July 4

July 4

Elisha & the Famine — The four lepers’ decision in a famine & Elisha’s death.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: 2 Kings 6:24-33

Reading 2: 2 Kings 7

Reading 3: 2 Kings 13:14-21

Good parents allow their children to experience consequences, and so it is with the nation of Israel – after years of turning away from God, they are besieged, starving, and about to be overrun by their enemies. The king is enraged that God is allowing such suffering (blind to the fact that it is his own sin that is the real cause). But Elisha prophesies a dramatic turnaround in their circumstances. It is always God’s heart to draw us to the place where we can accept HIs love and direction if possible. If blessing is misused and turns us away from Him, then He allows hardship and famine instead. But if there is a hope that we will recognize His power, He will release miracles for the purpose of turning us back to relationship with our Creator.

Now history tells us that this turn-around for Israel did not achieve the desired effect. The nation continued to drift away from God and when Elisha dies there is no-one to call them back. King Jehoash makes a feeble attempt to appear godly, quoting Elisha’s famous phrase “the chariots and charioteers of Israel,” but it is clear from his lack of resolve with the arrows that he does not really believe any of this miraculous stuff. And so Israel stumbles closer to oblivion.

What a contrast with the lepers, who decided to risk going over to the enemy camp during the famine. The passage does not tell us that this was a step of faith, but their action showed what God was doing, and they recognized it! This is how you and I can join ourselves to what God is doing. We look for God’s activity and then share the good news with others.

Who are you going to encourage today?

Have a great day!

Mark.