Friday, April 30, 2010

I Chronicles Chapters 17-19

17:12 - *SPOILER ALERT* Who says Jesus isn't in the OT? That is what this prophecy is all about. This prophecy given directly to Nathan for David is a revelation of God's ultimate plan. He will bring a man (Jesus) out of David's line (Through Mary) and he will be a son to God - sound familiar? Another proof that God has always had a plan for the salvation of the entire universe.

17:21 - I love David's humility and his understanding that all the blessings of Israel have come from God, but there is one thing he fails to understand fully. Yes, God specifically chooses the Israelites to be His people, but He raises them up as a priest nation so that all nations will be drawn to the awe inspiring name of God.

18:11 - David routinely gives the first and best of the spoils he acquires in victory directly to God. He understands that every good thing he has is from God anyway. This is something I think we often forget (I know I do). I act as if my own giftedness has allowed me to find success in life, and having an arrogant attitude like that makes it harder for me to be generous. Generosity comes easy to David because he has a healthy understanding of being humble before God.

19:13 - I really love this speech from Joab. He wants to use strength for the greater good and for the sake of God's name. That is truly the only appropriate way to use strength. Think about the evil and suffering that ensues when people try to use their strength to conquer and oppress simply to bring honor and victory to themselves. How different would the world be if men and women made a concerted effort to use their strength only to honor God and hep people?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Chronicles Chapters 14-16

14:10 - David is the embodiment of faithful leadership. He fully understands that there are no victories without God. He will do nothing without consulting God first. He has a focus that is often lacking in my own life.

14:14-15 - Again we see that David seeks God's face before making any decisions. Instead of relying on his own wisdom, he seeks God's will and God's plan. He prays to God and God goes out before Him...God lays the groundwork and foundation for what David is able to accomplish. This is how we must view our own lives. Am I praying each morning that God will go out before me and prepare events for me to enter into His will?

15:2 and 13 - David learned his lesson and brings the Ark back to Jerusalem by showing the utmost respect for the sacred object and following God;s guidelines for its transportation. He understands now that it was his failure to instruct the priests to carry the Ark that brought down God's wrath. He is a leading who is willing to admit his mistakes and learn from them.

15:29 - Why does Michal despise him? I believe that she sees David worshipping the Lord with total abandon and she is jealous. She does not have that kind of intimate relationship with God...she does not have that kind of faith and it makes her hate her husband. I have seen people belittle and mock others who had bold faith and I believe they do it because they are often uncomfortable with their own lack of life-changing faith. She is the daughter of Saul and carries his unfaithfulness, and because of her hatred of David, she is left barren and the kingly line of Saul completely dies out.

16:23,24 and 35 - The natural response of worshipping our awesome God is to make His name great in the world. We are saved for worship and mission...David understood this and we need to as well.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Chronicles Chapters 11-13

11:2 - Leadership is not about the title you have, it is about setting an example for people to follow...about living a life that people want to emulate. Even when David was a fugitive, the people of Israel consider him to be their leader. That is powerful.

11:14 - The Chronicler wants to make it clear that the Lord is the victory in the conquests of the mighty men. They are men of valor and strength, but most importantly they are men of faith. They are able to accomplish the things they do because they trust God. Pretty good lesson for us to remember.

11:19 - I always find this very interesting. The men were willing to give their lives to get David a drink of water from his hometown (Shows that he was able to inspire incredible loyalty in his men). Yet, when they bring him the water he instantly pours it out as an offering to God. He doesn't believe that he is worthy of such devotion and honor and understands that true loyalty belongs to God - the one and only True King of the Israelites.

12:2 - Interesting note - there are only 23 ambidextrous archer/slingers mentioned here. They must have been really incredible and specialized to be mentioned so prominently. These men must have really been able to turn the tide of a battle. It is also important to note that they are related to Saul, yet they have given themselves into David's service. Once again, we see the impact of the incredible leadership of David.

