Tag Archives: guidance

A Sermon Series on the Book of 2 Kings- Ch. 16

Friends: I will be doing a series of three sermons on the book of 2 Kings in April for my friends at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel in South Plainfield, NJ. So I want to go chapter by chapter through this Old Testament book. With you! I’ll put the chapter in the post and give a few comments of my own under the text.  Comments always welcome! Let’s dive in!

My notes:

Here we are in 2 Kings 16. Ahaz becomes king of Judah; 20 years old; reigned 16 years; didn’t do what was right as David his father had; even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites; offered sacrifices & burned incense at the high places (v. 4).

Rezin king of Aram and Pekak king of Israel besiege Ahaz & couldn’t overpower him. Ahaz gives the silver and gold from the temple to Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria to rescue him.

Uriah the priest builds an altar according to Ahaz’s plans. Ahaz gives orders re offerings and says he will use the bronze altar for seeking guidance. Uriah obeys King Ahaz. Ahaz makes other changes. Ahaz dies and is succeeded by Hezekiah his son.

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Posted by on March 1, 2023 in 2 Kings


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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — He LEADS the Believer!

We Christians often make one of two errors about God the Holy Spirit: we either overemphasize Him or we overlook Him. We are studying what some have called the “Shy Member of the Trinity” and we have already shown that as a Person we can have a relationship with Him. And as God, we can and should worship Him.

The next ministry of God the Holy Spirit that we want to consider is His leading. If He is indeed personal, He can lead the people of God. But, we must ask, what saith the Scriptures?

Matthew 4:1 [ Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness ] Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Acts 13 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

Romans 8:14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

[Were believers in the Old Testament led by the Spirit of God? We will consider this topic of the Spirit of God in the Old and New Testaments in a later post.]

HOW does God the Holy Spirit lead His people? God has certainly used dreams and visions in the Word of God to move His children in certain directions (one thinks of the Apostle Peter in Acts 10). Should we strive for and long for dreams and visions today? If we do, it seems we are minimizing the Word of God and the Spirit’s leading the people of God through the people of God! What I mean is, isn’t it the case that most of what the Spirit does today He does mediately? By “mediately” we mean through human instruments. He does not appear to perform His ministries today primarily immediately (not as to time, but as to solitary directness).

The idea of “finding the will of God,” by the way, is not a magical quest that only a few Christians are able to successfully complete. In fact, Dr. Bruce Waltke rightly suggests that some forms of “seeking God’s will” smack more of divination than devotion. His excellent book Finding the Will of God is subtitled A Pagan Notion?

HOW does God lead you? Isn’t it through a face-to-face encounter with God’s truth in God’s Word? Isn’t it through a believer who loves you enough to tell you the truth about something hard? Isn’t it in the quietness of your soul when you pray and ask God to move your heart to seek Him more deeply?

A Challenge: How has God the Holy Spirit led you? Please put your response in the comment section below.

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Posted by on June 30, 2019 in The Holy Spirit


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Getting to Know . . . 2 Samuel (chapter 5) Anointed as King and Specific Military Instructions!

In our text this morning, we see David assume the kingship.
David makes a covenant with the elders of Israel at Hebron and he is anointed king over Israel at age 30. He reigns for 40 years.

The Jebusites in Jerusalem mock David as he prepares to attack them. “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off” (v. 6). David captured the fortress of Zion which is the City of David. David uses those words — “the blind and lame” — to challenge his men to conquer the Jebusites.

David takes up residence in the fortress, building it up, and he became more and more powerful “because the Lord God Almighty was with him” (v. 10). The king of Tyre Hiram builds a palace for David. We then read, “Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel” (v. 12).

David takes more concubines and wives in Jerusalem and has more children (their eleven names are given). The Philistines go in full force to search for David who inquires of the Lord: “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?” (v. 19). The Lord tells David, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”

David defeats the Philistines, saying “As the waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” (v. 20). The Philistines abandon their idols there and David’s men carry them off.

Again the Philistines prepare to attack and the Lord tells David, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” (vv. 23-24).

David obeys the Lord’s instructions and defeats the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

Some takeaways for me:
1. To have the Lord “with” you means His support and encouragement and strength. David becomes more and more powerful “because the Lord God Almighty was with him” (v. 10). I want the Lord’s presence in my life also!
2. The Lord points out David’s taking more wives (and concubines) without commentary. And God leads David (very specifically) and his army in their battle plans.
3. I want the Lord to go “before” me in my battles.  Whatever battle I am facing today!

