Backstory of the Kings 15: Jehu

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 29, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Jehu was the only semi-bright spot of the rules of the kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. His story is found in 2 Kings 9-10. He is the only one who is known to actually listen and obey the Lord to some degree. This would give him the longest-lasting dynasty of the northern kingdom of a mere five total generations (the last of whom lasted a mere six months). He and Jeroboam were the only kings of Israel who were specifically anointed by God’s prophets to be king; the rest were chosen either by succession or by usurping the throne via regicide (the murder of royalty). So what set up Jehu’s reign and his decisions as king?

We are not given a lot of Jehu’s background but we do know he was a captain or commander of the army of Israel. He was known for his chariot driving because it was wild and furious. When he came to Jezreel to assassinate Ahab’s line, he was marked by his chariot driving. Jehu was anointed king during the battles with Hazael, whom Elisha had anointed king over Syria, and Jehu would kill Ahaziah of Judah, Joram of Israel, and Jezebel and put an end to all the Baal worship in Israel. However, Jehu did not destroy the golden calves of Jeroboam and let that worship remain. Jehu reigned during the rules of Athaliah and Joash of Judah and never had a conflict with them. His reign, along with his son and grandson, spanned the ministry of Elisha for a total of nearly 60 years. This shows that Elisha was a very young man when Elijah took him under his wing.

Jehu’s son Jehoahaz and his grandson Jehoash together ruled for 17 and 16 years respectively, while his great-grandson Jeroboam II ruled for 41 years. We do not know the ages of these kings when they ruled, but Jehu’s 28-year reign, the relatively short rules of Jehoahaz and Jehoash, and Jehu’s position as one of the top captains of Israel give at least an indication that Jehoahaz was likely already born when Jehu was anointed and may have been a young man at that point.

The primary setting of Jehu’s backstory is still Ahab and the 14 years following with his sons ruling. They were years marked by the true ruler: Jezebel. But this time period was also marked by someone else: Elijah. For Jehu to be a captain or commander during his anointing, there is a good chance he was in the army as mere infantry during Ahab’s reign and could very well have been there on Mt Carmel when Elijah called for fire from heaven. He certainly was in the army and would have heard of the 100 soldiers and two captains on whom Elijah had called fire from heaven and consumed them when Ahaziah tried to arrest him. And on top of that, he rode in the chariot with Joram’s chariot driver following Ahab onto Naboth’s property and heard Elijah’s curse. If that is not enough, there is the ministry of Elisha as well. Elisha advised King Joram how to maneuver around Syria to the point where the king of Syria sent his army to hunt down Elisha and that is where Elisha showed his servant the armies of heaven. Jehu was certainly among the ranks of the army by then. He knew of the true God.

Then the anointing came. Elisha sent a servant to go anoint Jehu in private because this was a coup. God was about to overthrow the dynasty of Omri and if word got out, Joram would make moves to protect himself. The prophet gave him the prophecy of Elijah of the doom given to Ahab, and it was time to fulfill it. Jehu didn’t need long to process this and immediately set things in motion to carry it out. The king was in Jezreel, away from the battle because he was wounded, and his brother-in-law Jehoram of Judah came to visit him and Jezebel was there too, likely tending to her son. The timing was perfect, and God orchestrated it all.

Jehu drove as he was most infamous for doing and both kings wondered what he was doing. When two messengers chose to get behind Jehu’s chariot rather than stay in his path, the kings met him, and Jehu killed them with his bow. Then Jehu raced on to Jezreel to confront the evil queen Jezebel herself. He ordered two eunuchs to throw her out the window, and she died upon impact. Before her body could be picked up to be buried, the dogs tore her body apart where they only found her skull, feet, and hands. Arms, legs, and body were scattered by the dogs. Note that Ahab had seventy sons, two of whom had just been slain. Jehu then went out and got these sons’ own servants to kill them and sent their heads to him. Jehu continued the slaughter of Ahab’s family’s close friends and their priests and completely cleaned out Samaria of all those with any loyalty to Ahab or his family. All this happened to fulfill God’s judgment upon Ahab – perhaps the most graphic description of God’s judgment upon a wicked family. A funny exclamation point to this is how Jehu tore down the house of Baal and turned it into a latrine, a public toilet.

But Jehu only saw Baal worship as being idolatrous. He did not see the golden calves that Jeroboam had as idols because he did not tear them down as he had all Baal and Asherah altars. He obeyed the command of the Lord to wipe out all things related to Ahab and his family including all Baal worship because they were all intertwined. As a result of his obedience to God in the purging, God promised that four generations of his line would be on the throne, but Jehu did not walk with God as he should have after having obeyed him in the purging of Baal. Jehu died and left his son Jehoahaz on the throne.

What can we learn from Jehu? God will use someone’s zeal to get his business done, even if that person is not a righteous man. Jehu was not a prophet nor someone who sought God’s presence, yet God used him to execute judgment. Just because someone is finally dealing with wicked people it does not mean that person is a good person. But also, someone who does such a thing may actually be sent from God. Don’t forget that a lying spirit was sent by God to send Ahab to war where he would be killed. God is going to get done what He wants done, and He will use both godly and wicked men to get it done. Just because someone is doing God’s will that does not mean they are a good person. And just being against evil and wickedness does not mean they are good people either. We have a number of good political commentators these days who are not Christian. That doesn’t mean we reject them outright, but it also should mean we should not embrace them outright either. It takes discernment. Jehu started well, but he did not stay on that path. This problem will be shown in full detail next week when I examine the backstory of Joash of Judah.

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1 Corinthians 14:34-40

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 25, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
- 1 Corinthians 14:34-40

Paul has been talking about worship in the first-century church in Corinth (see last week’s post for more on that), and the passage we are looking at today has caused controversy in the modern Church.

At first glance, verses 34-35 seem like their meaning is very clear – women should remain silent and are not allowed to speak. But it is always important to look at any piece of Scripture in its overall context. In this chapter of 1 Corinthians 14, Paul has discussed prophecy, speaking in tongues, making sure the worship service is understood by all present, and orderly conduct in worship. In the sections on prophecy and speaking in tongues, he has made no distinction between the genders. Paul has not said that these gifts are only for men.

So, why does Paul now suddenly call out women and make it sound like they should not speak in a worship service? If women were not only allowed but even encouraged to prophesy during a service, that would require them to speak. Some of the scholarly debate on this passage revolves around whether the content of verses 34-35 is Paul’s words or if he’s quoting another source. Some believe that Paul is quoting what the Corinthian church first wrote to him before addressing their comments in the next few verses.

Under that line of reasoning, Paul then goes on in verse 36 to counter what they said by bringing up the fact that they did not write the Scriptures. Paul often uses rhetorical questions to make his point, and his point here is that they didn’t write God’s Word and it’s not meant only for them. If verses 34-35 are Paul quoting what they wrote to him, then he’s basically saying that their line of thinking may be incorrect because they were not the ones to write the Scriptures. God is all-knowing, and they are not.

In the NIV as quoted above, verse 36 starts a new paragraph. However, the Greek manuscripts did not include paragraph breaks, nor did they have chapter or verse numbers. Greek also does not use quotation marks, so it would only have been by the context that the Corinthians would have known that Paul was quoting something else in verses 34-35. Translators throughout the centuries have added paragraph breaks where they thought they should go, which may or may not be how the original author intended.

Moving on to verse 37, Paul comes back to the ideas of prophecy and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Paul has given the first-century Corinthian church several commands in this section about how their time worshiping together should look, and he encourages them to verify these commands with the Lord. Don’t just take Paul’s word for it, but use those gifts of prophecy and ask God to reveal whether Paul has commanded them correctly.

