Precept: Anyone who wants the benefits of citizenship in Yhvh’s nation must accept the requirements of military service in his war against the destroyer.
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39)
Surely we understand that any nation must fight to maintain freedom from those who would destroy her. The same is true for the real “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.” This is due to the unavoidable reality of evil, regardless of atheists and pantheists efforts to write it off. And we know that…
God demands that his people do something.
As the biblical history moves forward from the defining event of the Exodus, don’t leave Moses behind. Keep him firmly fixed in your mind. I’m betting you weren’t pegging him as one of the greatest generals in all of human history, were you?
“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai…in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel…every male…From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel…all they that were numbered were 603,550.” (Numbers 1:1-3, 46)
Let’s make sure we really understand Moses’ place in humanity’s ongoing war against the Adversary.
- “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to…the mountain of God…
- Note to self – in the course of his daily routine Moses sought out God.
- “By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” (Proverbs 8:16-17)
- And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold…the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight…
- Note to self – Moses was not only raised among the spiritualism of Egypt but more importantly taught by his Hebrew parents and his priest father in law so he recognizes God when he finds him.
- and…God called unto him…Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
- Note to self – Moses responded to God’s call and made himself available, leaving behind his job, loyalties to family, and all earthly cares.
- And he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham…And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
- And the LORD said, I surely seen the affliction of my people…And I am come down to deliver them…
- Come now therefore…I will send thee…that thou mayest bring forth my people…
- And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should…bring forth?!
- And he said, Certainly I will be with thee…
- And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I…shall say…The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses…say…I Am hath sent me unto you…this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
- And I am sure that the god- king…will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.
Moses: the standard for all succeeding prophets / priests / kings, including Jesus Christ himself, therefore all Christians.
We should think of Moses as the prototype Savior, even for Christians.
“And the LORD said unto me…I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:18-20)
Moses’ life’s work, which was carried to fulfillment by his successor? Salvation from destruction by the enemy – body, soul and spirit.
His message? Either serve the one true God to gain eternal life, or serve false gods to your destruction.
“Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations…Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.” (Deu 29:18; 28:48)
The first Prophet to succeed Moses was appointed / chosen during Moses’ lifetime. In Hebrew we would call him Yeshua Messiah. In Greek we would say Jesus Christos. In English we call him Joshua the Consecrated One.
“And Yeshua / Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him:” (Deuteronomy 34:9)
His message was exactly the same as Moses’.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
This Yeshua Messiah was just the first of many types of, but not the fulfillment of, Moses’ promised Successor within the time frame of the writing and editing of the Old Testament by scribes like Ezra.
“And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.” (Deuteronomy 34:10).
It was the other Yeshua Messiah.
“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him…behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
In the meantime…
“And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.” (Judges 2:1)
But tragically, Israel’s history is littered with destruction as Israel disbelieves God’s warning time after time.
- And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them…and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
- And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel,
- and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them,
- and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about,
- so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.” (Judges 2)
At first glance it appears that the LORD God is taking out his anger on his children, doesn’t it?
Don’t mix up the LORD’s ways with our ways.
When you read “sold” don’t think fixed prices in a modern department store. In that time everywhere, and in that culture even now, selling means bargaining. “Bargaining is an integral part of most Middle Eastern cultures…The key to being good at bargaining is understanding what purpose it serves – it is not about money… – but more about building relationships.”
When God “delivered” and “sold” his people to the enemy he was engaging in negotiations like those transacted by Chamberlain with Hitler to minimize the damage to his people!
Despite God’s people rejecting him, he never rejects them, but stays on the sideline waiting for his people to return to him after they’re hurting enough to call out for his help.
“(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God); he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.” (Deuteronomy 4:31)
The following outline from the book of Judges highlights this principle. The reader is encouraged to enjoy the exciting details provided in the entire book of Judges.
Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them…to teach them war…to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD…And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods…Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel:
- and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia…
- And…raised up a deliverer…Othniel…Caleb’s [nephew]
- and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel…
- But the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera…and Eglon was a very fat man…And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat. And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly
- And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.
- And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan…he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
- And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time…And she sent and called Barak…and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying…I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her… if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding…the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman…Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground.
And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian…And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth…and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass…And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side.
And the three hundred [Israelites] blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled…And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.
- Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah [son of Gideon], and he passed over…unto the children of Ammon…to fight against them;
- and the LORD delivered them into his hands…even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
- List of unremarkable judges / defenders
And the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years…
And the Spirit of the LORD began to move [Samson] at times…And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith…Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women…And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O LORD God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God…And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars…And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weaknes were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” (Hebrews 11:32-34)
Prophets, Priests and Kings
As the last ruling judge, Samuel opens a new era in Israel’s history, transitioning Israel into a king-dom. Any time of transition is chaotic, stressful, uncertain. For believers, the word of the LORD is all the more precious during these times. The account of Samuel’s rule labeled I and II Samuel are worth much more than the children’s Sunday School stories for which they are usually consigned.
“And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground [fail to come to pass]. And all Israel from Dan [northern border] even to Beersheba [southern border] knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD…And the LORD…revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.” (I Samuel 3:19-21)
During Samuel’s rule, the primary enemy was the dreadnaught Philistines, in not just one, but battle after battle after battle.
“And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines:” (I Samuel 4:2)
Saul was the first king of Israel, but when he chose to ally himself with the enemy he lost his capacity to defend his / God’s people and was replaced.
“Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts / armies, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, 200,000 footmen, and 10,000 men of Judah. And Saul…smote the Amalekites…
But Saul and the people spared Agag [undoubtedly to ransom, see Ahab and Benhaddad below], and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good [again the profit motive], and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments…
- Problem #1, rebellion / disobedience: And Samuel came to Saul…Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD?
- Problem #2, stubbornly denying he did wrong, even worse, because we can be forgiven and restored only when we confess our sin. And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek…But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy – THY!!! – God in Gilgal.
And Samuel said…1) rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and 2) stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king…The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent [and yes, if you’re alert you know he changed his mind about making Saul king, this is about not letting Saul reverse his decision on sin. Even though David himself was rescued from the death penalty for his sin against Uriah there was still a penalty for his sin, paid when his sons died in his place]: for he is not a man, that he should repent…(I Samuel 15)
“And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people.” (I Samuel 13)
“Then Saul, (who is also called Paul)..said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, .give audience. The God of this people of Israel…gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king… ” (Acts 13)
I can’t help but sidebar here to note that the Apostle Paul had a reason for mentioning his namesake King Saul in his first recorded sermon. He may have been a descendant. He certainly had much in common with him. It does lead me to wonder if both Paul and God didn’t have a soft spot in his heart for King Saul. Certainly Samuel did. For certain God must have mourned being forced to set Jonathan aside. Perhaps a thousand years later Jesus recruited Saul of Tarsus so persistently to restore kingship to this family, and once again enjoy the eternal love that his Spirit had experienced in David with Jonathan, surviving through the ages in their descendants. (This concept is nicely presented in the movie Cloud Atlas.)
“I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin [obviously a proud heritage associated as it was with Judah, not one of the 10 northern tribes that broke away from the true God], an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church /; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ / the Anointed One. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Philippians 3:4-8)
Both Jonathan and the Apostle Paul were grounded in the word of God so were able to recognize the Promised Savior when they saw him in action. For Paul it was Jesus’ resurrection. For Jonathan it was his battlefield faith.
As you read the following account from I Samuel 17, bear in mind that David had already been anointed to be the next king (documented in chapter 16). He believed both the spoken word of God through Samuel, consistent with the written word of God, that God was going to do the impossible through him.
“Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” (Genesis 49:9-10)
“Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle…And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and…the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath,
- whose height was six cubits and a span.
- aaaand he had an helmet of brass upon his head,
- aaaand he was armed with a coat of mail;
- aaaand the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass
- aaaand he had greaves of brass upon his legs,
- aaaand a target of brass between his shoulders.
- aaaand the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam;
- aaaand his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron:
- aaaand one bearing a shield went before him.
And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? …choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together…And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days…
And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?…And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him. And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.
And David said unto Saul, [keeping in mind the timeless epics of heroic exploits] Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The LOR that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee…
And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. [Not even old enough to grow a beard.] And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. [Trash talk before a gang rumble.]
Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD‘s, and he will give you into our hands.
And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents [which would be full of weapons].
And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent. And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner [Saul’s general] took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite [of the tribe of Judah].
Like King Herod, Saul would have been warned by his advisors of the prophecies that this child would take the kingdom from him, consistent with the written word of God, howsoever limited in those early days. But David didn’t just pray for protection, he actively engaged in one battle after another to establish God’s plan.
