang out with the language we use.  They had under Ahab's leadership provoked Him to action. 

To say the least when Elijah enters in 1 Kings God is not happy at all with the ones that are supposed to be HIs people
Elijah tells Ahab in ch 17 that the water has been cut off until further notice.  Until he as sent back to them to give the word there would be no water. 

There was no time limit set. The usual prophet spiel about repenting and turning back to God was spared. They knew what they were doing. 

They knew who God was. I sill remember all the stories my mom has told me about things God has done for our family. When my grandma was sick mom prayed and begged God for 2 more years with grandma and by Gods will she lived 2 more years.  
I prayed that night God changed my life. These are the stories that we pass down and help us explain our faith in God to the next generation. 

The Israelites had even greater stories to pass down. The burning bush, the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea.  Still they turned from God

So Elijah passed on Gods message. No demands by God it wasn't a ransom it was a promise. No bargaining to do because it wasn't a threat it was a promise. No pleading with him because it wasn't a choice it was a promise. 
Just like that the water shut off. Just like my water would get shut off if I ignored city utilities. They ignored God simply cut it off. 
I'm not sure how much it rained usually there. They might have went weeks without it and not realized it was a punishment. Being supremely just and merciful though God wanted them to know right away and give them the chance to turn from their sin. They could save themselves the suffering by turning back to Him.  So when Elijah gave them His message he said it would not rain and there would be no dew even until he returned with Gods word. 

Who knows what would have happened if they had repented right then.  God may have opened the floodgates immediately

That however wasn't the case

3 years later they were still in this drought. There was a huge famine because of it. People and livestock died off crops were so sparse that's the king himself had to lead a party of men outside to try and find anything for the horses to eat. 

It was rough.  Promises sometimes are. 

There were according to the bible 7000 people in the kingdom that refused to worship Baal.  They still had a hard time for those 3 years but they made it thru. It wasn't easy but they made it. I'm sure they prayed for rain themselves but God made a promise and he sees ALL of his promises through. God took care of them.  I can't imagine it was easy but they made it through the drought to the rain. 
They lived in a kingdom openly defying God and they did nothing. They didn't worship Baal but they weren't actively fighting the Baal worship either. We can be confident in this because they didn't get killed and that seemed to be the preferred punishment for insubordination when it came to idol worship in the Old Testament.  They were the pew fillers. 
They made it thru to the rain. Wasn't fun but they made it. 

Elijah was a man in motion however. He was going wherever God wanted him to go. God says go to the king then he goes to the king. God says go to this hideaway by a brook and he goes. God says got to this town because I have a widow there that will take care of you and he goes there.  Elijah made it thru to the rain spectacularly and miraculously. Elijah was doing the work he was called to do. He held tight to the promise that God would eventually send him with the message. He knew God had told him he would deliver the message of rain when it was time. He had faith in that promise and was confident he would make it thru to the rain. 

I like the story of Ahab and Elijah because it shows God see a promise through to the end.  God said this would happen and it happened. There are lots of stories in the bible  where God faithfully keeps his promises. Stories where God protects those that are truly His when things around them seem impossible. 

After Jesus' sacrifice for you and I, we were given another promise because he loves us. If we live our lives for Him if we believe in Him and what he did we will have eternal life.  

That's the promise that produces.  

When we commit to God when we accept Jesus and daily choose to do His will we are doing it because we have faith in the promise. 

That faith produces fruit and that fruit makes even the droughts an oasis. 

A promise that through Jesus we will make it through the drought to the reign

Thanks for reading










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