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Today’s selected reading is found in the Old Testament book of Second Kings, which continues to describe the days of the divided kingdom of Israel, which was made up of the northern kingdom of Israel, as well as the southern kingdom of Judah. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first four chapters of this Old Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the king of Israel having died in a battle which took place between the northern kingdom of Israel and the Syrians. In the twenty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings you will find that there was a period of three years where there was no war between the children of Israel and the people of Syria. When, however, it came unto the third year, Jehoshaphat king of Judah came unto the kingdom of Israel. Upon entering into the presence of the king of Israel, Ahab would speak and declare unto Jehoshaphat that Romoth in GIlead was theirs, and they had been still and had not taken it out of the hand of the king of Syria. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are written and recorded within this passage you will encounter and come face to face with the fact that upon hearing the words which the king of Israel spoke unto him, Jehoshaphat spoke unto him and declared that he was as he was, that his people were as hi people, and his horses were as his horses. What makes this particular instance to absolutely astonishing when you think about and consider it, is the fact that before the king of the northern kingdom of Israel, and before the king of the southern kingdom of Judah went forth to take possession of Ramoth which was in GIlead, Jehoshaphat spoke unto the king of Israel requesting that they inquire of the word of the LORD. It’s actually quite interesting and intriguing to think about and consider this absolutely astonishing and remarkable reality, for although Jehoshaphat agreed to go forth with the king of Israel, and although he would go forth with him into battle, he was desirous that the word of the LORD be inquired thereof. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing reality, for if and when you come to this particular reality you will find the king of Israel seeking to go forth in battle in order to reclaim and take possession of that which the king of Syria had taken from the inheritance and heritage of the children of Israel. The king of Israel would have gone forth into battle, and would have done so without inquiring of the word of the LORD, and yet it was the king of the southern kingdom of Judah that would seek to inquire of the word of the LORD before going forth and going unto the battle. What’s so incredibly intriguing about this particular narrative is that in response to the request of Jehoshaphat king of Judah concerning the word of the LORD, Ahab king of Israel would gather around and unto himself the prophets together, which were about four-hundred men. Once the prophets were assembled before Ahab king of Israel, he would inquire of them as to whether or not he should go up in battle against the king of Syria to take and reclaim possession of Ramoth which was in GIlead. Consider if you will the narrative as it unfolds in the final chapter of this book, for it sets in motion that which would bring about the death of Ahab king of Israel:

“And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel. And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in GIlead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria? And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramoth-GIlead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses. And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day. Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four-hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-GIlead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: But I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah. And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, ina. Void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them. And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-GIlead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the king’s hand. And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold, now the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak. So he came to the king. And the king said unto him< Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-GIlead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD? And He said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? And he said, Here thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the hose of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall pursue Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-GIlead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LROD from me to speak unto thee? And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son; and say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace. And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you” (1 Kings 22:1-28).

It’s actually quite remarkable and astounding how the book of First Kings ends and comes to a close, for within the final chapter of the book we find the LORD beginning to bring forth His judgment against the house of Ahab the king of Israel. During the days of Jehoshaphat king of the southern kingdom of Judah the LORD would prepare to bring judgment upon the house of Ahab, as He would prepare to destroy Ahab from the face of the earth. It would be in the twenty-second and final chapter of the book of First Kings when you will find Ahab king of Israel seeking to go and recover Ramoth-GIlead from the Syrians, for it had belonged unto the children of Israel. Moreover, Ahab the king of Israel would inquire of the king of Judah whether or not he would go forth with him unto battle at Ramoth-GIlead. As you read the words which are written and recorded within this passage you will find that the king of the southern kingdom of Judah would in fact agree to go forth with the king of Israel into battle, however, before they would go forth into battle he sought to inquire of the word of the LORD. This is actually quite spectacular when you take the time to think about it, for although the king of the southern kingdom of Judah agreed to go forth to battle with Ahab, and although he had pledged his people and horses to accompany him in battle, he would not do so without first inquiring at the word of the LORD. This is actually something that is quite unique when you take the time to think about and consider it, for it reveals how the king of Judah was willing to accompany the king of Israel, and was willing to fight alongside him in battle to recover that which belonged unto Israel, however, before he would go forth unto battle he would inquire of the word of the LORD. I can’t help but find this to be absolutely remarkable when you think about and consider it, for it would be in the process of inquiring of the word of the LORD that it would be revealed how there would be in the mouths of the prophets a lying spirit that was in fact authorized by the living God who sat upon the throne. When the prophet Micaiah came before the kings of Israel and Judah he emphatically declared unto them that he saw the LORD sitting upon His throne in heaven, and saw the host of heaven before them, and how the LORD inquired of who would persuade Ahab that he might go up unto Ramoth-GIlead that he might fall there. Pause for a moment and consider that the final chapter of this Old Testament book would be centered upon one thing and one thing only—namely, the death and destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel.

