To Look Beyond the Makeup #5

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

At the time of today’s Scripture, King Ahab has been deceased for 14 years. His son, Ahaziah, had reigned as his successor in Israel for two years (1 Kings 22:51-53). Ahaziah was idolatrous, so God slew him (2 Kings 1:1-18). His brother, Jehoram (Joram), another son of Ahab, then ruled for 12 years (2 Kings 3:1–9:26)—before Jehu killed him in the context of today’s Scripture.

Read 2 Kings chapter 9: “[21] And Joram said, Make ready. And his chariot was made ready. And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out against Jehu, and met him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite. [22] And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many? [23] And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, There is treachery, O Ahaziah.

“[24] And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot. [25] Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the LORD laid this burden upon him; [26] Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the LORD; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the LORD. Now therefore take and cast him into the plat of ground, according to the word of the LORD.” Jehu fulfilled Bible prophecy by exterminating Ahab’s bloodline (1 Kings 21:17-22)!

In today’s Scripture, as the new King Jehu enters the city of Jezreel (northern Israel, southwest of the Sea of Galilee), Jezebel attempts to seduce him. Let us see if she is successful….

To Look Beyond the Makeup #4

Monday, August 24, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Jezebel was not a passive follower of Baal worship; whatever the cost, she vehemently promoted it. Elijah answered Ahab: “Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18:19). Not only did Jezebel kill JEHOVAH God’s prophets (verse 4), she supported hundreds of false prophets!

At the infamous “showdown” between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, Baal was revealed to be a fraud and JEHOVAH God was demonstrated to be the one true God. Elijah killed these false prophets (verse 40), but Jezebel remained unconvinced. Chapter 19 opens: “[1] And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. [2] Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.” Jezebel threatened to execute Elijah!

In chapter 21, Ahab desires the vineyard of his neighbor Naboth. Read the sordid account. Jezebel conspires to establish false witnesses against Naboth, leading to his death by stoning. “Naboth is dead,” Jezebel informs Ahab, “So go enjoy your vineyard!” Here, the LORD directs Elijah to confront Ahab, warning the King that he and the Queen will both meet violent ends (verses 17-24). Ahab’s household—his dynasty—will be destroyed. “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine” (verse 19). Three years pass, and Ahab is killed in battle with the Syrians. “And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake” (1 Kings 22:38).

Now, it is time for Jezebel to experience her own violent demise….

Bible Q&A #755: “What are ‘groves?’

To Look Beyond the Makeup #3

Sunday, August 23, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

The Prophet Elijah’s ministry is notably associated with drought and famine. Since Ahab and Jezebel have instituted Baal worship—pagan idolatry—the LORD fulfilled His promise in the Mosaic Law. Leviticus chapter 26 describes this second phase of chastisement: “[18] And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. [19] And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: [20] And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.About six decades prior to Elijah, God had broken “the pride of [Israel’s] power.” Politically weakened, idolatrous King Solomon’s kingdom was divided, split between the 10 northern tribes and the two southern tribes (1 Kings chapter 11).

Responding to Ahab and Jezebel’s extensive false religion, God implements the rest of the phase of judgment: drought and famine are Israel’s lot for the next 3½ years (Luke 4:25; James 5:16-18). “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (1 Kings 17:1).

Now, chapter 18 of 1 Kings: “[1] And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. [2] And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria. [3] And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: [4] For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)” Yea, Queen Jezebel actually killed JEHOVAH God’s preachers….

To Look Beyond the Makeup #2

Saturday, August 22, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Turn to chapter 16 of 1 Kings: “[29] And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years. [30] And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. [31] And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.

“[32] And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. [33] And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him. [34] In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun [cf. Joshua 6:26!!].”

Now, chapter 21: “[25] But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. [26] And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.” Why was Ahab so evil? It was because he married Jezebel, a pagan woman steeped in idolatry! She negatively influenced him, and they joined in “ministry” to pollute the northern 10 tribes with false religion. They established Baal worship as Israel’s official state religion, and, by breaking the Mosaic Law, greatly gendered God’s wrath.

“Pretty” Jezebel is nothing but trouble….

To Look Beyond the Makeup #1

Friday, August 21, 2020

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window (2 Kings 9:30 KJV).

Removing her “paint,” what do we see?

Over eight centuries before Christ, Joram (Jehoram) reigned for 12 years as the King of Israel. Like his father King Ahab, he has encouraged pagan idolatry among the Jewish people of these northern 10 tribes. At the close of chapter 8 of 2 Kings, Joram was injured in battle with the Syrians. With chapter 9 opening, the Prophet Elisha directs one of the children of the prophets to travel to Ramothgilead (east of the Jordan River) and anoint Jehu as Israel’s new king. Jehu is captain of Israel’s army under Joram’s command.