12:18 - The Spirit of the Lord that dwells within us thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, is still very active before the cross. When we see the Spirit of God move in the OT, we see Him come upon people for short periods of time. Here the Spirit allows Amasai to give a prophetic speech about David. Those who are loyal to David and his descendants will be blessed by God.

13:9 - Always a hard passage to understand (We see that even David is distraught and confused by what happens), we need to see that the blame actually falls on David's leadership. The people are so caught up int he euphoria of their victory and bringing the Ark of the Lord back, that they fail to treat the Ark with the respect that it is due as the most sacred object of God. They believe that God's presence was represented by the Ark, yet instead of having it carried by priests, they throw it on top of a cart for everyone to see. The Ark was only shown tot he people once a year, and yet they have it on display and the people become familiar with it. So familiar, that Uzzah believes he can tough the Ark even though that goes against Israelite law. His death is a harsh reminder to the Israelite people and David, about the holiness of the Lord.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Chronicles Chapters 8-10

9:20 - Phineas stands out because he is specifically cited as a man who the Lord was with. This is a reference to the Phineas from Numbers Chapter 25 who had great zeal for the Lord. When people were desecrating God's house, he ran them through with a spear and saved the Israelite people from utter destruction at God's hands. He was a man who guarded the house of the Lord and the gatekeepers in this passage are men that follow in his footsteps. Zeal for the name of the Lord - that's also known as a lifestyle of worship.

9:35ff - Why is the genealogy of Saul repeated (Also in I Chronicles 8:29ff)? Well for one, it is a literary device to bring the readers back into focus as the Chronicler is about talk about the death of Saul. Secondly, the Chronicler wants to make it very clear that there were non-Hebrew people in Saul's line. This may explain why Saul was so frequently willing to turn away from God and worship other idols...but it also shows us that God is willing to use people of any background to do His will. God's heart for all nations will be a theme that pops up pretty frequently in I Chronicles.

10:14 - The writer of I Chronicles makes it very clear - Saul died because he failed to understand that the one and only true ruler of Israel and the world is God. He rejected the authority of God and so he was removed by God. Only destruction comes when we choose to worship ourselves over God in life.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I Chronicles Chapters 4-7

* My suggestion for how to get through passages like these and stay focused, is to make it an investigation. Look for something that is different...look for something that stands out, that breaks the pattern. There is a reason for everything the Biblical authors did and changes in structure will clue us in to important events.

4:10 - A best-selling book was created based solely on this verse right here. The prayer of Jabez. The author said that coming across this verse was like finding an oasis in a desert of names. I find it interesting that the prayer of Jabez sounds pretty selfish when you read it. He is saying, give me more land, protect me, etc. But God grants his request, so there has to be motivation there that is larger than selfishness. For one, Jabez is approaching the situation from a place of humility...he knows he can do nothing on his own and throws himself on the provision of God. For another, if he is asking for God's hand to be with him and fro his borders o increase, maybe his heart motivation if for God's name to be made great in the world. I don't think it is wrong for us to make requests of God, I just think we all have to have the right motivations - expanding God's kingdom and honoring His name.

5:25-26 - Another break in the endless list of names, but this one is not as heartwarming as that of Jabez' prayer. It says that the people of Manasseh have whored themselves after the false gods of peoples who have already been crushed by their own true God. It doesn't really make sense. What is motivating them to reject a real God for the false ones? Maybe they just want to fit in with the people around them. Maybe they just want an excuse for living free of any moral restrictions. Whatever it is, thy make an insane choice. How many people in our culture do the exact same thing? How many times do we have to see how horribly the false gods of alcohol, drugs, sex outside of marriage, materialism, self-service, etc...lead people down a path of destruction and depression? How many times? At the end of this passage, we see another example of God's control over all of creation. He stirs up the heart of the pagan king, who then chooses to follow God's urgings and attacks the rebellious Israelites.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Chronicles Chapters 1-3

Sidenote 1: To start off the book of Chronicles, we need to understand that the Israelites are in the Babylonian exile. They are broken, lost, confused, hopeless, etc. They need to gain an understanding of who they are...they need to see a clear picture of what is doing through them and that is exactly what the Chronicler provides at the beginning of I Chronicles.