As you turn and direct your attention to previous chapters you will find that Ahab king of Israel did more to provoke the LORD to anger than any other king who went before him. In response to the tremendous wickedness of Ahab the king of the northern kingdom of Israel the word of the LORD come be spoken concerning him that his house would be brought to desolation, and his house would be brought into ruin. It would be declared concerning Ahab the king of Israel that the judgment of the living God would come upon both he and his house, and how the living God would make his house like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and Baasha—both kings who did evil in the sight of the LORD, and which would walk in iniquity, idolatry and immorality before the LORD. Thus far the living and eternal God had already brought down two houses of kings which ruled and reigned over the northern kingdom of Israel, and now we are finding the LORD preparing to bring a third house to ruin and utter destruction. The means and method the living God would bring to ruin and destruction the house of Ahab would be by persuading him to go unto Ramoth-GIlead that he might fall there. It would be there in the midst of battle the LORD would execute judgment upon Ahab the king of Israel, and would bring his head down to the grave. What is so absolutely incredible and astonishing when you read the words which are written and recorded within this passage, for the living and eternal God would allow there to be a lying spirit in the mouth of the prophets in order that He might bring about that word which He had spoken concerning Ahab and concerning his house. Because of the tremendous idolatry and wickedness which Ahab king of Israel had committed before and in the sight of the living God, we find the LORD now preparing to execute His judgment upon and against Ahab. What’s quite interesting and astounding when you think about and consider it is that the LORD would entice Ahab to enter into battle—a battle which Ahab thought and believed he would win—and yet it would be in the midst of the battle that Ahab would actually fall in battle. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are written and found within this passage you will find the means surrounding the death of Ahab being supernaturally induced and produced in the midst of the battle, for as you read the words that are contained therein you will find that the king of Syria gave the order to fight against neither small nor great except the king of Israel. What you find within this passage is truly astonishing and remarkable when you take the time to consider what is written and contained therein, for within this passage you find the king of Syria determined and bent on utterly destroying Ahab the king of Israel and bringing his head down to the grave. If and as you begin reading with and from the twenty-ninth chapter of this book you will find the prophetic word of the LORD coming through Micaiah, and how the LORD deliberately and intentionally enticed Ahab into battle at Ramoth-Gildead in order that He might execute judgment upon him and bring forth the word which He had spoken concerning him. Consider the words which are written and recorded in this passage of Scripture beginning with the twenty-ninth verse:

“So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-GIlead. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle. But the king of Syria command his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel. And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshapht cried out. And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him. And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot. And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country. So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his arm our; according unto the word of the LORD which He spake” (1 Kings 22:19-38).

What you find within these particular verses brings us face to face with the battle which Ahab the king of Israel and which Jehoshaphat king of Judah entered into according to the purpose of the LORD. I happen to find it absolutely incredible and remarkable to think about and consider the fact that this entire battle centered upon the living and eternal God deliberately and intentionally enticing Ahab the king of Israel to go up to Ramoth-GIlead in order that He might execute His judgment upon him. This entire conflict which took place between the king of Israel and the king of Syria centered and hinged upon the LORD’s desire to execute His judgment and His word upon Ahab, and to bring his house to the grave. As you read the words which are found within this final chapter you will find that there came a point when the LORD was unwilling to allow Ahab to remain within and upon the earth any longer because of his wickedness and idolatry, and as a direct result of this, the LORD would seek to persuade Ahab into a battle he was never intended on winning. The living God would allow a lying spirit to be found within the mouths of the prophets in order that Ahab would feel secure in going forth into battle, while the entire time the living and eternal God sought to bring about his death and destruction. It’s actually quite intriguing to come to the twenty-second and final chapter of the book of First Kings and to find Ahab dying as a result of going forth into battle—and not just the fact that he died, but also the fact that when he went forth into battle he disguised himself. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this truth, for Ahab’s attempt to disguise himself was an attempt to subvert the word of the LORD which He had spoken concerning him. Ahab sought to disguise himself in battle in order that he might somehow come forth out of the battle unscathed and untouched, and yet if there is one thing he failed to take into consideration, it’s that when the word of the LORD has been spoken, there is absolutely nothing that could alter it. Prior to going forth unto the battle at Ramoth-Gilead, Ahab heard the word of the LORD concerning this particular battle, and heard that it was the living God who would entice him to go forth into battle that He might execute judgment upon and against him that he might bring his head down to the grave. Ahab’s attempt to disguise himself was more than simply disguising himself in battle, but was an attempt to subvery the word of the living God which He had spoken concerning him. Ahab disguised himself in battle for he thought and believed that by doing so he would and could somehow avert the word which the living and eternal God had spoken concerning him. How absolutely astonishing it is to think about the fact that when you come to this passage you will find that one of the Syrians drew his bow at venture or at random, and shot the arrow from his bow which had smitten the king of Israel between the joints of the harness. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for when you consider the word of the LORD which was spoken concerning Ahab you will find that this wasn’t simply at random or by some off chance that the king of Israel was smitten in the midst of the battle. While on the surface it might seem as though Ahab was struck and smitten by chance in the midst of this battle, we must recognize and understand that this Syrian who drew forth his bow might not have known what would come of it, however, what we find within this passage is that this man’s bow and arrow would be an instrument in the hand of the LORD to bring about his word against Ahab king of Israel.