Paul sounds a bit harsh in verse 38, basically telling them that if they ignore his commands, then they will be ignored. Scholars are uncertain of the specific meaning of this verse; who will they be ignored by? Paul? Other churches? God? Either way, it is a warning to them that they should heed the commands that Paul has given them.

Verses 39-40 summarize the key points in this chapter: they should engage in prophecy and speaking in tongues, but it is essential that everything is done in an orderly manner. Paul has spent this whole chapter discussing these topics so that the Corinthians can implement these gifts in a way that builds up the church, rather than causing chaos through disorderly worship services.

While much attention has been given to verses 34-35 and their implication on the role of women in ministry in the modern church, that is clearly not Paul’s main point in this passage. That is the only time in this chapter where he singles out the genders. If Paul were going to state important gender-based doctrine for the Church as a whole, then one would expect him to spend a lot more time writing about it and making things very clear to his readers, rather than what almost looks like a side comment here in the midst of the discussion on prophesy and tongues. Paul did elaborate a bit more on gender roles back in chapter 11, but even there, he did not lay his points out clearly as he does with other theological arguments elsewhere in Corinthians and in his other letters.

As with the rest of this chapter, order in worship is the key. If women were causing worship services to be disorderly and chaotic because they were speaking out of turn, then yes, they should refrain from that sort of speaking. Paul is commanding all the believers in the Corinthian church to use the gifts that God has given them to worship God and draw others into a saving faith in Jesus Christ, as that was Paul’s mission in all that he did.

That is our mission in the modern Church as well – use the gifts that God has given us to worship God and draw others to saving faith in Jesus Christ. The time period and geography are different between us and Paul, but that key point remains the same for all believers in all times and in all places.

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Backstory of the Kings 14: Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Athaliah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 22, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

While Ahaziah and Joram of Israel were active, on Judah’s side we have Jehoram and Ahaziah followed by Athaliah, who will complete the dynasty of Omri and Ahab before Jehu’s purge and the coronation of Joash. As I mentioned in my post on Jehoshaphat, Jehoram was 32 years old when he became king and reigned for 8 years, some overlapping with Jehoshaphat according to some scholars. Jehoram’s son Ahaziah was 22 when he became king and he barely lasted one year. Jehoram’s wife was Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. This means that both Ahaziah and Joram of Israel were brothers of Athaliah, raised by the controlling hand and mind of Jezebel. Jehoram also married young. If there was no overlap between Jehoram’s and Jehoshaphat’s reigns, then Jehoram was married when he was 17 or younger, and Ahaziah was born when he was 18.

Jehoram is not given a lot of attention but he is noted for several things 1) He murdered all his brothers to remove any rivals to the throne. 2) He walked in the ways of Ahab, which means he engaged in the idolatry of Ahab, and his wife Athaliah played a pivotal role in that. 3) He died of a disease that would make his bowels come out. 2 Chronicles even states that no one missed him, and they did not even give Jehoram a king’s burial.

Ahaziah was 22 when he became king and lasted one year. He listened to his mother and her counselors to his destruction and joined forces with Joram of Israel. 2 Kings covers this account in greater detail, but Joram was wounded in battle and Ahaziah came to see him, his uncle. Jehu came with fury and assassinated both Joram and Ahaziah.

Then came Athaliah. She was Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter. She likely advised Jehoram to kill his brothers to protect his throne and directed Ahaziah in idolatrous practices as well. But when Ahaziah was killed and Jezebel with him, Athaliah moved to kill the entire royal family, leaving only her to rule for six years. But one child of Ahaziah survived – Joash because he was hidden in the temple. When the high priest Jehoiada could take it no longer, and when he believed Joash was old enough to make at least some decisions, he led a coup to make Joash king at a mere seven years old, and he executed Athaliah.

All three of these rulers had something in common: Jehoshaphat and Ahab. Jehoshaphat walked in the ways of the Lord, but Athaliah did not. Jehoshaphat’s biggest mistake was having his son marry her because she destroyed both of their lives. Athaliah was a carbon copy of her mother Jezebel. She was just as controlling, just as wicked, just as idolatrous, and did whatever it took to get her way. The comments about Jehoram’s and Ahaziah’s reign point to Athaliah, Ahab’s daughter, as being the catalyst to why they did what they did. The idolatry of Ahab and Jezebel corrupted all three of them. Because they did not listen to the warnings and rebukes of the prophets, they became part of the curse against Ahab in which the whole line would be wiped out. The only exception was Joash, grandson of Athaliah.

Someone else was working behind the scenes during all this time too: Jehoiada the priest. It is not clear if he was the high priest or not, but he most certainly had a very prominent position. He noticed the decadence over the 15 years of Jehoram’s, Ahaziah’s, and Athaliah’s reigns, and he began to hatch a plan. When Athaliah began her purge, Joash came into Jehoiada’s care and was hidden in the temple. Jehoiada would have seen and lived through the purging of idolatry of Asa and Jehoshaphat, and in 15 years these three rulers’ idolatry was so bad that the temple fell into disrepair. Joash would be the first king to seek its restoration.

Jehoshaphat was loyal enough to God that he would have taught Jehoram and Ahaziah the ways of the Lord, but once Athaliah entered the picture, nothing stuck. So what can we learn from this? You must be careful about what you allow to influence you. Bad company corrupts, and in those days marriages were arranged. So Jehoram would have trusted his father that Athaliah would be fine for him, and it brought him his death. Jehoram was responsible for his own choices and like Ahab with Jezebel, he let Athaliah control him. But because he was the man, he was held responsible. Ahaziah was the same way; he let his mother control him. And when both were gone, Athaliah went to wipe out the royal family, which Satan used as an attempt to end the promises of the Messiah who would crush his head. But God let one boy escape, Joash, who we’ll look at in two weeks.

Jehoshaphat brought doom upon his own nation because of his foolishness in allying himself with Ahab. Being attached to false doctrines and idolatry always brings destruction. Jehoshaphat was nearly judged himself multiple times for this, but the only thing that saved him was his refusal to worship the idols himself and destroying them. I don’t know what he saw in allying himself with Ahab, but he didn’t listen to the rebuke because he aligned with Ahaziah and Joram, brothers to his daughter-in-law. And behind all that was Ahab who married Jezebel, the lynchpin in all this and whose name became synonymous with adulterous false teachings. We MUST be careful about whom we marry and whom we associate with. Even if we have good intentions and even if we are faithfully walking with the Lord, a bad alliance can tear us down; if not us, it can tear down the next generation that follows us. Jehoram and Ahaziah are good examples of that. Be careful and choose your associations wisely.

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1 Corinthians 14:26-33

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 18, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace —as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
- 1 Corinthians 14:26-33

This passage starts with a connecting phrase to the previous section, so it’s important to know what point Paul made in this letter to the Corinthians just before this. His key idea there was that our focus as a church should not be on the personal preferences of the believers in attendance but rather on what we’re doing to spread the message of salvation through Jesus Christ to more people. Paul builds on that point in this section as he begins to give instructions on what worship services should look like.

One important thing to note for this passage is that Paul is not calling out specific individuals with his comments here but rather the church as a whole. He’s not naming names of those who were acting inappropriately, as that would cause more division and strife in the church, but rather he addresses the group as a whole. The Greek verb tense used indicates that this needs to be a constant action of the church to check themselves in these areas.

