Joshua 1–God Prepares His New Leader

Now Joshua was in charge.  He was no longer Moses’ assistant, He was now the leader of all of Israel.  God knew it would take a great deal of preparation for the job that lie ahead.  Early on, it was clear that Joshua was a great commander of an army, but, Moses trained Joshua to be a shepherd. And for the remainder of his life, Joshua would have to employ the patience and sacrifice of a shepherd to complete the mission that God set before Israel.
 
In the command from God, three things stood out. First, God did not change His plan simply because He changed His leader. God tells Joshua to go and take the land just as promised to Moses.  There was no second place prize or alternate promise–God gave Joshua the same power and authority that was given to Moses.
 
Second, God expected two things from Joshua courage and obedience.  Once again, God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous–there must have been great trepidation on Joshua’s part to lead these people that had disappointed God so many times. But, God also told Joshua to meditate on His word and focus on the commands of God.  God knew that attention to God’s leadership  was critical for mission success.
 
Finally, God reminds Joshua that the Lord would never leave or forsake him.  Joshua could relax because God would be with him every step of the way. Joshua had seen the difficult discussions between God and Moses and knew these people could make one want to walk away.  God encouraged Joshua that He would not leave Joshua to fight alone.
 
The great news is that God is as much in control today as He was in the time of Joshua.  He has not shifted plans in our lives.  He wants us to remain strong and courageous. He wants us to confidently go into battle; knowing that He will not leave us or forsake us. The Lord also wants us to meditate on His word, and not allow it to fade from our lives. As we remain focused upon Him, He will remain active and diligent in the amazing journey we are on.
 
God Bless You

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success[a] wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Exodus 33–Joshua Stayed Close

Moses had a big job.  He had to convince God to stick with His chosen people–even after they worshiped a golden calf. They turned from God as He was putting the law on tablets for them. While working to restore the relationship between God and the people; Moses set up a tent to meet with God and took Joshua with him. Over time, Moses and God became friends.  As Moses would meet with God, the pillar of cloud would cover the tent. The people would see the the pillar cover the tent and then they would worship the Lord. Then as Moses finished the meeting, He would leave the tent.  Then, after the meeting Joshua would stay at the tent.
 
Joshua was not the person that befriended God, but he was the one that remained at his side.  Moses left the tent, but Joshua stayed behind.  Joshua never grew tired, never lost faith, and never questioned God’s authority.  If their was a human that had reason to question, it was Moses’ assistant. That was the amazing thing; Joshua learned to love the Lord from God’s friend.  He stayed close to Moses and he stayed close to God. Then as years passed, Joshua remained close. He remained close to Moses, and then as Joshua took the lead, He remained close to God.
 
In our lives, we have opportunities to follow the Lord. Through the years, we build our relationship with God.  We see life at its best and at its worst. If we remain close to the Lord, whatever the circumstance, we learn–as Joshua did, to be a friend of God.  There are no short cuts, it is a function of time and proximity. Like Joshua, we have to simply remain close to God, to those that would mentor us and with others in fellowship with God.  Then at the end of the journey, we can say as Joshua did–“Choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”
 
God Bless You

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

Moses and the Glory of the Lord

12 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

2 Kings 8 Part 2–Knowing The Future Is not as Fun as It Would Seem

Just because one knows the truth, does not mean that they can affect it.  Elisha was in the area.  The king of Syria, Ben Hadad, was sick.  He sent his trusted servant Hazael to seek a prophecy from Elisha.  The question was simple, “Will I recover from the illness.  The truth was that Ben Hadad was going to recover from the illness–but, he would be murdered by the beloived assistant.  In addition, Elisha could see the devastation the future King–Hazael would pour out on the chosen people of Israel.  One would think, with that foresight Elisha could change the course of History.  Sadly, Elisha’s role was to tell the truth, not change the future.
 