When you come to the twenty-second and final chapter of this Old Testament book of First Kings you will find another king of Israel being brought unto the grave because of his wickedness, because of his iniquity, and because of his idolatry. Throughout the book of First kings you will find the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel—beginning with Jeroboam the son of Nebat—doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD. From the time of the creation of the northern kingdom of Israel you will find the kings who sat upon the throne in the midst thereof doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and each subsequent king which ruled and reigned after Jeroboam son of Nebat would not only do that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but would also continue in the sins which Jeroboam had set up in the midst of the land. Ahab was no exception to this rule, and Ahab had done more to provoke the LORD to anger, and had done more to provoke the LORD to jealousy in the land than any other king which had gone before him. If there is one thing I can’t help but think about and consider when coming to the final chapter of this Old Testament book, it’s that while Ahab would die as a result of going forth into battle against the king of Syria, Jezebel would still remain alive within and upon the earth. It’s quite interesting to think about and consider the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture, for within this passage of Scripture we find the LORD beginning to bring about His word which He had spoken concerning Ahab and Jezebel who had done more to provoke the LORD to anger during their time as king and queen of the northern kingdom of Israel. With that being said, there is a stark contrast that is found within the final chapter of the book of First Kings, for while we find the record and account of the death of Ahab who had done more to provoke the LORD to anger than any of the kings which had gone before him, we find the narrative of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. While the twenty-second chapter of the book of First Kings describes the death and destruction of Ahab in the midst of the battle according to and in fulfillment of the word of the LORD, we find a strong and powerful narrative concerning this king of the southern kingdom of Judah, as what we learn and discover about the southern kingdom of Judah is that there were some godly and righteous kings which ruled and reigned from and upon the throne of David. Jehoshaphat would be one of the kings who would walk in obedience and faithfulness before the LORD, and the words which we find in this passage describe for us the life of Jehoshaphat the king of the southern kingdom of Judah. Consider if you will the words which are found in this passage beginning to read with and from the forty-first verse of the chapter:

“And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his motehr’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places. And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land. There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king. Jehoshapht made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber. Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not. And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead” (1 Kings 22:41-50).

The final chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings is essentially one of contrast as we find sitting upon the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem a righteous king who would do that which was right in the sight of the LORD, while after the death of Ahab his son Ahaziah would reign over Israel. The final three verses of the twenty-second chapter of the book of First Kings describe the days and reign of Ahaziah the king of the northern kingdom of Israel. While it was true that the king which sat upon the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem did that which was right in the sight of the living God, this was not so concerning the king of the northern kingdom of Israel, as the son of Ahab would continue in the footsteps of his father. If there is one thing I can’t help but find absolutely captivating when you read the words which are found in the book of First Kings, it’s this pattern of kings which would do that which was evil in the sight of the LORD. What’s more, is that not only would there be this pattern of kings which would do that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but as you read the narrative concerning the throne of the northern kingdom of Israel you will find that the kings which reigned upon the throne in the midst of the land—those whose fathers reigned as king over this northern kingdom of Israel—walked in the path and steps of their father. There would not be a single king which sat upon the throne of the northern kingdom of Israel that would truly do that which right in the sight of the LORD, and the only one that would come remotely close to that would be Jehu whom we will learn about as the book of Second Kings progresses. Within the Old Testament book of First Kings we find a destructive and dangerous pattern of unfaithfulness, of wickedness, of doing evil in the sight of the LORD, and of continuing to walk in the path of idolatry which we would say originally began with Jeroboam son of Nebat. It would be Jeroboam son of Nebat who would set up two golden calves in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel, and it would be those golden calves which would lead the people into sin. What’s more, is that as you continue reading the narrative of the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel you will find that each subsequent king which sat upon the throne and reigned in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel would walk in the ways of the kings which were before them. Each king that would sit upon the throne of the northern kingdom of Israel. We dare not and must not miss this absolutely incredible truth and reality, for it is this particular reality that would set the stage for the northern kingdom of Israel ultimately being carried away captive by the Assyrians who would lay siege to Samaria, would destroy that city, and would carry away people of the northern kingdom of Israel captive into the land of the Tigris River. Before you come to the first chapter of the book of Second Kings you will find a small narrative concerning Ahaziah the son of Ahab king of Israel, and the evil he did in the sight of the living God. Consider the following words which are found in the final chapter of the book of First Kings:

“Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who made Israel to sin: for he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done” (1 Kings 22:51-53).

