2 Kings 8 Part 2–Knowing The Future Is not as Fun as It Would Seem

Just because one knows the truth, does not mean that they can affect it.  Elisha was in the area.  The king of Syria, Ben Hadad, was sick.  He sent his trusted servant Hazael to seek a prophecy from Elisha.  The question was simple, “Will I recover from the illness.  The truth was that Ben Hadad was going to recover from the illness–but, he would be murdered by the beloived assistant.  In addition, Elisha could see the devastation the future King–Hazael would pour out on the chosen people of Israel.  One would think, with that foresight Elisha could change the course of History.  Sadly, Elisha’s role was to tell the truth, not change the future.
 
Everyone wishes they could see the future.  Think what that would mean.  Here was a prophet that could see what was ahead and it made him heartbroken.  Similarly, as Jesus approached Jerusalem this Palm Sunday, He also wept, because he could see what lay ahead. Knowing what is ahead is not a gift.  At best, it is a duty and at worst it is a burden.  God is omnicient and omnipresent.  He knows all things and is in all places and times at once.  He calls us to trust and follow Him as He completes His plan for our lives.  He never promises to change the future, but simply walk with us through it.  It is encumbant on us as His chosen to trust Him and seek Him with all our hearts. He promises in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.”
 
In these days, We cannot lose heart, neither can we lose our faith nor our trust in God, His provision and protection.  He does love us and will do what He does the very best!  We need to do as the Lord commands and follow Him humbly and closely!
 
God Bless You

Now Elisha came to Damascus. Ben-hadad the king of Syria was sick. And when it was told him, “The man of God has come here,” the king said to Hazael, “Take a present with you and go to meet the man of God, and inquire of the Lord through him, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this sickness?’” So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, all kinds of goods of Damascus, forty camels’ loads. When he came and stood before him, he said, “Your son Ben-hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this sickness?’” 10 And Elisha said to him, “Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover,’ but[a] the Lord has shown me that he shall certainly die.” 11 And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he was embarrassed. And the man of God wept. 12 And Hazael said, “Why does my lord weep?” He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel. You will set on fire their fortresses, and you will kill their young men with the sword and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women.” 13 And Hazael said, “What is your servant, who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?” Elisha answered, “The Lord has shown me that you are to be king over Syria.” 14 Then he departed from Elisha and came to his master, who said to him, “What did Elisha say to you?” And he answered, “He told me that you would certainly recover.” 15 But the next day he took the bed cloth[b] and dipped it in water and spread it over his face, till he died. And Hazael became king in his place.

2 Kings 8–God Continues to Care for His Own

Well after Elisha had first met her, Elisha approached the woman whose son he had saved. God gave Elisha a heads up about an upcoming famine.  Elisha encouraged the woman and the family to leave for the time, and she did what Elisha instructed.  Seven years later, the family returned.  They appealed to get their lands back; since they had abandoned them for the seven years.  Normally, it would probably be an appeal that fell on deaf ears.  God loved Elisha, however, and the ones he helped. So, on the day of the appeal, Elisha’s servant was in the king’s presence.  In the course of their conversation, Gehazi shared the story of the woman and her son.  Then, as God would have it–the woman and her son came up to make the appeal. The king was so amazed to meet the woman, that he not ony granted her back her land, but all the income the land produced.
 
There was no coincidence, God knew the need and the timing.  This family was cared for by the same God they honored by caring for His prophet.  God continues to care for the ones He loves.  That should be a great encouragement for those facing these strange and difficult days.  As we know, God knows the plans He has for us.  Plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Plans to give us a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11. 
We can never underestimate God’s planning or timing.  In the characters we have seen, Ruth met Boaz while gleaning for survival, Esther saved Israel as a new queen of a foriegn nation, Elijah ended Baal worship in Israel on the top of a mountain by the call to God.  God is always on top of his plan and executing it.  What is more, God promised Solomon at the dedication of the temple, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” I Chronicles 7:14.  We need to seek God and pray.  The Lord has established His trustworthy nature.  We know He cares for His own. We simply need to trust that God continues to care for us as He always had.
 
God Bless You

Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Arise, and depart with your household, and sojourn wherever you can, for the Lord has called for a famine, and it will come upon the land for seven years.” So the woman arose and did according to the word of the man of God. She went with her household and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years. And at the end of the seven years, when the woman returned from the land of the Philistines, she went to appeal to the king for her house and her land. Now the king was talking with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me all the great things that Elisha has done.” And while he was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, behold, the woman whose son he had restored to life appealed to the king for her house and her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, here is the woman, and here is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed an official for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now.”

