August 31, 2011

1 Kings 21

Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of Ahab King of Samaria.

And after this Ahab said to Naboth, "Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money."

But Naboth said to Ahab, "The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers."

And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him... And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face, and would eat no food.

But Jezebel his wife came and said to him, "Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?"

And he said to her, "Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, 'Give me your vineyard for money, if it please you, or else I will give you another vineyard for it,' and he answered, 'I will not give you my vineyard!'"

And Jezebel his wife said to him, "Do you now govern Israel? Arise, and eat bread, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."

So she wrote letters in Ahab's name and sealed them with his seal; and she sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who dwelt with Naboth in his city. And she wrote in the letters, "Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people; and set two base fellows opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying 'You have cursed God and the King.' Then take him out and stone him to death."

And the men of his city, the elders and nobles who dwelt in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. As it written in the letters which she had sent to them, they proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. And the two base fellows came in and sat opposite him; and the base fellows brought a charge against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying "Naboth cursed God and the King." So they took him outside the city, and stoned him to death with stones. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, "Naboth has been stoned; he is dead."

As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboath had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, "Arise; take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead."

And as soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying "Arise, go down to meet Ahab King of Israel, who is in Samaria. Behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. And you shall say to him, 'Thus says the Lord, "Have you killed and taken possession?"' And you shall say to him, 'Thus says the Lord, "In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood."'"

Ahab said to Elijah, "Have you found me, O my enemy?"

He answered, "I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring evil upon you; I will utterly sweep you away, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free in Israel; and I will make your house like the house of Jeoboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel the Lord also said, 'The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the bounds of Jezreel. Any one belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat; and any one of his who dies in the country the birds of the air shall eat.'"

(There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited. He did very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel.)

And when Ahab heard these words, he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about dejectedly.

And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, "Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days, but in his son's days I will bring the evil upon his house."

August 30, 2011

Luke 8.22-25

One day he got into a boat with his disciples and said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." So they put out; and as they sailed along he went to sleep.

Then a heavy squall struck the lake; they began to ship water and were in grave danger. They went to him, and roused him, crying, "Master, Master, we are sinking!"

He awoke, and rebuked the wind and the turbulent waters. The storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked.

In fear and astonishment they said to one another, 'Who can this be? He gives his orders to wind and waves; and they obey him!"

August 28, 2011

Luke 8.19-21

His mother and brothers arrived but could not get to him for the crowd.

He was told, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, and they want to see you."

He replied, "My mother and my brothers-- They are those who hear the word of God and act upon it."

August 27, 2011

1 Kings 20

Ben-hadad the King of Syria gathered all his army together; thirty-two kings were with him, and horses and chariots; and he went up and besieged Samaria, and fought against it.

And he sent messengers into the city to Ahab King of Israel, and said to him, "Thus says Ben-hadad: 'Your silver and your gold are mine; your fairest wives and children also are mine.'"

And the King of Israel answered, "As you say, my lord, O king. I am yours, and all that I have."

The messengers came again, and said, "Thus says Ben-hadad, 'I sent to you, saying "Deliver to me your silver and gold, your wives and your children." Nevertheless I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they shall search your house and the houses of your servants, and lay hands on whatever pleases them, and take it away.'"

Then the King of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, "Mark now, and see how this man is seeking trouble. For he sent to me for my wives and my children; and I did not refuse him."

And all the elders and all the people said to him, "Do not heed or consent."

So he said to the messengers of Ben-hadad, "Tell my lord the King, 'All that you first demanded of your slave I will do; but this thing I cannot do.'"

And the messengers departed and brought him word again. Ben-hadad sent to him and said, "The gods do so to me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people who follow me."

And the King of Israel answered him, "Tell him, 'Let not him that girds on his armor boast himself as him that puts it off.'"

When Ben-hadad was drinking with the kings in their booths, he heard this message, and said to his men, "Take your positions." And they took their positions against the city.

And behold, a prophet came near to Ahab King of Israel, and said, "This says the Lord, Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give it into your hand this day; and you shall know that I am the Lord."

And Ahab said, "By whom?"

