Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Miracle

Devotion: 1 Kings 17:17-24

There are three major eras in the Bible in which miracles take place through human agency. In other words, God works through human beings to perform wonders and signs, things that seemingly defy the natural order of creation takes place in three distinct time sets. On a side note, God as Creator is free and able to act in His creation however he pleases, "Our God is in the heavens, he does all the he pleases" (Psalm 115:3 or you can hear Shai Linne rap about it).
These three eras begin with Moses and Joshua as they lead the people of Israel out of Egypt and into the land of Canaan. The second era covers the prophets Elijah and Elisha as they proclaim the Word of the Lord in the midst of gross apostasy. The final era covers Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God and his Apostles who proclaimed the Gospel. I am never quite sure what to do with miracle claims outside of those three eras and I will leave it to you, gentle reader, to make up your own mind about such claims when they crop up today.
At any rate, while the announcement of Elijah concerning the drought is a miracle, the personal miracle this week is closer to the miracles of Jesus. Indeed, this story will find parallels in the Gospel accounts of raising Jairus' daughter (Mark 5:21-43) and the raising of the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17).
So let's recall that Elijah had been sent to stay with the pagan widow of Zarephath. God had provided food miraculously for them all. And then a crisis hits.
"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!' " -1 Kings 17:17-18 ESV
The widow is distraught as her son is dying. She blames the man of God for bringing her sin to remembrance, most likely the Lord's remembrance. As a result, since she regards YHWH as Elijah's God and does not know nor worship Him, she assumes the Lord is very much like the pagan idols she worships. She fears that her sin has cost her son. She is angry and scared.
"And he said to her, 'Give me your son.' And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. And he cried to the LORD, 'O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?' Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, 'O LORD my God, let this child’s life come into him again.' And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived." -1 Kings 17:19-22 ESV
Elijah, for his part does not become defensive when confronted by the widow. He takes her son and prays over him, and stretches himself out over him three times. He correctly trusts YHWH, the Creator, to have the power over life and death. YHWH listens to His prophet and the boy lives, a miracle if ever there was one. The breath of life once more courses through him and he revives.
"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 son 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.' " -1 Kings 17:23-24 ESV
The return of her son brings about faith of a sort in the widow. Miracles are meant to lead to faith. Miracles are never ends, but means to faith. The Lord did what he pleased and the woman believed. May we pray to be used by God in ordinary and, perhaps, extraordinary ways to bring others to faith in the power of the Lord!



The music this week is "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" performed by Red Mountain Music.

News for You:

  • Adam's Road Piano will be coming to CPC on 12/6 at 7 p.m. Please join us for a night of music and testimony!
  • The Women's Ministry is hosting a Women's Breakfast and Cookie Exchange on 12/8. Look for details in the bulletin or at the Welcome Center at CPC.
  • The monthly Men's Breakfast will be meeting in the youth room at 6 a.m. on 12/8.
  • Our children are putting on a Christmas Play during morning worship on 12/16.
  • The Candlelight Christmas Eve service will be 12/24 at 7 p.m. Please come and celebrate the birth of the Savior with us! 
  • Check out more at the new and improved www.cpcomak.org!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Trusting the Word of the Lord

