Monthly Archives: June 2012

II Kings 2:23-25 — When we defy God’s word in our lives

This is a passage that is an uncomfortable reminder of what happens when we defy God’s word in our lives.  I’m not talking about ignorance of God’s word.  I’m talking about outright defiance. In this passage, Elisha was going up … Continue reading

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II Kings 2:19-22 — Being salt to an unproductive and dying land

This country is a swamp.  In time you will come to see that for yourself.  This country is a more terrible swamp than you can imagine.  Whenever you plant a sapling in this swamp the roots begin to rot, the … Continue reading

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II Kings 2 — Never alone

Elijah’s time had come to leave this earth and to be with God.  But before he departed, he asked Elisha, his disciple, “What can I do for you before I’m taken from you?”  And Elisha replied, “Let me inherit a … Continue reading

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II Kings 1 — A God who demands more than lip service

Ahaziah’s reign as king of Israel didn’t last long.  Two years to be exact.  And just as his father Ahab did, he worshiped Baal as well as worshiping Yahweh through the calves that Jeroboam had set up years before. But … Continue reading

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II Chronicles 20 — When we don’t know what to do

Sometimes we bring problems upon ourselves.  Other times, problems come searching for us.  And in this case, problems came searching for Jehoshaphat. Three peoples banded together into a huge army to attack Judah.  Judah was hopelessly outnumbered.  There seemed to … Continue reading

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II Chronicles 19:3-11 — Under authority

For all his mistakes in making unwise alliances, Jehoshaphat truly did love the Lord.  Jehu noted this even as he rebuked Jehoshaphat saying, There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of Asherah poles and … Continue reading

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I Kings 22:1-49; II Chronicles 18-20 — Unwise associations

Jehoshaphat was by all accounts a good king.  He was a man that loved God, and wanted to do what was right.  But he had one major fault.  He was very unwise in his associations, and more than once, it … Continue reading

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I Kings 21 — Selling ourselves to do evil

Don’t covet.  Don’t murder.  Don’t steal. Often times when we think of Israelite kings that broke those commandments, we think of David in his sin with Bathsheba.  Coveting his neighbor’s wife, murdering the husband, and then taking the woman for … Continue reading

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I Kings 20 — How sin deals with us; how we deal with sin

King Ahab had a habit of making bad decisions, and it shows here in his dealings with Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram. Ben-Hadad, came out to Samaria and besieged it.  First, he demanded Ahab’s gold and silver and the best … Continue reading

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I Kings 19:19-21 — Leaving all behind to follow

I’ve always thought about this story, whenever I read the story of the man Jesus called to follow him.  The man said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”  Jesus … Continue reading

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I Kings 19:1-18 — When we lose perspective

It’s amazing how after a great victory, one can get so depressed.  It happens to us, and it definitely happened to Elijah. Right after his great victory over the prophets of Baal, Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, threatened Elijah’s life, and filled … Continue reading

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I Kings 18:19-46 — The one who is truly God

And so we come to one of the great confrontations in the Bible, Elijah and the prophets of Baal (and Asherah — funny how that often got lost every time I heard the story as a child). Elijah, starts, however, … Continue reading

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I Kings 18:9-10, 16-18 — Blaming God, blaming others for our troubles

I kind of think that Ahab just brushed off Elijah as some kind of kook after Elijah prophesied that there would be no rain in the land for three years.  Otherwise, Ahab probably would’ve tossed him in jail. But it … Continue reading

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I Kings 18:1-15 — Hanging in there in an ungodly world

Obadiah, (not to be confused with the prophet Obadiah), was in a tough place. He was in charge of King Ahab’s palace, and obviously well-trusted by Ahab himself.  But Ahab was an ungodly man who had led the entire nation … Continue reading

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I Kings 17:17-24 — Is God punishing me?

I love Calvin and Hobbes. It’s one of my favorite comic strips.  In one particular strip, Calvin left Hobbes lying around somewhere but Calvin couldn’t remember where.  And after moping on his bed for a while, he cried out to … Continue reading

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I Kings 17:1-16 — How far are we willing to trust?