He said, "Thus says the Lord, By the servants of the governors of the districts."

Then he asked, "Who shall begin the battle?"

He answered, "You."

Then he mustered the servants of the governors of the districts, and they were two hundred and thirty-two; and after them he mustered all the people of Israel, seven thousand. And they went out at noon, while Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the booths, with his thirty-two kings.

The servants of the governors of the districts went out first. And Ben-hadad sent out scouts, who reported to him, "Men are coming out from Samaria."

He said, "If they have come out for peace, take them alive; or if they have come out for war, take them alive."

So these went out of the city, the servants of the governors of the districts, and the army which followed them. And each killed his man; the Syrians fled and Israel pursued them, but Ben-hadad escaped on a horse with horsemen. And the King of Israel went out, and captured the horses and the chariots, and killed the Syrians with a great slaughter.

Then the prophet came near to the King of Israel, and said to him, "Come, strengthen yourself, and consider well what you have to do; for in the spring the King of Syria will come up against you."

And the servants of the King of Syria said to him, "Their gods are gods of the hills, and so they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.

"And do this, remove the kings, each from his post; and put commanders in their places; and muster an army like the army that you have lost, horse for horse and chariot for chariot; then we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they." And he hearkened to their voice, and did so.

In the spring Ben-hadad mustered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel.

And the people of Israel were mustered, and were provisioned, and went against them; the people of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of goats, but the Syrians filled the country.

And a man of God came near and said to the King of Israel, "Thus says the Lord, 'Because the Syrians have said, "The Lord is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys," therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.'"

And they encamped before each other another seven days. Then on the seventh day the battle was joined; and the people of Israel smote of the Syrians a hundred thousand foot soldiers in one day. And the rest fled into the city of Aphek; and the wall fell upon twenty-seven thousand men that were left.

Ben-hadad also fled, and entered an inner chamber in the city. And his servants said to him, "Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings; let us put sackcloth on our loins and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the King of Israel; perhaps he will spare your life." So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and went to the King of Israel and said, "Your slave Ben-hadad says, 'Pray let me live!'"

And he said, "Does he still live? He is my brother." Now the men were watching for an omen; and they quickly took it up from him, and said, "Yes, your brother Ben-hadad." Then he said, "Go and bring him."

Then Ben-hadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot. And Ben-hadad said to him, "The cities which my father took from your father I will restore; and you may establish bazaars for yourself in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria." [!]

And Ahab said, "I will let you go on those terms." So he made a covenant with him and let him go.

And a certain man of the prophets said to his fellow, at the command of the Lord, "Strike me, I pray!"

But the man refused to strike him.

Then he said to him, "Because you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, behold; as soon as you have gone from me, a lion shall kill you!"

And as soon as he had departed from him, a lion met him and killed him.

Then he found another man, and said, "Strike me, I pray!"

And the man struck him, smiting and wounding him.

So the prophet departed, and waited for the King by the way, disguising himself with a bandage over his eyes. And as the King passed, he cried to the King, and said, "Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and behold, a soldier turned and brought a man to me, and said, 'Keep this man; if by any means he be missing, your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver!' And as your servant was busy here and there, he was gone!"

The King of Israel said to him, "So shall your judgement be; you yourself have decided it!"

Then he made haste to take the bandage away from his eyes; and the King of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. And he said to him, "Thus says the Lord, 'Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people!'"

And the King of Israel went to his house resentful and sullen, and came to Samaria.

The Revelatory Process

We call what we're studying here "Scripture", which means "written stuff."

People have gone from an overly-reverent attitude towards scripture, to effective neglect. "There's some very inspiring and ethically-instructive material in all that, and you can read it if you like, but we want to rush out and make a difference in the world."

One thing you can say about that position: Anyone who adopts it is unlikely to "make a difference in the world." If you want to know what's really going on today, and will be going on tomorrow--Don't read the news; read the histories. People are cheating, bullying, lying, stealing, murdering; and the histories will show you how people used to cheat, bully, lie, steal, murder, while earnestly proclaiming that they were doing something else. Oh, and blundering; we mustn't forget blundering!

What seldom shows up in the news or the histories is that God is teaching, and people can learn.