Devotion: 1 Kings 17:8-16

After Elijah's time at the brook Cherith he is sent north and west by the Lord to the pagan country of Sidon to a village called Zarephath.
"Then the word of the LORD came to him, 'Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.' " -1 Kings 17:8-9 ESV
The sending of the man of God to pagan country was a great indictment of the northern kingdom of Israel and its gross paganism. In essence, the Lord sends his man to a pagan widow because Israel is certainly no better and in many ways worse. While the pagan widow worshiped false gods in ignorance, Israel, led by the wicked King Ahab, worshiped false gods in full knowledge of YHWH and His commandments.
There is an interesting reversal here as well. God's Word calls over and again to care for widows, the fatherless and the sojourner (e.g. Exodus 22:21-24, Deuteronomy 24:19-21). Now, Elijah is being called to sojourn among pagans and a widow will care for his needs (we will get back to the fatherless child later). God will provide for his man and do so in a powerful way.
"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 and said, '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 the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. 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.' " -1 Kings 17:10-12 ESV
The prophet is obedient to the Word of the Lord and travels to the village of Zarephath. The drought that had stricken Isreal had also impacted this area, leaving little to eat and drink.  When Elijah is about to enter the town, he sees a widow gathering up small bits of firewood. Knowing the Word of the Lord the prophet asks to the woman to provide for his needs (food and drink). The widow believes Elijah's requests are either ignorant or outright offensive.
Her response is to invoke the name of YHWH, but to attribute him to Elijah, i.e. 'your God.' Her oath is meant to be a strong indicator of the truthfulness of her claim that she lacks food for herself and her son and so has none to spare for Elijah. The meal she is about to prepare will be a last supper of sorts before a long painful death from starvation. She has no hope that things may improve and has accepted that she will die. She does not appeal to her gods nor to the man of God to intervene. She is matter-of-fact in her assessment of the situation. Yet, God is at work!
"And Elijah said to her, 'Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, "The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth." ' " -1 Kings 17:13-14 ESV
Elijah tells the woman to put away her fear. He politely (for the time) requests that the widow do as he has said and makes a promise. The jar of oil that is about empty will never run out and the jar of flour will always be enough until the Lord sends rain upon the earth again. In other words, God will care for this widow, this fatherless child and this sojourner because His people, Israel, have failed to live up to their responsibility under the Law. This should point us to Christ who steps in to do what we have failed and cannot do for ourselves through his active obedience to the Father even to the point of death on the cross.
"And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah." -1 Kings 17:15-16 ESV
The widow, for her part, trusts the Word of the Lord that came through the prophet and does as he requested. Sure enough, God keeps His promise and the sojourner, the widow and the fatherless child are cared for once again.
Friends, I hope the Scripture lesson today will lead you to trust in the promise of hope you have in Christ and lean on that promise in times of plenty and want.


The song is "All Things New" from Red Mountain Music.

News for You:

  • The Children's Christmas Tea is scheduled for 12/1 at noon. Please RSVP today if you plan to attend.
  • Adam's Road Piano will be coming to CPC on 12/6 at 7 p.m. Please join us for a night of music and testimony!
  • The Women's Ministry is hosting a Women's Breakfast and Cookie Exchange on 12/8. Look for details in the bulletin or at the Welcome Center at CPC.
  • The monthly Men's Breakfast will be meeting off campus 12/8. Look for details in this week's bulletin.
  • Our children are putting on a Christmas Play during morning worship on 12/16.
  • The Candlelight Christmas Eve service will be 12/24 at 7 p.m. Please come and celebrate the birth of the Savior with us!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Obedience and Seasons

Devotion 1 Kings 17:2-7

In pastoral care I often advise people that our life is best thought of in terms of seasons. Scripture is replete with examples and teaching along these lines, the most significant of which is Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. There are times to mourn and times to dance, so the Scripture teaches. The task is to observe the season in which we find ourselves and act in obedience to the Lord in the present circumstance. Misreading the season can lead to an attempt at obedience that will simply fail. That is the message behind our passage today.
"And the word of the LORD came to [Elijah]: 'Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan.You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.' " -1 Kings 17:2-4 ESV
After the prophet proclaims that there will be no rain except by his word, the Lord calls to him to go to a particular brook in trans-Jordan (modern day Jordan). The prophet is to settle there for a time and receive sustenance from the Lord through some helpful ravens.
"So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived 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. " -1 Kings 17:5-7 ESV
Elijah obeys the Word of the Lord and it is just as the Lord said it would be. Yet, because of the drought, the brook eventually dries up. In other words, the season changed. We will see next week that the Lord leads Elijah elsewhere to provide for his needs. Yet this passage tells us something about following the Lord. We need to read the season and understand that being faithful in the new season may not look the same as the old season.
Do not misunderstand what I am saying. I am not advocating discarding the Biblical witness, and especially not its ethical teaching. We do not get to proclaim that it is a new day or a new season simply because we do not like what the Bible teaches on, say, loving the neighbor or rejecting greed, let alone sexual morality. We are not talking about changes in substance (function), but changes in method (form). If Elijah locks down his understanding of obedience as something like, "The Lord said to sit by this brook, and even if it is no longer a brook because it stopped flowing, I am going to sit here because that's what a good YHWHist would do." That would be foolish and would result in him dying of thirst.
Likewise, we cannot lock in place things of the past that have no bearing on the underlying truth of Scripture. Let me give a few examples. The translation of the Word of God needs to be updated to reflect the current vernacular. We do not speak the King's English any longer and so insisting that only a translation in the King's English is correct is wrong. The season has changed and we should update our translation accordingly. You may continue to use and enjoy the King James Version all you like, but we cannot insist it is the only acceptable English version. To move to a modern English translation, like the English Standard Version, is adjusting to the season without tampering with the call to faith and obedience that are timeless.
Another example would be the style of music in church. Unless you are advocating for acapella Psalms only, every song we sing in church was new at some point. The style of music has never been fixed for all time in the church and any music that gives glory to God in both arrangement and lyrics is permissible in the church. While I prefer hymns personally, I recognize this is a preference and not really a mark of obedience or principle.
The season shifted while Elijah sat by the brook as it dried up. If he continued to insist obedience only meant staying there, he would have violated the Word of the Lord (that comes again in 1 Kings 17:8) by not adjusting his obedience to God's Word to the present season. Jesus himself said, "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins." [Mark 2:22 ESV]. Jesus' claim is that when the new comes, namely the new covenant in his blood, it will not fit into the forms for the old covenant. It is still wine (faith in YHWH) and it still needs to be carried in wineskins (a covenant relationship through faith in YHWH), but it will have new forms (faith in Jesus as YHWH in the flesh and a new covenant in his blood shed for us and for our salvation on the cross).
As the season changes, the timeless truth of Scripture does not. Jesus is the Son of God, the only savior of the world. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus as he is revealed in Scripture to God's glory alone. We are called in our faith to a life of thankful obedience to the clear ethical teaching of the Scriptures. These truths will not change. Yet we must recognize that the season in which we follow Jesus may change. We cannot lose sight of the truth, but we can adjust our forms of obedience to reflect the current season within reason. For example, most of us will never be invited to outright idol worship. We will not gather in pagan shrines and sacrifice animals to pagan idols. Yet, we the call to reject idolatry remains pressing for us. Idolatry may not be blatant, but we are still called to worship power, money, sex and death. If we insist that idolatry is ONLY attending pagan worship services, we will fail to adjust our obedience to the new forms of idolatry we actually see around us today. The form of that idol worship has shifted, but the timeless call to reject idol worship remains. To fail to see the shift is to risk sitting by a dried-up brook and dying of thirst.