Unlike the succeeding kings of Judah and Israel, David consistently accepted the guidance of God’s prophets.
“And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.” (I Samuel 22:5)
“And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor…the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children…and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And…the rich man…took the poor man’s lamb…And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die…because he had no pity.
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man...Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.
And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die…
And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped:” (II Samuel 12)
The psalms written by David reflect his heart towards God and are a good source for transforming one’s own heart.
“Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. And the time that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead. Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer, With all his reign and his might, and the times that went over him, and over Israel, and over all the kingdoms of the countries.” (I Chronicles 29:26-30)
Nathan announced one of the greatest promises: sure mercies of David – forgiveness and restoration of sinners to eternal life through his seed. Note David’s attitude towards God when given this promise. I don’t know about you, but I certainly come short of giving God the glory. Life is a partnership, and when we claim our accomplishments as our own God can’t very well give us any of his, can he?
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne…for ever and ever.” (Revelation 5:11-13)
“And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David…Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, and as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies.
Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house /dynasty. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish…the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.
Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O LORD God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?
- For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them.
- Wherefore THOU [not me] art great, O LORD God:
- for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
- And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?
- For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, Lord, art become their God.
And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said. And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.
- For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house:
- therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.
- And now, O LORD God, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant.
- Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee:
for thou, O LORD God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.” (I Chronicles 17)
“Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people...he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:…Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day…though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead:…And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers [in writing], God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again;
- as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
- And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
- Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things [therefore freed from the penalty of sin, which is death], from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13)
Elijah and his prophet / preacher colleagues were hunted down during Israel’s prototypical reign of terror by Ahab and Jezebel after the northern tribes of Israel rejected the son of David and the worship of the true God.
“And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)…And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him…go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here. And he said…As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee:
…when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table…And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God.
And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken…And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it,
- and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered.
- And they leaped upon the altar which was made…
- and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them….
- and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him…And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name [for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed]:
- 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 bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood,
- and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.
- And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
- And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, 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.
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.
And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life.” (I Kings 18-19)
- Unnamed prophets of God are shown to continue prophesying/preaching to Ahab, who, under duress, in fact believes and acts on some, but tragically not all, of their messages. Notice how Ahab “lets go”, which is the opposite of “let”, and the consequence is transfer of power, to the other side, exactly like a game of tug-of-war.
“And Benhadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots; and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it. And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Benhadad…I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away. Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land…And all the elders and all the people said unto him, Hearken not unto him, nor consent…And Benhadad sent unto him, and said, The gods do so unto me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me [as prisoners back to my land after I destroy your stronghold]…
- And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
- And Ahab said, By whom?
- And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces.
- Then he said, Who shall order the battle?
- And he answered, Thou…
So these young men of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army which followed them. And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them: and Benhadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse with the horsemen. And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter. And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee…And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Benhadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel. And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.
- And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD…and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day. But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left. And Benhadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber.
- And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings…So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Benhadad saith, I pray thee, let me live.
- And he [Ahab] said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother.
- Now the men did diligently observe whether any thing would come from him, and did hastily catch it: and they said, Thy brother Benhadad.
- Then he said, Go ye, bring him.
- Then Benhadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot.
- And Ben-hadad said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria.
- Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.
- And a certain man of the sons of the prophets…waited for the king by the way…And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver. And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone.
- And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it….
- And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.
- And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.”
Elisha and his sons / students kept the destruction of Israel at bay for many generations. What emerges at this time is a pattern of half-hearted faith, neither hot nor cold, crying out for help under duress but not fully allying with the God who saves. Sound familiar? God is long suffering, but his patience does run out.
- “And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him…look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi…take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. (II K 9:1-3) And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin. In those days the LORD began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel; From Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan.” (II K 10:30-33)
- “Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days. And Jehoahaz besought the Lord, and the Lord hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them. (And the LORD gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime. Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein: and there remained the grove also in Samaria.) (II K 13:1-6)
- “And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead…Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof [like Elijah, the true authority, military might, protector and defender of Israel]. And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the Lord‘s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them. And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice...And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel. (II K 13:9-25)
Jonah, the famously reluctant prophet / preacher sent to Ninevah, also preached to his own people during their last days. Notice that initially Israel was saved by a professing believer but actually ungodly ruler, which undoubtedly lulled the Israelites into thinking they could just continue doing what they were doing. However, if they had read and believed Elisha’s message, they would have known that their days were numbered. God had given Jehu only four generations, and this was it. The reason Jonah was so reluctant to preach in Ninevah is because he was afraid they would respond with repentance, and consequently become empowered to win a battle with backslidden Israel. And that’s exactly what happened, after Israel gutted itself with internal strife.