Sidenote 2: I think it is really cool that the Chronicler lays out the history of man and the Israelite people from Adam to present day (Present day for him anyway). It shows again God's heart for all people's, because we all start in the same place. For those who are wondering, if you take a biblically perspective on the age of the earth, it comes in at around 6,000 years old. The interesting thing is that 2,000 years of human history were lived before Abram's covenant and the commandments of God to the Israelites. 2,000 years were lived which Jewish scriptures being the sole revelation from God. And now a around 2,000 years have been lived in the era of the Messiah (Jesus') return. I thought that was pretty cool.

2:7 - Poor Achan - what a legacy he left for himself. He tried to hold back a portion of the wealth that had been devoted to God, and He paid a steep price for it. He is forever infamous for his selfishness. We should all live, not in fear of our legacy, but with an understanding that we want to leave behind a legacy that honors God...not one that dishonors His name.

3:5 - F.Y.I. - Bath-shua is an alternative spelling of Bathsheba...just wanted to clear that up.

Monday, April 19, 2010

II Kings Chapters 24-25

24:4 - To answer Matt's question in his comment, I don't think this is a statement about God's unwillingness to forgive as it is about His people's unwillingness to repent and turn away from their rebellion.

24:20 - As we have seen throughout the Old Testament, God's grace is huge, but He is also a righteous judge and He is willing to bring punishment upon His people. With no punishment of their rebellion, there is really no hope of their turning back to Him. He has given them chances over and over and is now allowing them to reap the harvest of what they have sown - destruction.

25:9 - When God has to discipline His people, His own named is trampled. His people broke the covenant and rejected Him, but it is His temple and His Holy Name that is cursed and destroyed by the pagan armies. God is humiliated in the minds of their enemies, because of the actions of His people. I want to live my life in such a manner to bring glory to the name of the Lord.

25:20 - The priesthood is slaughtered. The Babylonians believe this is the way to wipe a religion off the face of the earth...but this is no religion - it is reality. God exists and cannot be overcome because His priests are killed or His temple destroyed. He is the creator God of the universe and working out His plan in the midst of the corruption of His people.

Friday, April 16, 2010

2 Kings Chapters 21-23

21:9 - It is heartbreaking ho often this has happened in the history of God and His people. When God followers end up rejecting God and going their own way, they often end up doing more damage than the non-believers could....and they do it in the name of God.

21:2/20 and 22:1-2 - It keeps jumping out at me over and over as I read these chapters - people make their own choices. I'm sure none of these kings were ideal fathers as they were trying to run the kingdom, but good kings are followed by evil children...evil kings are followed by good children - there is no clear pattern. One of the scariest parts of raising children is that everyone in the end is responsible for their own choices. All I can do is try to show my children what it looks like to follow God and pray that they will answer His beckoning into His kingdom.

22:11 - I have been reading chapter after chapter wondering - why do these idiots keep turning away from God? Can't they see where it leads? Bu there is a reason the have allowed themselves to become so twisted...they don't remember who they are. They have lost their story. They have not been paying attention to the Law...they have forgotten their covenant. When we lose our story we lose our souls.

22:19 - There is always hope of redemption when people thrown themselves humbly before God.

23:3 - Josiah renews the covenant that has been abandoned for generations. He reclaims the story...and with it he regains a measure f hope for the people of Israel.

23:22 - After hundreds of years o slavery n Egypt, God heard the cries f the people who had rejected Him and He saved them. He bought them out of slavery and Egypt. They have completely forgotten what He has done for them. Thy have forgotten that they are God's people. Today we are just as susceptible to turn away from God when we do not make sure we remember who we are and what Gd has done for us.