In verse 26, we see the elements of a worship service in first-century Corinth: a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, and an interpretation. But even more important than that is the last part of the verse: “Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.” The elements of any particular worship service are much less important than the purpose of doing those things – so that the church may be built up. Why waste time doing things in a worship service that do not help those who are present to grow in their faith? Everything that we do together as believers should be to build one another up in the faith.

Paul addresses the idea of speaking in tongues again in verses 27-28. Paul addressed a similar idea earlier in this chapter, but it’s worth another mention. It is important to provide some regulation for speaking in tongues; not only should people take turns, but there should not be so many people who speak in tongues that it takes over the service. If there is no one to interpret what is said in the tongue, then no one should do it aloud. If a person has that gift and desires to speak to God silently in that way then that’s fine, but it would serve no good purpose for them to speak aloud in a tongue if no one else can understand what is being said.

Next, Paul turns to addressing the gift of prophecy in the worship service. Just like with tongues, in verse 29 he instructs that only two or three prophets should speak. The others should carefully consider the prophecies that are spoken. The Greek word used there means to evaluate by paying careful attention to something, or to pass judgment on it. It’s not enough for the prophecy to simply be spoken, but others present must pay attention to what is said and evaluate it. This is why a good church community is so important, so others around can help evaluate what is being said.

In verse 30, Paul gives further instructions on order by telling them that if someone “sitting down” (i.e. not actively prophesying) receives a prophecy, the one speaking should stop and allow the next person to speak. It was customary for the one speaking to stand while all others would be sitting down to listen.

Paul summarizes these two verses in verse 31 basically saying that they should all take turns prophesying, which will allow for everyone to be both instructed and encouraged. This all has to be accomplished in an orderly fashion to be effective; if there were chaos and everyone speaking whenever they wanted to speak, then no one would be able to follow what was happening and learn from it.

The “spirits of prophets” in verse 32 refers to the internal spirits of those prophesying, not the Holy Spirit. They should all keep control of themselves, as self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Those prophesying are being guided by the Holy Spirit, but they must not lose control of what they are saying and doing.

Following all of these instructions is important in worshiping God, because “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (verse 33). All gatherings of the Lord’s people should also be orderly and peaceful to represent God’s character well. If God’s people are disorderly, then those who do not know God may think He is disorderly as well.

The main point of this section is that worship should be orderly. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a strict and rigid order must be followed every single service, but rather that there should not be chaos in the service. Some congregations take this to the extreme and are not open to any minor changes in the structure of their worship service, even if what they’re doing is not necessarily encouraging and building up the people. It is not necessarily disorderly to change elements of a worship service, as long as that sense of order and peace is maintained.

Worship services were important for the first-century Corinthian church, and they are still important for us today. The elements of the service are less important than the overall purpose – that those present are built up in their faith through orderly conduct in the service.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Backstory of the Kings 13: Ahaziah and Joram

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 15, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The kings who followed Ahab and Jehoshaphat are quite confusing because there is Ahaziah and Joram, also known as Jehoram, both sons of Ahab; and there is Jehoram and Ahaziah, son and grandson of Jehoshaphat, who all ruled and died in the same window. For this post, I’ll focus on Ahaziah and Joram. These are brothers who ruled for about 14 years in between Ahab’s death and Jehu’s cleansing of the line of Ahab, recorded in 2 Kings 1-9, which involves much of Elisha’s ministry.

Ahaziah was first in line to the throne, and he is noted for a very short reign of under two years. He fell through the lattice in his upper chambers and the injuries would turn out to be fatal. Ahaziah turned to inquire of Baal, likely at the advice of his mother, Jezebel, who was still alive. But Elijah interrupted the messengers and told them that because he did not seek the Lord, he would die. Then Ahaziah sent three companies of soldiers to arrest Elijah, who then called fire down from heaven and consumed the first two companies. Elijah then told the captain of the third company the same message, and Ahaziah died of the injuries from his fall.

Joram was another of Ahab’s sons; I’ll use Joram here to help the distinction between Joram of Israel and Jehoram of Judah who reigned during the same time. Ahaziah had no children and thus could not carry the line, so Joram became king instead. In both cases, the queen mother, Jezebel, very likely ruled them just as she had Ahab. You don’t have a domineering wife who is not also domineering over her children.

Joram, who reigned for 12 years, actually gets quite a bit of coverage in Scripture via the ministry of Elisha. During Elisha’s ministry, he would have let Joram die in the desert in his war against Moab if not for Jehoshaphat calling for a man of God. Syria continued its war against Israel, and Elisha kept warning Joram about Syria’s movements calling for the king of Syria to go after him. That is when Elisha asked God to open the eyes of his servant to see the armies of God surrounding the Syrians. Elisha’s miracles with the widow and the oil, the floating axe head, the raising of a woman’s son from the dead, and the healing of Naaman (the only leper to be healed in that time) were done. Syria eventually besieged Samaria to the point where the people were cannibalizing their own children, and Joram wanted Elisha’s head for this famine due to the siege. Elisha then prophesied the end of the siege and a huge feast from the Syrians came ready for them. That night, the Lord’s army sounded like a calvary charge, and the Syrians fled for their lives. When four lepers found the Syrian camp empty, they reported it to the king.

But Joram and his nephew, Ahaziah of Judah, would meet their end together along with his mother, Jezebel. Joram went to war with Hazael of Syria and was wounded in battle. Ahaziah of Judah came to visit his uncle, and both were slain by Jehu. The same day, Jehu also went after Jezebel herself and got one of her eunuchs to throw her down from her tower window where she would die. Before the people could gather her body, the dogs had ripped her to shreds.

So what is the backstory of these two kings? We don’t know their ages when they became kings, but they were rather young as Ahaziah had no children and he would have been older than Joram. The backstory is quite simple: Ahab and Jezebel. Ahaziah was injured from a fall, and he went to seek the Baals for advice. Joram seemed to be given even more opportunities to see the Lord in action than his father Ahab and yet he still refused to believe, though I could argue he respected Elisha more that Ahab respected Elijah. Joram was considered an evil idolator, but he was not given a moniker that he was worse than Ahab. Ahaziah was judged for being just like Ahab. While these two are mentioned by name due to their reigns, they had 68 brothers. Yes, Ahab had seventy sons, not including daughters like Athaliah. Needless to say, Jezebel was incapable of bearing them all herself as Ahab’s reign was only 22 years. Ahaziah and Joram were among Jezebel’s children, which is why they had the primary rights to the throne; like father like son, Jezebel would have controlled them and taught them in the ways of the worship of Baal. Ahaziah in particular was an obedient child in this regard. Joram chose not to follow Baal, but he did not depart from the golden calf idols that Jeroboam set up. He may have learned that following Baal did no one any good.

Both young men would have lived through Elijah’s ministry. Ahaziah despised Elijah, but Joram seemed to at least respect Elijah and Elisha. That said, Elisha had no respect for Joram for even though he put away the Baal idols, he still followed the idols of Israel and did not seek the Lord. If Jehoshaphat was not there in the desert with Joram, Elisha would not even look at him. But Joram respected Elisha enough to bring him to the court and that was why Elisha was able to continually tell Joram of Syria’s moves. But Joram’s moves never garnered respect from the Lord. Yet Elisha kept giving Joram the evidence of the true God just as Elisha did with Ahab, and in both cases it never took. One reason for this would be Jezebel’s presence. She isn’t mentioned except for when she was killed, but we can safely assume that she controlled her sons just like she controlled Ahab, though Joram didn’t follow as tightly or as closely as Ahaziah did.

