Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The world and its desires pass away, but the man (and woman) who do the will of God lives forever.”
1 John 2: 17, N.IV.
“Save me, for I am Yours;
I have sought out Your precepts.”
Psalm 119: 94, N.I.V.
“There is no stay so strong as an unreserved abandonment of self into God’s hand.”
H. L. Sidney Lear
Today’s Study Text:
“Then, the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, ‘In such and such a place shall be my camp.’ And the man of God (Elisha) sent unto the king of Israel, saying, ‘Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.’ And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice. Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, ‘We ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?’ and one of his servants said, ‘None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.’”
II Kings 6: 8-12, K.J.V.
“Our Father Knows You and Me!”
“Destiny waits in the hand of God; not in the hands of statesmen.”
T. S. Eliot
Is there an event in my life where it has appeared that evil individuals were conniving to triumph over me and God intervened in ways that I could never have imagined?
How did God work on my behalf?
“No masses of earth can block (God’s) vision as He looks over all. With one glance of His intelligence, He sees all that has been, that is, and that is to come.”
“Nothing is too little to be ordered by our Father; nothing too little in which to see His hand; nothing which touches our souls too little to accept from Him; nothing too little to be done to Him.”
Today we begin a series of studies that I have been preparing and studying for during the past twelve months. It is my prayer that with my inadequate words, I will, with God’s help, be able to share with you the tremendous encouragement which I have gained from the passages we will be studying in the comings days – II Kings 6: 8-23.
At this time in the history of planet earth, when our entire world is paralyzed by fear and despair; where we face global poverty of such monumental heights that it appears we cannot sustain things the way they are now; and in a world torn apart by one unbelievably cruel turmoil after another – an experience, such as the one shared in II Kings 6, provides us with critical evidence that just when we think we can’t go on for we fear we face complete destruction, it is at this time when God steps in to remind us that as J. Charles Stern so correctly notes, “There is nothing round the corner which is beyond God’s view.” All I can add to this true statement is my own prayer, “Thank you, Lord!”
As we begin our study today, the king of Syria had made plans to attack the country of Israel. I have to tell you, our own current events mirror so much of what we are studying you’d think the Bible was written yesterday. With his army primed and ready, Syria’s king thought he had it all together.
But then to his utter dismay, somehow he found out that the plans he had devised had been leaked to the Israelites. I really like the way Dale Ralph Davis narrates this story:
“The king of (Syria) would plan his strategy but Israel seemed wise to it – repeatedly so. When an enemy regularly eludes your schemes and ambushes, one can’t help but become suspicious. There must be a mole, a traitor, in the inner circle who is supplying military leaks to Israel. One day at a council of war the king’s frustration explodes, ‘Will you not tell me who among us is for the king of Israel?’ Only then do his underlings tell him what they seem to have known all along”
What really interests me about this particular story is the point in time when the king asks his staff if they happen to have some idea who is doing the leaking. What I find a bit ironic is that if we compare the king’s servants to the servant’s of Naaman, who advised their master to use good sense and honor the request of Elisha to take seven dips in the Jordan River as a cure for his leprosy, we might suggest the Syrian king needed to get some new information specialists. Of course, the king did have the power to lop off the head of anyone who got him irritated and this leads me to think of the words expressed by Lord Chesterfield who wrote, “advice is seldom welcome and those who want it most always like it the least.” For all we know, the king of Syria may not have been one who had exhibited a history of appreciation when being counseled in times past and so those who were around him learned quickly to keep their mouths shut unless asked. After repeatedly walking into a situation where the king knew for certain someone had tipped off the Israelites about an impending Syrian invasion, he had enough. He wanted names – and now. And indeed, he got what he asked for because those around him had been carrying a big secret. As one servant told the king, “Elisha, the man of God, knows what goes on, even in your own bedroom.” Apparently, Elisha’s reputation was not hindered in the least by geographic borders. Common knowledge and general gossip carried the fact that this man of God, had his heavenly Father’s hands upon him in everything he did.
It is this truth that God knows everything about you and about me and that He has His hand of love upon us that should give us immense strength today, no matter the battle we face or the challenge which seemingly overwhelms us. One of my favorite Christian pastors and authors, A.W. Tozer expresses this thought so much more effectively than I could when he shares this tremendous concept: “How unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us; no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us.”
I don’t know that the servant in the court of the Syrian king who spoke up and said, “Hey king, your guy is Elisha, that Israelite prophet,” completely understood the greatness of the God of heaven and earth, but I’ll tell you, he got very close when he said, “O king, Elisha knows the words you speak in your bedchamber” (II Kings 6: 12, K.J.V.). That’s some kind of God, for as David told his son Solomon, “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts” (I Chronicles 28: 9, K.J.V.). Seems David knew exactly what he was talking about for he found out, when God’s prophet Nathan paid him a visit and informed him that the illicit affair he chose to get involved in, with one of his finest soldier’s wife, had not gone unnoticed by God who sees and hears all.
As I read this account regarding the intimate knowledge my heavenly Father has of my life, I thought it wise to read again the words of David, recorded in Psalm 139: 1-6, for it is the awareness of my Father’s personal interest in the most minute details of your life and mine which should give us the courage and fortitude to face each day:
“O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue but, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether. Thou has beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”
Psalm 139: 1-6, K.J.V.
“Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy holy Name, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Book of Common Prayer
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. During the coming weeks, gifts which are sent to Transformation Garden will help us honor requests for God’s Word, as shared through our bookmarks, with God’s children in India, Russia, Pakistan, Australia and here in the United States in women’s prisons and for Domestic Abuse Shelters. I thank you so much for the gifts you have chosen to send – Praise God! Your generosity is helping us share God’s Word in countries where the bookmarks are accepted as beautiful artwork but they carry the message of God’s saving grace. Thank you again!!
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-349-8619.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.