2 Kings 5:1-8:15
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In 2 Kings chapter 5 we get to the story of the healing of Naaman. I found it very interesting that Naaman needed to humble himself and wash up in the waters of the lowly river Jordan! Know anyone else that did some "washing up" in the river Jordan?? :) Maybe all of us somehow need to humble ourselves and symbolically be washed up in the river Jordan to receive true healing? Below is a portrait by artist Guy Rowe of the prophet Elisha with Naaman washing in the river Jordan:
2 Kings 6 today opens up with a very interesting little story about the floating ax head! :) Apparently in those days the iron in an ax head was very costly - far too costly for prophets to have been able to afford. Hence, they had to borrow it. If the prophet who lost the ax head had not been able to recover it, he would have then had to have become an indentured servant for a period of time to the person he borrowed it from to pay back the cost. So, Elisha's recovery of the ax head I think demonstrates a simple moral of this opening story in today's readings: God cares for the welfare of those who love God. Whaddya think on this moral of the floating ax head story? Have you had experiences in your life where God has done some small things - or maybe even big things - that don't seem super spiritual at first glance, but simply saved you a lot of heartache/costs/time? I know I have... Praise God that He floats ax heads and even "floats" you and me too! God is indeed our great Life Preserver...
Today in 2 Kings 6 verse 27 we will read this verse that King Joram says to an Israelite during a time of a severe famine – “"If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you?” I think the thing to note in this verse is that the King realized he could not end the famine on his own, but that only God could end the famine. (I think the King may have actually been trying to blame God for the famine - and certainly Elisha he blames later in the chapter). I wonder about this in our lives today – do we try to help others and even try to help ourselves using our own power and without relying on God at all? And maybe sometimes even blame God for problems we see, like this King? Do we think we can end a “famine” or whatever problems we see at work, in our community, in our family, or in our world all on our own? Or should we be asking for God’s help in these areas of our lives? I’ve been thinking about this more and more lately – about how little I truly pray for others. I see areas of my life, my family, my community, my work, my church, my favorite charities, our world, that need some help. Need some changing. Need some love. And sometimes I think that I can institute these changes all on my own! Which is foolish. Instead, I should be praying for God’s providence and work in these areas of my life where I see a “famine.” Yes, I do think that God will oftentimes answer our prayers by encouraging us to “do something” to work on a change. But, we’d be wise to prayerfully approach all areas of our life and to pay attention to where God is asking us to “do something” – and to pay attention to where God is flat-out doing the work! Are there any “famine” areas in your life? In your personal relationship with God or others? In your work, church, community? Are there “famine” areas you see in our world? Will you today begin praying to God about these “famines” in the knowledge that famines can truly only end if God is involved in the work? Will you allow God to get involved in the famine areas of your life? Will you pray more consistently than ever before for the famine areas you see in your life?
In 2 Kings 7 today we read about God scaring off the Aramean army! Below is an image from a 15th century Dutch Bible for 2 Kings 7 verse 8 - "When the lepers arrived at the edge of the camp, they went into one tent after another, eating, drinking wine, and carrying out silver and gold and clothing and hiding it."
And below is an image from the same 15 century Dutch Bible for verse 17: "The king appointed his officer to control the traffic at the gate, but he was knocked down and trampled to death as the people rushed out. So everything happened exactly as the man of God had predicted when the king came to his house."
Second Kings 8 begins with a wonderful example of God's "perfect timing." It was no coincidence that the king was talking with Gehazi about the time Elisha brought a boy back to life when the woman from Shunem walked in with her son! God knew that the Shumanite woman was faithful and obedient to Him, so He orchestrated the timing so that she would get her house and land back - after God perfectly timed her to be out of the country for 7 years to avoid the famine! Have you ever had the experience of God's "perfect timing" in your life? My hunch is that you have - even if you haven't realized it. I have had some experiences where I have consciously realized that God's perfect timing was at work - and sometimes I've quickly said the prayer under my breath of "thank you God!" But, I also now can look back on my life and now see so many instances of God's perfect timing. Hindsight is 20/20. When is the last time you experienced God's perfect timing? Think it could have been today - even if you don't realize it right now?
Elisha's interaction with Hazael demonstrates Elisha was certainly a prophet of God's! Elisha was not condoning what Hazael is going to violently do, but he was just stating the facts of what was going to happen. Verses 11 & 12 are sad to read - "Elisha stared at Hazael with a fixed gaze until Hazael became uneasy. Then the man of God started weeping. "What's the matter, my lord?" Hazael asked him. Elisha replied, "I know the terrible things you will do to the people of Israel. You will burn their fortified cities, kill their young men, dash their children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women!" Verse 13 is also sad because you will notice that Hazael doesn't get upset by the violent predictions in Elisha's proclamation, but only wonders how someone like him would pull of something like this... "Then Hazael replied, "How could a nobody like me ever accomplish such a great feat?"" Below is and image of Elisha and Hazael having this conversation:
Bible.org's commentary on today's Second Kings readings titled "The Healing of Namaan" is at this link, and "The Sin of Covetousness" is at this link, "Saved from the Syrians: The War that Never Happened" is at this link and "Feast or Famine" is at this link.
Worship Video: Today's readings reminds me of the Nicole C. Mullen song "Call on Jesus:"
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Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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