When the book of First Kings draws to a close it does so with the death of Ahab king of Israel, as the living and eternal God executed His judgment upon him as a result of the wickedness and evil which he had done against Him in His sight. Scripture makes it very clear that Ahab did more to provoke the LORD to anger than did any king which was before him, and it was his murdering of Naboth the Jezreelite and the stealing of his vineyard which is recorded in the twenty-first chapter of the book of First Kings that is essentially the final nail in the proverbial coffin. It would be the living and eternal God who would allow Ahab to be enticed into a battle he was never intended on winning in order that He might bring him to complete and utter ruin in the midst of the earth. As the twenty-second chapter of the book of First Kings draws to a close it does so with Ahab dying and going the way of his fathers, and his son Ahaziah ruling and reigning in his stead on the throne in Samaria. By the time you come to the opening chapter of the book of Second Kings you will find it written how upon hearing of the death of Ahab king of Israel Moab would rebel against Israel. It would also be during this time that Ahaziah would fall down through a lattice in his upper chamber which was in Samaria, and was sick. While sick Ahaziah sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Enron whether he would recover of the disease which had plagued his physical body. What you find next is actually quite intriguing, for what you will read is how the angel of the LROD said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Enron? Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die” (2 Kings 1:1-4). What I find so absolutely and utterly fascinating about this particular passage is not necessarily the fact that Ahaziah attempted to send messengers unto the Philistine city of Ekron to inquire of Baal-zebub, but rather that when the angel of the LORD spoke unto Elijah the Tishbite, He spoke unto him and asked whether or not there was no God in Israel. Please don’t miss the tremendous significance of this word which was spoken unto Ahaziah, for although the land was filled, polluted and corrupted with idolatry, and although the kings which reigned over the northern kingdom of Israel did that which evil in the sight of the living God, there was still a God among them and in their midst. It’s important for us to recognize this, for even though the northern kingdom of Israel had drifted far from worshipping and serving the living God, there was still a God in the midst of them. This is purely and entirely evident in the fact that the LORD would raise up men of God who would deliver prophetic messages unto the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel. What’s more, is that there was a strong and powerful evidence in the manifestation of a God in the midst of Israel atop mount Carmel, for it would be there atop mount Carmel that the living God would send His consuming fire upon the altar, upon the sacrifice, upon the water in the midst of the trench, and even upon the dust of the earth before and round about the altar.

THERE IS STILL A GOD IN THE MIDST OF YOU! As surely as I sit here this morning I can’t help but get a strong and powerful word in my heart and within the depths of my spirit concerning the undeniable truth that despite our nation’s long drift from God it is absolutely undeniable and unmistakable that there is still a God among us and in our midst. Despite the fact that this nation has spent nearly three quarters of a century drifting away from God, and giving itself to idols which we have created of and from our own imagination, there is still a God among us and in our midst. Despite the fact that we have aborted millions of unborn infants within the wombs of our mothers, we cannot deny the absolutely incredible truth that there is still a living God among us in our midst. Although we have allowed the agenda of the LGBTQ party run amuck in the midst of this nation, and have allowed ourselves to be given over to sodomy, there is still a living God among us and in our midst. We dare not miss and dare not lose sight of this absolutely astounding and remarkable reality, for to do so would be to lose sight of perhaps the only thing that keeps this nation from being utterly and completely destroyed. When the Twin Towers fell nineteen years ago, and when the Pentagon was struck by terrorist planes, this nation experienced intense sorrow, anguish, weeping, and mourning, however, this nation would still remain within and upon the earth. Despite the fact that the economy crashed twelve years ago, there was a period of steady recovery in the midst of the land, and the nation was able to come out on the other side of it. Oh it is true that perhaps this nation didn’t come out as strong as it was before, but the nation would recover. There might have been reports of the economy being better than it has in times past, however, it is absolutely undeniable that the events which this nation has experienced in recent years have not only weakened it internally, but have weakened it on the world stage. There is not a doubt in my mind that this nation is being and has been weakened by its idolatry, by its iniquity, by its immorality, by its rebellion, and by its wickedness in the sight of the living God. Just as men and women say of Rome that it wasn’t destroyed from the outside in but from the inside out, so also it can and must be said of this nation that it is not being destroyed from the outside in, but from the inside out. Please note that this isn’t to say that this nation has been significantly weakened by events which have taken place in recent years, as this nation not only witnessed the events of September 11th nineteen years ago, but this nation also witnessed the housing crisis and economic collapse seven years after the fact. There has been two major events which have completely and absolutely shaken this nation to its core, and each time the nation seemed to have rebounded to a certain degree and measure from that which struck it.

IS IS BECAUSE THERE IS NOT A GOD IN ISRAEL? IS THERE NOT A GOD IN ISRAEL? I can’t help but think about and consider this current crisis we are finding ourselves in, and how there is a pandemic that is sweeping the globe and is bringing nations to its knees. Nations such as Spain, Italy, and the United States have been hard hit and devastated by this virus, which has caused an unbelievable amount of deaths and casualties. There have been countless men, women and children who have been infected with this virus, and while there have been a vast majority that have recovered, there are a great deal who haven’t. I sit here this morning thinking about and considering the current crisis and situation this nation is facing, and how men and women seem to be looking unto anything and everything other than God. From the World Health Organization, to the Center for Disease Control, to the White House Task Force, to state governors, and to the countless hospitals and medical facilities that have been set up within and throughout this nation men and women have looked to science and to medicine for the answers to this current crisis. Can I tell you what I don’t see happening and what I don’t see taking place right now? What I don’t see happening are state governors consulting and seeking the face of the living God. I don’t see the World Health Organization, FEMA, nor the CDC consulting and seeking the face of the living God. I don’t see the White House Coronavirus Task force consulting the living God. I see all the means, all the organizations, all the levels of government consulting science and medicine, and yet I don’t see any of them who are seeking and entreating the face of the living God. I can’t help but get the strong sense that this nation—much like other nations—are consulting the gods of medicine, the gods of science, and anything and everything but the living God. I can’t help but look upon this current situation and consider the fact that much like Ahaziah who fell ill and sought to inquire of Baal-zebub concerning whether or not he would recover, so the nations of the earth are asking the same question—“Will we recover?” There is not a doubt in my mind that what we read and what we find in the first and opening chapter of this book of Second Kings is a strong and powerful warning and message to this nation—and not only to this nation, but also to the nations of the earth—as they are consulting anything and everything but the true and living God. There is not a doubt in my mind that the nations of this earth are asking the same underlying question which Ahaziah asked when he fill sick—namely, “Can we recover” and “Will we recover?” There is a deep and foreboding sense that the nations and rulers of the earth are all asking the same underlying question during this time, and that question is simply whether or not we can and will recover from this current crisis and situation the globe is finding itself in.

