Uncompromising

In my recent daily Bible reading, I have spent some time in 2 Chronicles 17-20, reading of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.  In a long line of kings of Israel and Judah, a long line of men who failed to follow the Lord, Jehoshaphat did better than most. He sought God, followed His commandments, removed high places and Asherim from Judah. He sought to be like King David, and be a man with a heart for God. He did much good as the king of Judah.

Yet a key passage for me was 2 Chronicles 19:2-3:  And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you. Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God.”

What I see here is that God’s standards are uncompromising, and since He is Holy, those standards are of the highest possible order. Even in the case of a good king like Jehoshaphat, a man sincerely trying to seek and obey the Lord, there is a rebuke at the beginning of 2 Chronicles 19 for his actions in militarily supporting Ahab, a wicked king of Israel. Jehoshaphat’s reign was one of reform and turning to the Lord, especially in times of trouble. The Lord delivered Judah for her enemies, but at the end of 2 Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat again displeases God in his alliance with Ahaziah of Israel. God “broke” the ships they readied to go against Tarshish. When Jehoshaphat died, Jehoram succeeded him and killed all his brothers, I assume to secure his throne against possible contenders. Was this the fruit of Jehoshaphat’s wicked alliance with Ahaziah? I think that is a distinct possibility.

One can see in these chapters in 2 Chronicles a man trying to live for the Lord, trying to lead his nation back to the ways of God. Yet he stumbled at times and incurred the Lord’s displeasure. Given how the kings of Judah before and after Jehoshaphat behaved, you would think the Lord would cut him some slack. But God’s standards are uncompromising because He is Holy. We cannot please Him with half measures or going almost all the way for Him. Close might count in horseshoes, but it doesn’t get the job done with the Lord.

Not surprisingly, I find the story of Jehoshaphat points to Christ and our need for Him. Romans 8:1 talks of there being no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. He meets the standards that we cannot, that men and women have never been able to meet. Even good men like Jehoshaphat or King David, who was a man after God’s own heart. It is humbling to stand before a God who is Holy, who will not compromise His Holiness and requires holiness from all who stand in His presence. Humbling to know that while we cannot meet His standards, He sent His Son who could and did meet them on our behalf so that we can stand in Christ before the Father and He will not see us but Jesus in us.

As we live in this troubled world it would be great if we could lead like Jehoshaphat, seeking to reform things and turn others back to the Lord as well. But we will fall short in our efforts because of who we are, and due to the fact that only Jesus in His Second Coming can truly make things right and keep them that way. In the meantime, let us be strong, bold and uncompromising in the Lord. Let us be strong and bold in knowing that His grace will overcome our failings.

We can do nothing but bring the news of Jesus to the world that desperately needs it. Nothing but let Him use us for His purposes in obedience to His will. The Lord requires nothing but we behave as faithfully as did His Son as He walked to His death on the Cross. As we cannot walk in such a way, He graciously provided the means for us to walk in Christ instead.

But that is enough for us to do in a situation that requires an uncompromising standard of performance and behavior that we are unable to meet.

 

Lovers of Darkness

My good friend, Dr. David R. Reagan, recently wrote an outstanding article titled, “How Did God Speak Through the Prophets.” He mentioned that the little known prophet, Micaiah, is one of his favorite prophets and he told the story about Micaiah, Ahab and Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:1-38).

What Dr. Reagan said is better than anything I can come up with, but his article left me with a thought that I want to try to expand on.

Syria had captured the large city of Ramoth-gilead from the Northern Kingdom called Israel and the wicked Israeli king Ahab wanted it back. He saw the opportunity to get it back when the godly king Jehoshaphat visited him from the Southern Kingdom called Judah.

While they were talking Ahab asked Jehoshaphat if he would join him in a war against Syria to retake it. In essence, Jehoshaphat said he would, but he wanted Ahab to seek the will of the Lord first.

Ahab called about 400 prophets in (false prophets or prophets who thought their job was to tell the king what he wanted to hear) and they said, “Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.”

This sounded a little suspicious to king Jehoshaphat so he asked king Ahab, “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?” Jehoshaphat wanted God’s opinion not man’s opinion. He wanted the truth whether he liked it or not.

King Ahab replied, “There is one man, Micaiah …but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” King Jehoshaphat told king Ahab he shouldn’t say that and to satisfy the good king Jehoshaphat, Ahab sent for the prophet Micaiah.