2 Kings 6 Part 3–It Must Be God’s Fault

One of the great acts of selfish pride that humans employ, is the choice we make to blame God when the world around us falls apart.  Israel’s enemies set up a seige on the city.  No one in and no one out.  The food supply dwindled and the people began to starve.  The king was  greiving the state of affairs, when a lady told him a particularly horrendous story of cannibalism.  It sent the king over the edge.  He immediately demanded the head of God’s prophet–Elisha.  So, one of the king’s men set out to kill and take the head of Elisha.  
 
Not only did Elisha have nothing to do with the seige, He also was the kingdom’s only hope for salvation from the seige.  Still, the king blamed God and wanted to hit God where it hurt.  Fortunately, God was neither surprized nor unprepared.  He warned Elisha, and Elisha was able to hold off the would be assassin.  
 
The reality was that Israel had decided that they could do things just fine without God.  So, God allowed them to have their way.  Sadly, that independence put Israel into a mess, and people’s lives were lost and ruined.  Had the nation followed the Lord, and humbly allowed Him to lead, they would have enjoyed peace, protection and provision.  Instead, they were out of provision, without protection and in no way prepared to face the world in front of them.
 
We are faced with the similar choice.  Our world is in a mess, and our nation is under seige by a virus.  It is turning the world upside down.  We can either try to solve our issues on our own and blame God; or, we can humble ourselves, seek Him and pray for His protection and provision.  Let’s not act as the foolish king and seek to teach God a lesson.  Instead, let’s simply trust and follow the Lord through the crisis.  Solomon said it best, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. Acknowedge Him in all your ways and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
 
God Bless You
And the king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.” 30 When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes—now he was passing by on the wall—and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body— 31 and he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”

32 Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Now the king had dispatched a man from his presence, but before the messenger arrived Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see how this murderer has sent to take off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door fast against him. Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?” 33 And while he was still speaking with them, the messenger came down to him and said, “This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

2 Kings 6 Part 2–Seeing Things From God’s Perspective

In life,there is often the easy way and then there is the right way.  Elisha was being given the commands of the king of Aram.  The king was trying to find ways to sneak up and raid Israel.  God was not having any of it. So God would tell Elisha, the kings very words and Elisha would in turn warn the king of Israel.  After a time or two, The king of Aram was furious and ordered His troops to surround and capture the pragmatic prophet…Not a good idea!  
 
So the troops surrounded Elisha, Elisha’s servant became terrifiied and cried out to his master.  Elisha calmed the servant down, and asked God to let his servant see things from God’s view.  Immediately,the servant saw the enemy surroiunded by charriots of fire manned with angels ready to wipe them out…Elisha was kind, however,and simp[ly asked God to blind them, Elisha then led them into captivity.  Elisha pray,  then God opened there eyes and nthey saw they were done for…Isreal fed them, gave them back their weapons and sent them home.  No more Armenean problems, and no one had to die.
 
Clearly, for the pragmatic prophet, this was not the easy way.  But, it was the best way.  His people were free, his king saw the power of the one true God, and his servant got a glimpse of the spiritual world–and we got to share it.  There is never a time when we honor God and His plan; that God does not ultimately bring out the best. If we, like Elisha, simply continue to trust the Lord and follow His lead; then we will see our enemy foiled, trapped, captured and shamed.  We do win in the end.  We simply must continue to see the world from the Father’s perspective.  Do not be afraid; our army has charriots of Fire and mighty servants at its command.  Thank You, Lord, for your preparation, provision and protection from all our enemies.
 
God Bless You

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

2 Kings 6 Part 1–Let God Make the Call

Elisha had a very practical relationship with God.  Elisha simply trusted God and did not question His plan or his authority. So, as he traveled on his spiritual journey, Elisha did not try to classify what was a spiritual need and what was not.  In the story today, Elisha’s friends and their kids decided Elisha needed more space to support those he trained and mentored.  So they all got together to clear land and make a larger space.  One of the helpers was chopping down a tree when the axe he was using slipped out of his hand and fell into the deep water.  The helper was heart broken.  He had borrowed the axe and had no way of replacing it.  In many circles, that would not be a spiritual issue and no one would expect a miracle. In Elisha’s world, that was exactly the kind of need that God wanted to help with.  So the pragmatic prophet cut a stick and threw it in the water by where the axe went in; and instantly the iron started floating.  The helper was relieved and  Elisha went on with his life.  Elisha did not make a big deal of the miracle–because he knew God could do it, and that it would be true ministry.
 