The song this week is "Spirit Resurrect" by Josh White and Josh Garrels.

News for You:

  • Our annual Trunk-or-Treat will be 10/31 from 4-7 p.m. Come have some fun!
  • Pick-a-party fundraisers for Chelan Camp, our youth outreach camp, are ongoing
  • Do not forget to fall back one hour this Saturday (11/3) or else, horror of horrors, you may be early to church!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Prophet

Devotion: 1 Kings 17:1

Into the tyrannical chaos created by Jeroboam and perpetuated by his various successors, culminating in the most vile of these men, King Ahab, God sends his man. Ahab had rebelled completely against the Lord and enough was enough.
"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.' " -1 Kings 17:1 ESV
Elijah arrives on the scene with a bang. There is no antecedent for the prophet--he simply emerges from Gilead to proclaim God's wrath on Israel. The prophet makes a bold claim of drought and claims even more boldly that his word is the only way to lift the drought. A drought is a poetically appropriate way to call Israel to attention for since Israel left Egypt, they have had to rely on the Lord for precipitation to grow crops and raise pasture land for their herds (see Deut. 11:8-17). The blatant violation of the commands of the Lord led to the drought condition announced by the prophet.
So what do we make of the prophet? Many see here a proto-progressive, "speaking truth to power." That seems to me to be reading modern thinking into ancient events (i.e. eisegesis). No, Elijah is not a powerless prophet hoping to sway the powerful Ahab. Instead, Elijah is the powerful speaker on behalf of God bringing the petty tyrant to heel. Elijah, so far as he is faithful to the Lord, is the powerhouse in this story.
Perhaps this is the lesson for us today. If we speak truthfully on behalf of God, our words carry with them the very power of God to accomplish the task to which they are set. This is what happens when we proclaim the Gospel--we speak not merely the words of men, but the Word of God (see 1 Thessalonians 2:13). Elijah the prophet had power in his words because he spoke on behalf of the all-powerful God he served. Our words have the same power when they serve to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


This is the Introduction to Mendelssohn's "Elijah Oratorio"

News for You:

  • Our annual Trunk-or-Treat will be 10/31 from 4-7 p.m. We could use some more cars to participate in this fun event.
  • Pick-a-party fundraisers for Chelan Camp, our youth outreach camp, are ongoing.
  • Interested in becoming a part of CPC Omak? Come to the discussion following worship on 10/21. Lunch will be provided.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tyrannical Disaster