23:25 - Wow - what a legacy. He is the greatest king is the history of Israel! Beyond David - Beyond Solomon...none was ever like Josiah. And we have to see clearly that his legacy was not based on military was not based on was not based on wisdom or beautiful poetry...Josiah can claim the title of greatest king because he loved Gd with his while heart.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

II Kings Chapters 18-20

18:3-4 - FINALLY! YES! WHOOPEE! A king who actually rules with the heart of King David. A man who loves God and is willing to cleanse the country of idols! He is the first king since David ruled to proactively seek out idol worship in the country and destroy it.

18:6 - Ever wonder what your life should look like? Ever wonder how you can seek God's will? Well, you could follow this example. He held fast - he constantly sought to put himself in the presence of his Creator God - he fought with everything he had to hold on to the Lord and His commands. That is a great example of what living truly looks like.

18:32-33 - The Assyrian leader taunts the people of Israel and mocks God (Not a good idea in general). He wonders out loud to the Israelites, "Where were all the gods of the other nations I destroyed?" What he didn't understand was that those God's weren't real and this one was and is. What he also didn't understand was that every victory he had ever had, had been granted to him by the one and only God of the universe. Kinda crazy to be taunting the God who has given you everything you think your earned for yourself.

19:15/19 - I love this. Hezekiah turns to God and we see that he had a really good understanding about what is going on. He probably better than any king who has come before him sees the big picture. This whole situation is not about Israel's victory or is about God's name being is about God's name being glorified throughout the earth. Do you live your life with this reality in mind? Do you weigh your actions, words and decisions on a scale of whether or not they bring glory to the Name of the Most High God?

19:25-26 - Again we see that God is concerned about the entire world. He is the God of all people...He uses the kingdoms and powers from all over the world to bring about His will.

19:37 - And Sennacherib finds out exactly how powerful his own god is doesn't he? He is slaughtered in the temple of his false god Nisroch by his own son.

20:10 - We know that Hezekiah is a man of God, yet he is still flawed. After all he has seen God do, he still has his doubts. God makes the sun reverse itself to quell his fears (Or maybe he just bends the laws of nature and makes the shadow move, so as not to throw all of creation into chaos - either way...its awesome!).

20:13 - Uh oh - we are seeing more chinks in the armor of Hezekiah's character. In his arrogance, he proudly takes the Babylonian emissaries around his city and shows them all its wealth. He pride has blinded him. He has just set up Judah for future destruction at the hands of the Babylonians.

20:19 - Oh man, this is not a strong ending to a great life. How self-centered is his reaction? He is just happy that there was peace during his lifetime...he doesn't really mind that his sons and the people of Israel are going to be enslaved. Christians need to finish strong in their lives...they need to never allow themselves to settle and always push to become more and more like Christ. Older Christians should be the most wise, humble, gracious people around...because they have had more time to be shaped by the redeeming love of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

II Kings Chapters 15-17

15:1-5 - Azariah started ruling when he was 16 and was able to do what was right in the eyes of the Lord...that's a great challenge to Christian teenagers to know their beliefs and where they stand. Unfortunately, he didn't allow his beliefs to spur him into action...he didn't remove the idols from Judah.

15:10/14/25/30 - We see the beginning of the end for the Kingdom of Israel (The end of this stage of their existence that is). Chaos - conspiracies - in fighting - murder - assassinations...over and over. They are a godless nation and they look like it. They rule by the standards of the world...the rulers seek only power and glory for themselves and ignore the greater good of the country and their relationship with God (That doesn't sound at all like the path it seems our American political system is headed down...oh wait).

15:7 - On an interesting side note...the death of Azariah/Uzziah is about the time that Isiah is called to become a prophet of God. When we get to the book of Isaiah, you will see him challenging the kings described in the next few chapters and prophesying about the destruction of Israel and Judah.

