Elijah, Ravens and a Widow

(I Kings 17:2-16)

The days of the prophets of old were days of unprecedented supernatural happenings, when God visibly acted for or against His people – Israel. Elijah’s life, for example, was one with stories to tell, perhaps not all registered in the Bible, causing us to wonder why doesn’t God continue manifesting Himself in our days as He did then. Israel had the direct spoken word from God through the prophets, but they did not heed to them, instead they killed God’s messengers. In Luke 13:34-35 YAHSHUA utters a warning to Jerusalem for having done that: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who continue to kill the prophets and to stone those who are sent to you! How often I have desired and yearned to gather your children together, as a hen her young under her wings, but you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see Me again until the time when you shall say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Elijah had a message from God to give King Ahab that would cause his anger to arouse, persecute and kill him. However, it is the duty of a prophet to be God’s mouth and Elijah courageously took the podium and proclaimed the word from the Lord to King Ahab: As the Lord lives, before Whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years but according to My word (vs.1). However, before that happened, God provided not only a hiding place for Elijah, but also sustenance.  He told him, Go from here, He said, and turn east and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan. You shall drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there (vs.3-4).

The raven is the largest of the perching birds. It resembles a crow; it is all black, with a 4ft. wing span, measuring over two feet from head to toe. It is one of the most intelligent of all birds; it communicates warning, threats, taunting and cheer to all other birds by changing the sounds it makes. Amazingly how all birds understand the meaning of the various sounds it makes! It is like police to us humans with his siring car. So, God chose ravens to feed Elijah with bread and flesh in the morning and bread and flesh in the evening. For a few days Elijah depended on those ravens to bring him food from heaven, already prepared by God Himself. It must have been the tastiest food ever tried by Elijah. Ah the faithfulness of our God! The Prophet Elijah neither question God, nor doubted His provision, but “did according to the word of the Lord.” Obedience first, then the fulfillment of God’s promises in one’s life. Elijah, was a man of courage and faith; his name has a wonderful meaning: YAHWEH is my God; he is also called Elias. His ministry extended to the northern kingdom of Israel (the remnant of Joseph); his ministry was during the reigns of Ahab, and Ahaziah. In his zeal for the only true God, he commanded the slaughter of all 850 false prophets and prophetess of the northern kingdom in one day. Nothing stopped him from performing the word of the Lord. Taken to heaven without experiencing death, Elijah was one of the two witnesses of the Lord’s death and resurrection; in the future, he will come as one of the two witnesses to turn the hearts of the nation of Israel toward God during the tribulation.  

In the Year King Uzziah Died

The Prophet Isaiah registers a beautiful experience he had with God after King Uzziah died. King Uzziah was a very successful king in the early years of his career as king. The secret laid on the fact that he sought the Lord. It was his desire to seek God (2 Chron. 26: 5). God blessed him and he became very successful in all he did. He was a distinguished and successful politician. He went against the Philistines and broke down the walls of Gath, of Jabneh, and of Ashdod, and built cities near Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines, and God helped him against the Philistines and the Arabs who dwelt in Gur-ball and the Meunim. That Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread abroad even to the border of Egypt, for he became very strong (II Chron. 26: 6-8).

But King Uzziah’s successes turned him into a prideful king. The Bible says, but when [King Uzziah] was strong, he became proud to his destruction; he trespassed against the Lord his God, for he went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense (vs. 16). Burning incense by other than the sons of Aaron was a terrible breach of the Levitical Law. He well knew about it, but for whatever reason, he was driven to commit this evil against the word of the Lord. His pride arouse when the priest Azariah confronted him. He was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord. King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper, he dwelt in a separate house, for he was excluded from the Lord’s house (II chron. 16:18-21).

