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We Need To Go First

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Today’s Bible reading: 2 Kings 3-4:17; Acts 14:8-28; Psalm 140:1-13; Proverbs 17:22

The new king of Israel, Joram, son of Ahab and Jezebel, joins forces with Jehoshaphat king of Judah. Joram was not a godly man (2 Kings 3:2), although he was better than his parents. But that isn’t saying much.

Joram has no faith in God at all as we see in 2 Kings 3:10. There was no water for their soldiers or there animals and Joram’s reaction is to conclude that God is against them. This is not a godly attitude.

On the other hand, Jehoshaphat, who was a godly king, displays the right attitude by seeking out God’s will (2 Kings 3:11). God is always with us. And even when we are not walking closely with him He is ready and willing to guide us. In fact, a difficult situation is a perfect time to seek God and get closer to Him.

Elisha isn’t too crazy about meeting with Joram, but out of respect for the godly Jehoshaphat, he agrees (2 Kings 3:14). God will not bless mockers and cynics. But He is more than willing to meet with those whose hearts are truly seeking Him.

I think Elisha was quite disturbed at the arrival at these kings and needs something to set his spirit right before he advises them. So he asks for some music (2 Kings 3:15). This shows us the power of music and how it can get our minds focused on God before we come to him in prayer or to learn (as in church). Of course, the music needs to be God-centered. If it is, it can prepare our hearts to meet with God.

God promises to provide water but in a miraculous manner – without rain (2 Kings 3:16). But the people must dig trenches to trap the water and they must do this before God supplies the water. God did what He could do -provide water. The people did what they could do – dig the trenches. God always lets us participate in what He is doing. Almost always we need to go first – to demonstrate our faith in Him.

The next day God provided so much water that it was everywhere (2 Kings 3:20). This was a blessing. The amount of blessing that the people would experience was directly proportional to the amount of work they did to receive the blessing. The more trenches and the larger the trenches they dug, the more water (blessing) they would receive. So often God is willing to bless us but we aren’t ready to receive it. So His blessing passes us by, just like this water would have passed these people by if they had not dug the trenches. It was hard work, but well worth it.

Back in 1975 there was this movie called The Man Who Would Be King staring Sean Connery and Michael Caine. In it two British officers are mistaken for gods by a local people. Rather than tell the people the truth the men play along for selfish reasons. Eventually their decision turns deadly. If you have not seen this movie I highly recommend it. It is a great commentary on human nature.

We see something similar in Acts 14:11-13 where the people of Lystra believe that Paul and Barnabas are the Greek gods Hermes and Zeus in human form. It was a common belief that gods came to earth as humans back then. But rather than taking advantage of the people for personal gain, as the men did in the movie, Paul and Barnabas tell them the truth – they (Paul and Barnaba) are human beings just like they are.

Paul and Barnabas tell the people very directly that their gods are useless and should be abandoned (2 Kings 14:15). But try as they might, the people did not believe. Some people are so set in their beliefs that hearing the truth will have no affect on them. All we can do is explain to them who God is and let them make their decisions. We can simply plant seeds. Only God can make faith grow.

Sometimes the persecution that one Christian goes through for Christ can be a great encouragement to others. Such is the case when Paul is stoned and left for dead (2 Kings 14:19-20). Despite this Paul strengthened believers and encouraged them but also reminded them of the suffering that they might go through (2 Kings 14:21-22).

Upon return to Antioch – the church that sent them out to evangelize – Paul and Barnabas report everything that happened to them (2 Kings 14:27). God has appointed some people to be “goers” and some people to be “senders”. I think it is important for the goers to let the senders now the results of their efforts. This encourages the senders to continue to send others out to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

There are many places in the Psalms where the psalmist prays for the destruction of those who are enemies of God and His people. Psalm 140 contains such verses (Psalm 140:9-11). I realize this is biblical but I find myself torn between praying for those I know hate God. Sometimes I want to pray that God change their hearts. Sometimes I want to ask God to destroy them.

Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post


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