- “…Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD…He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher. For…the LORD said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash. (II K 14:23-27)
- “Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord… (Jonah 1:1-3) And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh…and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not…But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.” (Jonah 3:1-4:2)
- “…Zachariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord…
- And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him…and slew him, and reigned in his stead…This was the word of the Lord which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. And so it came to pass. Shallum…reigned a full month in Samaria…
- Menahem the son of Gadi…slew him, and reigned in his stead…Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it; and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up…and reigned ten years in Samaria. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord…And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand.And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land…
- and Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years…
- But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and…killed him, and reigned...twenty years…In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.
- And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead. (II Ki 15:8-30) And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God…and had feared other gods, And walked in the statutes of the heathen…and of the kings of Israel, which they had made…Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying…keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God. And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them…And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God,
- and made them molten images, even two calves,
- and made a grove,
- and worshipped all the host of heaven,
- and served Baal.
- And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire,
- and used divination and enchantments,
- and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only…And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight…So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day…And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.” (II Ki 17:4-24)
Isaiah is the key prophet in the southern nation of Judah who successfully kept his flock from being destroyed by first the Israelite / Syrian alliance, then by Tiglathpileser of Assyria even after King Ahaz had everything prepared in readiness for the man of sin, the son of perdition, to sit himself in the temple of God, showing himself to be God. He continued to exert a profound influence on all succeeding generations through his written words.
- “Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign….sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father. But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel…Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war…So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me. And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria. And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin. And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof. And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus..And the covert for the sabbath that they had built in the house, and the king’s entry without, turned he from the house of the Lord for the king of Assyria. And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.” (II Ki 16:1-20)
“…in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel [i.e. as Hoshea is recruiting allies to rebel against Assyrian domination], that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign…And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan [just a piece of metal]. He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not. He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And it came to pass…that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah…Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them. And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king’s house. At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria. And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller’s field. And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder. And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?…if ye say unto me, We trust in the Lord our God…? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it…Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria: Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand: Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand? Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand? But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king’s commandment was, saying, Answer him not…And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent…to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. So Rabshakeh returned, and…he sent messengers again unto Hezekiah, saying…Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah? And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. Lord, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, Lord, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God. Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O Lord our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even thou only. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee. Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel. By thy messengers thou hast reproached the Lord, and hast said, With the multitude of my chariots I am come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and will cut down the tall cedar trees thereof, and the choice fir trees thereof: and I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, and into the forest of his Carmel. I have digged and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of besieged places. Hast thou not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste fenced cities into ruinous heaps. Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the house tops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up. But I know thy abode, and thy going out, and thy coming in, and thy rage against me. Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest…And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such things as grow of themselves, and in the second year that which springeth of the same; and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruits thereof. And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this. Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.” (II Ki 18-19)
“Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God…Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses…And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded…saying, Go, enquire of the Lord for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do after all that is written in this book. And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that effect. And she answered them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched. And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the Lord, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord. Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again. Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the Lord. And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book. And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.” (II Chr 34)
- Jeremiah was the prototypical prophet of doom. Doom, because his listeners refused to repent, to turn from wickedness to righteousness, to change direction in the tug of war, and inexorably, according to the rules of war, God turned them over to the control of the enemy.
“The angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers / watchers / observers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel…said…I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said…behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them…And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying,
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe [in the same sense as keeping watch over Jesus’ tomb, guarding the commandments – DO these things. What things?] ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU!!! and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28)
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, AND COMMANDED THEM, saying…
- preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
- Heal the sick,
- cleanse the lepers [since a separate category from healing the sick we can deduce this includes outcasts from society for whatever reason],
- raise the dead,
- cast out devils:
- freely ye have received, freely give.
- Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. [Like Jesus and Paul, “lowering” ourselves to the social level of the people to create partnerships and raise up leaders who will continue the work when the founder moves on.]
- And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…beware of men: for
- they will deliver you up to the councils,
- and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
- And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake…But when they deliver you up [to be judged as wrongdoers], take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
- And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death,
- and the father the child:
- and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
- And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another…
- The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Fear not them therefore…which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven…
He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” (Matthew 10)
And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,