Let us read from the context of today’s Scripture: “[6] And he [Jehu] arose, and went into the house; and he [the son of the prophet] poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel. [7] And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel. [8[ For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth* against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel: [9] And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah: [10] And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he [the son of the prophet] opened the door, and fled.”

This is certainly a bizarre passage, is it not? Jehu has been given a Divine commission. As the new monarch, he is to purge Israel of all Ahab’s descendants and idolatry. This elimination of evil religion amongst the 10 northern tribes includes doing away with Ahab’s widow, “beautiful” Jezebel….

*Note: If you are curious as to why “pisseth” appears in the King James Bible, be sure to read this informative study!

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A House Full of Sinners!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another (2 Kings 10:21 KJV).

Large crowds in religion are not necessarily good!

Some 800 years before Christ, the LORD God selected Jehu to become King of Israel (Northern Kingdom) and thus destroy King Ahab’s evil dynasty. Chapter 9 says Jehu killed Ahab’s son, King Joram, and wicked King Ahaziah of Judah (Southern Kingdom). Jehu also executed wicked Queen Jezebel, wife of the late Ahab—older but still an unbelieving heathen.

Wicked as he was, Jehu was nonetheless the “best” of Israel’s 20 kings! Interested in obeying the LORD God as well as fulfilling prophecy, he delivered the Northern Kingdom from Ahab’s evil family and its extensive Baal worship. Today’s Scripture says Jehu gathered all the worshippers of Baal in Baal’s temple. These multitudes are apostates that Israeli sovereigns—chiefly, Ahab and Jezebel—inspired decades earlier.

The religionists in today’s Scripture crammed into that house of Baal, quite eager to worship a false god that had fascinated their nation for decades. If you read the context (verses 18-27), Jehu had actually convinced them to come and worship Baal with him. It was simply a trick to gather them so he could slaughter them all! While graphic, God in the Mosaic Law deemed such executions of idolaters perfectly acceptable (Deuteronomy 13:1-11). It certainly purified the nation! “Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel” (2 Kings 10:28).

Although the size of Baal’s temple is unknown, Scripture says it was filled (!) with idolaters. Any minister today should be very careful not to boast of crowd size. There may not be a single empty seat, but that does not mean all present are Christians and want to worship the one true God! “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13,14).

Indecisive Israel #11

Sunday, September 17, 2017

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).

Whom shall Israel follow? (It depends on their circumstances!)

Recall the Jews’ two chief sins that led to their idolatry during the Book of Judges. Firstly, they did not cleanse the land of all its idolatrous, heathen inhabitants, disobeying what JEHOVAH God had commanded them through Moses (Exodus 22:20; Exodus 23:23-25; Deuteronomy 13:12-15; Deuteronomy 20:16-18; et cetera). Satan used these Gentiles to corrupt the land, and they contaminated Israel once left there. Secondly, the Israelites married those pagans, something God also clearly prohibited in the Mosaic Law (Exodus 34:10-17; Deuteronomy 7:1-6; et al.). Such intimate relationships further perverted Israel. She compromised and was ultimately neutralized.

Centuries after Judges ended, the Prophet Elijah stands on Mount Carmel. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel have influenced Israel (Northern Kingdom) to adopt Baal worship as its official religion. In the famous account of Elijah exposing Baal as a dead idol and JEHOVAH as the one true God, 1 Kings 18:21 says: “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” Imagine! Over 200 years after Judges closed, Israel is still waffling between Baal and JEHOVAH!

Beyond our day, Israel will reach “rock bottom” spiritually. Accepting the Antichrist and his false religious system (revived Baal worship!), unbelieving Israel is thus destroyed in God’s wrath during the Tribulation. Finally, the Lord Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming to forgive national Israel, make atonement for her sins, restore her unto Himself, and make believing Israel His kingdom of priests. Eternally joined to JEHOVAH God, Israel will never again be indecisive!

Now, we conclude this devotionals arc….

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Praying Like Elijah #6

Monday, February 23, 2015

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months” (James 5:17 KJV).

Why did Elijah pray like this, what was so special about his prayer that God answered it, and how can we have our prayers answered of God?

