Elijah

1 Kings 19:1–18  Romans 15:4
Elijah was tired, exhausted, dejected,
(God’s enemy boasted and threatened to kill);
but after he’d slept, and had food, God instructed:
his work was progressing, his plan he’d fulfil.
Not fire from heaven, or shaking of mountains,
– God’s voice in men’s hearts turns them back so they will
acknowledge his work, all his words fully follow
,
unshaken by those who choose wickedness still.

Queen Jezebel’s malice was bitter and raging,
she snarled, but the base of her power was gone;
and Satan attempts to wreak havoc and trembling:
he knows he’s defeated, the contest is won.

Elijah was like us, with passions and weakness,
straightforward and honest, no ‘airs’ or pretence.
He suddenly felt all alone, but God’s presence
was with him, as soon he would know and confess.

And all this is taught us to strengthen endurance;
the scriptures encourage and lead us in faith.
Let no-one intimidate; saints’ perseverance
is certain, their hope is unshakeable truth.
Tune: ‘He giveth more grace’ by Hubert Mitchell 12 11 12 11+

Ezekiel Part 2 (chs.7-13)

ch.7
Doom bursts forth as a water spout.
For the Day that has waited is come.
Joy has flown, spreading panic about.
Pride has blossomed and violence has grown, –
a rod for punishing, thick and stout, –
people wickeder cause them to groan.
Those escaping reflect and moan.
Limbs go limp, and their courage water,
shame will cover, and their schemes will falter.
The gold and jewels, their trust and pride,
salvation from hunger and sword can’t provide.

Calamity, calamity, rumour and fear:
no hope from prophet, the prince in despair.
In shame they can see,
and have to agree
his judgement is just,
he does what he must,
for he is the Lord,
he’s righteous and fair.

ch.8
In the temple, place of worship, things detestable are seen.
Idols, worship to false gods, dishonour of the One who’d been
their Protector, Teacher, Saviour.
Now their leaders’ own behaviour
incites; and violence spreads, increases;
– God, his wrath at last releases.
Holy One must leave that day:
in this place he cannot stay:
God of glory driven away.

chs.9&10
Exceeding great their sin, the land
was filled with bloodshed unconfined.
Injustice filled the city, so
they say, ‘The LORD has left us, cannot know’.
God’s warnings scorned, their time has come,
with coals of judgement from God’s throne.
A few, few only shared his grief.
They have God’s mark, and their belief
and faithfulness will save them from
the judgement full that has to come.

The LORD of glory cannot stay,
and leaves his temple on that day.

chapter 11
Those still in Jerusalem,
aren’t ‘choice meat within the pot’,
not the ‘cream’ kept safe; – that lot
far away, aren’t lost in Babylon, –
though they’ve suffered such affliction,
still they have God’s presence real:
he’s their sanctuary; his appeal
heeded, moulded by his hand,
they’ll be brought back to this land.

For, though you as yet are here,
you will not be safe from fear.
God will drive you from your pot,
your devotion has been not
for your God, but images –
with reward that ravages.

ch.12
‘Days go by and every vision
comes to nothing’
so they say.
Days are near when God’s visions
all will be fulfilled his way.’

‘Many years before fulfilment, –
distant future, never fear.’

‘No more waiting, no more patient,
what God says is almost here.’

ch.13 False Prophets
Scavenging jackals, hungry foxes,
– no repairers of the walls, –
no desire to search and rescue,
draw them back to God who calls.
Words seductive, false, inventing
lying cry of ‘Peace’, instead
of what God says he’s intending:
flimsy whitewashed wall will tumble,
with its builders false, will crumble.

Ensnaring God’s people;
encouraging those
who’re living in evil,
to stay as they chose,
not turn from the wickedness
to save their own lives;
disheartening the righteous
with murderous lies.

They will know he is the LORD,
who can bring his truth, his Word
to his people clearly.

Jonah 3:3-4:11

The Ninevites heard, and God’s message believed.
They humbled themselves, and repented, and grieved.
They called on the Lord God, acknowledged their sin; –
their hope of remission was slender and thin.
Mercy and grace, mercy and grace:
seek God while he still offers mercy and grace.

Those men had discovered their lives soon would end.
They realised their sin,  – that they could not defend
themselves, when before God the Judge they would stand,
receiving their punishment by his command.

And God had compassion: he saw how they turned,
and did not bring on them the judgement they’d earned;
but Jonah was angry, and seemed to forget
he also to mercy and grace was in debt.
Tune: Shelter (Hiding in Thee)

From creation to Christ (for children)

Creation
In the beginning, in 6 days of 7,
earth was created, and all of the heaven;
animals, plants by their kinds, and then man:
great was God’s power, and perfect his plan.

