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July 4, Day 186 – Living in Very Turbulent Times


To this point in 2 Kings, we have seen the many miracles of Elijah and Elisha – depending on how one counts – at least twelve to fourteen for Elijah, and twice that number for Elisha because of his double portion of Elijah’s spirit. In 2 Kings 6:6, we see, for Elisha, numbers fourteen through eighteen – (miracle 14) Elisha makes an axhead float; in verse 9, (miracle 15) Elisha warns the king of Israel of the Syrian battle plans; in verse 17, (miracle 16) he opens the eyes of his servant to see “the hills full of horses and chariots of fire;” in verse 18, (miracle 17) he “strikes the Syrian army with blindness;” and in verse 20, (miracle 18) Elisha restores back the sight of the Syrians. In a demonstration of Old Testament love for one’s enemies, he also tells the king of Israel to “set food and water before them so they may eat and drink and go back to their master” (verses 20-23; cf., Leviticus 19:18; 2 Samuel 24:16-22). In chapter 6:24, we read about the conditions of extreme famine and its resultant, unspeakable cannibalism in Israel (verses 27-29). This horrendous “disaster is from the LORD” (verse 32), and it is a direct fulfillment of God’s judgment and punishment on Israel for its outright disobedience toward Him (cf., Deuteronomy 28:53-55). But overnight, God – through Elisha - miraculously takes Israel from the lack of famine to the luxury of feast (miracle 19). In chapter 7, (miracle 20) Elisha tells the doubting officer that “he will see the feast, but he would not eat any of it” (verse 2). Later, we see that this officer was “trampled to death by the people - just as the man of God had foretold” (verse 17) - after the end of the siege by the confused Aramean army who abandoned their camp (verses 5-7, and miracle 21). Our section for today ends with the Shunammite’s land restored, and Elisha’s prophecy about Hazael’s murder of Ben-Hadad (miracle 22). We certainly see how these were very turbulent times in Israel.

Proverbs 16:8-17 addresses several topics - righteousness, planning, justice, honesty, wisdom, and avoiding evil, and all are important for the Christian life. Two of these topics speak immediately to me. [1] Planning according to the will of God (verse 9); and [2] acquiring wisdom which is better than gold (verse 16). Because the times are turbulent, Proverbs advises us to chart our life’s course – in fact, I would suggest that we chart our course daily – based on what is important to God. If we would only subordinate our own wills to His will, we would receive God’s divine, personal approval, experience His favor, and find both biblical success and spiritual prosperity in the end.


In Acts 22:22-23:11, we see how God preserved Paul’s life, even when the crowd calls out, “rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!” (22:22). What incredible hatred! I appreciate the commander’s response when he learns that Paul is a Roman citizen – "alarm" – when "he realized that he had put Paul in chains” (verses 27-30). Also, I found it especially interesting how Paul cleverly exploited the division between the two factions – the “Pharisees and the Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection)” at his trial in Acts 23:6-9. We see the commander’s commitment to righteousness when he removed Paul to a place of safety (verse 10-11). It must have truly encouraged and inspired Paul to hear the voice of the Lord Jesus when He said, “You must also testify in Rome” (verse 11). In the Roman Empire, Paul also lived in very turbulent times … if fact, I think we are living in very turbulent times.

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