Everyone wishes they could see the future.  Think what that would mean.  Here was a prophet that could see what was ahead and it made him heartbroken.  Similarly, as Jesus approached Jerusalem this Palm Sunday, He also wept, because he could see what lay ahead. Knowing what is ahead is not a gift.  At best, it is a duty and at worst it is a burden.  God is omnicient and omnipresent.  He knows all things and is in all places and times at once.  He calls us to trust and follow Him as He completes His plan for our lives.  He never promises to change the future, but simply walk with us through it.  It is encumbant on us as His chosen to trust Him and seek Him with all our hearts. He promises in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.”
 
In these days, We cannot lose heart, neither can we lose our faith nor our trust in God, His provision and protection.  He does love us and will do what He does the very best!  We need to do as the Lord commands and follow Him humbly and closely!
 
God Bless You

Now Elisha came to Damascus. Ben-hadad the king of Syria was sick. And when it was told him, “The man of God has come here,” the king said to Hazael, “Take a present with you and go to meet the man of God, and inquire of the Lord through him, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this sickness?’” So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, all kinds of goods of Damascus, forty camels’ loads. When he came and stood before him, he said, “Your son Ben-hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this sickness?’” 10 And Elisha said to him, “Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover,’ but[a] the Lord has shown me that he shall certainly die.” 11 And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he was embarrassed. And the man of God wept. 12 And Hazael said, “Why does my lord weep?” He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel. You will set on fire their fortresses, and you will kill their young men with the sword and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women.” 13 And Hazael said, “What is your servant, who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?” Elisha answered, “The Lord has shown me that you are to be king over Syria.” 14 Then he departed from Elisha and came to his master, who said to him, “What did Elisha say to you?” And he answered, “He told me that you would certainly recover.” 15 But the next day he took the bed cloth[b] and dipped it in water and spread it over his face, till he died. And Hazael became king in his place.

2 Kings 6 Part 2–Seeing Things From God’s Perspective

In life,there is often the easy way and then there is the right way.  Elisha was being given the commands of the king of Aram.  The king was trying to find ways to sneak up and raid Israel.  God was not having any of it. So God would tell Elisha, the kings very words and Elisha would in turn warn the king of Israel.  After a time or two, The king of Aram was furious and ordered His troops to surround and capture the pragmatic prophet…Not a good idea!  
 
So the troops surrounded Elisha, Elisha’s servant became terrifiied and cried out to his master.  Elisha calmed the servant down, and asked God to let his servant see things from God’s view.  Immediately,the servant saw the enemy surroiunded by charriots of fire manned with angels ready to wipe them out…Elisha was kind, however,and simp[ly asked God to blind them, Elisha then led them into captivity.  Elisha pray,  then God opened there eyes and nthey saw they were done for…Isreal fed them, gave them back their weapons and sent them home.  No more Armenean problems, and no one had to die.
 
Clearly, for the pragmatic prophet, this was not the easy way.  But, it was the best way.  His people were free, his king saw the power of the one true God, and his servant got a glimpse of the spiritual world–and we got to share it.  There is never a time when we honor God and His plan; that God does not ultimately bring out the best. If we, like Elisha, simply continue to trust the Lord and follow His lead; then we will see our enemy foiled, trapped, captured and shamed.  We do win in the end.  We simply must continue to see the world from the Father’s perspective.  Do not be afraid; our army has charriots of Fire and mighty servants at its command.  Thank You, Lord, for your preparation, provision and protection from all our enemies.
 
God Bless You

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

I Kings 4 Part 1–Elisha Highlights God’s Provision

I love Elisha’s style. A widow approaches Elisha.  She is completely distraught. Her husband died and left her poor and in debt.  Her creditor was in route to take her sons in payment for the debt as slaves.  She was heartbroken, hopeless and completely without options…well, except one. She came to God’s man and told Elisha her trouble and need.  Elisha, the pragmatic prophet, went right to work–“Go get all the jars you can put your hands on. Do not be shy and do not be lazy. Ask everyone.”  She does as he told her.  She gathers jars and jars.  He then tells her to take the little olive oil she has, and start filling the jars.  She does.  In that moment, God provides an ulimited supply of oil.  She continues to pour until the last jar is copmpletely full.  Then the oil stops flowing.  Elisha then tells her to sell the oil and pay the debts. Then use the rest to live from then on.
 