16:3ff - This could be a description of child sacrifice, or it could be a ceremony where they passed their infant children quickly through fire to offer them fully to the false god. Either way it is vile. Either they are sacrificing the life of the child, or they are promising to raise the child up as a follower of a false god. Sick! Christian parents today have to be very wary of whether or not they are offering their children up to the idols of this world, by pressuring them to offer their lives fully to things that are inconsequential in the big scheme of things.

16:7 - Instead of trusting God, Ahaz puts his trust in worldly power. He does not seek God, he seeks the help of a pagan ruler. Isaiah routinely calls out Ahaz for his lack of trust in God. Do you ever have the same problem? I know I do. Turning to myself or human strength instead of the limitless resources and strength of God.

16:10-20 - This does not necessarily mean that Ahaz turned the temple into a place of pagan worship (The high priest Uriah assists in the remodeling), but he does allow pagan values to be the driving force behind the renovations. Another king has a bigger, better altar, so Ahaz wants one for God. Other kings have personal areas where they alone can worship their gods, so Ahaz wants one for himself. His view of God is so small and disrespectful. God loves the people of Israel because He chose them, not because they built Him a beautiful temple. The worship of Israel is twisted by worldly values of wealth and power and we constantly see the same kind of thing in churches in America.

17:6ff - Israel is overrun and the people of God are exiled, just like the prophesies said. Over and over, God sent judges and prophets to call the people back to Himself, but they chose to reject Him.

17:15/17 - They consistently turn from God and become like everyone else around them. They call themselves followers of God, but look exactly like the people from the pagan cultures around them (Always a problem with Western Christians like myself). Heartbreakingly, their depravity is constant and colossal!

17:24 - Israel is repopulated with people from other cultures that bring their own false idols into Israel and try to create a universal religion where all the gods are covered, to make everybody happy. God doesn't look to kindly on this.

17:33/41 - I was reading this and thought, "This could be a description of the out "Christian Nation." The people say they fear God, but they don't change anything about the way they live their lives. They say they believe in God, but they continue to follow idols that go against everything God has called people to stand for.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

II Kings Chapters 12-14

12:2 -'s one of the few kings with a positive description. We should really soak this in (Although he still doesn't take the bold steps to remove the idolatry of the high places - kinda like a nice Christian kid who doesn't stand up for people getting picked on because he doesn't want to bring the wrath of the crowd on himself...good kid - just controlled by fear).

12:6 - Joash tries to get the priest to use some of their share of the offering money to repair the temple, but years go by and they don't do anything. The newness of the temple has worn off and the priests aren't as motivated to fix it up. His plan fails, so the king starts to think outside the box (And creates the first Israelite offering box!).

12:9 - Offering boxes - YAY! The plan works...when the box is full of offerings, they take the money and give it to repairmen to fix up the temple. Now the lazy priests don't have to pay for the repairs or fix it themselves...they should be happy. But there is some fallout - the offering boxes take one of the priestly duties away from them (receiving offerings from people) and the priests become less important in the religious process. They don't like that.

12:18ff - Joash takes the sacred objects from the temple and gives them to Syria as a payoff. It keeps the Syrians at bay, but also widens the gap between Joash and the priesthood. Trouble is a brewin'!

12:20 - 2 Chronicles 24 tells us a little more about why Joash is assassinated. Jehoiada, the priest who trained Joash in the ways of faith, dies and his son becomes the next high priest. The son starts getting in people's faces with his teachings and Joash has him killed! That is the final straw between the king and the priests and somebody hires a couple of foreign assassins to kill the king. His rule started out so well, and ends with this...sad.

13:2-6 - Here we go again! Jehoahaz is evil (shocking!). Even after he begs the Lord for help and gets it, he again turns away and not only sins himself, but leads his people into a period of prolific sinning (To understand how God feels about leaders like this check out Romans 1:32). How do we do it? How do we as human beings justify our unrighteous actions when again and again we have seen the faithfulness of God? How do I do it?