Devotion: 1 Kings 16:29-34

The emergence of the prophet Elijah was preceded by the rise of King Ahab. Ahab, the son of Omri who had defeated Tibni in the power vacuum left after Zimri's failed coup attempt, was about as bad as bad could be. The author of the account goes out of his way to contrast just how much worse Ahab was than any of his predecessors--none of whom, we should note, were described positively.
Ahab sits at the bottom of a downward spiral, exemplifying everything that was wrong with the northern kingship. Just the read the description of his ascent to the throne:
"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 who 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 his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him. He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun. " -1 Kings 16:29-34 ESV
Ahab not only encouraged the use of the golden calf shrines (like Jeroboam), he also married a foreign bride and brought her religion, Baalism, into the mainstream in Israel. Ahab built a temple to Baal right in the capital city of Samaria and put alongside it a shrine to Baal's consort, Asherah. Further, Ahab allowed and enabled the rebuilding of Jericho, sacrificing two of his own children, Abiram and Segub, to accomplish the task. In short, Ahab was as bad as bad could be.
So what do we do with a tyrant in the biblical narrative? I think we need to learn from him and recognize his ilk in the world today. Ahab, at base, was unconcerned with truth and goodness. He was chiefly concerned with his own power, desires and whims (as will be clearly demonstrated throughout his reign). Ahab was not afraid to sacrifice children to accomplish his aims. In short, he saw his own will as absolute and absolutely perfect.
The inability to be self-critical is dangerous. Fanaticism emerges when we believe our views are not the only best, but the only good and true views anyone should have. The fanatic becomes a tyrant regarding opposing views with regularity. Since the fanatic is, by self-reference, correct, then everyone else is wrong. Attempting to sway or persuade the fanatic becomes an exercise in wasting breath. Ahab is a fanatic of his own power. It will take God working through the ministry of the prophet Elijah to knock Ahab on his heels and reveal that this tyrant is not as powerful as he imagines himself to be.
We all need to be knocked on our heels and face disaster when we approach tyranny and/or fanaticism. God's Word still has that power to do just that, pointing out our faults and failures and calling us to repentance ever and again through faith in Christ Jesus. Beware of someone who cannot see his own faults--especially if that someone is you. There is good news, God still speaks the prophetic word in our lives to call us to be radically honest about our faults and find perfection in Christ alone.



News for You:

  • CPC's annual Trunk-or-Treat event is Tuesday, October 31st from 4-7 p.m. We are looking for volunteers to bring/decorate vehicles, donate candy, or bring/cook hotdogs. There is a sign-up sheet at the Welcome Center at CPC.
  • We still have some available spots for Small Groups that launch next week.
  • We will not have Sunday School Remix October 2 or Sunday School October 7 due to the pastor being away.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Disarray

Devotion: 1 Kings 16:21-28

Life can feel chaotic at times. To be sure that feeling of chaos is relative to our experience and circumstance. Since my kids have gone back to school my wife and I have been juggling schedules and playing the three-kid-shuffle between soccer practice, Awana and family time. This has led to a growing sense of chaos crouching at the door and it is only our ability to communicate and coordinate (with the Lord's guidance!) that has maintained order. That feeling of chaos can be overwhelming, but it is nothing compared with many in the world today.
We live in peace and order. While we may disagree about the extent or the forward duration of that peace and order, an honest assessment sees people in our nation with the liberty to live life, pursue goals, gain skills and form families. I believe many people in Syria today would be envious of our liberty, peace and order as they continue in the chaos of civil war and totalitarianism.
Order is God's work in the world. The creation accounts depict God as establishing order in the midst of the dark depths of chaos. Our God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants, including the Mosaic Law and culminating in the coming of Jesus Christ to save sinners, to establish His order in a world lost in the chaos of sinful rebellion. In my personal readings of Scripture over the last several months I have been struck by the way God continues to order the chaos and the way human sin continues to usher in more chaos.
Our passage this week is a story of chaos and disarray. Peace and order are nowhere to be found. In the course of a week the Kingdom of Israel saw a violent coup led by Zimri kill the king while a war was being fought against Philistines. Zimri then barricaded himself in the royal palace in Tirzah while General Omri laid seige. Zimri, facing defeat, decided to commit suicide by burning down the king's palace with him inside. In the course of a week, the king was dead and his would-be usurper was also dead. This created a power/leadership vacuum and two parties seek to fill the same space:
"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 he 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 that he built Samaria, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill. " -1 Kings 16:21-24 ESV
We live in a two-party system, but we have enjoyed peaceful transfers of power for well over a century (the American Civil War in the mid-19th century being the only exception). In Israel, the death of a king led to a war. The biblical account nonchalantly describes these events and that should give us pause before using hyperbolic language to describe our lives as chaotic. The outbreak of civil war between the forces of General Omri and Tibni receives a very terse account as if such a thing was not only normal, but expected. The disarray and chaos of the situation is depicted as normal. Again, our thoughts on our lives being chaotic is usually relative. Given the tumult of Israel's history up to that point, kings dying and people fighting for power was just another day. Contrast this with the long reign of King Asa of Judah, who, while imperfect in his devotion to the Lord, was much more faithful than the kings of Israel during his 41-year reign.
The end result of this fight was Omri's victory and ascendance. Omri moves the political capitol to Samaria, which he purchased honestly from Shemer (this will be contrasted with his son Ahab and Naboth's vineyard later). Omri's reign was 12 years and it was marked with the same problems as those who went before him:
"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 way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in the sins that he made Israel to sin, provoking the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger by their idols. Now the rest of the acts of Omri that he did, and the might that he showed, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? And Omri slept with his fathers and was buried in Samaria, and Ahab his son reigned in his place. " -1 Kings 16:25-28 ESV
Omri failed at restoring order because he continued in the sin of idolatry. That legacy would be passed to his son Ahab. We will speak more about Ahab in the coming weeks.
We need to be cautious in two ways as people of faith. First, we need to be cautious in seeing and describing our lives in overly-dramatic ways, asserting more chaos than is really present. Second, we need to be cautious about allowing the chaos of idolatry to invade our lives. We are called to true worship of the one true God. To give worship to false idols is to invite real chaos and, as we have seen, that does not end well for anyone.