While they were waiting for Micaiah to arrive, Ahab’s approximately 400 prophets assured him that the Lord would deliver Ramoth-gilead into his hands.

When Ahab’s servant reached Micaiah he told Micaiah what the other prophets said and urged him to “speak that which is good.” That is to say if you want to get along with the king, prophesy good things instead of bad things.

Micaiah’s response was, “As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.” His prophecy would be what the Lord says whether it is positive or negative. Skipping down to the end of the story for the sake of getting to the point, Micaiah said to Ahab:

“I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd.” He also told Ahab, “the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.”

Four things: 1) Israel would be defeated, 2) Ahab would die, 3) his prophets were lying to him, and 4) God’s judgment was coming instead of God’s blessing.

Micaiah was slapped in the face by one of Ahab’s prophets and he was cast into prison to receive nothing but bread and water until Ahab’s return from the battlefield. Nevertheless, Ahab listened to his lying prophets, Israel was defeated, he was killed and his body was buried in Samaria.

Many people are like Ahab because they don’t want to hear negative prophecy even if it comes from the Lord and even if it is true. And many preachers are like the prophet that slapped Micaiah in the face because they are not preaching the whole counsel of God and they resent those who are.

Paul told Timothy, “The time will come when they (most church members) will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3).

The time will come when many church members will not listen to everything that is in the Word of God. They will listen to a positive message, but they will not listen to a negative message. They will bring in preachers that say things that make them feel good, but they will not tolerate preachers that say things they don’t want to hear. They will love darkness more than the truth.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

God Reveals Himself

Elijah was one of the greatest prophets to ever walk the face of this earth. He changed the culture of his day (I Kings 18:36-46). He was raptured without dying (II Kings 2:11).

God ended the Old Testament with the promise that Elijah will come back (Malachi 4:5-6). He was so great that some thought Jesus was Elijah (Matt. 16:14). And many think that Elijah is one of the Two Witnesses that will come back to prophesy, cause a drought and lash out with fire during the Tribulation Period (Revelation 11:3-12).

Ahab and Jezebel, two of the most evil people to ever live, ruled Israel during Elijah’s lifetime. They were immoral idol worshippers. They killed many of the true prophets and established false prophets, false religions and false worship in Israel. During their reign, the tide of evil was so strong they almost wiped out true worship and probably would have—if God had not intervened.

The story of God’s intervention is one of the most famous stories in the Old Testament (I Kings 18). Ahab and Jezebel’s sin, and the impact they had on Israel, was so great that God sent Elijah before them to say:

“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” (I Kings 17:1).

Elijah told that evil couple God intends to send a devastating drought on Israel and it won’t end until I announce its end.

To make a long story short, Elijah left Israel for three and one-half years (Luke 4:25; James 5:17). During his absence, severe drought, accompanied by a terrible famine gripped the nation. Ahab and Jezebel’s false gods were helpless to stop it, and before it ended the children of Israel were ready for revival. It is a fascinating story, but I want to skip to the end.

God finally sent Elijah back to Israel to face Ahab and to announce an end to the drought (I Kings 18:1-2). Following an incredible encounter with Ahab and 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, Elijah built an altar, placed a sacrifice on the altar and started to pray: “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again” (I Kings 18:17-35).

“Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God” (I Kings 18:38-39).

God answered Elijah’s prayer. Fire fell from heaven, consumed the stones of the altar—including everything on and around them, and this great miracle left no doubt in the minds of the people that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel is God. Then a little cloud formed, it grew and the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain (I Kings 18:41-45). The drought was over (see II Chronicles 7:13-14).

Let’s fast forward to the battle of Gog and Magog (Ezek. 38-39). There will be another mountain top revelation when God pulls Russia, Iran and others onto the mountains of Israel in the latter days and latter years (Ezekiel 38:1-6; 8, 16). At that time, it is clear that none of these nations, including the nation of Israel, will know that Israel’s God is God (Ezekiel 38:23; 39:7).

But God will send an overflowing rain, great hailstones, fire and brimstone on Israel’s enemies. Five sixths of them will be destroyed (Ezekiel 38:23; 39:1-2). Then many nations, including Israel, will know that Israel’s God is God (Ezekiel 38:23; 39:7).

This is God’s creation, He is Israel’s God, and He intends for the nations, including Israel to know this. He used fire from heaven in the past to reveal Himself (Genesis 19:24; Leviticus 10:2; II Chronicles 7:1; I Kings 18:38). And He will use fire from heaven (and more) in the future to reveal Himself to Israel and multitudes of unbelievers.