13:11 - Deja Vu all over again.

13:14 - I cracks me up (not really, though) that people who reject God always come running back when everything is falling apart. Joash comes crying to Elisha, who is on his death bed, about the destruction of the Israelite army.

13:21 - Elisha's ministry begins in death when the bears maul the young men who doubted his prophetic position, and his ministry ends with life giving power beyond the grave. If those bookends aren't proof that that he was God's priest, I don't know what it. P.S. - they ought to make the next Indianan Jones movie about trying to find the bones of Elisha that have life giving power.

13:23 - This is so comforting...God remains faithful even when His people are not.

14:3 - Yay! Not a man after God's heart like David, but not evil either! We gotta take what we can get with these guys. But we will see shortly that he is still pretty stupid.

14:8 - Amaziah starts feelings pretty good about the victories that God has been giving him, so he decides to take on big brother. When he tells Joash that he wants to meet face to face, it's kinda like saying, "Let's take this outside - your army against mine." I know it seems like it comes out of the blue, but he most likely wants to fight because of border disputes (Some of which will be explained better through the Chronicles).

14:9 - I always love ancient smack talk.Joash actually tries to talk Amaziah out of the fight. He says, "Hey thistle-boy...if you try to comes mess with the cedars, you are gonna get crushed." Which is the ancient version of, "If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch."

14:11 - Amaziah pushes ahead with the war and get humiliated totally. Joash defeats him, captures him, drags him to his own capital and makes him watch as they pillage the entire city. I don't think things turned out like Amaziah expected them to!

14:19-20 - The people never forgive him for the humiliation at the hands of the Israelites and even when he runs away, they track him down and kill him. On a kinder note, they do bring his body back to Judah to be buried with honor. I think I'd take the living over the honored burial, but you gotta find the silver lining.

14:21 - I know this all seems out of order, but what this verse implies is that while Amaziah was still alive, he was replaced as king by his 16 year old son. Talk about a humbling experience. We are not sure why, but maybe he was still being held captive by Joash. Amaziah never again regains the respect of the people. His entire story serves as a powerful illustration for leaders of any kind. Even leaders with great beginnings and great potential can come crashing down to earth bringing to people they lead with them, if they don't live honorably and listen to voices of wisdom around them. Both kings in today's reading who were described as good rulers, had their reigns ended with assassination because they alienated the people they led.

Friday, April 2, 2010

II Kings Chapters 9-11

9:3 - Why are they told to flee immediately? Because there is already a king ruling Israel (Joram). It's dangerous work to be anointing kings on top of other kings. Remember what Saul did to the priests that helped David, when David was a king on the run? (He slaughtered them) So these guys anoint and run.

9:11 - Again we see how tenuous the situation is. Jehu doesn't even feel that he can share his new found kingship with his fellow soldiers, because he doesn't know how they are going to react. He tells them, "Oh you know...he said a little this...said a little that...prophet stuff." The other men don't accept his answer and so he tells them the truth. God has anointed him the king, so everything works out for Jehu.

9:22 - I love his answer to their question of his intentions. He tells them that there can be no pace in Israel when thy continue to prostitute themselves to false gods. They are waging war against the Most High God and their hope for peace is an impossibility. Kinda like people who cannot find personal peace with Gd who have not yet quelled their own rebellion against His will.

9:24 - That verse is just cool - Jehu is one bad dude!

9:26 - I like that Jehu, the military man, has all of Elijah's prophecies memorized. He immediately knows what he must do to partner with Go in bringing the prophecy to life.

9:32 - I find it interesting that throughout this story, Jehu never tries to use deception to get the advantage. They always ask if he has come to make peace, and he always shoots straight. He doesn't even acknowledge Jezebel here, he simply asks fr faithful servants of God and those men step up and promptly throw her out the window. Jehu knows what God has called him to do and h is unrelenting and aggressive in his pursuit of God's will.