The song this week is "What the Morning Shows" by The Dust of Men.

News for You:

  • We are still on the hunt for Small Group Leaders for our Fall series in Romans. If you are interested, e-mail Pastor Bill.
  • Sunday School will kick off our next series in the Westminster Confession of Faith beginning September 16 at 9 a.m. Sunday School Remix will resume September 18 at 1 p.m. in the library at CPC.

Friday, September 7, 2018

What Comes Around...

Devotion: 1 Kings 16:15-20

Seven days is not a terribly long time. I currently have multiple condiments in my fridge that are much older than seven days. Seven days is the reign of Zimri after his rebellion and assassination of Elah, son of Baasha. Zimri is a textbook illustration of reaping what one sows (see Galatians 6:6-10).
"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 that 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. Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and the conspiracy that he made, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?" -1 Kings 16:15-20 ESV
Following Zimri's rebellion, the troops fighting against the Philistines (the cover for Zimri's coup) hear about his treachery and decide, under the leadership of General Omri to strike back against the rebel. Omri, taking charge, is not only to lead the counter-insurgency, but if successful, is to become king of Israel.
Omri leads the troops to Tirzah and takes the city. Zimri, knowing his goose is cooked, commits suicide by burning down the king's palace with him inside. In seven short days he goes from king to dead, yet even in that short span he continued idolatry and perpetuated injustice. Zimri met a bitter end following his plot.
Zimri can teach us a few brief lessons.
  1. Violence begets violence. Jesus himself said to Peter when struck the servant of the high priest in defense of Jesus, "Put your sword back in its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword." (Matthew 26:52). Zimri's treachery and rebellion was doomed because of the violent way he perpetrated his offense.
  2. While Elah was a wicked king, Zimri acted without authorization, direction and leave from the Lord. Zimri acted out of naked ambition for his own benefit, seizing an opportunity as it presented itself. God's will was never considered.
  3. Zimri did not have a clear strategy. While he struck down Elah and took the throne, he had no strategy for holding the throne. This is short-term thinking at its worst. Doing something in the moment without thought to the long-term consequence and/or strategy is sure method of increasing misery, pain and trouble.
King Zimri reigned seven days because he acted without the Lord's will. His means were violent and he met a violent, dishonorable end. While Zimri fulfilled the prophecy of Jehu the Prophet, he did so unconsciously and without deference to the Lord. We need to be much more thoughtful, strategic and humble in our actions, seeking the glory of God and the execution of His will lest our short-term strategy meet with disaster.

The song this week is "Farther Along" by Josh Garrels.


News for You:

  • Visit our booth at the Okanogan County Fair!
  • We are still on the hunt for Small Group Leaders for our Fall series in Romans. If you are interested, e-mail Pastor Bill.
  • Sunday School will kick off our next series in the Westminster Confession of Faith beginning September 16 at 9 a.m. Sunday School Remix will resume September 18 at 1 p.m. in the library at CPC.