I sit here this morning and I find that which is written in the first and chapter is a strong and powerful picture of what is taking place and what has taken place within the earth during this current crisis. As economies are reeling, as the markets are imploding, as oil companies and oil prices have plummeted, as businesses and companies have been forced to shut down, as millions of men and women are without work and are seeking unemployment benefits, as countless men and women are wondering—not only whether or not they might survive the virus, but also whether or not they will surround the crisis the virus has produced—men and women are asking the same underlying question. At this particular point in time, and at this juncture there seems to be an overwhelming thought and question within the hearts and minds of countless men and women whether or not they personally will recover from this current crisis. There are countless millions of men and women who are asking themselves whether or not they will recover from the virus, while there are even more who are asking themselves whether or not they can and will recover from the effects and impact of the pandemic. There are men and women alike who are finding themselves seeking answers, and seeking some type of guidance during this time, as not only do they not have the answers, but many feel they have no place and no one to turn to. It is during this time when the nations of the world are asking individually—as well as perhaps collectively—whether or not they will be able to recover from this. Presidents, kings, princes, prime ministers, monarchs, and the like are all asking and wondering whether or not they are going to be able to recover from the effects and aftermath of this pandemic. In all reality, I can’t help but wonder whether or not this pandemic is but the eye of a much larger storm, and isn’t but the epicenter of an earthquake that will cause serious and severe aftershocks. There have been times when the aftershock has been more deadly and more dangerous than the actual earthquake itself, for it has been the aftershock that has caused more damage and more devastation than the actual earthquake itself. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if we are all looking for life to go back to normal after this pandemic has run its course and after it’s over, and yet I wonder if it is not simply a precursor and prelude to something that is much larger and much greater. What if COVID-19 is merely the opening act of something much greater and something much more severe during these days and during this time? What if COVID-19 is merely the beginning stages of something far more sinister, something far more severe, and something far more devastating and destructive?

CHURCHES AND COVID-19! What I am about to write and say next might come off as a shock to you who are reading these words, however, I believe with all my heart that it needs to be said. During this time there have been countless churches that have either defied the social distancing mandates from the federal and state governments, or have heeded the call and warning to engage in social distancing and have shut the doors of the churches. There have been churches who continue to hold meetings and gatherings in an attempt to “obey God rather than men,” while there are other churches that are utilizing what has been called “Drive in churches.” There have been countless churches across and throughout this nation in particular that have neither resorted to keeping the doors open, nor have resorted to “drive in churches,” and have shut the doors and switched all programs and services to online via the internet. While on the surface this might indeed look promising, and while on the surface it might even look as though it’s holy and consecrated in the sight of the living God, I believe with all my heart that there are countless churches that are missing the mark. I am convinced there are countless churches that are conducting these online and virtual services in an attempt to keep something alive that should actually die. I am further convinced that there are churches which might very well be switching to online and virtual services, and yet they are doing nothing more than perpetuating their gospels, their doctrines, and their teachings online. There are churches that have switched to virtual and online formats, and yet countless have missed and continue to miss the mark. The late David Wilkerson preached a message after the Twin Towers fell, and the title of the message was “The Towers Have Fallen, But We’ve Missed the Message.” The underlying premise of this particular message was that the Twin Towers had fallen, and there was a word, there was a warning, and there was a message that was being proclaimed in the midst of it, and the nation as a whole missed that message. While that particular sermon dealt specifically and exclusively to the events surrounding the destruction of the World Trade Center, I am convinced that during this current crisis and situation we are in danger of missing the message the living God desires to speak to us. Oh, I see countless churches resorting to online forums and virtual platforms, and I see them continuing in the same routine and rote they have always engaged in, and they are entirely and altogether missing the message. There are churches and congregations that are continuing on with business as usual—despite the fact that they are forced to undertake a virtual and online format. The question I can’t help but ask myself is in the midst of this virtual environment for services being held—where is the call to prayer? Where is the call to fasting? Where is the call to weeping? Where it the call for the priests and ministers of the LORD to weep between the porch and the altar?

