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The Prophet Series: Elisha, part 22


The Prophet Series: Elisha part 22

2KI 6:32-7:2 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. And the king sent a man from his presence; but before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, "Do you see how this son of a murderer has sent to take away my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door shut against him. Is not the sound of his master's feet behind him?" And while he was still talking with them, behold, the messenger came down to him, and he said, "Behold, this evil is from the Lord; why should I wait for the Lord any longer?" Then Elisha said, "Listen to the word of the Lord; thus says the Lord, 'Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.'" And the royal officer on whose hand the king was leaning answered the man of God and said, "Behold, if the Lord should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?" Then he said, "Behold you shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it."

Though famine rages in the capital of Israel, Elisha is nearby. The Lord is never far from our suffering, even when it was we who caused it.

We find Elisha's home in peace. In fact, he is sitting with elders and likely praying for the nation and the king. The city and the surrounding towns are in turmoil as some have even resorted to cannibalism, and the angel of death lurks at every doorway. There were some very wealthy homes in Samaria, but they can't eat their expensive furnishings. Those who experienced ease due to their material wealth, all of a sudden find their hearts panicking as their stomachs growl. But what is the state of Elisha's home? He is at peace, and if his home was within the walls of the city, he would have been enjoying that same peace because he trusts in the Lord. The home where Christ is honored is the only truly wealthy and happy home. When the resurrected Christ entered into the house where the frightened disciples were hiding, He said, "Peace be with you." Only the house where the Lord dwells is filled with peace.

The home is a manifestation of the soul or souls that indwell it. If the souls are at peace, so will the house be. When there is a large scale of suffering like this, like their might be in a natural disaster, or the outbreak of war, suffering lands itself and blankets all the homes. The good are afflicted with the evil, but the good do not suffer in the same way. The saints who love and trust the Lord do good to their neighbors, they sacrifice for the benefit of their neighbors, and they are at peace; revealing the light of Christ to all around them. They are the small voice of the Lord in the midst of the calamity.

Believers who suffer with the rest should not hope for judgment upon the wicked to be swift and final. They should pray that the eyes of the wicked are opened and that their neighbors are delivered. We do not have to assist the Lord in the judgments He has to make. He cannot do otherwise as the God of Justice. He does not need our help. We can intercede for others, asking for God's patience to stay His judging hand, and to further reveal Himself in the midst of their pain. There is no telling how many homes and communities have been spared calamity through the power of prayer. The record of it is in heaven, but nowhere on earth. Those who pray, alone and in groups, do not often see the results, but never let them lightly esteem such gatherings. If they could see the tome of answered prayer, they would anticipate prayer meetings more, and I would assume that the meetings would need more chairs.

Before the servant of the king arrives at Elisha's home, God had given Elisha the vision of deliverance for the city. In fact, it would happen the very next day. Giving such a vision is easy for God to do, easy for Elisha to receive, and easy for him to speak. When deliverance is on the morrow, we are most bold and anticipatory. Think of how easily God can do this for each of us. The times of visions are ancient history, but does any change in protocol hinder God's work? We hear and read the word of God while we have God Himself, the Spirit Teacher, dwelling inside us. Is it hard for God to make a verse or two or ten jump off the page and burn our souls with revelation and application that is necessary for the moment? Members of congregations where the word of God is most esteemed often think their pastors are following them, or have hidden cameras in their homes, but the pastor knows nothing of their personal issues. The Spirit uses him as He can use anyone who yields to Him. God easily gives the message. Let us receive it just as easily.

King Joram is not far behind the servant at the door. The message he sends: "Behold, this evil is from the Lord; why should I wait for the Lord any longer?"

This is the man who not long ago donned sackcloth. He tried a little religion and it got him nowhere, and so he accuses the Lord. The famine is certainly the Lord's doing, but there is always a solution. God is a deliverer and a doer of the impossible. Wearing some sackcloth didn't change the heart of the king. Had he ever humbled himself before the Lord, looked into the Law and read as a humble child, or gone to the prophet of God to ask of the will of the Lord? All he manages to do is seek the head of the prophet and blurt out another statement of folly - a statement of despair.