Adam and Eve were the man and his wife,
– made in God’s image, – so happy their life:
ruling on earth, with God’s garden to tend,
free of all troubles before they had sinned.

All living things are still formed by his care;
trees grow from seed by his power everywhere.
Soon, a new wonderful place he will show, –
those who go there, no more sadness will know.
Tune:10 10.10 10 ‘Slane’ (tune of ‘Be Thou my vision’)

Adam sinned
When Adam disobeyed his God,
a sinner he became;
and all who have been born from him
are sinners just the same.
Dead and guilty,
unhappy slaves of sin,
quite unable eternal life to win.

When Jesus lived obediently,
and died upon the cross;
a way was made where God himself
would rescue from this loss.
In Christ Jesus
we can be righteous sons:
he’s the Saviour, – he saves his helpless ones.

(Tune of ‘When Israel was in Egypt’s land, let my people go.’)

Noah and the flood
When sins of men grew very great,
and Noah walked with God,
men’s wicked, disobedient state
brought judgement from the Lord.
And we can be saved from judgement
by the gospel of God’s salvation:
repent and believe in Jesus,
and walk by faith with God.

The LORD told Noah he must build
a boat-like ark of wood,
and God’s commands he all fulfilled, –
God saved him from the flood.

There will not be another flood
like that of Noah’s day,
but we must stand before our God,
so now his Word obey.
(Tune: CM and refrain ‘I know whom I have believed.’ by J McGranahan)

Abraham
God chose to make to Abram known
his promises of grace,
for his descendents would be great,
taught in God’s special place.

Believing God while yet no son,
such faith God loves to see;
and we must trust his promises,
whatever they may be.

And righteousness God gave to him,
for he believed God’s Word;
and we’ll receive if we believe
on Christ, whose claims we’ve heard.

God kept his Word – the son he gave,
and soon the nation grew.
God blessed them in so many ways:
his laws and love they knew.

God promised Abram that through him
all nations would be blessed,
and Jesus, Saviour, came to them,
but all in him can trust.
(Tune: CM Jackson by T Jackson)

Abraham to Joseph
God to Abraham gave Isaac;
Isaac, Jacob, in his turn:
sons of blessing, but God’s wisdom
Jacob, first, by grace must learn.

When he’d changed, God called him Israel –
soon to be the nation’s name;
his twelve sons had many children:
Israel’s nation’s tribes became.

One of Jacob’s sons was favoured,
and his brothers chose to hate:
they sent Joseph down to Egypt,
though their father’s grief was great.

But in all God had good purpose, –
Joseph thrived in Egypt’s land;
soon the brothers found in famine,
they were fed by Joseph’s hand!

Joseph had been made a leader;
God had shown him to prepare
for the famine; – so all Israel
came to settle with him there!
(Tune: 87 87 ‘Shipston’)

Joseph
When Joseph was in Egypt’s land,
unseen by Jacob’s eye,
did he to idol worship turn, –
the Lord did he deny?
Slave and stranger:
see Joseph bearing all,
tempted often, – to sin he did not fall!

Whatever work he had to do,
he tried to do it well.
This soon brought honour to his Lord,
and gain to him aswell!

His Lord was with him through it all –
he meant it all for good.
The wicked brothers should repent,
and pray to God for food.
(Tune of ‘When Isreal was in Egypt’s land, Let my people go’)

Moses and the Exodus
Living well in Egypt’s land;
growing soon a mighty band;
Egypt’s king began to fear,
chose to make their life severe.
Pray, pray, pray, pray always for God cares.
Pray, pray, pray, pray always for God cares.
Sing his praises, sing his praises, sing his praises,
for he hears.

God, the Lord, his people chose;
now will save from Pharoah’s blows.
He sends Moses to request
that his people be released.

Many plagues God sent to show
Pharoah had to let them go,
from their bondage in that land:
saved by God’s almighty hand.

But his people grieved him much,
for their murmuring was such.
Many did not enter in
Canaan’s land because of sin.
(tune: 77.77 + refrain ‘Infant Praise’)

Tabernacle and Temple
As through the great desert the Israelites went,
the LORD gave instructions to make him a tent, –
to meet with his people, though mighty and pure,
and lead them and teach of his promises sure.        (or, covenant)

When settled in Canaan, a temple of stone
was built, where the glory of God would be known.
Now Jesus has saved all his people by grace,
and Christians can come to the holiest place.

