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woman bowing head in respect June 19 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 1Kings 22:47-49; 2Chronicles 20:35-37; 2Kings 1:2-18; 2Kings 3:1-3; 2Kings 2

Learning Respect

Some lessons are learned the hard way - like offending someone and then suffering the consequences. Most people have to learn this lesson at one time or another. Not only do people get offended, but God also gets offended when we treat him or his servants with disrespect. When we disrespect God or his servants we can expect to suffer the consequences for it. This should be a comfort for those who are insulted and a solemn warning for those who show disrespect.

Respect for God's Name and Character

Jehoshaphat was a good king of Judah, but once again he made an unholy alliance with the king of the northern tribes of Israel, who was under God's discipline. In a joint venture, Jehoshaphat built a fleet of trading ships to go to Ophir for gold. For that sin, God destroyed Jehoshaphat's new trading ships. Use your valuables and good reputation for godly purposes; don't be tempted to make unholy alliances with those who have no fear of God. God wants neither you nor his name to be tarnished. He wants to bless you, not punish you. What the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthian church is applicable for us today in any joint venture (business or otherwise).

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people” [Lev. 26:12; Jer. 32:38; Ezek. 37:27]. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” (2Corinthians 6:14-17 NIV)

Respect for Gods' Messengers

When King Ahaziah of Israel was injured he relied on the prophets of Baal-Zebub instead of God to heal Him. This was an offense to God.

… the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?'

Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!'” So Elijah went. (2Kings 1:3-4, NIV)

When Ahaziah heard the message, he sent three separate groups of fifty men to arrest Elijah. Because they did not respect Elijah as a prophet of God, God destroyed the first two of the three groups that summoned Elijah to the king. God had mercy on the third group sent because the captain of the men begged for mercy. He respected Elijah the man of God. Do you respect God's servants? If not, beware, you may be judged for acting against them. We must learn to respect God, his character, his message and his servants.

Respect for a New Prophet

It was finally time for a new prophet. Elijah had mentored Elisha for a time, and when the time was close for Elijah to leave, Elisha did not want to leave his side. Elijah granted one request of Elisha before he left – a double portion of his spirit. Elisha wanted twice the spiritual zeal of Elijah (more...)

After Elijah was caught up in a whirlwind into heaven (the Bible does not say he rode in a chariot, which is different from the familiar lyrics of the old Negro spiritual, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”), Elisha took Elijah's cloak (the sign of God's authority on him) and called on God to part the river like he had done for Elijah. God did this, and a nearby company of prophets saw it. They rightly recognized that the spirit that was on Elijah was now on Elisha. The prophets searched for Elijah but could not find him.

Later, some leading men of the city of Jericho, obviously hearing that the Spirit of God now rested on Elisha, came to him, telling how their water was undrinkable. Elisha had the men bring a new bowl full of the brackish water. He put salt in it, poured it into the Jericho spring, and it was healed. His actions were symbolic; they had no medicinal value. Only God can make bad water good. Elisha was the new vessel God was using to accomplish his will.

Unfortunately, some rebellious young men also recognized God's Spirit on Elisha, and they did not like it. They insulted Elisha, God's prophet, and then told him to “go up” (possibly meaning in a whirlwind like his predecessor, or in other words, “Get lost!”). Who were these young men? They could be rebellious youths from Israel who did not like their new prophet anymore than they liked their old one, or it could be they were Baal worshippers. Because they showed such disdain for God's prophet, it was as though they were showing disdain for God, which by God's law was punishable by death (Exodus 22:28; 1Kings 21:13 ). Two bears came and mauled these forty-two youths (more…). This was likely a mass demonstration against Elisha and his God, and these rebels died. [insights gained from The Theological Wordbook of the O.T ., by Harris, Archer, and Waltke, ©1980, p.795 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p. 542]. Others who witnessed the scene or heard about it would learn to respect God's anointed. We, too, should be careful in acting against God's chosen servants. His wrath might also come upon us.

Lessons to live by:

  • Use your reputation and valuables for godly purposes. He does not want you or his name tarnished. God wants to bless you, not punish you.
  • Do you respect God's servants? If not, beware, you may be judged for acting against them. We must learn to respect God, his character, his message and his servants.
  • Do you know God? He offers you forgiveness, peace and spiritual life (more...)

Today's Bible memory verses:

1Corinthian 16:15c-16 “I urge you, brothers, to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it.” (NIV)

1Thessalonians 5:12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. (NIV)

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