Once again God shows His miraculous ways in very simple fashion.  There was no pomp or ceremony. Elisha did not demand a special recognition or sacrifice.  He simply led the woman back to the provider and her faith caused an amazing thing to occur.  In that, she was saved and her family was kept in tact.  We need to have that same faith that looks around, assesses a situation, and allows God to do what he does best–protect, prepare and provide.  There need not be any drama, ceramony or special recognition–only the faith to ask God for our needs and then the faith to trust Him to provide.  Elisha never had a doubt and the widow would never doubt again that God does provide.  We need to have that saame faith and confidence–God will provide, that is simply who He is! Jehovah Jirah.
 
God Bless You

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

2 Kings 2–I want to Go Out Like Elijah

Elijah completed all that the Lord had for him to do.  He trained Elisha, he annointed the proper leaders. He killed  prophesied the ends of some stupid kings and now the Lord was ready to take him home. The awesome thing was that Elijah was going to be the second person that God took straight to Heaven without death touching them. Enoc, Noah’s Great Grandpa, left earth with God at age 350. He did not die, so by all records he is the oldest living man.  Now, Elijah would be the second.  God loved Elijah and used him to carry Israel through a time of Godlessness.  So as a result, God took Elijah home–literally.  No death, no suffering. Elijah just went off in a chariot of fire. He left Elisha. Elisha would carry on with the work.  Elisha would be armed with a double portion of God’s spirit to guide and empower him.
 
God always works His Plan.  He is never late and never wrong.  Elijah asked God to take him earier, and God revealed to Elijah that He had things well in hand.  If we could walk in the faith God provides, and if we trust God to complete His plan–then we will see God do greta things in our lives and in the lives of others.  It will never happen fast enough to suit us, but it will always be the right thing at the right time.  As a nation, we have been  thrown into dissarray  by  a virus. Our economy has shut down. Schools and churches stopped dead in their tracks. The military and the leaders of our nation are scrambling to lessen the effect of what lies ahead.  As a people, we must trust that, as with Elijah, God has this well in hand.  We must use this time to draw closer to God and our families.  We all want it to end.  We, like Elijah, just want it to be over.  God says, “Trust me”–in that still small voice. Let’s trust God and simply follow His lead as we draw closer in the journey!!!
 
God Bless You

When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”

But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”

And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.

The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” he replied, “so be quiet.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”

And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on.

Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”

“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.

10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”

11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.

I Kings 18 Part –A Great Rain

God never promises to make it easy.  He simply promises to follow through  on His promises.  Now that the heart of the people had left the false God Baal, God was ready to end the drought.  One thing still remained–Elijah had to release the rain.  So, from the same Mount Carmel, Elijah began to pray. He sent his servant out seven times to see if God answered; and then, on the 7th time a tiny cloud appeared.  Elijah knew that tiny cloud meant big things were ahead.  So, Elijah warned the king and then took off and met Ahab at the gates of Jezreel.  The author pens la perfect quote–“And there was a great rain!”  What a reminder that God does not do just OK!
 
God appreciates righteousness.  He also rewards tenacity.  Like Elijah, sometimes we have to keep praying to unleash God’s power.  It may seem like God is not listening, but–sometimes God needs our patience to fully complete His plan for our lives.  Additionally, what starts out to be “a small cloud” can easily turn into a “great rain” if we will simply wait on the Lord.  We can never lose hope nor admit defeat. We have read the end of the book, and yes, we win!!! Pray without ceasing. Wait upon our Lord to complete HIS plan for our lives.  If we can do that, history tells us that we can expect “A Great Rain”!!!
 
God Bless You

 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. 43 And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” 45 And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. 46 And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.