So they are his temple, – he with them will dwell,
and they have the gospel of mercy to tell.
In godliness, goodness, and love they must grow,
to be like their Lord, and his glory to show.
(Tune: 11 11. 11 11 eg St Denio – tune of ‘Immortal, invisible’)

The Ten Commandments
When we read God’s great commandments,
there his will for us is seen;
we have failed, we all are sinners:
only Christ can make us clean!

Worship God; don’t make an image;
never wrongly use his name;
don’t forget, keep Sunday holy;
honour parents, – bring no shame.

Do not kill; keep marriage honoured;
do not steal; and do not lie;
do not covet, do not envy; –
these are laws of God most high.

And the sum of all is loving:
loving God with all my heart;
loving other people also:
Christ gives grace such life to start.
Tune: 87.87 Sicilian Mariners

Sacrifices
The Father asked his Son that he
his people’s Saviour soon would be:
from glory down to earth to go
that they eternal life might know.

He taught all Israel how to bring
the sacrifices for their sin;
the lamb was killed, – its blood was shed, –
for outward cleansing it had bled.

So Jesus came God’s Lamb to be:
to die for sin at Calvary;
his blood was shed, as his alone
could for his people’s sins atone!
(Tune: LM ‘Samson’ by G F Handel)

From Joshua to the Exile
It was Joshua led into Canaan’s good land, –
promised land which they now must possess,
and remember obedience to every command,
for their LORD would be faithful to bless.
But they later refused to his laws to give heed,
into ways of the heathen they strayed. –
When their problems were great, and in trouble and need,
they returned, and for mercy they prayed.

Many judges were given to help them and lead,
but the people to Samuel came,
and requested he make them a king, but we read
their rebelliousness brought them much shame.
God gave Saul to be king, – soon Saul angered the LORD, –
God’s commands would not always obey.
Then young David was chosen who heeded God’s Word:
in repentance and trust, hear him pray.

After David, son Solomon ruled them instead.
When he died, Israel split into two.
Then there reigned many kings who forgot what God said,
and his will would not bother to do.
God sent prophets to warn them that judgement would come,
and to teach of salvation’s new Way:
but first Israel, then Judah, were banished from home,
to await Judah’s Saviour’s great day.
Tune: 12 9.12 9 ‘Athens (Salamis)’

The sacrament instituted

This final supper shared together,
his last memorial Passover meal
before fulfilment: Christ, the Saviour
then shed his blood sins to conceal,
and gives us life through body broken:
and of these coming things he’d spoken
while instituting this first supper,
so we his death will still remember.

This covenant given in his shed blood,
for peace, – redemption’s price he paid:
I eat and drink memorial food
and so by symbols see displayed
the blessings which his death procured –
life, pardon now received by faith,
proclaimed, reminded, and assured
until he comes once more to earth.

Philippians 4:6,7

Catch a rising fear,
– they suddenly appear,
– transform them into prayer to pray.
Fiery darts come flying,
don’t give way to fretting, –
pick those darts up right away.

Don’t let them lie there
spreading their pollution, –
search out each one, –
and change them into
cries of supplication
before God’s throne. – So

don’t just turn them over,
take them to the Saviour,
turn your worries into prayer.
Thinking through things merely,
cannot help completely –
leaves you still with fears to bear.

Don’t let your heart be anxious,
do not worry,
make your request
well-known to God, your
burden let him carry –
you will be blessed. – God’s

peace will guard and bless
your heart and mind in stress –
amazing peace for those who pray.
The prayers of all the righteous
are truly efficacious,
and keep their hearts in peace each day, –
and keep our hearts in peace each day.

and for children

The Pharisee told God , ‘I’m glad I’m very good indeed.’
He didn’t ask for anything – he thought he had no need.
The other man was sorry-sad, and knew he had been bad.
He prayed for mercy, God forgave, and he was truly glad.
Never boast, or lie, but pray.
God knows how you’ve been today.
Ask, and he will gladly give,
– he will help you and forgive.

(Luke 11:5–8)
If to a friend at midnight
you went to ask for bread, –
‘Another friend has come to stay,
and I’ve no food,’ you said.

Although a friend, he would not
get out of bed, unless
he knew you had an urgent need, –
for help he heard you press.

And will not God, the Father,
if he’s your Friend indeed,
be pleased to hear you earnestly
pray for the help you need?
Tune 76 86  ‘We love the wonderful stories’ (Scottish folk tune)      arr W H Hamilton

HOSEA

chapters 1–3
The unfaithfulness of Israel, departing from their Lord
is likened to adultery – unfaithfulness abhorred.

