Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Railroad tracks near our place in Bannalec

Friday, July 1, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for July 2, 2 Kings 5-8.

Today's readings are 2 Kings 5-8. Tomorrow's are 2 Kings 9-11. 

2 Kings 5 reveals a few significant facets of how God is perceived to the lost. First, Naaman believes a prophet can heal him, not necessarily God. Second, Naaman wants Elisha to "wave his hand" to bring a cure. He's not interested in obeying God. All he wants is a healing. If he has any faith at all,  it is not in the living God, but his desire to be delivered from his circumstances. Ultimately, Naaman sees that obedience to God is what brings blessing (2 Kings 5:14).

We don't hear how this impacted Namaan. But that's not really the point of the passage. The passage is here to show us that God heals whom He desires to heal. Namaan was not a Jew, he was a Syrian. Furthermore, we see that God does not bless based in the sincerity of our desires, but on the sincerity of our obedience. In any case, healing is not reserved exclusively for those of faith, or even for those of great faith, but for the glory of God.

We see an axe head float in 2 Kings 6. this is not meant to dazzle us with the things Elisha can do. It is intended to show us that God is working powerfully in and through Elisha. Notice, he has something important to say afterward. The floating axe head is one of the many reasons God provides to encourage His children to listen to His prophet. It is evidence that Elisha speaks for God.

The northern kingdom, Israel, falls under attack from Syria. Samaria is under siege and King Ben-hadad wants to kill Elisha. God delivers them miraculously and graciously but uses Elisha to tell them exactly how it will happen. Note that the outcasts of the community are the ones who bring the news of victory (2 Kings 7:9-10) and few believe them.

In 2 Kings 8, King Ben-hadad, who was trying to kill Elisha, is now gravely ill and seeks him out. Elisha instructs a messenger to lie to the king (another passage that bears some careful contemplation). 

In 2 Kings 8, Jehoram becomes king of Judah. He's not a good king.  Nonetheless, we see this:

2 Kings 8:19 Yet the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David his servant, since he promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever.
This is another case in which we see that God's promises are not predicated on the behavior of His people, but on His integrity. Judah begins to pay the price for their ungodliness (2 Kings 8:20-22). 

Notice that Judah, at the same time, begins a slide downward that roughly parallels that of Israel. They ally themselves with Israel and begin acting in a similar manner to them. There is a Scriptural caution against this type of behavior,

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.
It is a mistake to think that we can align ourselves with the sins of the world and not me affected by them. 

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