Daily Devotion for August 16, 2014
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Something a bit different for our “Saturday Oldie” this week. The video quality of this is poor, but well worth it.
Prayer for the Work of This Day
Almighty God, thank you for the work my hand may find this day. May I find gladness in all its toil and difficulty, its pleasure and success, and even in its failure and sorrow. I would look always away from myself, and behold the glory and the need of the world, that I may have the will and the strength to bring the gift of gladness to others; that with them I stand to bear the burden and heat of the day and offer you my work, as well as I may accomplish it, in your praise.
Heavenly Lord, let me always remember that the Holy Spirit who guides and protects me is the same Spirit who guides and protects all Christians. We are one in your Spirit, and the differences that divide us are the work of Satan. He is powerful in the world, Lord; and only you are strong enough to protect us against him.
Let me always seek unity. Let me call on your Spirit for power when I feel separated from my brother or sister, the power of reconciliation, that we might find the unity and harmony in which you have commanded us to live. Let me never think that the Spirit conforms to my individual personality; but let me seek to conform myself to the one true Spirit of God. In Christ's name, I pray.
[For faith to believe and strength to attain.]
If you are with me, O God, who can be against me? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
1 Kings 21:23 (KJV)
2 Kings 6-9 (ESV) (excerpts)
Israel after Solomon (15): Jehu, King of Israel
In the twelfth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign.
The prophet Elisha told one of the prophets, “Take this flask of olive oil with you and go to Ramoth Gilead. When you get there, look for Jehu (the commanding officer) and take him into an inner room. Then pour the oil on his head and declare, ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and run; don’t delay!”
When this was done, Jehu's fellow officers took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is king!” [And they rode to where Joram, King of Israel, and Ahaziah, King of Judah, were plotting their future.]
When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?” “How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”
Joram turned about and fled, calling out to Ahaziah, “Treachery, Ahaziah!” Then Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow pierced his heart and he slumped down in his chariot. Ahaziah fled up the road, but Jehu chased him and wounded him in his chariot; and although he escaped to Megiddo, he died there.
Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she put on eye makeup, arranged her hair and looked out of a window. As Jehu entered the gate, she asked, “Have you come in peace, you Zimri, you murderer of your master?”
He looked up at the window and called out, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. “Throw her down!” Jehu said. So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot.
“Take care of that cursed woman,” Jehu said, “and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.” But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her hands. They went back and told Jehu, who said, “This is the word of the Lord that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh.”
Notes on the Scripture
We have skipped over a lot of detailed history and greatly compressed the rest. The strange names in today's Scripture are the tip of the iceberg. But we wanted to take a snapshot of Jehu, for he was the center of several key events.
Warner Bros poster, 1938
As background, notice that the kings of Israel and Judah — both of them full-fledged idolaters and wicked in the eyes of God — have made peace with each other. The reason is that they are both being hard-pressed by minor foreign nations. Judah was attacked from the south by the Edomites, who severed off part of the remnant kingdom of Judah; Israel was attacked by Aram to the north (whose language, Aramean, would come to dominate the region; this was the language spoken by Jesus). Aram, itself, will soon be absorbed by the mighty Assyrian Empire.
We had to include the forgettable names of Ahaziah and Joram, because of the part they play in the drama. Jehu's father was an overthrown king of Israel, and he is a great general fighting the Aramites. His first major achievement, though, is not of his doing, but God's. Elisha has Jehu anointed, as the proper King of Israel — there have already been four different bloodlines to rule Israel since Solomon died.
Once anointed, Jehu becomes the wrath of God, primarily against the entire house of Ahab; however, he also kills the wicked Ahaziah, King of Judah, almost as an afterthought. But it is Ahab's house that will truly feel the wrath of God. If this were a novel, we might think that there is yet hope for Israel, as God's vengeance falls on the ruling house instead of the nation itself.
And finally, Elijah's prophecy against Jezebel — that her body will be eaten by dogs — is fulfilled. The wickedest woman in the Bible suffers the most ignominious death possible.
The year is 842 B.C. We have almost 100 more years until the prophetic writings begin, with Amos and Hosea.