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 7–You Will See It but You Won’t Experience It!

We are often put in a position where we need to take God at His word. When I was a father of toddlers, I would deliver the most stern punishment when my children would not obey me, immediately.  I would not put up with having to ask several times for them to comply.  The reasonong was very simple–I needed them to trust and obey my word the first time for their safety.  If they were headed for the street, I simply did not have the luxury of counting, reasoning or bribing them–they could be hit by a car and die.  God operates under the same reasoning.  He led the people of Israel with the same loving fatherly committment. 
 
On this day, Elisha delivered a message to his would be assassin that God would not only end the seige and famine, but He would provide a surplus of everything to the point that the cost would be negligible. The assassin (A king’s guard that would later guard the palace gate) called Elisha crazy.  He said God simply could not perform that big of a miracle!  Elisha then, in his pragmatic way, ended the discussion; in effect, Elisha said–“Fine, tomorrow you will see the miracle but your lack of trust in God will prevent your enjoying the fruits of it!”
 
The sun rose, and as promised, God ended the seige with a mighty miracle.  There was so much food that the price of grain dropped to nothing. The afore-mentioned guard and would be assassin heard the announcement and as people stormed the gate to get the food they so desparately needed–the guard was trampled! Uggh.  
 
Thoughts on the story:  
1. Trust God to do what He says He will do.  We cannot lose our faith despite the circumstances we face. Often, continued faith builds an amazing history of miracles and provision that we can only attribute to God and His amazing nature!
2.  We are the ones that sin and break our promises to God.  We should be ashamed when we question and doubt the Lord’s power to prepare, protect and provide for us.
3.  It is so much easier simply to obey God immediately and forego the possibility of missing His blessing because of our lack of faith and trust in Him.
4.  God uses all kinds of folks in our lives, we have to get used to listening for His voice and following His lead.
 
God Bless You

Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah[a] of the finest flour will sell for a shekel[b] and two seahs[c] of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?”

“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”

The Siege Lifted

Now there were four men with leprosy[d] at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”

At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.

The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.

Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”

10 So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” 11 The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace…

Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died, just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house. 18 It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

19 The officer had said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” The man of God had replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” 20 And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.

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 5 Part 1–Just Trust God and Do What He Asks

Elisha the pragmatic prophet…The king’s mighty warrior Naaman was a leper, So Elisha told the leperous warrior to go and dip 7 times in the Jordan. He had no agenda, he wanted nothing in return and gave a straight forward direction for a complete cure.  Namaan was so mad. He wanted pomp and ceremony.  He wanted a fuss. So when Elisha gave a direct cure–Namaan griped until he completed the task and was cleaned.  He was then very pleased and grateful,  But, again, for Elisha it was all in a days work.
 
The great lesson of Elksha was that he did not do God’s work for any reason other than to please God.  He did not need stuff, he did not seek fame.  His reward was to honor God.  He had Elijah’s power and then some. He had already raised the dead, feed the hungry and now healed a leper–it always was simply to honor God.
 
If we could follow the Lord, selflessly as Elisha did–then we would see God do amazing things; and we could take joy in seeing God being honored.  We can be sure that God will be honored, and He will bless his chosen.  We must only walk humbly and seek Him. The Lord will make sure we are exalted in His time and in his way.  We can never outgive God or out honor Him. The more we try, the more He  will blesses us. Elisha’s servant failed to see that, He became greedy and paid a huge price.  It is critical for us to simply trust and follow the Lord. If we will, we can rest assured that God will bless us mightily.
 
God Bless You

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.[a] 2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4 So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” 5 And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels[b] of gold, and ten changes of clothing. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana[c] and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.