9:36 - The prophecy of Jezebel is fulfilled. Her legacy of rebellion and idol worship that has led multiple generations of Israelite people away from God has finally caught up to her. She is thrown from a window, trampled by horses and eaten by dogs.

10:9-10 - Jehu makes sure that the people understand that they are not guilty of rebellion against God's anointed king. Joram was not God's king. Jehu is the anointed king. Everything that has happened is God's will. Jehu says that not a single word from the Lord will fall to the ground unfulfilled.

10:16ff - Great leadership! He calls on the people to follow him and witness his passion for the Name of the Lord. Jehu is willing to go to any extreme to bring honor to God's Name. There is a fine line between zeal and arrogance, but we need more Christians who are willing to live passionately to bring honor to the name of God.

10:27 - They make the house of Baal into a toilet. The men of Israel finally give the false god Baal an offering that s worthy of his name - excrement.

10:31 - NOOOOOOOOOO! After all of that passion and zeal for the Name of the Lord...after calling people to follow him and act immediately to purge the country of idol worship...Jehu turns away from God! You can see this happen all the time. A God follower sets up the sins of others as more vile than any of his own and focuses so much on other peoples' sin that he doesn't see the hidden sin in his own life slowly destroying him. Heartbreaking.

11:1 - That is one opportunistic lady - she sees the power vacuum and kills all her own kin to take power as the first sole ruling queen in Judah. Very grandmotherly behavior, huh?

11:17ff - They renewed the covenant with God, offered themselves completely to His will and immediately took steps to remove the unrighteousness from there lives. Sounds like the picture of repentance to me.

11:20 - All the people were quiet at the death of Athaliah - meaning they were happy to see her go...there was no weeping in the country for her.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

II Kings Chapters 6-8

6:5-6 - This seems like such a random miracle. Floating ax heads? What is that all about? Well, verse 5 makes it very clear that the ax was borrowed (begging is implied)...the prophet is distraught because he has begged a firend to loan him an ax and the he accidentally threw it int he river. The fact that God miraculously makes the ax head float so that they can retrieve it, shows us how much God cares about integrity even in the little things. God cares that we do what we say we are going to do. God cares that we respect others and follow through on the little things of life.

6:22 - Elisha is following the wisdom of Solomon from Proverbs 25:21-22 in his treatment of the Syrians. The king wants to slaughter them all, but Elisha (who gets the final word because he is the capturing general) orders for the prisoners to be given food and water. The act of mercy brings peace tot he border wars instead of continuing the cycle of violence. Novel idea that loving your enemies thing.

6:28-30 - Talk about tragic and disgusting! Eating their own children! The part that truly diguisted me was that the woman complains to the king, not out of pain from eating her child, but because the other woman won't give up her baby to eat! She shows no remorse for cooking and eating her own child and only cares for her own survival. That is the epitome of what it means to be inhuman. That kind of blindign selfishness is what brings evil t the world on so many differnt levels. How different would the world be if we had the guts to truly put others before ourselves?

7:9 - I found the predicament of the lepers pretty interesting. They were caught between a rock and a hard place. Lepers, as we have already read, were forced to live outside of the general population of Israelite cities. So these men are trapped outside the city, between two armies. In desperation, they decide to try to find mercy from the Syrians, but instead they find an empty campground full of food! They are some of the more honorable men in the story, because they choose to inform the people who have rejected them that the Syrians are gone and food is plentiful. Pretty caring and non-vindictive, huh?

8:11-12 - Why does Elisha just sit there and weep? Why doesn't he just kill the guy who is going to do that to the Israelites? Because he is willing to accept the will of God even when it is hard. He knows that God will use this man to bring judgement upon the rebellious people of Israel, but he also knows that they need to be brought to their knees so that they will turn back to God. As hard as it is, there are times when we have to accpet that God's will is sometimes painful and trust that He is doing what is best for His people.