After Elisha’s initial encounter with the people of Jericho and then some youths of Bethel, the scene changes somewhat in 2 Kings 3:1-27 where we meet Elisha in the company of the Kings of Israel, Judah and Edom. The situation facing these kings and their armies was nothing short of desparate. Having taking the desert route to attack the kingdom of Moab, they soon ran out of water and were facing the prospect of death. How Elisha came to be among these kings and their armies is not told to us, but he was, and when approached, the miracle he performed not only guaranteed the survival of the kings and their armies, but also the defeat of Moab and brought glory to God who can do ‘more than we ask or think’ (Ephesians 3:20).
Critics of the Bible might use the text of 2 Kings 2:23-25 to point out how evil the God of the Old Testament is or how uncaring his servants (in this case, Elisha) really are. At first glance of this text, it might appear that they have a point. But with some extra examination and information and perspective, there might be more to this incident than first meets the eye – and it might just turn out to be the exact opposite – something that critics of the Bible (and all of us, for that matter) should take notice of and be warned by! God’s judgement is not something that anyone can take lightly!
There’s no doubt that there are many, many lovely places to live. Whether it’s in the miountains or by a river or near to the ocean, there are some beautiful places to be. But while all may look good on the outside of these places, not all is always well within. While at Jericho in 2 Kings 2:19-22, the prophet Elisha was told that it was a pleasant place to live, but there was a problem with the water supply. The problem was that it caused death. Elisha’s miracle cure for Jericho was simple and it points us to something worth noting. Man’s greatest problem is not outside on him, but on the inside. Sin (which also causes death) lives within and the gospel of Jesus (like Elisha’s bowl of salt) is the only cure.
After Elisha rexperienced a rather compelling and forthright call to succeed Elijah as the Lord’s prophet in Israel, 2 Kings 2:1-18 explores their initial, but temporrary team ministry together which ended when Elijah was swepat away into heaven bu a whirlwind accompanying a chariot and horses made of fire. It must have been a sight to behold! But it wasn’t simply for show. In the process, Elisha gained posession of Elijah’s cloak and was able to repeat the miracle Elijah had just performed before his translation. This reminds us that Jesus also left a succession plan where God’s Spirit came upon all His disciples, equipping them to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8) wherever they went.
It’s hard to say what the prophet Elijah thought when God told him to anoint Elisha as his successor. It’s not an easy thing to find out that your work is done. But in 1 Kings 19:19-21, we have the record of the day when Elijah laid his cloak upon Elisha and called him into service of the Lord. Not all of us will have an experience like Elisha in this respect, but all of God’s people are called into the Lord’s service … the challenge before us all the time is to prove faithful to our high calling…
Guest preacher, Rev Len Pearce, looks at John 4:1-42 where Jesus has an appointment to pass through Samaria, but the woman he meets needs that meeting. This passage about the woman of Samaria is all about Jesus and his character – he did not see people as others did. How do we see people? Do we offer hope? Jesus asks the women for a drink from the well but offers her living water (compare with John 7). This living water is his Holy Spirit, that Jesus’ saving work at the cross might be applied to our lives. As the passage goes on, we learn more about who Jesus is and the woman – of low standing and bad reputation – realises that Jesus is the Christ, she has received forgiveness and forgets her task at the well to tell the whole town. Be sure that you have met Jesus. Like Jesus, be no respecter of persons (looking up or down on anyone). Drink deeply of that living water that you cannot help but speak of it!
Not everyone loves the ‘Hokey Pokey’. I am one of those who doesn’t. Ultimately the Hokey Pokey is noy what it’s all about. Mankind was created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The final Psalm of the book of the Psalms, Psalm 150:1-6, ends the book on a note of great praise to God. He is worthy of all the praise that we could ever muster, and to live a life that praises God is surely one of our highest callings. If all creation is called upon to praise God, then let’s remember this. We have voices. We can communicate. ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!’
We all have memories. Some are special. Some we would like to forget. Some that shape us into who we are! The writer of Psalm 126 also had a memory, a very particular one that involved the amazing deliverance that God gave to His people. And based on that memory, the psalm writer prayed what we find in this psalm – bring that memory to mind and letting it chapre his prayer for the now and the for future – that God would show His delivering power all over again!
While the majority of people have physical sight, there’s a high percentage who are blind in another sense. In Psalm 73:1-28, the writer, Asaph, confesses to this. When his eyes were on the wicked and their prosperity and the ease of their lives, he began to lose faith in God. and doubt whether serving Him was worth it at all. In other words, he baceme blind to the things of God as envy took hold of his sight and he began to slip. But something happened that changed this downward progression. It happened when he entered the sanctuary of God and his persepctive on what really matters in life was restored. We all need the reminder to keep on ‘looking to Jesus’. For when all is said and done, all He’s the only One worth looking to.
It’s not unusual these days for anyone to struggle with stress. We all have to manage it in some form. In his role as King over all Israel, David knew stress too, and this Psalm 86:1-17, we find him dealing with it through prayer to the One who could help him. In fact in the Psalm we find these elements present – sometimes David speaks to himself about God. Sometimes David speaks to God about God and sometimes David speaks to God about himself. All three are present in the psalm and all three are valid forms of prayer, and helpful with dealing with the many stresses of life.