Friends aka Quakers traditionally call this process "continuing revelation." "Continuing", to emphasize that God hasn't stopped talking. "Revelation" to say that what we are learning comes from God.

We've traditionally thought of Scripture as ~what was revealed in the past. Logically, if it was Revealed, it must be true; and we must be able to use it for an authenticity check on current revelations. So much for logic.

Still, you can make surprising progress from that position. Practicing Jews, and Christians of liturgical denominations, collectively reread a collection of sacred writings every year-- and every year, someone will find something he'd read many times, but never realized before. These writings are called 'sacred' because they lend themselves to personal revelations.

But they are not 'Revelation'; they are tracks of the revelatory process.

A good tracker is someone who can study the ground, then tell you what's been happening here. That's the kind of tracks I mean. The ground is not a foolproof message from God; it's a sketch of who's been here and what they were doing.

The Bible contains many assertions about God and what God intended. People wrote them, and people have often been mistaken.

But these people knew that God was revealing 'Himself' to them, through them. The same process of living under God's care and teaching, that's been going on for a very long time, and if you want to understand how it's working, you can look at how it's worked in the past. God put a lot of work into teaching Israel, and a lot of work into teaching the Christian sects-- and shouldn't have to start from scratch with us.

What is being revealed to you? What do you want to know?

August 26, 2011

Luke 8.18

"Take care, then, how you listen; for the man who has will be given more; while the man who has not will lose even what he thinks he has."

August 25, 2011

1 Kings 19.13->

And behold, there came a voice to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

He said, "I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the people of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thy altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword. And I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."

And the Lord said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be King over Syria; and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be King over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.

"And him who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay; and him who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.

"Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him."

So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with 12 yoke of oxen before him; and he was with the 12th.

Elijah passed by him and cast his mantle upon him.

And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, "Let me kiss my father and my mother; and then I will follow you."

And he said to him, "Go back again; for what have I done to you?"

And he returned from following him, and took the yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen, and gave it to the people; and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah, and ministered to him.

August 24, 2011

Luke 8.17

"For there is nothing hidden that will not become public, nothing under cover that will not be made known and brought out into the open."

August 23, 2011

1 Kings 19. 1-.13

Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had slain all the prophets [of Baal] with the sword.

Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow."

Then he was afraid, and he arose and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree; and he asked that he might die, saying "It is enough, now, O Lord; take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers."

And he lay down and slept under a broom tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, "Arise and eat."

And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank, and lay down again.

And the angel  of the Lord came again a second time, and touched him, and said, "Arise and eat, else the journey will be too great for you."

And he arose, and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mountain of God.

And there he came to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

He said, "I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the people of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thy altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left. And they seek my life, to take it away."

And He said, "Go forth, and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by; and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and stood at the entrance to the cave.

August 22, 2011

Luke 8.16

"Nobody lights a lamp and then covers it with a basin or puts it under the bed. Instead, he puts it on a lamp stand so that those who come in may see the light."

August 21, 2011

Genesis 2:17

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

When God created the World, it was unitary, much like what Jesus prayed for in John 17.  But with that unfortunate(?) digression from 'God's will', polarity came into existence.  The consequence was the miry clay in which we live, as to the Bible, a long trail of God's promises and Man's disobedience; the consequence of that was the inevitable punishment, especially War and Death (of thousands).
One of Man's sins led to the confusion of tongues, so nobody understood what anybody else was saying.

In the course of time God sent his Son, just like the man who owned the Vineyard did, to suffer and die for our sake.  And on the day of Pentecost the curse of duality was removed and people understood one another, an approach at least to the fulfilment of the prayer that we might be one.

Unity --  Polarity -- Forgiveness -- Redemption: God's plan in the beginning for us all.  Hallelujah.

August 20, 2011

1 Kings 18.20->

So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel, and gathered the prophets together at Mt Carmel.

And Elijah came near to all the people, and said, "How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him."

And the people did not answer him a word.

Then Elijah said to the people, "I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal's prophets are 450 men. Let two bulls be given to us; and let them choose one bull for themselves, and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it; and I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood, and put no fire to it.