What can we learn from these two kings? Ahaziah seems to be a carbon copy of his mother Jezebel, a “momma’s boy.” Little is said about his relationship with his mother, but considering how quickly he turned to Baal and how he sought to arrest Elijah, and considering how Jezebel handled Ahab, Ahaziah would have been a total slave to her. She would have controlled his mind.

Joram didn’t get all the brainwashing Ahaziah did because he was only second-in-line and wasn’t supposed to rule as long as his brother was alive. He knew that the Baals were false gods. He saw the fire fall from heaven. He saw the battles Ahab won. He likely had to help solve problems with the drought. He saw his brother turn to the Baals and die as a result while Elijah summoned fire to consume the soldiers who sought to arrest him. He knew that Baal was a false god and so he put him away. But he left the golden calves up and did not depart from those idols. And to our knowledge, Joram never sought the Lord, but he did listen to Elisha more and better than the kings before him. With Joram, we can learn that it’s not enough to depart from the pagan gods if you don’t give up your idols. We can also learn how a reputation from a father can hover over you; if it is a bad reputation, extra work has to be done to undo it. And because Joram never turned to seek the Lord, he would complete the curse his father left on him and his blood would avenge Naboth, whom Ahab murdered just for a piece of land.

And all this does not consider the effect of Athaliah, their sister who married Jehoram of Judah and brought more idolatry to the land. We’ll look at what Judah was going through next week with Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Athaliah.

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1 Corinthians 14:20-25

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 11, 2023 1 comments

by Katie Erickson

Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. In the Law it is written:
“With other tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.”
Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
- 1 Corinthians 14:20-25

Just before this passage, Paul shared how speaking in tongues, or any speaking for that matter, is only beneficial if people can understand what is being said. Now, Paul compares tongues to prophecy, and what relates best to believers and unbelievers.

But before he gets to that point, Paul commands the first-century Corinthian church to stop thinking like children but rather think like adults (verse 20). They may be spiritual infants (see Paul’s comments about that previously here), but they at least need to think and reason like the adults they are. However, it’s okay that they are infants regarding evil. Infants don’t really understand the world around them, so it is good if those in the church do not understand evil and what it is truly like. Paul’s point is that they need to think like adults on this issue, not like children who are inherently selfish and focused on themselves.

In verse 21, Paul quotes loosely from Isaiah 28:11-12. This was a prophecy that God spoke through Isaiah to the people, and it states that if Israel won’t hear what God tells them through the prophets, then they surely won’t hear Him if God speaks through another language. The people were putting a lot of emphasis on speaking on tongues, and Paul is trying to explain to them that it’s really not that important. If people won’t hear the gospel message and take it to heart when spoken in the plain language of the day, then they surely won’t hear it when it’s spoken in a manner that they’re not able to understand!

So what does this mean for their context? Tongues are a sign for the unbelievers, and prophecy is for the believers (verse 22). Even if the unbelievers don’t understand what is being said, speaking in tongues is a miraculous sign that could impress them. The believers don’t need that kind of miracle in order to come to faith; they already believe. Paul is perhaps referencing the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when many believed because of the gift of languages that the apostles were granted; it wasn’t speaking in some unknown language but rather being heard in the language of the hearer. This was a miraculous sign that caused thousands to believe the gospel message.

Paul then uses an example of when an unbeliever comes into their worship service in verse 23. If people who don’t understand what’s going on come in and hear all this speaking in strange languages, they will think that the people of the church are crazy! They won’t understand what’s going on, and this will give them a negative experience of the church. It will not be a good way to share the gospel message with them.

But, if instead of speaking in tongues, an unbeliever comes in while the people are prophesying, that may have a positive effect (verse 24). Prophecy may convict them of their sin, making them realize their need for a Savior, and then they may turn to faith in Jesus. This is reminiscent of the woman at the well in John 4. Jesus told her all that she had done and she was convicted by that, and then she worshipped Him and spread the word about Jesus to others out of that conviction and repentance.

When the unbeliever is convicted by prophecy and all their secrets are laid bare through that, they will realize God’s presence among the believers (verse 25). The unbeliever will be convicted of his sin, he will examine his condition, and his heart will be open to inspection. This will lead them to faith in Jesus Christ and spread the gospel message much more effectively than if they walk in and hear people speaking in ways they cannot understand.

The point of Paul’s message here to the first-century Corinthian church is that prophecy is better than speaking in tongues. While they may be impressed by speaking in tongues and the Holy Spirit could use that to bring them to faith, prophecy is more likely to convict them of their sin and bring them to repentance and their need for a Savior. While he is not condemning the church for speaking in tongues, he is advising them to shift their focus to more prophecy and less tongues. He does this by appealing to them to reason as adults, not as children. Don’t just speak in tongues because you think it’s enjoyable; it is better to prophecy as that will fulfill God’s purposes better and bring more people to Him.

What does this mean for the Church today? Many churches today do not speak in tongues or prophecy on a regular basis, though there are still some that do. The point is that our focus does not need to be on our personal preferences of what we want to do in a worship service but rather on what will reach the unbelievers – those who are seeking God – in the most effective way. Our purpose as the Church is not to exist to serve and build up ourselves but rather to reach those who do not yet have a relationship with Jesus Christ, the one true Savior of the world.

What are you doing in your church to reach those who are seeking Jesus? What might you be doing to turn them away, even if that’s unintentional? Take a good look at your worship, and ask God how He may want you to change your focus.

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Backstory of the Kings 12: Jehoshaphat

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 8, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Jehoshaphat was one of four godly kings in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, taking the throne after his father, Asa, died of a foot disease. From Jehoshaphat on, we know the age of each king when they took the throne, giving us a better picture of their background and what conditions they grew up in. Katie Erickson’s summary of Jehoshaphat’s reign can be found here.

Jehoshaphat was 35 years old when he became king and reigned for 25 years, dying at age 60. He was born six years into Asa’s reign, which also gave him a chance to not be influenced by the queen mother, Naamah, whom Asa removed from her position due to her having an Asherah pole in her room. He walked with God his entire reign and though he was a contemporary of Elijah and Elisha, he had limited interactions with them. But Jehoshaphat was also not without sin, and there was one major problem he had: his alliances with the pagan kings of Israel, Ahab and his son Joram (also known as Jehoram, but to help avoid confusion, I’ll use Joram). That alliance was solidified when he had his own son, Jehoram, marry Ahab’s daughter Athaliah. More on that as the series progresses.

Jehoshaphat’s reign was marked for the following events: 1) tearing down high places 2) his battle against three nations together, 3) his alliance with Ahab in which he called for Micaiah to give the word from the Lord to go to battle against Syria, and 4) his alliance with two of Ahab’s sons. He was allied with Joram and both went to war with Moab and needed the help of Elisha to save them from the desert, and he was allied with Ahaziah in their attempt to build a fleet of ships to get gold only for them to be wrecked before setting sail. In all these events, Jehoshaphat sought the Lord and wanted to know the truth; his one fatal flaw was associating with Ahab and Jehoram of Israel. He was rebuked but not cursed. However, that fatal alliance nearly brought the end of the royal family.

So what set him up for his successful lifestyle and his bad choice of friends? What was Jehoshaphat’s backstory? As I mentioned, Jehoshaphat was born six years into Asa’s 41-year reign, and he never met his forefathers. So he never got to see the idolatry firsthand other than maybe as an infant early in Asa’s reign. He knew Asa destroyed the high places and considering that Jehoshaphat had to tear them down again, we can see how quickly they were rebuilt. One thing we can learn about the kings who tore down the high places is that idolators will rebuild them the next day. There must be a constant pressure to tear them down and keep tearing them down.