It simply is not our job to determine what is an event that requires God’s intervention. We need to remember that as God’s chosen, He cares about all aspects of our lives.  We must seek God and never be afraid to bring a matter before Him.  The Lord can handle our needs any way He deems appropriate.  Elisha understood that aspect of God’s nature.  If God determined this was not a matter for His intervention, then God simply would not intervene.  We should still seek the Lord and allow Him the opportunity to make the decision.  Failing to ask God for his help is a different way of “Helping God Out “.  He is too busy to consider this need–would be the logic. Simply put, STOP IT!!!  You seek and ask God, as Elisha did, and allow God to make the decision whether or not to intervene. 
 
God Bless You

Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.” And he answered, “Go.” Then one of them said, “Be pleased to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Alas, my master! It was borrowed.” Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float. And he said, “Take it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it.

2 Kings 4 Part 2–Even the Blessed May Need a Miracle

A couple showed kindness to Elisha when he was in their area. Ultimately, they built him a place to live when he was close.  In deciding how to bless them, Elisha’s servant suggested that Elisha bless them with a son, for thay had no sons and the husband was old.  Elisha agreeed, and sure enough, a year later there was a son.  Great story, right?  Then some years later, as the biy grew, he had a severe headache and died.  The mom was crushed, the dad was shocked.  Was this not God’s gift to them and like that he is gone?  So, the mom sent for Elisha.  God had not revealed to Elisha that the boy was dead.  So when Elisha arrived, the scene was very bad.  Elisha sent his servant ahead to fix it, but to no avail.  So, Elisha went all out himself and layed himself as a sacrifice for the boy–God honored Elisha’s act of submission and healed the boy.
 
Just because we are sometimes blessed by God, it does not mean we will not continue to face extreme trials.  These trials may be a result of our bad choices, or they just may be a part of our journey.  Whatever the case, we still need to head straight to the Lord and seek His provision and His miraculous leadership.  It may not come–but, we need to ask and hope.  It may take time; or, come in an entirely different manner than we expect–but, no matter what, we need to trust and obey.  God will do what He is going to do. Its impact on us will probably be profound.  We simply have to, like Elisha, submit to God and trust He will complete what He started–no matter what it costs us or what we need to do to honor the Lord.  If we will, like the pragmatic prophet,  we will see God do great things.
 
God Bless You

Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a [a]notable woman, and she [b]persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. 10 Please, let us make [c]a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.”…

So he said, “What then is to be done for her?”

And Gehazi answered, “Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.”

15 So he said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16 Then he said, [d]“About this time next year you shall embrace a son.”

And she said, “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!”

17 But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her.

18 And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. 19 And he said to his father, “My head, my head!”

So he said to a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. 21 And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. 22 Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.”

23 So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.”

And she said, [e]It is well.” 24 Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” 25 And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman! 26 Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ ”

And she answered, “It is well.” 27 Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, “Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me, and has not told me.”

28 So she said, “Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?”

29 Then he said to Gehazi, “Get[f] yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.”

30 And the mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. 31 Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, “The child has not awakened.”

32 When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. 33 He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. 34 And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” 37 So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out.

I Kings 4 Part 1–Elisha Highlights God’s Provision

I love Elisha’s style. A widow approaches Elisha.  She is completely distraught. Her husband died and left her poor and in debt.  Her creditor was in route to take her sons in payment for the debt as slaves.  She was heartbroken, hopeless and completely without options…well, except one. She came to God’s man and told Elisha her trouble and need.  Elisha, the pragmatic prophet, went right to work–“Go get all the jars you can put your hands on. Do not be shy and do not be lazy. Ask everyone.”  She does as he told her.  She gathers jars and jars.  He then tells her to take the little olive oil she has, and start filling the jars.  She does.  In that moment, God provides an ulimited supply of oil.  She continues to pour until the last jar is copmpletely full.  Then the oil stops flowing.  Elisha then tells her to sell the oil and pay the debts. Then use the rest to live from then on.
 
Once again God shows His miraculous ways in very simple fashion.  There was no pomp or ceremony. Elisha did not demand a special recognition or sacrifice.  He simply led the woman back to the provider and her faith caused an amazing thing to occur.  In that, she was saved and her family was kept in tact.  We need to have that same faith that looks around, assesses a situation, and allows God to do what he does best–protect, prepare and provide.  There need not be any drama, ceramony or special recognition–only the faith to ask God for our needs and then the faith to trust Him to provide.  Elisha never had a doubt and the widow would never doubt again that God does provide.  We need to have that saame faith and confidence–God will provide, that is simply who He is! Jehovah Jirah.
 
God Bless You

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”