"And you call on the name of your god; and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the god who answers by fire, he is God."

And all the people answered, 'It is well spoken."

Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, 'Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it."

And they took the bull which was given them; and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning til noon, saying, "O Baal, answer us!" But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped about the altar which they had made.

And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying "Cry aloud, for he is a god! Perhaps he is musing, or gone to take a pee; or he is on a journey, or perhaps has gone asleep and needs to be awakened."

And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation; but there was no voice. No one answered; no one heeded.

Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me;" and all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down. Elijah took 12 stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying "'Israel' shall be your name;" and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, "Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the burnt offering, and on the wood." And he said, "Do it a second time;" and they did it a second time. And he said, "Do it a third time;" and they did it a third time. And the water ran down about the altar, and filled the trench also with water.

And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that Thou are God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that Thou, O Lord, art God; and that Thou hast turned their hearts back."

Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt offering, 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 God; the Lord, He is God."

And Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape."

And they seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and killed them there.

And Elijah said to Ahab, "Go up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of the rushing of rain." So Ahab went up to eat and to drink.

And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he bowed himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea."

And he went up, and looked, and said, "There is nothing."

And he said, "Go again," seven times.

And at the seventh time he said, "Behold, a little cloud like a man's hand is rising out of the sea."

And he said, "Go up, say to Ahab, 'Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.'"

And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel.

And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

August 19, 2011

Luke 8.9-

His disciples asked him what this parable meant, and he said, "It has been granted to you to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but the others have only parables, in order that they may look, but see nothing, hear but understand nothing."

This is what the parable means:

     The seed is the word of God.

     Those along the footpath are men who hear it, and then the Devil
     comes and carries off the word from their hearts for fear they
     should believe and be saved.

     The seed sown on rock stands for men who receive the word with
     joy when they hear it, but have no root. They are believers for
     awhile, but in the time of testing they desert.

     That which fell among thistles represents those who hear, but their
     further growth is choked by cares and wealth and the pleasures of
     life; and they bring nothing to maturity.

     But the seed in good soil represents those who bring a good and
     honest heart to the hearing of the word, hold it fast, and by their
     perseverence yield a harvest."

August 18, 2011

1 Kings 18-18.19

After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, "Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth." So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab.

Now the famine was severe in Samaria.

And Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household. (Now Obadiah revered the Lord greatly; and when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) And Ahab said to Obadiah, "Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the valleys; perhaps we may find grass and save the horses and mules alive, and not lose some of the animals." So they divided the land between them to pass through it; Ahab went in one direction by himself; and Obadiah went in another direction.

And as Obadiah was on the way, behold, Elijah met him; and Obadiah recognized him, and fell on his face, and said, "Is it you, my lord Elijah?"

And he answered him, "It is I. Go, tell your lord, 'Behold, Elijah is here.'"

And he said, "Wherein have I sinned, that you would give your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom whither my lord has not sent to seek you; and when they would say, 'He is not here,' he would take an oath of that kingdom or nation, that they had not found you. And now you say, 'Go, tell your lord, "Behold, Elijah is here."' And as soon as I have gone from you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you whither I know not; and so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have revered the Lord from my youth. Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred men of the Lord's prophets by fifties in a cave, and fed them with bread and water? And now you say, 'Go, tell your lord, "Behold, Elijah is here"'; and he will kill me."

And Elijah said, "As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today."

So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah.

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, "Is it you, you troubler of Israel?"

And he answered, "I have not troubled Israel; but you have, and your father's house, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and followed the Baals. Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the four hundred prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table.

August 17, 2011

Luke 8.4-8

People were now gathering in large numbers, and as they made their way to him from one town after another, he said in a parable:

"A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the footpath, where it was trampled on; and the birds ate it up. Some seed fell on rock, and after coming up, withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell among thistles; and the thistles grew up with it and choked it. And some of the seed fell into good soil, and grew, and yielded a hundredfold."

As he said this, he called out, "If you have ears to hear, then hear!"

August 16, 2011

1 Kings 18.17->

After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill; and his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. And she said to Elijah, "What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son!"

