Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 10 June 18:
1. 1 Kings 7:1, 2 – “But Elisha said, ‘Hear the word of the Lord: thus says the Lord, Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.’ Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, ‘If the Lord himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?’ But he said, ‘You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.’” God can miraculously change circumstances overnight. Most underestimate the power of God. A lack of faith could cause you to miss out on God’s blessings.
2. 2 Kings 7:6 — ” For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses.” God can melt the resolve of your adversaries in miraculous ways, without you doing anything but waiting in faith.
3. 2 Kings 7:8, 9 – “And when these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and went and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent and carried off things from it and went and hid them. Then they said to one another, ‘We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.’”
– The lepers understood that it would be a terrible sin, deserving of great punishment, to withhold the good news of salvation even for one day. Though they were tempted to simply enjoy their new riches, keeping them to themselves, they knew that countless others were doomed without what they had. So, they proclaimed this good news to the people who, at first, doubted. However, more “messengers” confirmed the good news, and soon multitudes rushed to receive previously unimaginable blessings from the Lord. What have you done with the Good News? What would happen if all Christians were as convicted as these lepers to share the “Good News”? How faithful have you been in sharing the Good News of Jesus? “We are not doing right…. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us.”
– A scarcity mentality tempts people to sin. An abundance mentality, one that believes that God will richly provide, promotes forgiveness and cheerful giving.
4. 2 Kings 7:17-20 — “Now the king had appointed the captain on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate. And the people trampled him in the gate, so that he died, as the man of God had said when the king came down to him. For when the man of God had said to the king, ‘Two seahs of barley shall be sold for a shekel, and a seah of fine flour for a shekel, about this time tomorrow in the gate of Samaria,’ the captain had answered the man of God, ‘If the Lord himself should make windows in heaven, could such a thing be?’ And he had said, ‘You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.’ And so it happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gate and he died.”
– God keeps His promises.
– Refusing to believe God’s word is deadly.
– The misfortunate death of the captain was not ‘misfortune’ at all but rather the fulfillment of the prophecy, demonstrating the power of God. God’s discipline may seem harsh to those who believe that doubting the King and His message is no big deal.
5. 2 Kings 8:1 — “…the Lord has called for a famine, and it will come upon the land for seven years.” Once again we see that God uses nature for His purposes and is in complete control of all circumstances. We also see how God reveals His plans to His prophets.
6. 2 Kings 8:5, 6 — “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.’” God will arrange the timing of circumstances for His purposes and to reveal Himself to His servants. There are no chance encounters. How have you seen this happen in your life?
7. 2 Kings 8:11 — “And the man of God wept.” God’s people hate to see others suffer. A real man cries for those who are suffering.
8. 2 Kings 8:12-15 — Through the power of God, Elisha could see the evil in Hazael that Hazael could not even see in himself. What caused the man of God to weep caused the ambitious man to be excited.
9. 2 Kings 8:18 — “And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.” An ungodly spouse can be more influential on a person than their godly parents were and can lead a person astray. The Bible warns Christians not to marry unbelievers, not to be unequally yoked, so that the Christian won’t get pulled in the wrong direction.
10. 2 Kings 8:18 — Bad company corrupts good morals.
11. Proverbs 10:3, 4 – “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” The Lord does provide, but, in no small part, by the guidance He provides us through His word. God’s word commands, and God expects, the righteous to work hard. We can’t throw out the ‘grace’ card as an excuse not to do our part and then expect God to miraculously make up for our lack of fidelity.
12. Proverbs 10:5 — “He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.” Work as hard as you can, while you can, to meet your needs when you can’t work later.
13. Proverbs 10:8 – “The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.” Many people are ready to ask God for countless personal blessings without receiving and obeying God’s commandments. They talk much but listen little. When we want what God wants, and live in accordance with what God wants, our prayer life is very fruitful. When we live for self and ask God only for what we want for ourselves, our prayer life is very unfruitful. God does not resource what is not in accordance with His will.
14. Proverbs 10:12 — “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.” Just cover over wrongs; don’t respond to them in a way that only sustains sin and makes it grow.
15. Proverbs 10:25 — “When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever.” God uses life circumstances to discipline sinful people. Some people can only be controlled by punishment. Those who lack internal discipline require external discipline. Better to listen to and obey God’s word than to receive the LORD’s discipline. (Proverbs 10:13) God also uses life circumstances to strengthen His faithful servants. Everyone goes through the storms of life; they destroy the wicked but only make the righteous stronger.
16. Proverbs 10:28 – “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” Joy comes from hope which is trusting God with your future and believing without doubt in His promises, regardless of current circumstances. The wicked expect happiness, and when they don’t get it, their spirits are crushed.
17. Psalm 68:4 – “Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him!” The Bible shows us that, throughout history, God has taken His servants through terribly dark times, and the Bible teaches us that, under terrible circumstances, we should turn to the LORD and not lose hope in Him. (Psalm 68) In the midst of trials and persecution, it is our knowledge of God and hope in Him that causes us to sing praises and remain joyful (though perhaps not always ‘happy’).
18. Psalm 68:6 — “God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” All have sinned, but through Jesus, Christians are not isolated prisoners of sin but rather are being led to prosperity. Little lamb, follow your Good Shepherd closely. “You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train.” (Psalm 68:18)
19. Psalm 68:19, 20 — “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.
– Our God is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.
– We still sin daily, but God “bears us up” as we are being delivered from death.
20. Psalm 68:35 – “…he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.” It is God who empowers you to do His will, so how powerful does that make you? It is only when you attempt to operate outside of His will that you need to be concerned.
21. Psalm 69:29-31 — “But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high! I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves.”
– God desires a heart of worship, not just acts of worship.
– God wants you to have faith, joy, and confidence in your salvation through Jesus, not in your deeds, which cannot bring you salvation. “Through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you (Acts 13:38).” Our sins are fully, completely, permanently forgiven through God’s free gift of grace (giving us what we don’t deserve), a gift we cannot earn or improve upon, a gift we cannot lose. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1)….. Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Romans 5:11)….. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:18-20).”
– Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Through the blood of Christ, our sins have been covered over and Ephesians 2:13 adds: “Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Jesus desires, “that your joy may be complete (John 15:11). If you are a Christian, It is time for you to accept the freedom, joy, and peace that is yours through Jesus Christ and spread the message of reconciliation with boldness.
22. Psalm 69:33 — “For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.” God does not despise the truly humble and repentant sinner who knows how desperately he needs mercy and grace through Jesus.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 10 June: Today, if you have the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ, which is the way to escape from condemnation and eternal death, and which is the gift of eternal life, do not hoard the riches you have received freely. Do not hesitate another second to tell those who are perishing around you. Do not sin against God and others by failing to proclaim the Good News of Jesus today! (2 Kings 7:9)