When God made the covenant of Law with Israel at Sinai, Moses made it very clear to them that they had to obey all of God’s commandments to receive His blessings (Exodus 19:3-6). If they broke that contract, He judged them, not to get even but to reform them (which reformation they usually refused). According to chapter 20, verses 1-6, the first two of the Ten Commandments forbade Israel from worshipping and serving other gods, and from making graven (carved) images. During the reign of evil Ahab, Elijah prayed for a drought because that is what God said He would do in the case of Israel’s idolatry. A drought came and lasted 3½ years (cf. today’s Scripture; Luke 4:25,26).

What if Elijah had prayed for a global flood? That would have certainly gotten Ahab’s attention! After all, did God not promise in Genesis chapter 6 that He would flood the world because of its wickedness? Certainly. Why did Elijah not behave like today’s “name-it-and-claim-it” proponents, grabbing random verses, ripping them from their contexts, attempting to make God grant his selfish desires?

Firstly, Elijah recognized the dispensational boundary between Genesis chapter 9 and his day. God was not dealing with Israel on the basis of the promises He had made to Noah and his contemporaries. Genesis chapter 6 was not God’s Word to or about Israel. However, Deuteronomy was God’s Word to and about Israel, and because Deuteronomy was in God’s will for Israel, Elijah prayed in accordance with it. Secondly, God promised never to flood the world again (Genesis 9:8-17). Had Elijah not recognized these two facts, had Elijah not recognized God’s Word to him (as a member of the nation Israel), his prayer would have gone unanswered and he would have been disappointed and confused.

This corrected view of Elijah’s prayer thus adjusts our view of prayer….

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Praying Like Elijah #5

Sunday, February 22, 2015

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months” (James 5:17 KJV).

Why did Elijah pray like this, what was so special about his prayer that God answered it, and how can we have our prayers answered of God?

With idolatrous Ahab and Jezebel leading Israel, Baal (devil) worship infiltrated the northern 10 Jewish tribes. The seventeenth chapter of 1 Kings states that Elijah the prophet confronted Ahab, and told him that it would not rain for some time. Over 600 years earlier, JEHOVAH had warned Israel through Moses that, if the nation embraced heathen religion (idolatry), a drought was imminent and Israel’s crops would fail (Deuteronomy 11:16,17). Elijah simply prayed in line with what God was doing with Israel concerning the Mosaic Law—if Israel failed to keep the Law, if she worshipped and served other gods, she would be cursed of the one true God.

The drought came, just as Elijah prayed and Moses predicted. It affected Elijah, but God miraculously took care of him using ravens and a poor widow woman (1 Kings 17:2-24). By the time chapter 18 opens, it is “the third year” of the drought. God instructs Elijah to go to Ahab and say on His behalf, “I will send rain upon the earth” (verse 1). There is a “sore [severe] famine” in the land, but God says that it is coming to an end. Ahab does not repent at God’s Word through Elijah (unbelieving Ahab is ignorant of Deuteronomy 11:16,17). Instead of confessing his sin of idolatry, or encouraging Israel to do likewise, Ahab searches desperately for food for the horses and mules, that all the beasts not die (verse 5). Ironically, Ahab, guilty of corrupting Israel, even asked Elijah in verse 17, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?”

While we must now break away from the story of Elijah, Ahab, and Jezebel (you can read the resolution in 1 Kings chapters 18-21), we will return to the subject of unanswered prayer, its cause and cure….

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Praying Like Elijah #4

Saturday, February 21, 2015

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months” (James 5:17 KJV).

Why did Elijah pray like this, what was so special about his prayer that God answered it, and how can we have our prayers answered of God?

In the closing verses of the sixteenth chapter of 1 Kings, we learn of the ascension of a new king in Israel (the northern kingdom)—Ahab. As Aquila and Priscilla made a great husband-wife ministry team for the LORD in the New Testament Scriptures, Ahab and Jezebel made a great husband-wife “ministry” team for the Devil in the Old Testament Scriptures! Ahab and Jezebel encouraged the common Jews to worship the pagan god Baal: Ahab built a house for Baal, an altar for Baal, and a grove (trees carved into poles used as a heathen shrine). Later on, Jezebel did not think twice about eliminating competition—she killed the prophets (messengers) of JEHOVAH, even attempting to slay Elijah!

Israel’s decline into paganism under Ahab and Jezebel, both in its leadership and general public, caused the Holy Spirit to move in the Prophet Elijah and confront Ahab: “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (1 Kings 17:1). Of all judgments, why did Elijah select a drought?

Elijah knew that Israel’s operating system was the Mosaic Law. Moses had said in Deuteronomy 11:16,17: “[16] Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; [17] And then the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.” Elijah simply studied his Bible to find out what JEHOVAH would do in response to Israel’s pagan idolatry, and Elijah prayed for that to happen….