June 24

2 Kings 6:1–7:20

You may have noticed the diversity of miracles God accomplished through Elisha. We’re definitely learning that anything is possible with God. A floating axe head?  They were using it to build a home for the sons of the prophets. And then there’s way Elisha could hear what the king of Syria was plotting, not only in his “war room,” but even in his bedroom. In the New Testament this is called a “word of knowledge” (1 Corinthians 12:8). 

When the king of Syria finds out  that Elisha is the informant, he sends an army with horses and chariots to get him…and they surround the city of Dothan. No need to panic, Elisha not only has supernatural hearing, he has supernatural vision. He asks the Lord to open the eyes of his servant so that he could see that realm as well – and we read:

2 Kings 6:16–17 (NKJV) “So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

If we could see what going on in the invisible realm, we would see angels protecting us, even surrounding us. We would also see demons tracking and attacking, but the enemy is always outnumbered, right? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Elijah was taken up in a chariot of fire. Now Elisha is protected by horses and chariots of fire all around. I wonder if one day we’ll ride in one of these chariots of fire?

Elisha blinded the enemies, led them to Samaria, and then freed them to go back to Syria. You would figure Syria would back off, grateful for grace – but they just keep coming back. This time they send more troops and surround Samaria. The siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty pieces of silver, and a cup of dove’s dung sold for five pieces of silver. It breaks our heart to think that a mom would eat her son (that’s even hard to type).

That was the last straw for the king who blamed it on the LORD whose prophet (Elisha) had instructed him to wait on the LORD (2 Kings 6:33). In comes the king, with sackcloth on his body. Elisha informs him, it’s finally coming to an end. By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost only one piece of silver, and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost only one piece of silver.

One of the kings advisors doubted Elisha’s word and hence, would pay the price.

2 Kings 7:2 (NKJV) “So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, “Look, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” And he said, “In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”

Everything came to pass, just as Elisha had predicted. 

When we look at things from human only lenses we’ll have a hard time waiting on God, believing that God can rescue us, or do anything good in the struggles of life. But we must trust Him and always keep Him in the equation. The Syrian army was scared away and Israel (led by four lepers) feasted on the spoils. Our Creator is pretty creative isn’t He? Even in the way He delivers us He works with variety. We really can trust Him, and wait on Him…for as long as it takes.

Acts 15:36–16:15

Things were going well for a while, as gifts of prophecy, exhortation, and teaching were being exercised in the church, the brethren were being strengthened…but then the division took place (it can happen anywhere, even in a healthy church).

Paul wanted to visit the various churches they had planted on their first missionary journey – to see how the people were doing, but Barnabas wanted to bring Mark along. Mark was the young man who abandoned them the first time around so Paul said, “absolutely not!” The contention became so sharp that this dynamic duo of Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways.

Christians and theologians throughout the ages have discussed and debated as to who was right – I have a hunch they both were. Thank God Mark learned his lesson through the necessary discipline of Paul. And thank God for the grace and encouragement of uncle Barnabas. In the end, Paul found Mark to be useful for ministry (2 Timothy 4:11) and the Holy Spirit even inspired Mark to write the Gospel that bears his name.

Sandy Adams said, “This incident proves even apostles have problems. Egos, stubbornness, fiery tempers create broken fellowship; yet God used their divisiveness to double their efforts. Later we will learn that they mend their differences.”

O Lord, how I need to remember that the church belongs to You. Sometimes You add, and sometimes You multiply – You even allow certain subtractions, and aspects of division. Please build Your church in El Monte with Your marvelous math-work.

As Paul and Silas continue on, in what is usually referred to as the 2nd Missionary Journey, the Lord shows them a young man named Timothy who would prove to be Paul’s right-hand man for the rest of his life. Thank God for the Timothys in the church!

Warren Wiersbe said, “Timothy replaced John Mark and became a true son in the faith to Paul. God has the right person ready at the right time, so be patient.”

I’m inspired by the way the team just kept going. they tried to go north, but they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit. They tried to go south, and the Spirit did not permit them. The cool thing is, they weren’t discouraged; they just kept going, and it was then that the Lord made it clear through a vision Paul received. A man from Macedonia was pleading for help.

Warren Wiersbe said, “He was an Apostle, yet he did not always know the direction God wanted him to take. He took steps, God closed doors, so he waited; and then God showed him the way.”

Sandy Adams adds, “Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel, but it is the Spirit’s job to tell us where in the world to go.”

As they make that quantum leap to Macedonia, the Lord does such a beautiful work in Philippi, a place where there weren’t even ten Jewish men to start a Synagogue. There was however, a group of women who prayed each Sabbath, and the Lord would begin a work through them. I’ve learned over the years that ministries are birthed through prayer. And sure enough, the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to receive the Gospel, and God raised up a church in Philippi that turned out to be a big-time blessing to Paul.

The above map is from the website: thebiblejourney.org (link to map)

Psalm 142:1-7

Can you imagine living in a cave? That’s where David lived at the time of writing this Psalm, it’s a prayer when he was in the cave. He was on the run from King Saul and the army of Israel, when he’d done nothing wrong. So he prays.

He cried out. He made supplication. He poured out his complaint before the LORD. He made a declaration to God of all His troubles. It reminds me of what Peter wrote in:

1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV) “…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

David was going through it…he was overwhelmed (understandably so). The good thing is David knew that God knew all about it (Psalm 142:3) and God knew the path David should take (apparently for now, God wanted him to live in a cave).

Psalm 142:4 tells us that David had no one – other than God. He looked to the right, to the left, but no one acknowledged him, no one was willing to give him refuge, no one cared. Forgive me for saying it a million times, but you know the saying, “Sometimes we don’t realize God is all we need, until He’s all we have.”

David ends the Psalm, as he does almost every Psalm, on a high note. He knows God will answer his prayer and deliver him from his persecutors. He knows that God will set his soul free from this prison he’s in – that one day he’d be surrounded by the righteous…that God would deal bountifully with him. And God did, but David would be running for 13 years.

I hope we know the same is true for us. May we never give up, just look up, pray and do our best to obey. We’ll watch God work, even though it may take some quality quantity time.

Proverbs 17:24-25

V. 24 – Do I have wisdom in my sight? In the crosshairs? Or do I seek and treasure the world?

So much or our lives is determined by what we’re looking at, what we’re focused on. What do I view on my phone, on my computer, on the TV?

The eyes and mind of a fool wander everywhere, it means he has no power to concentrate on anything good.

God help us to have our eyes on Him and in His Word.

V. 25 – A lesson in life, a lesson for children, and lesson for parents. As parents, let’s do our best to raise our children in the ways of the LORD. Let’s not neglect our children. As children, let’s honor the Lord, and honor our parents, let’s live our lives by the wisdom of God’s Word.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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