~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
2 Kings 13:1-14:29 ~ Acts 18:23-19:12
Psalm 146:1-10 ~ Proverbs 18:2-3
Old Testament - Today we read about the passing of the prophet Elisha! I am bummed that our readings of Elijah and Elisha are now behind us. I don't know what it was about these 2 prophets, but I loved them. Sure, they were a bit rough and gruff at times, but also very tender. They'd send fire down from heaven to kill idolaters and bears from the trees to kill mockers, but then they'd care for widows. I'm wondering if in our lives today we should be a mix of rough & gruff at times, but also very tender? Should we be rough and gruff toward those that are idolaters and tender toward those who need God? I have to confess, I'm rarely rough and gruff toward anyone - well, okay, maybe myself! :) Let me know your thoughts in the Comments below if you think rough and gruff should be in our personality mix at all today? Before Elisha passes he does give one final prophecy to King Joash about beating the Arameans 3 times, just after 2 Kings 13 verses 16 & 17: "Then Elisha told the king of Israel to put his hand on the bow, and Elisha laid his own hands on the king's hands. Then he commanded, "Open that eastern window," and he opened it. Then he said, "Shoot!" So he did."
Then we read about Elisha's passing. Even once Elisha passes on, his bones still give life! I think this is simply because of the life-giving power of God whom Elisha represented during his life. It wasn't the bones themselves that gave life. It was God. Verses 20 & 21 tell us: "Then Elisha died and was buried. Groups of Moabite raiders used to invade the land each spring. Once when some Israelites were burying a man, they spied a band of these raiders. So they hastily threw the body they were burying into the tomb of Elisha. But as soon as the body touched Elisha's bones, the dead man revived and jumped to his feet!" Below is an image from a woodcut from the Nuremburg Bible, from the year 1483, of the recovery of the deadman who touched the bones of Elisha in today's readings:
In 2 Kings 14 today we read about King Amaziah of Judah. I'm not sure if you caught this - I barely did - but we read about the ancient city of Petra, which is located in modern day Jordan, in verse 7: "It was Amaziah who killed ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt. He also conquered Sela and changed its name to Joktheel, as it is called to this day." Sela/Joktheel is the same city as Petra. I'm curious of anyone reading this has visited the ruins of Petra in Jordan? Can you post up reviews in the Comments? Are they worth visiting? I have heard they are incredible! In fact, Bruce Feiler's book, Walking the Bible, has a wonderful chapter on Petra - I highly recommend this book! I hope to visit Petra someday. A map of where Petra is located in comparison to Amman, Jordan, and Jerusalem is below. Also, below are some images of the amazing ruins of buildings at Petra, some of which were carved into the rock!
New Testament - Today in our readings in Acts, we are introduced to Apollos! Apollos loved God, but initially he didn't fully understand that Jesus gave believers the gift of the Holy Spirit. Apollos understood repentance of sins very well - that was the "baptism of John (The Baptist)" that he preached. Repent from sins and be baptized was Apollos' message, without a strong teaching of the gift of the Holy Spirit after belief in Christ. Well, Priscilla and Acquila more fully explained the Gospel and then Paul introduced the Holy Spirit to believers who were initially taught by Apollos before he learned the full Gospel. A good overview of "Who was Apollos?" is at biblequestions.org at this link. I love that they say at this link, "Apollos was teachable." Inferring that you and I should be teachable too when it comes to our faith! Are you teachable? Or do you know it all? :)
Psalms - I love Psalm 146 verse 9 today - it reminds me of the prophets Elijah and Elisha again :) - "The LORD protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows." If God protects foreigners, orphans and widows, should we protect these folks in our communities as well? How in your life today are you caring for orphans and widows and foreigners? Below is Psalm 146 verses 5 through 10 in some another language (can anyone identify this language? I'm sure one of our readers can... :), but I think we'll get the point of this image with these 5 verses (re-read verses 5 through 10 again and meditate on this image for a moment):
Proverbs - Proverbs 18 verse 2 remind you of anyone you know? :) "Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions." I am sure each of us is probably thinking of someone else... but I think maybe each of us needs to reflect on this Proverb and ourselves as well... Do you literally listen twice as much as you talk? (hence two ears, once mouth) Do you truly listen to others to gain understanding of their point of view? Or are you quick to rush to air your own opinions? I know that personally I need to reflect on this one... Let us pray each of us has interest in understanding and not just in hearing ourselves talk talk talk! Let us listen!
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!