If the battle of Gog and Magog is close, God’s revelation of Himself is close.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

God Works in Mysterious Ways

America’s poor leadership, the blatant sin in our once great nation, the drought in the southwest and California, high food prices, pestilence and prepping have all been in the news lately.

There is little doubt that Ahab was one of the worst leaders to ever occupy the throne in Israel. The Bible says, he “did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him” (I Kings 16:30). At least until the end of his reign, no leader of Israel had ever exceeded him in evil. He encouraged Baal worship and was often at odds with the true prophets of his day.

He married a Phoenician princess whose name, Jezebel, is synonymous with wickedness. He allowed Jezebel’s religion, Baal worship, to be practiced in Israel and he even built a temple close to the palace to make it easy for Jezebel to worship her false gods. She led many of God’s prophets astray and ordered others to be killed for protesting against her policies (I Kings 18:4). One of her greatest sins was to falsely accuse a man named Naboth so she could have him killed, steal his vineyard and give it to Ahab (I Kings 21:1-25). Jesus compared her to a harlot who encouraged immorality in the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:20).

Because of sin, God sent the prophet Elijah to visit Ahab one day and say, “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” (I Kings 17:1). Then, God told Elijah to flee to the brook Cherith and drink from it. Elijah did, but while he was there the brook dried up from a lack of rain. God told Elijah to go to a widow at Zarephath who would feed him (Zarephath was located out of the country between Tyre and Sidon). Elijah left Israel, found her and asked her for something to eat and drink. The loss of her husband, and the God-sent drought and famine had hit her hard and she had prepared her last meal for her and her son. Elijah’s request was a great test, but she shared with him and God sustained her, her son and Elijah through the drought and famine (I Kings 17:3-16).

Let’s look at the story about Naaman and then I will get to the point. He was a captain in the Syrian army; a great and honorable man, but he had leprosy. On one of his missions, he defeated some Jews, captured a young Jewish girl and carried her back to Syria to wait on his wife. One day, the Jewish girl said unto her mistress, “Would God my lord were with the prophet (Elisha) that is in Sararia! for he would recover him of his leprosy” (II Kings 5:3). Naaman eventually wound up at Elisha’s house and Elisha sent word out for him to go dip in the Jordan River seven times. Naaman was upset, but he eventually did as he was told and he was healed (II Kings 5:14).

This brings us to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He arrived at Nazareth where He grew up, went to the synagogue on the Sabbath, read from the Book of Isaiah and spoke, but His message was rejected (Luke 4:14-22). Then He said, “I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias (Elijah), when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias (Elijah) sent, save unto Sarepta (Zarephath), a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus (Elisha) the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4:25-27).

Because of wicked leadership and sin in Israel God sent a drought and great famine that covered the land for three and one-half years. There were many widows (and probably hungry children) among the chosen people in Israel, but God sent Elijah to feed only one widow who lived in a foreign land. There were many lepers among the chosen people in Israel (and all of them probably prayed to be healed), but the only person God healed was a foreign soldier who had defeated some Israeli troops. So Jesus said God sent a drought and famine on Israel for three and one-half years and He didn’t send anyone to feed or heal any of the hungry and sick widows and lepers. What He said really upset the people in His hometown and they tried to kill Him.

When I suggest that national disasters are increasing or there could be more terrorist attacks and it might be a good idea to do some prepping I sometimes hear “God is in control. He will take care of me.” There is no doubt that God is in control and He cares for us with a love that will never end. But He does not like self-righteousness, being tempted or taken for granted; our blessings are not entitlements; He brings down godless nations (Dan. 2:21); He chastens those He loves (Heb. 12:6); Christians are suffering all over the world and Noah had to build his own boat (Gen. 6:14). My mom loved me, but she spanked me when I needed it.

In my mind, America’s leaders are the worst we have ever had. No president has ever supported some of the wicked things our president supports (abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, lying, spying on us, betraying our friends, kind words for Allah, etc.). We have great sin in America; drought in the southwest and California; soaring food prices, millions on food stamps (including widows and children), spreading STDs (especially among the gays) and more. It seems to me that America is already paying a price for sin and if the Rapture doesn’t happen soon, the price may increase. His judgment could fall harder and He could decide to feed and heal good people in other countries instead of the United States.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net