woman bowing head in respect June 19 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 1Kings 22:47-49; 2Chronicles 20:35-37; 2Kings 1:2-18; 2Kings 3:1-3; 2Kings 2

Learning Respect

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

Respect for God's Name and Character

In today's Bible reading we see that Jehoshaphat is a good king of Judah, but once again He makes an unholy alliance with the king of the northern tribes of Israel, who are under God's discipline. In a joint venture, Jehoshaphat builds a fleet of trading ships to go to Ophir for gold. For that sin, God destroys his new trading ships.

Here is a lesson for us. We need to use our valuables and good reputation for godly purposes; let's not make unholy alliances with those who have no fear of God. The LORD does not want His name or your reputation to be tarnished. He wants to bless us, not punish us. What the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthian church is applicable for us today in any joint venture (business or otherwise).

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

Respect for Gods' Messengers

When King Ahaziah of Israel is injured, he relies on the prophets of Baal-Zebub to heal him, instead of God. This is an offense to the LORD.

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

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

When Ahaziah hears the message, he sends three separate groups of fifty men to arrest Elijah. Because they do not respect Elijah as a prophet of God, the LORD destroys the first two of the three groups that summon Elijah to the king. The LORD has mercy on the third group sent because the captain of the men begs for mercy. He respects Elijah the man of God. Do we respect God's servants? If not, beware, we may be disciplined or judged for acting against them. We must learn to respect God, His character, His message and His servants.

Respect for a New Prophet

Elijah is a friend and mentor to Elisha, and when the time is close for Elijah to leave, Elisha sticks close to his side. Elisha will soon take the place of his teacher. Elijah grants one request of Elisha before he leaves—a double portion of his spirit. Elisha wants twice the spiritual zeal of his mentor (more...)

After Elijah is caught up in a whirlwind into heaven, Elisha takes his cloak (the sign of God's authority on him) and calls on the LORD to part the river like He did for Elijah. The LORD does this, and a nearby company of prophets see it. They rightly recognize that the Spirit which was on Elijah is now on Elisha. The prophets search for Elijah but cannot find him.

Later, some leading men of the city of Jericho, obviously hearing the Spirit of God now rests on Elisha, come to him, telling how their water is brackish and undrinkable. He puts salt in a bowlful of it, pours it into the Jericho spring, and it is healed. His actions are symbolic—they have no curative powers—only God can make bad water good. Elisha is the new vessel the LORD is using to accomplish His will.

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

Lessons to Live By

  • Let's use our reputation and valuables for godly purposes. He does not want us or His name tarnished. God wants to bless us, not punish us.
  • Do we respect God's servants? If not, beware, we may be disciplined or judged for acting against them. We must learn to respect the LORD, His character, His message and His servants.
  • Do we know God? He offers us forgiveness, peace and spiritual life (more...)

Focus Verses

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

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

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A Look Ahead: Sometimes the little things we do can affect the next generations, like A Little Yeast in bread dough. Find out more in our Next Lesson.

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