And he said to her, "Give me your son." And he took him from her bosom, and carried him up into the upper chamber, where he lodged, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried to the Lord, "O Lord my God, hast Thou brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?" Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried to the Lord, "O Lord my God, let this child's soul come into him again."

And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

And Elijah took the child, and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house, and delivered him to his mother; and Elijah said, "See, your child lives!"

And the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth."

August 15, 2011

Luke 8-8.3

After this he went journeying from town to town and village to village, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.

With him were the Twelve and a number of women who had been set free from evil spirits and infirmities: Mary known as Mary of Magdala, from whom seven devils had come out, Joanna, the wife of Chuza a steward of Herod's, Susanna, and many others. These women provided for them out of their own resources.

August 14, 2011

1 Kings 17.8-16

Then the word of the Lord came to him, "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidonia, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you."

So he arose and went to Zarephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her, "Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink." And as she was going to bring it, he called to her, and said, "Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand."

And she said, "As your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of wheat in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."

And Elijah said to her, "Fear not. Go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me; and afterward make for you and your son.

"For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day the Lord sends rain upon the earth.'"

And she went and did as Elijah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the the cruse of oil fail-- in accord with the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.

August 12, 2011

1 Kings 17-17.7

Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the Lord the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word."

And the word of the Lord came to him, "Depart from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, that is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."

So he went and did according to the word of the Lord; he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.

And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

August 10, 2011

Luke 7.36->

One of the Pharisees invited him to dinner; he went to the Pharisee's house and took his place at the table.

A woman who was living an immoral life in the town had learned that Jesus was dining in the Pharisee's house, and had brought oil of myrrh in a small flask.

She took her place behind him, at his feet, weeping. His feet were wetted with her tears and she wiped them with her hair, kissing them and anointing them with myrrh.

When his host the Pharisee saw this, he said to himself: "If this fellow were a real prophet, he would know who this woman is who touches him, and what sort of woman she is, a sinner!"

Jesus took him up and said, "Simon, I have something to say to you."

"Speak on, Master!" said he.

"Two men were in debt to a money lender; one owed him five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. As neither of them had anything to pay him with, he let them both off. Now, which will love him most?"

Simon replied, "I should think the one who was let off most."

"You are right," said Jesus. Then, turning to the woman, he said to Simon. "You see this woman? I came to your house; you provided no water for my feet; but this woman has made my feet wet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss; but she has been kissing my feet ever since I came in. You did not anoint my head with oil; but she has anointed my feet with myrrh. And so, I tell you, her great love proves that her many sins have been forgiven; where little has been given, little love is shown." Then he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

The other guests began to ask themselves, "Who is this, that he can forgive sins?"

But he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

August 08, 2011

1 Kings 15.25-16.34

Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa King of Judah; and he reigned over Israel two years.

He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin which he made Israel to sin.

Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha struck him down a Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, for Nadab and all Israel were laying siege to Gibbethon.

So Baasha killed him in the third year of Asa King of Judah, and reigned in his stead. And as soon as he was King, he killed all the house of Jeroboam; he left to the house of Jeroboam not one that breathed, until he had destroyed it, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. It was for the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned and which he made Israel to sin, and because of the anger to which he provoked the Lord, the God of Israel...

In the third year of Asa King of Judah, Baasha the son of Ahijah began to reign over all Israel at Tirzah, and reigned twenty-four years. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin which he made Israel to sin.

And the word of the Lord came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying, "Since I exalted you out of the dust and made you leader over my people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam, and have made my people Israel to sin, provoking me to anger with their sins, behold, I will utterly sweep away Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Any one belonging to Baasha who dies in the city the dogs shall eat; and any one of his who dies in the field the birds of the air shall eat"...

In the twenty-sixth year of Asa King of Judah, Elah the son of Baasha began to reign over Israel in Tirzah, and reigned two years.

But his servant Zimri, commander of half his chariots, conspired against him.

When he was at Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza, who was over the household in Tirzah, Zimri came in and struck him down and killed him, in the twenty-seventh year of Asa King of Judah, and reigned in his stead.

When he began to reign, as soon as he had seated himself on his throne, he killed all the house of Baasha; he did not leave him a single male of his kinsmen or his friends....

