~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
2 Kings 8:1-9:13 ~ Acts 16:16-40
Psalm 143:1-12 ~ Proverbs 17:26
Old Testament - Second Kings 8 begins with a wonderful example of God's "perfect timing." It was no coincidence that the king was talking with Gehazi about the time Elisha brought a boy back to life when the woman from Shunem walked in with her son! God knew that the Shumanite woman was faithful and obedient to Him, so He orchestrated the timing so that she would get her house and land back - after God perfectly timed her to be out of the country for 7 years to avoid the famine! Have you ever had the experience of God's "perfect timing" in your life? My hunch is that you have - even if you haven't realized it. I have had some experiences where I have consciously realized that God's perfect timing was at work - and sometimes I've quickly said the prayer under my breath of "thank you God!" But, I also now can look back on my life and now see so many instances of God's perfect timing. Hindsight is 20/20. When is the last time you experienced God's perfect timing? Think it could have been today - even if you don't realize it right now?
Elisha's interaction with Hazael demonstrates Elisha was certainly a prophet of God's! Elisha was not condoning what Hazael is going to violently do, but he was just stating the facts of what was going to happen. Verses 11 & 12 are sad to read - "Elisha stared at Hazael with a fixed gaze until Hazael became uneasy. Then the man of God started weeping. "What's the matter, my lord?" Hazael asked him. Elisha replied, "I know the terrible things you will do to the people of Israel. You will burn their fortified cities, kill their young men, dash their children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women!" Verse 13 is also sad because you will notice that Hazael doesn't get upset by the violent predictions in Elisha's proclamation, but only wonders how someone like him would pull of something like this... "Then Hazael replied, "How could a nobody like me ever accomplish such a great feat?"" Below is and image of Elisha and Hazael having this conversation:
I love Elisha's final instructions to the young prophet concerning his anointing of Jehu as King of Israel in 2 Kings 9 verse 3 - "Then open the door and run for your life!"" Not your typical instructions from a prophet, you wouldn't think - but if a prophet gives you instructions like these, you best follow them! :)
Bible.org's commentary on today's Second Kings readings titled "Looking Out for a Lovely Lady" is at this link, "What it Takes to Make a Prophet Weep" is at this link, and "Three Birds With One Stone" is at this link.
New Testament - Today in Acts 16 we will read about the earthquake that comes while Paul and Silas are imprisoned!
As a trembling jailer comes to Paul and Silas we will read this in verses 30 through 34 – “"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.” This is a wonderful look at how many of us become and grow as Christians! We first hear the Good News of how Jesus came to this earth fully human and fully God – how he lived a sinless life and died on the cross for our sins – and how he rose from the dead and will come again. Then, through God’s grace, we believe! We simply believe. From there we learn more about God from others and through studying his Word, the Bible – we can call this discipleship. Then comes a decision to be baptized – to publicly profess our faith in Jesus as our Savior. Then comes living a joyful life of community with others. Now – yes – this is a very abbreviated example of how one becomes and grows as a Christian. :) And our various denominations will probably put the order of how all this happens in various ways. But, can you see similarities in your own faith journey with the jailer’s conversion, baptism, and growth as a Christian? Do you remember first hearing the Good News of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection? Do you remember the day you first Believed? Do you remember learning more about the Word, the Bible? (hopefully you’ll remember this year’s One Year Bible journey! :) Do you remember being baptized (or maybe you’ll have photos or stories from your younger years)? Do you now joyfully live life in community with other Christians through your local church? If you haven’t yet experienced all of these things, will you pray to God asking him for the experiences He has planned for you? And, when others in your life come to you like the jailer, asking “What must I do to be saved?” are you prepared to give them the joyful answer?
Bible.org's commentary on today's Acts readings titled "Paul in Philippi: From the Purveyor of Purple to the Purveyor of Pain" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 143 verse 8 stood out to me today - "Let me hear of your unfailing love to me in the morning, for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk, for I have come to you in prayer." I read somewhere before - I think it was Bruce Wilkinson's book "Secrets of the Vine" - that many great men and women of our Christian faith connect with God in the morning through prayer, reading the Bible, and other quiet time activities. Bruce even suggested that this is the preferential way to go - to start your day by spending time with God in the morning, rather than at night. Because he said this would then transform the rest of your day - in terms of being more conscientious of our relationship with God. This does make sense to me - and in fact, I have started reading the One Year Bible now in the mornings, and it is a beautiful way to start the day! I like what this Psalmist says - "Let me hear of your unfailing love to me in the morning." And it reminds me that somehow, someway, it almost seems easier to me to connect with God in the morning. Actually - one other thing I used to do in the morning is read a page or two from Oswald Chambers "My Utmost For His Highest." And I am thankful that I did this in the morning for a season. How about you? Do you have some way that you connect with God in the morning? Are you able in some way to hear of God's unfailing love for you in the morning?
Proverbs - Proverbs 17:26 today is an interesting teaching: "It is wrong to fine the godly for being good or to punish nobles for being honest!" Why do you suppose this teaching is in the Bible? I'm thinking it is because unfortunately all too often the godly are fined or blamed or punished or ridiculed or this list could go on and on... Good becomes bad. And bad becomes good. Sound like any cultural times that you might know of? :) Let us pray these days that the godly are not punished for being good or being honest. Let us pray the godly are not punished for simply telling the Truth! And let each of us also always remember that when we undergo any sufferings for Jesus, there is Ultimate comfort & encouragement that does come our way...
Comments from you - What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!