Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SOAP Devotion: 2 Kings 8

go signIf you are a Christ-follower, you probably want to be obedient to what God wants you to do, right? Of course, we all struggle with that spirit-led desire to truly follow Christ and our flesh’s desire to do whatever it wants. But what about when God tells us to do something that doesn’t seem to make sense? What about when He asks us to leave everything we know behind and go somewhere else? How quick are we to obey…and what are the consequences?

Today’s Reading is 2 Kings 8

Scripture:  The woman acted at once and did as the man of God had said - she went with her household and stayed in the land of the P'lishtim for seven years. 2 Kings 8:2

Observation:  The woman acted at once and did what God told her to do, through His servant. There was no questioning, no negotiating, no arguing…she just did what she was supposed to do. Later, everything she left behind was restored to her.

ApplicationSometimes God asks us to do things that don’t make sense…although in the case of the woman in this passage, leaving the land where she was because a famine was on the horizon definitely makes sense. But she had to leave her home, lands, income – everything she had known.  And it sounds like God left it up to her where to go, as Elisha told her to “Move away, you and your household, and stay wherever you can”(v. 1). The directive was simply to leave the land, with her household, because of the coming famine.

What is our response to God when He asks us, or tells us, to do something radical? Do we immediately obey or do we try to argue with God? Or negotiate? Maybe make some bargains…you know, “God, if You change Your mind on this, I promise I will (or will never do ______ again)…” Do we just decide not to do what God says and keep on going, pretending that we never heard what God said?

The woman immediately obeyed. She left everything and stayed gone for the seven years of the famine. What happened when she returned? A divine encounter! She came to the king to make a claim on her house and land which she had left behind. It just so happened that the king had just asked Elisha’s servant to tell him of the great things Elisha had done, and the servant was telling him about the woman whose dead son was brought back to life. She was that woman! And the king appointed a special officer and told him:

"Restore everything that belongs to her, including the income her fields have produced from the day she left them until now."

Did you catch that? Not only did he restore her home and land, but all the income she had lost out on for seven years! I don’t know how much that is…I imagine it was quite a bit, as she was a  wealthy woman, but seven years’ income in a lump sum would be welcome in my home, that’s for sure!  And she went to the king to make a claim on what was rightfully hers…not to beg for it to be returned.

God knew what was best for her and her household. He told her to leave and she quickly obeyed. What if she hadn’t? What if she had dragged her feet? Delayed obedience is still disobedience. What blessings would she have missed out on by doing that? What blessings do we miss out on because we do not immediately obey?  If God has told us to go, and we stay, we have no right to complain about our circumstances. We had the chance to get out of the famine, but we chose to go our own way…and chose the consequences ourselves.  We can’t blame God for that.

We can’t let fear rule our decision making. Even when something doesn’t seem to make sense, we must remember that God knows our end from our beginning. He knows what is coming down the road, regardless of whether or not we can see it. We have to trust that He has our best interest at heart, that He knows what is best for us and our family, and that He would never ask us to leave something behind without already having made provision for its restoration…and then some…in the future. When we need it. At just the right time. And we don’t have to beg for it…

PrayerFather, you know what I am struggling with inside. I believe You have asked us to do something, and we have not done it. Partly out of fear, partly out of doubting our ability to hear You, but if we’re honest we’d probably say mostly because we just didn’t want to do it. There seems to be famine in the land, but we chose to stay in it. Forgive us for not quickly obeying! Help us overcome the fear and the willfulness of our own flesh. Help us to have confidence in our ability to hear You, so we can quickly obey without question. And Father, I thank You now for the provision You have ordained for us as we move forward in Your will.

(blogger won't let me put in the graphic for some reason!)

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