Tax day.  My “favorite” time of year.  Yesterday I got my tax bill, and I got a very unpleasant shock.  My tax bill more than doubled last year.  I’ll tell you this much:  my income didn’t double last year. It’s … Continue reading

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I Kings 15:25-16:34 — Whose lead do we follow?

These passages kind of remind me of the Japanese political situation.  I came to Japan in 1995, roughly 17 years ago, and in that time, we’ve gone through 11 prime ministers.  Needless to say, we don’t exactly have strong leadership … Continue reading

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I Kings 15:8-22; II Chronicles 14-16 — Starting well, finishing badly

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that’s important.” Very cliche, perhaps, but also very true.  And it’s exemplified in the life of Asa, king of Judah.  He had a very good start to his reign as king.  … Continue reading

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I Kings 15:1-8; II Chronicles 13 — Whole-heart, half-heart, no heart

If you look at the Chronicles description of Abijah, you would think that he was a pretty good king.  He sure sounded good in his speech to Jeroboam before their battle, and God did help the people of Judah defeat … Continue reading

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I Kings 14:21-31; II Chronicles 11:5-12:16 — The difference between serving God and serving sin

Jeroboam got off to a bad start and never did climb his way out of the pit.  For that matter, it seems he never tried.  Rehoboam, however, didn’t do much better. All the priests, Levites, and other God-fearing people went … Continue reading

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I Kings 14:1-20 — The God who cannot be mocked

Jeroboam is an interesting character in that although the actual recounting of his life is very short, nevertheless his legacy lasted well beyond his death.  Unfortunately it wasn’t a good one.  Time and again, throughout the books of the Kings, … Continue reading

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I Kings 13 — When we fail to test what we hear

This is another one of those strange stories we find in the Bible that leaves us with as many questions as it gives answers. It starts with a prophet from Judah that goes up to Israel and confronts King Jeroboam … Continue reading

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I Kings 12:25-33 — What sin really is

In Japan, one really needs to be careful to define what we mean when say the word sin when preaching the gospel.  The Japanese generally associate sin with “crime.”  So things like murder or robbery or rape would be “sin” … Continue reading

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I Kings 12:1-24; II Chronicles 10:1-4 — Hearing only what you want to hear

King Solomon wrote about how vain it can be trying to build up your estate and your business because you don’t know what will happen when you die.  The person following in your footsteps may be a fool, and destroy … Continue reading

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Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14 — Remembering what’s important

And so we come to the conclusion of Ecclesiastes.  To be honest, it was probably one of the more difficult books for me to interpret.  I suppose one of the questions that really goes unanswered is whether or not Solomon … Continue reading

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Ecclesiastes 9:17-11:6 — Foolishness and laziness

As we near the end of Ecclesiastes, Solomon continues his argument for what is good.  As we saw in the last passage, he admits that life isn’t fair.  That even being righteous and wise doesn’t guarantee that everything will go … Continue reading

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Ecclesiastes 9:11-16 — When life isn’t fair

“Who said life is fair?” That’s a common retort when someone complains about the unfairness of life.  It’s common because it’s true.  Many times, life isn’t fair.  And that’s what Solomon touches on here. The fastest person doesn’t always win … Continue reading

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Ecclesiastes 9:1-10 — Making the most of life

Solomon continues here the theme of chapters 7-8.  The problem of evil is insoluble by human wisdom.  And in a world such as ours  that has been corrupted by sin, we can’t predict what will happen to us, whether good … Continue reading

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Ecclesiastes 7-8 — Dealing with the whys of all the evil in this world

How often do we see the evil in this world and wonder why?   Last year, there was a huge earthquake in Japan.  That was bad enough, but it also resulted in damage to the nuclear power plant, and touched off … Continue reading

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Ecclesiastes 7:1-9 — Building a good name

Judas.  Peter.  Hitler.  Abraham Lincoln. Famous names, all of them.  Except two of them would be better described as infamous rather than famous.  Names are things that last in the memories of people, for good or for bad. And so … Continue reading

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