Jehoshaphat also got to see Asa’s wars against Ethiopia and against Baasha. Asa trusted the Lord against Ethiopia when they had an army of a million but did not against Baasha, and he bribed Syria to break their alliance with Israel to pull Baasha away. Jehoshaphat would have seen both battles and learned that God was indeed trustworthy because when Moab, Amon, and Mt Seir joined forces against him, Jehoshaphat chose to fast, taking a position of weakness, to show that God was his only hope. God sent a prophet to promise victory without raising a sword, and Jehoshaphat sent his singers in worship for his front line and walked to the battlefield to see the battle already won as the enemy defeated themselves. Jehoshaphat had a model for this course of action in his father Asa against Ethiopia and a much larger army, while also seeing the rebuke against his father for trusting in foreign nations against Baasha.

During this time, Jehoshaphat, through marriage, made an alliance with Ahab. Now this gets a little interesting. Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram was 32 when he became king. Jehoshaphat was 35 when he became king and ruled for 25 years. So this means that Jehoram was born seven years prior to Asa’s death. Jehoram’s son Ahaziah was 22 when he became king, after Jehoram’s 8-year reign. So this puts Ahaziah at 14 when Jehoshaphat died which puts his birth at 11 years into Jehoshaphat’s reign. This puts Jehoram fathering Ahaziah when he was just 18 years old (Jehoram was seven when his father become king and eleven years later, Ahaziah was born). So this political alliance between Jehoshaphat and Ahab had Jehoram marry Athaliah by age 17. This alliance was formed for about half of Jehoshaphat’s reign. We’ll see later that some of the kings married even younger.

Ahab’s war with Syria in which he summoned Jehoshaphat took place about five years before Jehoshaphat died. This meant that both Ahab’s and Jehoshaphat’s children were of age to rule. Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, did not yet have children, and Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram already had his son Ahaziah. Yes, we have a Jehoram and Ahaziah of both Israel and Judah in reverse order at the same time, and all four died in a short span of each other as well. That will make my next couple posts a bit confusing. Ahab died in this battle and Jehoshaphat escaped only to be rebuked for even being with Ahab.

In the next five years, Jehoshaphat worked with Ahaziah son of Ahab to get gold and because of that alliance, God wrecked the ships. Then Ahaziah died quickly, and his brother Joram took over. Jehoshaphat joined up with him in going to war with Moab, only to get lost in the desert. Elisha came to them and again rebuked Jehoshaphat for being with evil, idolatrous kings, and even said he wouldn’t talk with Joram if not for the respect he had for Jehoshaphat for being a Godly king. After this, Jehoshaphat died and he was followed by his son, grandson, and daughter-in-law, three straight evil rulers.

Another person that doesn’t join the scene until 15 years after Jehoshaphat’s death but was already involved in all these affairs is Jehoiada, the priest who raised Joash in hiding during Athaliah’s massacre. Jehoiada died at 130 not long into Joash’s adult life. Assuming Joash was 20 years into his reign when Jehoiada died, this put Jehoiada at 110 when he crowned Joash as king and 95 years old when Jehoshaphat died. Jehoiada was 9 years old when Solomon died and became a very influential priest. We do not know if he was the high priest of that time. He lived from Solomon through Joash – 9 kings. Though he is not mentioned during their reigns, he certainly would have been consulted on many different issues. He may have also played a factor into both Asa’s and Jehoshaphat’s reigns as a very influential priest, if not the high priest. He even may have played a role in Abijam’s turn to the Lord in his battle against Jeroboam. But we can only speculate on that.

What can we learn from Jehoshaphat? Even though Jehoshaphat followed in his father’s footsteps, he still had to make his own choices. One thing we must especially learn from him is the utter importance of understanding who we ally ourselves with. Jehoshaphat had his son marry the daughter of Ahab, the most wicked king of Israel, and that daughter became the most wicked ruler of Judah. Athaliah was just like her mother Jezebel, and she would destroy the entire royal line except for one, Joash, who was rescued as an infant. Jehoshaphat made many great choices, but he made three bad ones and all three were the same problem: his alliance with the pagan kings of Israel because of making Athaliah his daughter-in-law. I will say this: just because these alliances did not directly affect Jehoshaphat’s faith, they had devastating consequences for the next fifteen years. Don’t think your choices only affect you or that certain decisions won’t affect you. They will, and they will affect those who come after you.

The next couple weeks, we’ll look at the sons of Ahab, Ahaziah and Joram, and the son/grandson/daughter-in-law of Jehoshaphat: Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Athaliah.

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1 Corinthians 14:13-19

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 4, 2023 1 comments

by Katie Erickson

For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.
I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
- 1 Corinthians 14:13-19

The context of every passage of Scripture is important, both the immediate context and the broader context, but especially so when a passage starts with “For this reason” like this one. In the previous section, Paul’s point was that the use of any of the gifts of the Spirit, including speaking in tongues, must be used to build up and edify the body of Christ. If a gift is not helping the church, then it should not be used.

Specifically continuing to look at the gift of tongues, Paul explains that the building up of those gathered is why anyone who speaks in tongues should make sure that their language is understood by those around them (verse 13). What good is it if no one understands what the person is saying? The person speaking cannot even understand what they are saying since this gift comes from the Holy Spirit, so they should pray that they are able to interpret it for the edification of those around them.

This interpretation is also essential for the speaker to understand the message themselves (verse 14). Paul says that only his spirit (not the Holy Spirit, but his own spirit) is praying in the tongue, and his mind does not understand it. The word for mind there refers to a person’s conscious and meaningful ability to reason and understand. The interpretation of a tongue benefits both the hearers and the speakers, and a lack of that interpretation does not help anyone.

Instead, in verse 15, Paul shares that he prays both with his spirit and his understanding. He also sings both with his spirit and his understanding. His spirit and his mind need to be unified in what they are doing so he is functioning as a whole person in his worship of God, whether he is praying or singing.

If someone else hears you praying or singing in another tongue and does not understand it, they can’t say “amen” and agree to what you are praying or singing (verse 16). This verse specifically notes a person who is “in the position of an inquirer.” That Greek word refers to someone who is not initiated fully into a religion; in our modern day, perhaps we would call that person a seeker, someone who has not yet fully embraced the Christian faith.

If a person is praising God in a tongue, they are “giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified” (verse 17). That person may feel as though they are praising God through the use of their gift of tongues. However, it is important for everyone to understand what is being said in a corporate worship environment so that they, too, may participate in that worship.

In verses 18-19, Paul concludes this section by saying that he thanks God for his ability to speak in tongues. But it’s not about his abilities; it’s about how he can help connect people to God. He states that he would rather speak just a few words that truly instruct other people than ten thousand words in a tongue that aren’t helpful. Paul knows that his mission is to preach the gospel and teach the people, and he can’t fulfill that mission if they don’t understand him.

What does this mean for us in the modern church? Some people believe that the Spirit’s gift of tongues is still practiced today, while others believe that stopped after the time of the New Testament church. But that is not the point that Paul is making; Paul’s point is that the most important aspect is whether people can understand what is being proclaimed in a worship gathering, whether it is said, prayed, or sung.

While words that are unintelligible to us could still praise God, as God can understand everything, they do not help our fellow believers. Our purpose is to glorify God, and we are not glorifying Him well if those around us do not understand what we are saying. Part of glorifying God is fulfilling the purpose that He has given each of us. Whether you are specifically called to teach or preach or not, every person is still instructed to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), and disciples cannot be made if they cannot understand their teacher.