Heartbroken husband, yearning:
Hosea, God’s prophet hurt, and learning
how God feels with Israel spurning
his grace,
to poisonous pleasures turning.

Rejection by his people:
ungrateful wife unblessed
(God’s patience ended, punishment)
– deserted and distressed.

Judah safe for now, protected,
spared by grace divine.

But God has gracious, wonderful love, redeeming Lord:
“Not my people” soon will be “sons of the living God”.
Israel, Judah reunited,
regathered and re-sown,
and many wandering hearts hedged in
by thorns from sins they’ve known,
allured and drawn to hope, and through
affliction’s door to song.
In days to come, they’ll seek the Lord
and tremble to belong.

chapter 4
There’s no acknowledgment of God
– all boundaries broken;
no faithfulness,  no love, – they’re hard –
restraint forsaken.
So, cursing, lying, stealing, bloodshed
increase each day.
The land is poor and mourns in dread –
and wastes away.

The priests ignore God’s law, their gain
brings barrenness,
their sacrificing ends in shame,
and wickedness.

O Judah, keep from guilt like this!
How can the Lord
a stubborn heifer tend and bless
with love outpoured?
They could be safe in pastures green.
But all alone:
and soon they’re gone –
the whirlwind’s blown.

chapter 5
Religious or royal, their leaders do harm
– a snare that entangles, –
their influence strangles desire for good,
returning to God is hindered,
– they stumble,
– and Judah does too;
their children grope, fumble,
not taught what to do.

The moth of chastising
wears holes in their frame,
and Judah’s might’s rotting,
and sores make it lame.
The sickness endured
can only be cured
by mourning and pleading,
contritely returning,
and earnestly seeking the Lord.

BUT   they will not return to the true God of Zion,
until he first comes as a fierce, seizing Lion.

chapter 6
Ephraim and Judah too,
have love like morning mist,
and faith like passing dew.
No ‘Sorry’ superficial directed at the Lord, –
learn of him, change your lifestyle: or lethal is his Word.
He sees the violence, and the sins,
the spiritual death false teaching brings.

And Judah, too prepare for when
your Lord will come to reap again.

chapter 7
Sins engulf and sins exposed.
Drunkeness, intrigue, and passions smoulder –  dangerous.
Ephraim is a half-baked cake, his hair is grizzled,
– insidious
the spiritual slide.
Foolish ignorance no defence.
Truth will protect
if given due thought,
but sinful neglect.
They slander his name,
and plot, to their shame.

They gather together
but not to their God,
and wail when they suffer,
but don’t cry to the Lord,
who longs to redeem.

Insolent leaders, soon mocked in their turn
by those they had turned to instead of the Lord.

chapter 8
“Sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind.”
Sow to vanity – futile, empty,
battered; no purity.
Th’Assyrian eagle looms. No true prayer.
The golden calf will soon be shattered.
Once more, captivity,
back to slavery.

Rejecting good, their guide they slight,
dismissing scripture given by God,,
turn to those who’ll scorn their plight
those nations won’t give friendship, help:
unloved, despised, and counted worthless.
They court those who are fickle, faithless,
and trust in their own skills and prowess,
but cut the One who loves the loveless.

chapter 9
True fellowship delights the Lord
(with those who worship, heed his Word) –
like desert grapes, awaited fruit.
Now, – blighted, fruitless, withered root:
the faithless wife must be turned out,
– her children spoilt, not taught about
the Lord, – so she will wander, lost
among the nations far, unblest,
unloved, – a prostitute whose wages fail.

God’s prophet had been called the fool.

chapter 10
Prosperity, then sin on sin:
rejecting God, – instead of Him,
false worship – thistles, thorn
their idol-altars will adorn.
Prosperity’s misuse will lead
to punishment, and they will plead
the mountains fall and cover them,
rather than face the conqueror grim.

Samaria and its king will float
away like twig or drifting boat.

Sow righteousness and love, and reap
its fruit, instead of evil that you keep,
from wickedness and lies, receiving,
(they seem to promise much, deceiving).
So seek the Lord, plough up your hardened heart
– his showers will righteousness bestow, impart.

chapter 11
Called out of Egypt
(the Messiah is too
centuries later,
his service to do).

Nurtured and tended –
so kind, – but they stray:
nourished and rescued,
– they went further away.