WE’VE GONE VIRTUAL, BUT WE’VE MISSED THE MESSAGE! WE’VE GONE MOBILE, BUT WE’VE MISSED THE MESSAGE! The more I think about and the more I consider the current situation we are in, the more I can’t help but hear within the depths of my spirit that even churches and congregations have missed the message the Spirit of the living God desires to speak. There are countless ministers which are seeking to encourage and to essentially coddle men and women during this time, and promise them that things are going to get better, and that things are going to go back to the way they used to be. The truth of the matter is that I do not believe for a single moment that things are going to go back to normal. I do not believe in any part of me that life as we knew it is going to go back to the way that we knew it. I firmly believe that this pandemic has already dramatically changed the landscape of the nations of the earth, and is going to continue to change the landscape of the nations in the coming weeks, months, and perhaps even years. There are very few ministers who are truly standing in the presence of the LORD, and who are truly speaking as a divine oracle and servant of the most high God. Ahaziah sought Baal-zebub which was the god of Ekron concerning his illness and whether or not he would recover, and it’s interesting to think about and consider the fact that the angel of the LORD came to Elijah and put a word in his spirit—the word that he would not recover, and that the bed in which he was lying he would die upon. It’s interesting to think about and consider the fact that Ahaziah not only desired to know whether or not he would recover, but he also inquired of the false god of Ekron rather than the true and living God of Israel. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing reality, for I am convinced that these are two of the greatest realities facing this nation right now. On the one hand we are asking the question and are wondering whether or not we can and will recover, while on the other hand we are inquiring and entreating anything and everything but the living God. Please note that there isn’t anything wrong with asking the question whether or not we can and will recover, and I would strongly suggest that it is indeed okay to ask this question. I do not feel there is anything inherently wrong when asking if life as we used to know it can and will go back to normal and the way we experienced it before. The underlying danger we have found ourselves in during this time is that not only have we asked the question of will we recover, and not only have we asked the question of if and/or when life will go back to normal, but we are leaving the living and eternal God out of the picture and out of the equation. We have asked the question whether or not we can and will recover from this current crisis, however, much like Ahaziah we are consulting economic models, we are consulting science, we are consulting medicine, we are consulting the wisdom of this world rather than the true and eternal God of the universe.

As I sit here this morning thinking about and considering the words which are written and recorded within this chapter I can’t help but see in Ahaziah a tremendous and powerful picture—not only this nation, but also the various avenues and organizations within this nation. I can’t help but get the strong sense that oil has fallen ill during this time and is asking will it recover. I can’t help but get the strong sense that the job market has fallen ill during this time and is asking the question whether or not it will recover. While there are countless men and women who have contracted and been infected with and by this virus and most—if not all—of them are asking the question whether or not they will recover, I am convinced there is a tremendous question that needs to be asked during and at this time. The question that must needs be asked is more than simply one that deals with physical bodies recovering from the virus that has plagued the nations of the earth. The underlying question the nations of the world are asking is whether or not their specific nation, and whether or not the whole world can and will recover from this pandemic. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that men and women are not only looking for life to go back to normal and back to the way things used to be. Moreover, I am convinced there are countless men and women who are asking the question whether or not we can and whether or not we will recover from the effects that surround this pandemic. As oil prices plunge below zero for the first time in history, as countless farms and farmers are struggling to survive, as there is mass panic and hysteria, as there are more than twenty million who are unemployed during this time, as restaurants, bars, clubs, stadiums, arenas, and the like are all shut down, the question that is at the forefront of people’s mind is whether or not we can and will recover from this. The question I can’t help but ask myself in the midst of this is necessarily whether or not we will recover from this, but what would and could happen if we don’t. What if we don’t recover from this crisis? What if we don’t recover from this pandemic? What if that which we are and have been experiencing is nothing but a prelude and precursor to something much greater and something much bigger? Men and women within and throughout the globe are looking for, expecting and anticipating life to go back to normal, and yet there is an incredibly large part of me that not only feels, but also believes that we are not going to go back to normal. I have to admit that I do not believe for one minute that we are going to experience life as we used to, and life as we knew it, and we need to ready and make ourselves prepared for when the day comes when we realize that life as we knew it is not like it used to be and we are forced to adapt to a “new normal.”

When I read the words which are written and found within the opening chapter of this book of Second Kings I can’t help but hear the response which Elijah the prophet gave to Ahaziah, for not only did he declare unto him that he would not recover, but the reason he would not recover is because he did not consult the living God. I am convinced that if there is one thing that we must needs pay close attention to during this time is not only whether or not we are seeking to somehow recover from this current crisis, but also how we are going to recover. Ahaziah undoubtedly sought to recover from his illness, and yet in order to discern and understand whether or not he would recover, he consulted with Baal-zebub which was the god of Enron. Oh please don’t miss this, for I am convinced that how we respond to the living and eternal God during these days and during this time can and will determine whether or not we recover from what is and what has befallen us. It is clear that this nation is indeed ill, and it is clear that this nation has fallen through its own lattice so to speak, and the underlying question is whether or not we can and will recover. Oh I do believe that it’s possible for us to recover—at least to some degree and some measure in the coming weeks, months, and even years—yet the underlying factor that can and will determine this is whether or not we will choose to acknowledge the living God. Ahaziah came face to face with the fact that he would not recover from his illness, and the main and underlying reason why he would not recover was because he did not entreat and seek the face of the living God. If and as you study the prophetic word which came unto Elijah the Tishbite you will find him declaring unto Ahaziah that he would not recover because instead of seeking the face of the living God, he sought the false god of Ekron. What’s more, is that the word of the LORD which came unto Elijah came in the form of a question, which very pointedly and powerfully asked if there was not a God in the midst of Israel that had the power to heal and raise him up from his bed of affliction in order that he might recover from his illness. If I am being honest with myself, as well as with you who are reading this, I fear that we might enter into a place where the living and eternal God speaks to this nation, and rebukes and corrects us by asking the same question: “Is it because there is not a God in America?” Is it because there is not a God in America that you have to consult science and medicine during this time? Is it because there is not a God in America that you have to consult history, and forecast models, and reports, and information, and the wisdom of this world? What’s more, is that I would even dare say this question will be posed to many churches during this time as the Spirit of the living God can and will ask: “Is it because there is not a God in the church that you have to consult with the wisdom of this world, or the wisdom of this age rather than me?” “Is it because there is not a God in the church that you have chosen not to seek my face and entreat me during this time?”