This could be taken one step further to help those present to understand what is happening in a worship service. Would someone not familiar with your congregation, or even church at all, understand everything that is done in the worship service you attend? Perhaps, as Paul wrote, “You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.” What you do may be great and edifying for those who regularly attend, but what about the seeker who doesn’t yet know Jesus?

No matter what you are doing in your worship of God and in your walk with Christ, when others are present, do your best to make sure they can understand what is going on so that they can worship God as well.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Backstory of the Kings 11: Ahab

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 1, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Ahab is one of the few of the 39 kings given multiple chapters in the Bible. He is deemed the worst of all the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel. While the kings who followed him were not exactly impressive, they never went into as much idolatry or were as evil as Ahab. There is also no wicked ruler who received as much attention from God as Ahab did with Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon being the runner-up. None of the wicked kings were given the chances to repent and turn back to God like Ahab was. You can read a summary of his reign here from Katie Erickson.

Ahab’s story is introduced in 1 Kings 16 after a sequence of four kings from Elah to Omri (Ahab’s father) all in a span of 14 years. Ahab himself ruled 22 years, and his reign was covered through 1 Kings 22 where he was slain in battle. Ahab was already married when he became king, and this was a very critical marriage that was specifically marked out as a strike against him. He was married to Jezebel, often deemed the most wicked woman in all Scripture. The Bible directly calls out this marriage as playing a vital role in how Ahab’s reign turned out.

Ahab’s reign was marked for the following events: the 3 ½ year drought that ended with the grand showdown at Mt. Carmel; two major battles with Syria in which God proclaimed himself to be both God of the hills and the plains; the stealing of Naboth’s vineyard and murder of Naboth to claim it; and his final battle in which Micaiah saw the council of heaven plotting how to get Ahab to go to war so he would be slain. In all of these events except the last one, Jezebel was there in the midst of things. And so, to understand Ahab’s backstory, we need to understand Jezebel’s, too.

We don’t know when Ahab and Jezebel were married, but it was a political marriage. Jezebel was the daughter of the king of Sidon who was also the chief priest of Baal. Jezebel’s father had murdered the previous king and took the throne not long before these events. Jezebel would have been raised in all the ways of Baal worship, and she was the primary one to introduce Baal worship to Israel. During this time, the golden calves of Jeroboam remained upright, and the oldest men during Ahab’s reign would still remember when they were put up. Jeroboam reigned 22 years, Nadab 2 years, Baasha 24 years, Elah 2 years, and Omri 12 years. Add those up and that is only 62 years. Those in their 70s or 80s may still even remember Solomon as a youth. We don’t know when in Solomon’s reign that he turned to idolatry, but these elderly people when Ahab became king would have seen the transition from Solomon into Ahab. Some would have bowed the knee to Baal, but some would have been among the 7000 who did not. These 7000 also would not have bowed the knee before the golden calves either. But they would have witnessed the downward turn that was started by Omri and culminated with Ahab.

Jezebel was the true ruler of Israel during this time. Ahab was a weak man and easily manipulated. Jezebel controlled him like a puppet. You never see Ahab truly take control over any situation. He just sat there during the showdown at Mt Carmel. During the battles with Syria, he didn’t lead anything. He just went and the young leaders took charge. And little is seen with Ahab being impotent as clearly as during the encounter with Naboth. When Naboth refused to sell his vineyard, as it was his family’s inheritance and it was illegal to sell or buy such lands, Ahab went and threw a pout. Jezebel then set up for Naboth to be murdered so Ahab could go claim the vineyard. Ahab did nothing while Jezebel did all the dirty work. But Ahab was held responsible because he was the man, the husband, and actually held the authority.

I don’t know what led to Ahab’s great weakness other than simply submitting to Jezebel’s controlling spirit. But Scripture explicitly describes Ahab as being one whom Jezebel stirred. This has made me wonder, if Ahab had not married Jezebel, would he have repented with all the miracles God showed him? Think about it. The 3 ½ year drought that would only end on Elijah’s word. Fire from heaven. Elijah outrunning Ahab’s chariot. The two victories over Syria. Each time, Jezebel was there to prevent any work being done.

Now do not read what I am not saying. I am not saying Jezebel was more powerful than God. What I am saying is that Ahab preferred slavery to Jezebel over obedience to God. He liked Jezebel as his master. She did his dirty work for him and made decision-making easy for him. I have heard of pastors who have a spiritually strong wife essentially giving up praying and seeking the Lord themselves and using their wives to hear from God for them. It’s a deadly business. While a few of these wives are genuine believers, it still shows a weakness in the man and poor leadership in the home. How much more so the church? Ahab had a wicked master in Jezebel. He was bad enough as is, but then he chose Jezebel to rule over him on top of that. What did he get for it? The moniker of being the worst king of all the kings of the Bible. Not even the pagan kings were hit like Ahab was.

So, what can we learn? When one’s heart is set on evil, there is no limit to how dark he can go. And when leadership has no limit, the nation goes with them. Ahab was the bottom of the barrel, and Jezebel made sure he stayed there. We must be careful who we marry and who we align with. Jezebel can come in many forms: a wife, a boss, a gossiper, and even a preacher. And she will prey upon the weak men so she can control them and seduce them to becoming her puppets. Ahab would have two grown children, from among 70, rule after him. One barely made it more than a year and the other got to witness the ministry of Elisha before being slain by Jehu. We will look at Ahab’s primary contemporary, Jehoshaphat, next week before coming back to Ahab’s children.

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1 Corinthians 14:6-12

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 27, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.
- 1 Corinthians 14:6-12

In the previous section, Paul addressed how both prophecy and speaking in tongues should be done in ways that edify and build up the church. Paul builds on that point in this section, giving additional instruction to the first-century Corinthian church.

In verse 6, he therefore concludes that it would do no good for even him to speak to them in tongues if they didn’t understand it. He specifically mentions revelation, knowledge, prophecy, and instruction as types of messages he could bring. Revelation and prophecy are both supernatural, while knowledge and instruction are more natural. All of these would be helpful for the Corinthians if they were understandable, whereas a message in tongues would be pointless if they could not understand him. Note that Paul is not saying that he will speak to them in tongues, but rather he’s giving a hypothetical situation.

To further illustrate this point, Paul gives illustrations with everyday objects in verses 7-8. He first uses musical instruments. If someone is playing them but there is no melody, what good is that? It doesn’t give the hearer the same sense of enjoyment if there are just random unintelligible notes as hearing a beautiful melody played on a pipe or a harp. While it could still be considered music without some kind of system for the notes, it would not be beneficial for the listener.

Paul’s audience would have been familiar with the association of the trumpet sound with going to battle, as that was common for both Greeks and Jews. We see the trumpet used for a battle call in Numbers 10:9 and Joshua 6:4-9. But if the trumpet sound is not clear, no one would recognize it as a battle call, and it would not fulfill its purpose.

Paul further makes the connection with these analogies in verse 9: “So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.” It is not simply making sounds or even words that are important, but rather that those words and sounds can be understood by those hearing them. What good are words spoken if no one understands them?

There are many languages in the world, even in Paul’s day, but none of them are valuable if no one understands what the people are saying (verse 10). When I was in 7th grade, I made up my own language. It was based on English, but I changed out sounds for other sounds. While I thought it was pretty cool, I soon realized that it was rather pointless when no one else knew the language! There was no opportunity for conversation when I was the only person who was fluent in this language.

