2 KINGS 6:1-7:20 | ACTS 15:36-16:15 | PSALM 142:1-7 | PROVERBS 17:24-25
Click on the link below to listen to an audio recording of this post:
Our reading continues with more accounts of the life and times of Elisha. This was one incredible man who, like his predecessor, Elijah, was indeed one of the great prophets of Israel. If he wasn’t healing a leprous man or multiplying a meal to feed a hundred, he was doing other amazing things like raising a child from the dead, or as in today’s passage, making an iron axehead to float in water and cause armies of men to become blinded.
This was one man I wouldn’t have wished to wrong, or rather, I would have wanted to be on his good side, for the powers that he had were indeed supernatural.
Next, there is a long account of a time of famine in Samaria which is so severe that the people have either become truly barbaric in killing and eating their own, or have lost their minds due to the severe hunger, as is evident in the manner in which one of the women approaches the king and speaks to him in deep despair. This leads the king of Israel to seek out Elisha with a view to do away with him, that is, to kill him, believing that the famine affected upon the land might be Elisha’s doing in the sense that Elisha might have cursed the people and/or the land.
This part is a little unclear to me, and yet, what is clear is what Elisha tells the king when he comes to him. Tomorrow at this time, says Elisha, there will be plenty of grain to buy and sell. Sure enough, through a most convoluted set of circumstances, it so happens that the neighboring Aramaens have deserted their own cities for fear that the armies of Israel would attack them. But although this did not come to pass, it served the purpose of allowing the people of Israel to enter and buy the flour for food to end their state of famine.
Turning now to our reading in the book of Acts, we find that after months, maybe even years of having worked together, there is a disagreement between Paul and Barnabas which leads to a parting of the ways. I imagine the parting was on good terms, but given their differing viewpoints, it was only best that they pursued what they believed to be good and right in their own eyes.
The disagreement, we are told, is concerning who they would take with them on their missionary travels overseas. And because they do not see eye to eye on choice of person or location, Barnabas heads out to Cyprus with Mark, while Paul heads out to Syria with Silas.
It is alright to part ways sometimes—all part of life and living! Only let it be done in love, not rancor.
Two more items of note from this passage: Paul receives a vision urging him to go preach to the people of Macedonia. We will see that he soon acts upon this. And during his travels through those regions, there is the account of the woman named Lydia who is evidently a successful businesswoman in town.
Here is yet another account surrounding a woman. Being moved by the message she hears Paul preaching, Lydia willfully chooses to become a believer herself. Like Lydia, there were many such individuals, I am sure, both noteworthy and not-so-noteworthy who would have the distinction of being called the earliest Christians.
Turning now to our psalm for the day, we find one that David, king of Israel, is said to have written while he was fleeing from his enemies, possibly Saul or even his son Absalom. In the darkness of a cave wherein he took refuge, David writes words that ring true even to this day:
3 When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.
Finally, a solitary verse from the book of Proverbs that is true in the wisdom it bears even today as it did in the day it was written by King Solomon:
25 A foolish son brings grief to his father
and bitterness to the mother who bore him.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.