When under terrible suffering for a long enough period of time, the pain and sorrow can become so hated, that a person who normally fears death would actually welcome it. This is usually called rock-bottom, and anyone can be brought to it by God.

Long enough under hopeless despair with-
Out end or ebb is death so welcomed in.
Be not far sweet dark angel, further begin
To pull this sorrowful soul tow'rds Sheol's breath

Joram sounds like this, and God is never far from him, and in great patience God has deliverance in store for him and the city. He still has time to see and change, and I wish I could tell you that he will, but he won't.

There have been, and are, so many Joram's in the world. We pray that the wondrous message of God's lovingkindness may lead them to begin what they had never done before: to wait for the Lord.

PSA 5:1-3 Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to Thee do I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, Thou wilt hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch.

Elisha says it like it is. The man at the door has been sent for his head, but Elisha states, calmly and forcibly, what God is going to do for the city as well as for the messenger. The prophet is not there to argue with the king, but to simply preach the word, as Paul said, in season and out of season.

What Elisha says is truly unbelievable. The servant is a scoffer and he scoffs about open windows in heaven. Scoffers are friends with the world, and they are hardened by the world. Intimacy with the world not only hardens, but it destroys genuine thought, feeling, and imagination. This is why children are so boundless and imaginative, but when they become young adults who have made their friendship with the world, they lose these wonderful traits.

God is not going to open the heavens, what the scoffer scoffs at. The food is already there. God is going to use natural means to feed His nation, and at a rock-bottom price. The supplies are with the Syrian army, which is not far from the city walls, and all around it. At the moment it might as well be a thousand miles away, for the people are so weak, but God is going to chase the enemy away for them. God accomplishes the miracle in a very strange way.

Many people think of miracles only coming from the vicinity heaven. The Jews, after seeing Jesus perform many signs which they could not refute or explain away, asked Him to produce a sign from heaven. Just about every miracle recorded in the Bible has been given a natural explanation by scoffers and sceptics. Sadly, denominations that identify as Christian do this as well.

God does the impossible probably a million times a day all over the world, and almost everyone who sees these "deliverances" either ignores them or explains them away. Very often, God uses natural means when performing His miracles. What I mean is, the act is supernatural, but the deliverance came from a person who unexpectedly wandered into our lives, an event that we never intended on going to, a unexpected check in the mail from an accounting error. The person, the event, the error are all very common, natural things, but God used them supernaturally. Hardly anyone sees them, or they call it a funny coincidence, or they come up with a natural explanation. If God were a man, He'd have a terrible inferiority complex. To those that have eyes to see, these things are wonderful interruptions by God into His world.

If you have been a believer striving to live the plan of God for your life for a length of time, you only have to perform a quick travel into the past, in your memory to find many miracles. Go into the past, stand next to your past self, and then look forward to today. You won't have to look for long to find a number of miracles that got you were you are today in your walk with the Lord. It's not healthy to do this too much, as we have to live in the present moment and for the rest of the current day. Once in a while it is wonderful to do, seeing God's handiwork, and this will only bolster your hope for tomorrow. With God nothing is impossible.

Elisha tells the servant that he will witness the very miracle stated but he will not eat of it, i.e. he will not enjoy it. God is simply going to frighten the army and they are going to retreat hastily leaving all of their supplies behind, which are in the proximity of the city, surrounding the city. The prosperity of the Lord flows all around the friend of the world, but he is hardened by his trust in the flesh of man and he does not see it, and so, he does not enjoy it.

JER 17:5-6 "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
"For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant.

Life can be so enjoyable and fruitful for the one who trusts in God. As Jeremiah goes on to write, even when times are really tough, he will bear fruit.

To Him be all glory and honor,
Pastor Joe Sugrue
Grace and Truth Ministries
 

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