The End of the Matter Is Fear God

(Ecclesiastes 12:13)

King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. God so blessed him because he did not ask for riches or anything else, but for wisdom. At the very beginning of his reign the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, Ask what I shall give you. Solomon (then) said, I am but a lad: I know not how to go out or come in. Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen a great people who cannot be counted for multitude. So give You servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and bad. For who is able to judge and rule this Your great people? It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, Because you have asked this and have not asked for long life or for riches, nor for the lives of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to recognize what is just and right, behold, I have done as your asked. I have given you a wise, discerning mind, so that no one before you was your equal, nor shall any arise after you equal to you (I Kings 3: 5-12). God not only blessed him with wisdom but also with riches and honor. But something happened to Solomon in the course of his reign that caused him to forsake the Lord, His commandments and statutes. He grew proud and defiant. The Bible says that he [defiantly] loved many foreign women- the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were of the very nations of whom the Lord said to the Israelites, You shall not mingle with them, neither shall they mingle with you, for surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods, Yet Solomon clung to these in love (I Kings 11: 1-3). He embraced and made alliance with those nations through marriage; he abused his position of king by adopting the practice of having wives and concubines in numbers unheard of. Seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines.  I suppose he practiced this idea of alliances to keep peace with the nations.

YAHSHUA, The Light of Mankind

(John 1:1-17)

In Yahshua was life, and the Life was the Light of men (verse 4). When Paul was on his way to persecute the believers, Yahshua came to him in a Light that flashed from heaven. That Light penetrated Paul’s inmost being and changed the direction of his life from persecutor to persecuted. At that moment he asked Him, “Who are You Lord”? I AM Yahshua, Whom you are persecuting, (He answered) (Acts 9:1-6).

YAHSHUA’S light penetrated not only into Paul’s physical eyes; it also penetrated into his soul – mind, will and emotion, where the source of his hatred against the believers, dwelled. The words spoken by Yahshua illuminated on all the darkness residing in Paul’s life; it removed the spiritual veil which had darkened his understanding of the truth for many years. Paul’s eyes were now opened to realize his spiritual condition. He no longer thought of him as a righteous man, but a wretched sinner. Yes, Paul experienced the effect of that Light and in the impact of its brilliance and splendor the seed of life was planted in him. At that Paul then asks the second question, “Lord, what do You desire me to do?” Powerless, blind and spiritually broken, Paul submitted himself to follow YAHSHUA with the same zeal he had for Judaism, if not greater, to become the greatest preacher of all times. Based on this experience later he told Timothy, YAHSHUA lives in unapproachable light, Whom no man has ever seen or can see (I Timothy 6:16). 

What Is Your Name?

(Genesis 27:18; 32:22-32)

We cannot count the many times we were asked this question; either verbally or in writing. A name identifies and defines a person. In biblical times Jewish’s names had meanings, in some cases as signs for God’s coming judgment, as it was the case of Isaiah’s children: Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of host, Who dwell in Mount Zion (Isaiah 8:18). And I approached the prophetess, and when she conceived and borne a son, the Lord said to me, Call his name Maher-Shalalhfash-Baz, for before the child knows how to say My father or my mother, the riches of Damascus shall be carried away before the king of Assyria (8:3-4).  Through behavior – good or bad, through fame and many other historical ways, a person is writing his name in the pages of history. So, a person’s name is judged by what is known of him.  When we hear the name Judas, automatically we think of the one who betrayed YAHSHUA. Judas’ name carries a bad and unfavorable reputation in our minds that has lasted thousands of years. However, the name Judas means “praise.” Hard to personalize this name as betrayer. Judas, by the evil act of betraying the Son of God, gave his name the synonymous with traitor.  A name that carried such beautiful meaning in the past, has suffered deep scars since that act. Scars that will never be erased from the minds of people.

Obedience (part 2)

But you shall go to my country and to my relatives and take a wife for my son Isaac. See to it that you do not take my son back there. He will send His Angel before you and you will take a wife from there for my son. (Genesis 24: 4, 6,7b)

Following the order of Abraham to fetch a wife for his son Isaac, his servant Eliezer went to God and prayed, “I pray You cause me to meet with good success today and show kindness to my master Abraham.” That’s the secret of obedience: a humble heart before God and man. Eliezer did not go fetch a wife for his master’s son on his own power and wisdom. He acknowledged his limitations and asked God for help. This is a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness expressed to Eliezer. His heart was tuned to God’s frequency in His plan for Abraham’s posterity. He blessed Eliezer by answering his prayer and giving him Rebeka as a wife for Isaac.