In the twenty-seventh year of Asa King of Judah, Zimri reigned seven days in Tirzah.

Now the troops were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, and the troops who were encamped heard it said, "Zimri has conspired, and he has killed the King!" Therefore all Israel made Omri, the commander of the army, King over Israel that day in the camp.

So Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah.

And when Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the King's House, and burned the King's House over him with fire, and died, because of his sins which he committed, doing evil in the sight of the Lord, walking in the way of Jeroboam, and for his sin which he committed, making Israel to sin...

Then the people of Israel were divided into two parts. Half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him King; and half followed Omri. But the people who followed Omri overcame the people who followed Tibni the son of Ginath, So Tibni died and Omri became King.

In the thirty-first year of Asa King of Judah, Omri began to reign over Israel, and reigned for twelve years; six years he reigned in Tirzah.

He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver; and he fortified the hill, and called the name of the city which he built 'Samaria', after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill.

Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did more evil than all who were before him. For he walked in all the ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in the sins which he made Israel to sin, provoking the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger by their idols....

In the thirty-eighth year of Asa King of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri began to reign over Israel, and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years.

And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all that were before him. And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal King of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. He erected an altar for Baal in the House of Baal, which he built in Samaria. And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahabe did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the Kings of Israel who were before him.

August 07, 2011

Luke 7.29-35

When they heard him, all the people, including the tax-gatherers, praised God, for they had accepted John's Baptism. But the Pharisees and lawyers, by refusing his baptism, had rejected God's purpose for themselves.

"How can I describe the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace, shouting to each other:

     'We piped for you and you would not dance.
     We wept and wailed, and you would not mourn.'

"For John came, neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you said, 'He is possessed!' I came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!' And yet God's wisdom is manifest in all her children."

August 05, 2011

1 Kings 13.31-14.18

After this thing, Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but made priests for the high places again from among all the people; any who would, he consecrated to be priests of the high places. And this thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, so as to cut it off and to destroy it from the face of the Earth.

At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick. And Jeroboam said to his wife, "Arise, and disguise yourself, that it not be known that you are the wife of Jeroboam, and go to Shiloh. Behold, Ahijah the prophet is there, who said of me that I should be King over this people. Take with you ten loaves, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what shall happen to the child."

Jeroboam's wife did so; she arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah.

Now Ahijah could not see, for his eyes were dim from age. And the Lord said to Ahijah, "Behold, the wife of Jeroboam is coming to inquire of you concerning her son, for he is sick. Thus and thus shall you say to her."

When she came, she pretended to be another woman.

But when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door he said, "Come in, wife of Jeroboam; why do you pretend to be another? For I am charged with heavy tidings for you.

"Go, tell Jeroboam, 'Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: "Because I exalted you from among the people, and made you leader over my people Israel, and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you; and yet you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments, and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my eyes [?!!!], but you have done evil above all that were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods, and molten images, provoking me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back; therefore behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both bond and free in Israel, and will utterly consume the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone. Any one belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city, the dogs will eat; and any one who dies in the open country the birds of the air shall eat; for the Lord has spoken it."'

"Arise, therefore, go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the child shall die. And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him; for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him is found something pleasing to the Lord, the God of Israel, Who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam today.

And henceforth, the Lord will smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land which He gave to their fathers, and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger. And He will give Israel up because of the sin of Jeroboam, which he sinned and which he made Israel to sin."

Then Jeroboam's wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah. And as she came to the threshold of the house, the child died. And all Israel buried him and mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke by his servant Ahijah the prophet.

August 04, 2011

Luke 7.24-28

After John's messengers had left, Jesus began to speak about him to the crowds: "What was the spectacle that drew you to the wilderness?" A reed-bed swept by the wind? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man dressed in silks and satins? Surely you must look in palaces for grand clothes and luxury.

"But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes indeed, and far more than a prophet. He is the man of whom Scripture says,

     'Here is my herald, whom I send on ahead of you,
     and he will prepare your way before you.'

"I tell you, there is not a mother's son greater than John, and yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."