This particular passage which is found in the opening chapter of the book of Second Kings is one that is truly astonishing and remarkable, for within it you will find the king of Israel falling through the lattice in his upper chamber, and as a result of this fall he would fall ill. What I find to be so absolutely intriguing and captivating about this passage is when you think about and consider the fact that while he was ill, and while he was on his bed trying to recover from the illness he would send to inquire of the false god of the Philistine city of Ekron rather than inquiring of the living and eternal God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is especially troubling when you think about and consider the fact that he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and even in the way of Jeroboam son of Nebat. Moreover, Ahaziah would also serve Baal, and worshipped him, and therefore provoked the LORD to anger. The book of First Kings ends and concludes with Ahaziah doing that which was evil in the sight of the living God, and the book of Second Kings opens up with his becoming ill after falling through the lattice of his upper chamber. It would be there while trying to and wondering if he would recover from this illness he would inquire of a foreign god of the Philistines. The question I can’t help but wonder is whether or not it ever occurred to Ahaziah to inquire of the living God, and to seek his face concerning his condition. Was there ever a point during Ahaziah’s illness when he perhaps had an inkling to seek the face of the living God and His purpose and will for his life? Scripture is unclear whether or not Ahaziah made any attempt to seek the face of the living God, and yet I would dare say that I believe the thought never crossed his mind. There are some who never think about the LORD a day in their lives, and when they are on their death beds, or when they are gravely ill, their thoughts and hearts seem to automatically move in the direction of the living God. With that being said, however, there are others who not only don’t spend their lives seeking the face of God, but even when and even after they have fallen and become ill they still choose not to seek the face of the living God. If I am being honest, I would dare say that the longer a heart spends away from the living God—particularly and especially if it never turned toward Him to begin with—the least likely it is for that heart to turn toward Him during times of crisis and need. Undoubtedly Ahaziah faced a moment of crisis and decision within his heart and life, and undoubtedly he was faced with a decision as to how he would respond during this time, and yet the decision he chose to make was that he would seek and consult the false god of the Philistine city of Ekron.

I can’t help but wonder why Ahaziah made the decision to entreat and seek the false god of Ekron as opposed to the god which he himself had worshiped. We know and understand from Scripture that Ahaziah worshipped and served Baal following in the same footsteps of his father and mother, and yet here we find him seeking Baal-zebub the false god of the Philistine city of Ekron. It’s actually quite unique to think about and consider the fact that not only did Ahaziah not seek Baal whom he himself had worshipped, but he also chose not to seek, nor entreat the face of the living God of Israel. The question which Elijah asks Ahaziah is actually quite powerful and quite important, for the question confronted Ahaziah with the fact that there was still a God who was present in the midst of the land of Israel. Ahaziah could have easily sent for a man of God, or even for Elijah the Tishbite to inquire whether or not he would recover from his illness, and yet he deliberately and intentionally chose not to entreat the face of the living God. This is quite telling and quite revealing when you take the time to consider this nation and the current crisis we are in, for not only has this nation been on a long drift and journey away the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but I am also convinced that during this time the nation is not seeking, nor are they entreating the face of the living God concerning the outcome of this present crisis. I am convinced that for many who have not spend their days and time seeking and entreating the face of the living God—even when crisis strikes, and even when they are faced with something that is far greater and far beyond themselves, they deliberately and intentionally chose not to seek the face of the living God. This nation is a perfect example of a people that have not only drifted far from God, but have also abstained and refrained from seek—much less including Him within their daily lives. This nation is indeed wondering whether or not it can and will recover from this present crisis, and yet rather than seeking and entreating the face of the living God they are seeking the false gods of this age and the wisdom of this world. Instead of humbling themselves, praying, seeking the face of the living God, and turning from their wicked ways which could bring about the forgiveness of sins and healing, they continue seeking the false gods of this age and the wisdom of this world.