Obedience

                                                            (Matt.28:7-10)

Then go quickly and tell His disciples, He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you (vs. 7). As they went to tell, behold Jesus met them and said, Hail, and they went up to Him and clasped His feet and worship Him. Jesus said, do not be afraid, go and tell my brethren to go into Galilee (v.9).

After YAHSHUA’S resurrection, Mary and the other Mary continued to look for Him among the dead. In the process, they witnessed supernatural events beyond their imagination at the time they arrived at the place where the Lord’s body had been buried. First, there was an earthquake, followed by an angel of the Lord descending from heaven to roll the boulder back and those keeping guard were frightened and agitated and trembled and became like dead men (Matt. 28:1-4). At that sight, the angel told them, YAHSHUA is not here; He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay; go quickly and tell His disciples, He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him (Matt. 28:5-7). Leaving the place joylessly, they went to tell the disciples. Their excitement overtook them; they could not wait to share the greatest miracle they ever witnessed.  To make their day even more exciting, while on their way, behold, the Lord YAHSHUA met them saying, Greeting! They went up to Him, clasped His feet and worshiped Him (Matt. 28: 8-9). Echoing the message from the angel, He said to them, Do not be alarmed and afraid; go and tell My brethren to go into Galilee, and there they will see Me (Vs.10). The angel emphatically expressed the command to them by saying, Behold, I have told you. That means, attention, look! His command was for them to go quickly and tell the disciples that the Lord YAHSHUA had risen from the dead.

For Your Dew O Lord Is a Dew Of Light

(Isaiah 26:19-21)

Life sustaining in that small sparkle of condensed water called dew is formed when the temperature is low and the atmospheric vapor is condensed. When we walk in the early mornings being greeted by those crystals like drops of water, with the sun barely shinning its light on it, making its sparkle more visible, we think nothing about it. But in reality, these little drops speak of life. It is life sustaining for the grass and plants, especially in dry climate, as in the desert.

Anxiously, the vegetation waits for them to fall over them in the dawn on the day to be refreshed, after a day of intense heat, for their roots depend on its water which slowly, slowly  penetrates deeply enough to moist them, for it is the only source of water they have for sustenance, besides occasionally some rain. Its silence contrasting with the noise of the rain, is gentle; it nourishes the vegetation one drop at a time. If we could only take the time to learn the importance of little things as dew, we would appreciate God’s wisdom in His creation and His love toward us, in His care for us by providing means to sustain life through a small drop of water, called dew.  The word dew is mentioned more than thirty times in the Bible, symbolizing blessings. Used poetically and symbolically, dew is light out of darkness, as it comes with the dawn of a new day. It speaks of bounty, as we see in Isaac’s blessings over Jacob: May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine (Gen. 27:28).

He Performs What He Planned for My Life

(Job 23:14)

The words of Job spoken thousands of years ago still resonate strongly in our ears today when we read them. He desired that his words were written; that they were inscribed in a book; that with an iron pen and lead they were graven in the rock forever (Job 19: 23-24). Yes, God heard the prayer of His righteous servant, Job and years later, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Job’s words were inscribed in a book that has lasted thousands of years. They have encouraged many in their valleys and strengthened their faith because they came from a man in his suffering and not in his days of prosperity. He said, He performs [that He has] planned for me, and of many such matters He is mindful (Job 23:14). Job could see beyond all God’s faithfulness in completing in him His purpose for what He created him. He knew that God was aware and mindful of all his sufferings. We are blessed to have these words written in order to know without a doubt that God is aware and mindful of everything that happens to us, too. When God created a life, He created with a purpose. The destiny of every one is written in His book. David said, Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:16). Every human life is precious to Him; He was involved in every detail of creating us. He formed our inward parts; He knit us together in our mother’s womb… (Psalm 139:14a). After all, He gave us life. Not one single life created – born or unborn is a waste.