Though great the destruction,
his covenant love,
from far, from affliction
will summon and save.
He’ll roar with compassion,
his children come trembling,
to follow, be blessed by their Lord.

chapter 11:12-12:14
Political manoeuverings,
commercial deceit:
like Jacob, their dealings
they need to repent.
Jacob known for scheming;
Israel struggled (weeping)
with God.
Ephraim framing deals unfair,
(Judah too). Be just
and care,

and trust.

Israel cared for, saved and taught,
by their God, and so they ought
not to show contempt, and earn
provocation’s payment stern.
Vain altered worship stopped.

chapter 13:1–3
Great Ephraim had departed
from God, their Lord, and died.
Their sins they had compounded,
they would not long abide –
like smoke, or chaff, or early dew,
or morning mist, they’ll pass from view.

verses 4–16
Rebellion, despite such kindness:
well satisfied, proud, forgetfulness.
Rejected as Shepherd, their Lord will be
like a leopard attacking suddenly.
Take note that there must be a record of sins,
but oh, for new birth from her labour-like pains!

The conqueror cruel, like a withering wind
(from the east, from the Lord),
will parch and impoverish because they have sinned,
and even their children will suffer.

But his ransom will be from the power of the grave,
from death’s plagues and destruction he’ll save.

chapter 14:1–8
Repentance, returning
with words and right acts,
renouncing the scorning,
and trust in their pacts,
idolatry spurning.
Beloved, healed, they’ll flourish,
draw others to pray;
their God will well-nourish,
– his wrath turned away.

verse 9
Who of you is wise?
He’ll welcome, realise
that these things are true,
with discerning view,
understand and own
words of God made known.

The ways of the Lord are right,
and safe for the walk of his humble,
the righteous.
But rebels still fight,
– in his laws and his ways they just stumble

The Book of Ezekiel

You have been more unruly than the nations around you and have not followed my decrees or kept my laws. You have not even conformed to the standards of the nations around you,… because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices, I myself will withdraw my favour; I will not look on you with pity or spare you. 5:7, 11

How grieved was the LORD, for he was not respected.
How wronged and ignored, and rejected.
He cannot allow all this stench to remain,
polluting his land, making vile again.
For they were to live as his servants to show
his ways so the nations around will know,
be prepared for the coming of Christ, the Revealer,
to look to, and wait for, this coming Redeemer.

chapters 1&10:9-17
Vision of glory,
vision of God,
awesome and fiery,
throne of the LORD:
his servants with ease,
strength and ability,
vigilant eyes
serve the Almighty.

Brilliant, glowing,
fire and light;
overwhelming,
radiant sight.

Rushing wings and whirling wheels
accomplishing God’s mission;
God all-glorious, as a man
comes to tell his will and plan:
message awesome,
message true,
mercy winsome,
with power to do.

ch. 2 and 3:1 –15
Commissioned, appointed by God to speak
his Word to a people who would not seek
his will – they’d revolted, rebelled from him,
their Maker and Saviour, and chosen sin.
They’re hardened and stubborn: Ezekiel warns.
God’s Spirit will strengthen his forehead like flint
for a lengthy and harrowing service stint,
surrounded by scorpions and briars and thorns.
God’s words were sweet,
to learn, to eat,
though a message of woe,
with which he must go:
His Word complete
is strengthening meat,
but shocking, astounding,
troubling, confounding.

chapter 3:16-27
The priest, now a prophet,
to pastor, exhort;
a watchman to plead – they must heed it –
God’s message well taught;
but his tongue would be still,
and silent until
commissioned to tell out the words of the LORD.

Some would listen,
some refuse
awesome, urgent, rebuking, news.

Man puffed up with confidence,
self-assurance, self-dependence,
from his mouth what will come out?
Wind and vanity no doubt.
But, when God upholds and fills,
teaching,
and that mouth controls; –
then we will be truly fed
precious words of heavenly bread.

chapters. 4, 5, and 12
Symbol-actions, symbol-pictures:
God against Jerusalem.
Siege, with suffering, and famine,
sword and scattering, and warning
for the nations all around.

chapter 6
False religion in high places,
man-made, lust of eyes, and heart
all adulterous, taking idols,
though the LORD set them apart
for his truth, and for his service
Now his hand must be stretched out
bringing judgment, and destruction
of these places where they flout
wisdom’s laws and honour – they will
know he is the LORD indeed.
Just a few escape to exile,
spared, – and there they’ll him remember,
and the words they did not heed;
hating all their practice vile
that has truly grieved the LORD.
Will they then obey his Word?

They were spared, but most have perished, –
died from famine, plague or sword.

… to be continued

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