All languages that are actually spoken among multiple people have meaning; that is how we communicate as human beings. Words need to have meaning, and both the speaker and the hearer need to agree on what those particular sounds mean when placed together in a word if they are to have effective communication. If the two people speaking do not understand each other, then they are like foreigners to each other (verse 11). If you have ever tried to have a conversation with someone when you do not have a common language, you understand how difficult that can be.

Paul brings his point home for the Corinthians in verse 12 by saying, “So it is with you.” He recognizes that they are eager to receive and practice the various gifts from the Holy Spirit, but he cautions them to focus on only the gifts that build up the church as a whole. While tongues may be a gift that is helpful, it is only really beneficial if people understand what is being said. Other gifts that truly do build up the church are where they should put their energy.

How does this apply to us today? Just as with the first-century Corinthians, we should strive to build up the church. There are many things that we can focus on that do not actually build up the church and strengthen our faith and the faith of our fellow believers. We easily get caught up in church politics, gossip, the drama that can come with dealing with broken people, the mechanics of a worship service, building concerns, etc. – the list goes on and on.

Instead of those things, we need to focus on how the Holy Spirit has gifted us and how we are to use those gifts to build up the body of Christ rather than focusing on distractions. Sure, some of those things are necessary so that the church functions, but our focus should be on how the Spirit has gifted us and building up the body of Christ.

What gifts has the Holy Spirit given you? How are you using them to build up your fellow believers?

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.


Backstory of the Kings 10: Elah, Zimri, Tibni, and Omri

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 24, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Today, I am going to examine the backstories of four kings all in one go. All four of these kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel ruled for a grand total of 14 years, most of which were Omri, and about half of that he split with Tibni. Elah lasted two years, Zimri for seven days, and then Tibni and Omri split the reign for four years before Omri took full control for another eight years. All four of these men were full adults during their reigns. The only indication of Elah’s age is his tendency to get drunk, which is what Zimri used to assassinate him. Zimri and Omri were high-ranked military officials, so they were not spring chickens. Tibni is one we know the least about, but he had to have enough clout to draw half the northern kingdom to follow him as well.

All four of them would have at the very least spent a large part of their younger years under Baasha’s reign and had time with their rivals in Judah, under King Asa. Most likely lived long enough to be under Jeroboam’s reign as well. Zimri was a commander of half of Elah’s chariots, and Omri was the overall commander of the army. We don’t know who Tibni was other than half the northern kingdom followed him after Zimri’s coup. But the fact that both Tibni and Omri only reigned a few years before they died indicates they were not young men. Katie Erickson summarizes the rules of these four kings here, but let’s take a look at what set up this chaos.

Elah was Baasha’s son, and Zimri and Omri were military captains and generals for the kingdom. Omri would have led several of the battles against Asa under Baasha’s rule, and Zimri would have also led some of the charioteers in those battles. Elah only lasted about a year and a half, and he was marked for drunkenness. It was in such a drunken stupor that Zimri came in and assassinated him and then went to wipe out the entire line of Baasha, just as Baasha had done to Jeroboam: to leave no heirs to the throne. I will point out that of all the dynasty purging, only Jehu did it in obedience to the Lord. All the other purges were purely for political security, even though God had prophesied it would happen. Zimri did not kill Elah with the intention of being obedient to God. Zimri simply went in and killed Elah and slaughtered Baasha’s family.

But Omri was not in favor of this move and considered it treason. He was the army commander and moved to reclaim Tirzah from Zimri and in just seven days, Zimri set the palace on fire and died within it. As commander of the army, Omri was made king, but a number of people supported Tibni, who we do not know any ranking or influence. But when Tibni died, Omri took full reign over Israel and moved the capital from Tirzah to Samaria; Samaria would be known throughout the Bible as either a center of idolatry or compromise.

Omri had something marked to him that the other kings had not: he was more wicked than the five kings before him. There were less than 50 years between Solomon’s death and Omri’s reign, and Omri was more wicked than all the others. It was not enough that Omri walked in Jeroboam’s sins and worshiped the golden calves at Dan and Bethel. He engaged in other idolatrous worship as well. We don’t know much about the wives of the kings between Jeroboam and Omri, but we do know that Omri’s son, Ahab, married the worst possible woman he could have – Jezebel, daughter of the king of Sidon, who was also a chief priest for Baal. In those days, marriages were arranged by the parents if they were still alive, and especially for royalty, they would be for political or economic reasons. Omri arranged for Ahab to marry Jezebel, and it only went from bad to worse.

There really isn’t much else to say because so little information is given about these four kings. But one theme that keeps showing up is that idolatry leads to unstable positions. Each of these kings were idolators, and none of them had security for the throne. They all had someone vying for the throne. The only dynasty that remained safe for some time was Jehu’s, and that was because Jehu was the only king who at least partly walked in God’s ways. These four kings each had the throne as their idol, and they always had to be watching their backs for someone to assassinate them. Don’t we do the same when we have idols in our lives? Are we always watching our backs because someone might come in and steal it? If we worship God and God alone, we know that no one can steal God from us, but if we grip too tightly the things of this world, they can be ripped from us in an instant. And sometimes, it might be our very lives ripped from us.

These four kings showcase a sequence of power-hungry thugs who want total dominion, and God is not going to let that slide for long. The reign of Omri to Ahab is marked among the worst of all the kings of Israel and Judah combined. Even though Ahab was the worst of them all, Ahab is the only one of the wicked kings whom God still reached out to for salvation. We’ll look at his reign next week.

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1 Corinthians 14:1-5

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 20, 2023 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.
- 1 Corinthians 14:1-5

As we transition out of the “love chapter” that we discussed the last two weeks (here and here), we move into a chapter that has become somewhat controversial for the modern church. This chapter of 1 Corinthians 14 deals with prophecy, speaking in tongues, and order in worship.

Just before this, Paul explained that all spiritual gifts, including prophecy and tongues, must be used in love. This is emphasized again in verse 1, where Paul begins by saying, “Follow the way of love.” The Greek verb translated as follow is actually a stronger verb than that; it has the idea of actively pursuing something, almost like chasing it. We are not just to simply follow the way of love but we are to actively chase after it and pursue it in our lives.

The next verb, “eagerly desire,” is not as strong, so the emphasis is on pursuing love. While desiring spiritual gifts is important, it is even more important that we actively pursue the way of love that Paul had just described for his readers. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, we could do great spiritual things but if we don’t have love, none of that is worth anything.

Paul then explains that prophecy is a gift that is to be desired, and he shares why in verse 2. Compared to the gift of speaking in tongues, prophecy is more valuable to the church as a whole. A person who speaks in a tongue is only talking to God, and no one else can understand what they are saying. While that is spiritually valuable to that person, it does not build up the church as a whole.

Paul says that the person speaking in tongues utters mysteries by the Spirit. The phrase “by the Spirit” in this verse is an interesting one. In this NIV quoted above, the word Spirit is capitalized, thus implying that it is the Holy Spirit. However, the original Greek was written in all capital letters, and our more readable manuscripts today are written in mostly lowercase, so the fact that it is capitalized has been added in by a translator at some point. So, some commentators say that this refers to the person’s own spirit, referencing verses 14-15 where Paul talks about his own spirit. Often, the Greek word for “holy” will also accompany the word for spirit for clarity, but here it just says spirit, so that is left to interpretation.