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Posted by on February 3, 2019 in 2 Samuel 5


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Getting to Know . . . 2 Samuel (2:1-7) Strength and Bravery!

After mourning the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, David asks the Lord if he should go up to one of the towns of Judah. The Lord tells him to go to Hebron.

He and his two wives and his men and their families settle in Hebron. David is anointed king over the tribe of Judah at Hebron (v. 4).

David thanks the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul. He asks that the Lord would show them kindness and faithfulness for their act. He encourages them to be strong and brave, “for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them” (v. 7).

Some takeaways for me:
1. God’s guidance is unique here in 2 Samuel. David receives specific direction from the Lord as to where he ought to go. Such specificity is not guaranteed to the believer today.
2. It is always right to thank others for their kindnesses.
3. We need to encourage each other to be strong and brave. What does such strength and bravery look like for me today? For you?


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Posted by on January 1, 2019 in 2 Samuel 2


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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (23:1-6) Revelation, Fear, and Victory!

Wouldn’t it be great if you could inquire of the Lord — and He would answer you directly? David learns of the Philistine’s attacking the people of Keilah and looting their threshing floors. David asks the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”

The Lord clearly responds, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” (vv. 1-2).

But David’s men are fearful. They say, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!” (v. 3). Apparently they had not heard the Lord’s voice in telling them to attack the Philistines.

David condescends to his men and inquires a second time of the Lord. The Lord repeats His command: “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.” (v. 4).

David and his men obey, fight the Philistines, inflict heavy losses on them, and save the people of Keilah (v. 5). Obeying the Lord is always the right choice!

But how did David know what to do?  [I’ve used several commentaries to help with the rest of this post]. We are  told parenthetically: “Now Abiathar son of Ahimelek had brought the ephod down with him when he fled to David at Keilah.” (v. 6). One commentator says that in his fright and flight Abiathar came down with the ephod in his hand. Not the linen ephod on his back which the priests in common wore, but the ephod with the Urim and Thummim in his hand. It is likely that this wasn’t just any ephod; this was the ephod of the High Priest, which had the breastplate of judgment (Exodus 28:15) attached to it (Exodus 28:28). The breastplate had in it a pouch with two stones, known as the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30). When David inquired of the LORD, he probably asked Abiathar to use the Urim and Thummim.

How did the priest use the Urim and Thummim to inquire of the LORD? The names Urim and Thummim mean “Lights and Perfections.” We aren’t sure what they were or how they were used. Most think they were a pair of stones, one light and another dark, and each stone indicated a “yes” or “no” from God. The idea is that High Priest would ask God a question that could be answered with a “yes” or a “no,” reach into the breastplate, and pull out the stone indicating God’s answer. This ephod, with the Urim and Thummim, was more helpful to David than a thousand soldiers, because it helped him discern the will of God.

Many Christians today would consider the Urim and Thummim as crude tools of discernment — sort of an Old Testament “Magic 8-Ball.” In fact, using the Urim and Thummim was superior to the tools many Christians today use: relying purely on feeling, or on outward appearances, or simply using no discernment at all. The key to the effectiveness of the Urim and Thummim was that God’s Word gave them. In seeking God through the Urim and Thummim, one was really going back to God’s Word for guidance, because it was the word of God that commanded their place and allowed their use. Today, if we have the same focus on God’s Word, He will guide us also. One old preacher was asked to explain the Urim and Thummim. He said, “Well, this is how I understand it. When I need to know God’s will, I get out my Bible and I do a lot of usin’ and thummin’ through my Bible, and God always speaks to me.” More Christians would know God’s will if they did more usin’ and thummin’!

“Go, and attack the Philistines, and save Keliah!” By all outward appearance, this was a crazy thing to do. First, David had 400 men whose had thin resumes and bad credit reports (everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him, 1 Samuel 22:2); not exactly a regular army! Second, David had enough trouble with Saul, and he didn’t need to add trouble from the Philistines – one enemy is usually enough! Third, this would bring David wide open out before King Saul, and expose him to that enemy also. This was a dangerous course of action!

Then why do it at all? David had two great reasons: the command of God, and the need of the people. David was willing to spend himself, to endanger himself, so that he obey the command of God, and meet the need of the people.

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Posted by on December 15, 2018 in I Samuel 23


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