I would dare say that Ahaziah’s fate was undoubtedly sealed as a direct result of his choosing to entreat the false god of Ekron the city of the Philistines rather than the true and living God of Israel. The interaction between the prophet Elijah and the servants of the king—later the interaction with the king himself—is that Elijah would present the question whether or not there was no God in Israel which he would seek and entreat. The prophet Elijah presented a very pointed and powerful question unto Ahaziah during this particular time when there was so much uncertainty, doubt and questions as to whether or not he would recover. Oh, during this present day and time in which we are living, I would dare say that even though there are countless churches that are and have switched to a virtual and online format during these days, many of them are not only continuing with business as usual—just in an online and virtual format—but they are also leaving the living and eternal God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob out of the picture. There are countless ministers, preachers, pastors, teachers, and the like who are promising men and women that life is going to go back to normal, and will attempt to deceive them with their false doctrines and false teachings. Such ministers cannot and will not present men and women with the need for humility, repentance, surrender, prayer, fasting and intercession during these times. If I am being honest, I would have to say that I can count on one hand the number of pastors and ministers who during this time have included the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, and have called men and women into a place of weeping and mourning between the porch and the altar. One of the single greatest necessities and needs within this current crisis and situation is whether or not people will turn their hearts to the LORD—perhaps for the first time ever, or perhaps for the umpteenth time. There will be those who will hear the call in the midst of isolation, and the call in the midst of quarantine, and will recognize them as a call to enter into the secret place of prayer, intercession, fasting, weeping and mourning, and will heed the call. There will be men and women who will hear the call for intimacy in the place of isolation, and who will turn their hearts back to the living and eternal God. There will be men and women who like the priests and ministers the prophet Joel spoke of will weep between the porch and the altar, and will cry aloud asking for the living God to spare His people. I firmly believe that one of the greatest truths and realizations we can come to during this time is to learn and discover that there is still a God in the midst of the nation, and that there is still time left to seek the face of the LORD in the earth. With that being said, please note and understand that while I do in fact say there is still time, I do not believe there is a lot of time. We do in fact have time in this life to seek the face of the LORD, to humble ourselves, to pray and to turn from our wicked ways, yet the amount of time we actually have might be far less than what we actually think.

The underlying danger that surrounded Ahaziah during this time was not that he desired to recover, and not that he desired to be well, but that even during that time of crisis in his life, and even during that time of illness and uncertainty he chose not to seek the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So callous and so hard was his heart toward the living God that even in the midst of crisis he would and could not turn his heart to Him, but would instead choose to entreat the false god Baal-zebub of the Philistine city of Ekron. I fear that this is precisely where this nation is right now, as we have spent so much time with our hearts and our backs turned away form the LORD, that even when something like that has turned the nation upside down and on its head, there are few who are actively calling unto and crying out before the living and eternal God. I fear that this nation has spent so great a time with a hard and callous heart toward God that even when disaster strikes, and even when calamity strikes—instead of humbling itself, and instead of recognizing the hand of God in the process of it all, they choose to seek the false gods of medicine and science. What’s more, is that I do not believe that I can simply single out this nation, as I do believe that the nations of the world are in this same place, as there are countless nations which have long been on a journey away from the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and now in the midst of this current crisis are unwilling to turn their hearts toward the living God. Oh, they will do everything they can to seek the false gods of this world, and to seek the wisdom of this world, and to seek to understand and address this in their own strength and in their own might, and they refuse to consult, cry out to and seek the face of the living God. I hear in my spirit a very powerful declaration and decree during this time that there is still a God in the midst of this nation, and there is still a God in the midst of the earth. Until that day comes when the LORD removes His Spirit from the earth, and the LORD destroys the earth during those final days, weeks, months and years there is still time to turn our hearts toward Him in prayer, in repentance, in humility and surrender. I firmly believe that one of the greatest truths we can discover—perhaps even rediscover during this time—is that there is still a God in the midst of this nation, and in the midst of the nations of the earth. There is still a God in the midst of this nation—despite the fact that we have turned our backs on Him, and despite the fact that we have despised His commandments, despised His ways, and despised His statutes. I do believe the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is indeed crying out and pleading with the nations of the earth, and is emphatically declaring unto them that there is still a God in the midst of the earth, and that this God is ready and willing to heal all those who call and come unto Him. It was the LORD Himself who spoke of the days when He would shut up the heavens, and when He would send a pestilence upon the earth, and how if His people which were called by His name would humble themselves, and pray, and seek his face, and turn from their wicked ways, then would He hear from heaven, forgive their sins and would heal their land.

Perhaps the single greatest thing we can do during this time is to turn our hearts back to the LORD, and to diligently seek His face. It’s one thing to wonder whether or not we are going to recover, and in the process of wondering whether we can and will recover while seeking the means and methods of this world, however, it’s something else entirely to wonder if we are going to recover and to entreat the face of the LORD. Oh, the more I walk through these days the more I can’t help but think about and consider the words which the living God spoke in response to the prayer of Solomon, as well as the words which the prophet Joel spoke in the second chapter of the prophetic book which bears his name. Consider if you will the prayer which Solomon prayed, and the response of the living God to his prayer, as well as the words which are written and recorded in the second chapter of the book of Joel:

“But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee: that thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to harken unto the prayer which they servant prayeth toward this place. Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou nearest, forgive. If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house, then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, be requiring the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness. And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house; then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest them and to their fathers. When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance. If there be a dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, or locusts, or caterpillars; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be: then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house: then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (For thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men) that they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers. Moreover, concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name’s sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house; then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name. If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name; then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not), and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near; yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we done amiss, and have dealt wickedly; if they return to thee with all their heart with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name: then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee. Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness. O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant” (2 Chronicles 6:18-43).

“Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king’s house: and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected. And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto Him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; if my people, which are called by my name, shall humbled themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attention unto the prayer that is made int his place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; then will I stablish the thron of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. But if ye turn away, and forsake my statues and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations. And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house? And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them” (2 Chronicles 7:11-22).

“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your GOD: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your GOD? Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give no thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should ruler over them: Wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied there with: and I will not more make you a reproach among the heathen” (Joel 2:12-19).

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