In contrast to a person speaking in a tongue, a person who prophesies speaks to the people and helps them (verse 3). While no one else may understand the person speaking in a tongue, the gift of prophecy is more widely understood and is beneficial to all believers present, not just the one who spoke in the tongue. Prophecy can strengthen the faith of believers, it can encourage believers to keep fighting the good fight of faith, and it can provide comfort in times of distress.

Paul makes this distinction clearer in verse 4: “Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.” The word translated as “edifies” means building up or strengthening. While it literally can refer to building a house or a structure, here it has the figurative meaning of building up one’s faith. It is related to the verbs for encouragement and comfort in the previous verse, which are ways that our faith is built up or strengthened.

Paul summarizes his points in verse 5: “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.” He is instructing them to speak in tongues, but it is even more important that they focus on the gift of prophesying. It is of greater importance to build up the church as a whole than for one believer to speak in a tongue to God. Paul doesn’t dismiss the spiritual gift of tongues entirely, of course, noting that it’s different if someone interprets the tongue. If someone interprets, then that, too, can build up and strengthen the church as a whole.

Today, there is much debate on whether these gifts of prophesying and speaking in tongues still occur. Many say they do and still experience these gifts, while many say those gifts ended when the Scriptures were completed. But Paul’s point is not to spark debate on these; Paul’s point is that the church as a whole must be edified and strengthened when we come together to worship. When we come together as a body of believers, we should not simply be seeking that our own faith is strengthened but that the faith of all those gathered is strengthened.

For Paul, it’s all about the community, not the individual. Our modern individualistic world has twisted that around and focuses on the individual person. It’s all about our individual tastes and preferences – what we like and are comfortable with, not what is best for the body of Christ as a whole. Going back to the start of this passage, we need to actively pursue that self-sacrificial love that God has for us. We do that by building up the body and glorifying God when we come together, not focusing on our personal preferences and what will help only ourselves.

While this passage does provide instruction for the first-century Corinthian church on the use of the gifts of speaking in a tongue and prophecy, it should also help us refocus our worship time. We are to focus on whatever builds up the body of Christ over our own personal preferences and experiences. The next time you gather together with other believers, seek to glorify God and build up the church through all that you say and do.

Check out this new book by Katie Erickson, available today!

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Backstory of the Kings 9: Nadab and Baasha

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 17, 2023 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Nadab and Baasha are consecutive kings whose reigns in the Northern Kingdom of Israel began just two years apart. Nadab is the son of Jeroboam, and Baasha assassinated Nadab and all of Jeroboam’s family, taking the throne for himself. I am not seeing enough content in Scripture to justify giving Nadab a separate post because there is virtually nothing said about him. Here is what we know about the reigns, and then we’ll examine the backstory.

Nadab was Jeroboam’s son, and we do not know how old he was when he became king. This is the case for most of the kings of Israel, partly due to how many dynasties there were. There were 19 kings of Israel and 10 dynasties; some kings never had their own children on the throne and all but only two dynasties (Omri to Ahab to Ahaziah and Jehoram, and Jehu through Zechariah) lasted more than two generations where the son made it more than a couple years. Asa, who we covered last week, would rule long enough to overlap seven of Israel’s kings, from the end of Jeroboam’s reign to the start of Ahab’s reign. Nadab was one whose line ended violently due to his father Jeroboam’s sin and due to his own sin. A little fun fact: Nadab shares the same name as Aaron’s son who offered profane fire before the Lord and was killed on the spot for it.

Baasha was some kind of official or military officer. Scripture is not clear on his role, but he was high enough ranking to take over the throne after wiping out Jeroboam’s line just as Ahijah the prophet said he would do. The only things Baasha was known for were his assassination of Jeroboam’s line, his continuation in the idolatry of Jeroboam, and his wars with Asa and the nation of Judah. Because of Baasha’s sins, God sent a prophet named Jehu to give the same judgment upon him as Ahijah gave to Jeroboam, that his line would be wiped out violently. Those who died in the city would be eaten by the dogs, and those outside would be eaten by the birds of the fields. This would be fulfilled during Baasha’s son Elah’s lifetime. So, what set this up?

The backstory here is Jeroboam, and you can read about him in Katie Erickson’s post here. Jeroboam initiated the rebellion against Rehoboam and took the leadership of the ten northern tribes. Jeroboam set up two golden calves, calling them “Jehovah,” expelled the priests, and set up his own religious cult. Both Nadab and Baasha followed in Jeroboam’s footsteps and either engaged in the worship of these calves or did not hinder the worship thereof. For some kings of Israel, the king either did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam or walked in the sins of Jeroboam (with the exception of three of these 19 kings, mostly whose reigns were too short to be worth noting). We also see a comparison between the kings, either being equal or worse than the predecessors. Few were better. Neither Nadab nor Baasha are not given markers for being worse than Jeroboam, just for walking on the same path. They worshiped the golden calf idols but were not any worse. We’ll see next week that Omri, the father of Ahab, would be a worse king than all those before him.

Nadab had no known children identified during his short reign, which may mean he was a rather young man when he became king. I suspect he wasn’t still a child as Jeroboam had multiple children during his reign, but he either never married (unlikely due to political alliances and Jeroboam’s desire to keep his line going), he could not have kids, had not had any yet (possible), or they simply were not worth mentioning by name because Baasha wiped them all out anyway. I suspect the latter case. If so, Nadab would have been old enough to know and understand the political wars between Jeroboam and Rehoboam and Abijam. Nadab likely spent most of his life in the idolatrous practices of the golden calves, presumably not knowing any better. And when he became king, he only lasted about a year and a half before Baasha came and killed him and his entire family.

Baasha had to be a relatively young man when he assassinated Jeroboam’s family because he ruled for 24 years. He did die peacefully as opposed to violently, but there is no telling if it was a natural death, a disease, or something else. His son Elah was old enough to reign for just two years and be in a drunken stupor when he would be killed, so Baasha had to be at least in his early 20s and I suspect older. There is just no evidence given. Baasha is only known as being of the tribe of Issachar, and not an official or officer. He did have to be in a position to take the throne, so we can only presume his former position had enough clout to get the people behind him. Regardless of his age, he lived in a time of idolatry, whether it be Solomon’s or Jeroboam’s or both. Baasha wiped out all of Jeroboam’s line but did nothing to touch the idols Jeroboam set up. So Baasha was only interested in protecting his coup by removing all heirs to the throne, and he actively followed in Jeroboam’s idolatrous practices.

What can we learn from Nadab’s and Basha’s backstories? Honestly, there isn’t much to tell other than they continued the worship of the golden calves and any other idols that had been brought into the mix. Nadab was gone before he had much say in how things ran, and Baasha merely supplanted Jeroboam as king and continued his sins in idolatry and the wars against Asa and Judah. Baasha was allowed to take the throne, but because he followed the same idolatrous route that Jeroboam started, he ended up with the same curse on his line. We’ll see next week a series of four kings whose total reigns lasted less than 14 years.

If there is one thing we can learn from Nadab and Baasha, it is this: if our predecessors are cursed by God, we have a simple choice: keep with the curse and walk in that predecessor’s footsteps, or depart from them. And we see in the Northern Kingdom of Israel’s history that not one king actually departed from Jeroboam’s sin. Neither of these kings were responsible for setting up the golden calves, but they were responsible for seeing if anything was done about it. And they were not neutral in the matter; they were active participants in the idolatry. We will see over the next few kings that just maintaining the level of evil won’t stem the tide because the next generation will take the evil to the next level. Next week, we will look at what set up the reigns of Elah, Zimri, and the co-regencies of Tibini and Omri, all of whom set up the reign of the most infamous of the all the kings of either kingdom: Ahab.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.