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June 22, 2022 12:00 am
Have you ever wondered what it takes to survive impossible situations? To hold on to hope when all seems hopeless? Many of us have had days, even weeks, when the way forward seemed bleak and we just weren't sure how to press on. We can take heart from this study of the life of Elisha. He lived what seemed to be an impossible life . . . because with God all things are possible.
Illusions are temporary with the story of Israel back more than 300 times in the Old Testament not record which is supposed to give us, but we can have in our New Testament live.
They are told to remember remember remember what God will do something so that you never go hungry again on all remember what he did when you were hungry. That time your dark bedroom was God turn the light on. You remember that tragedy that God gave you the grace to go.
Remember, remember some of those difficulties have stretched into years. Sometimes it might seem as if the way forward is bleak and you're not even sure how to press on. There is hope you can take comfort today. In the example and testimony of Elisha while he faced enormous trials and seeming impossibilities.
God always proved stronger than the obstacles. The same is true for you.
God is stronger than what ever you're facing today. Welcome to wisdom for the heart.
Stephen Devi continues through his series on Elisha with this message called impossible when Dalen in his the his booklet entitled attitudes has retold the story of an American POW held captive by the Vietcong. He writes in the POW camp was a tough young Marine 24 years old. He'd already survived two years of prison camp life in relatively good health. Part of the reason for this was that the camp commander had promised to release the man if he cooperated, he went along with that word and cooperated, he turned into a model POW and the leader of the camps, thought reform group. As time passed, he gradually realized that his captors had lied to the full realization of this to cold. He became zombie. He refused to do all work rejected all offers of food and encouragement simply lay on his cot baby sucking his thumb in a matter of weeks. He was dead. Swindoll adds this commentary caught in the vice grip of lost hope, life became too much for the once tough Marine to handle when the last string snapped. There was nothing left to compare that story with discovery that I made near the end of world war two members of the Allied forces worse that search of snipers would hide upper story home on one occasion 1 Party Made Their Way into a home that was now by now simply a pile of rubble.
They made their way down into the basement and when they got down there they made an interesting some survivor of the Holocaust had etched into the wall of the basement star of David and underneath the star were the words written I believe in the son even when it does not shine. I believe in God even when he does not speak. Faith is, as it were walking into a dark room and believing that at the right time for the right reasons.
God in his own providence will turn on the light that you say will get us even that is it really fair and Pharaoh got asked me to do something in blind faith, whatever that well, you've already done it. This is cold season. Many of you probably Artie going to a doctor. His name you can't pronounce his degrees, hanging literate, littering his walls and you haven't verified any of them is given your prescription and you probably try but you couldn't read it. You took it to a pharmacist you've never seen before and he gave you a compound you didn't understand, and you paid for it and then you took it home and without even first testing it on the neighbor's cat, you took it you operated on the basis of the fact that you in your faith, having placed in objects you believed were verifiable and trustworthy you operated on the basis of those facts. So also in the Christian experience the same thing if our object of faith is a reliable God then we will be willing to do whatever whenever. However, that God informs us to do the live we started a study that dealt with that issue and I want to review two of the things that we learned at least as facts mean we necessarily put them into practice number one encouraged you to remember that when God is in charge. Plans do not. The generated. Secondly, when God is in control. We are to remember that in and in so remembering our trust should not dissolve into blame the tragedy of that POW was that he attached his face to the unreliable word of a deceitful man. The thrill of the believer is that we attach our faith to the reliable word of God who is alive who Israel I want us to go back into the biography of Elisha. Let's go back into the laboratory where these truths are tested. We started by talking about some of the impossibilities that he encountered.
Would you take your Bibles if you're not already there turned the second Kings chapter 4 verse eight, and this passage introduces us to impossibilities number four never came a day when Elisha passed over to shoot him.
There was a prominent woman and she persuaded him to eat food so it was as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat food. She said to her husband, behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God passing by us continually.
Please let us make a little walled upper chamber and said and let us set up a bed for him there.
The table chair in the lampstand, and it shall be when he comes to us the he can turn in their but a precious passage. This is the text informs us that this shooter might woman was a prominent great. The word can be rendered wealthy woman is Elisha passed there out wealthy estate she were not sure how it first began, but eventually she would run out and she would greet him and she would invite him the words she would constrain him to eat there. She would persuade him. Please eat with my husband and myself now. Eventually the woman talked it over with her husband and they agreed to build an additional room for him. Now the typical homes as you already know had flat roofs and they were often used for sitting areas or for storage areas. It wasn't typical it would've been a rare thing to have anything walled in. They wanted sent to to make a place of profits. Chambers at work where were Elisha could roll out a sleeping bag and and enjoy. However, they're not very typical because they could have had them roll a sleeping bag out on the roof. It was a cool breeze. Perhaps they were they were different. She said let's do something unique. Let's create a row up there with walls and let's put some things in it. Verse 10 gives us the details put up there a bed table chair in the lampstand we we know least we can assume that Elisha ate his meals with them downstairs for the servants would bring the food you need to understand that the table and chair is more like a desk in the chair. This is a little study that they're creating for this man to come in, pray, study, read whatever he might want to do in the lampstand here is more than a common candle. I was just put a candle or two of their notes from the word menorah. This is in that day. State-of-the-art lighting and then just say want to make sure there's enough square footage so that Elisha can roll out a sleeping bag. They did something which was unusual in that day they made for him.
What bed what you have here is a personal moral army custom-designed lavish league prepared study retreats, bedchamber, this couple provided for Elisha everything they possibly could with what they had. You get the idea that he had everything upstairs that they enjoyed downstairs. Why does the Bible give us the details is because God wants to fill out chapter 4 just a tad more before he closes. No, I think, is giving us as believers and example of what I want to call to your minds is being shooter might hospitality. See the challenge to an individual reading this passage as we observe the shooter might and as a church in the way we treat those who are in the trenches. The question the challenges you have had a Y treat those who are serving Christ as profits and our generation how we take care of missionaries highly provide for pastors we how we care for those serving in nonprofit organizations. Those serving in ways that benefit the body of Christ. We as a church as individuals care do we do the technical whaling sooner. My blood in us.
I'm undoubtedly biased because I grew up in a missionary home. I can remember traveling in the my dad's roots were in the north and so we we would travel through every summer visiting families that supported us in churches and I remember as a kid every time we go through Iowa.
We stopped at the home of Mr. and Mrs. paper ways to snicker their name like you just did made me feel better. Actually, I wanted to see your reaction to see my mother really had a case against the every time we get in there she'd have something ready for the boys to be brand-new, freshly baked, heavily ice cinnamon rolls.
She had the gift and they sort of exhort us to sing.
And we always sing the same thing. They were shooting lights. Mom reminded me of a time when we were in Iowa.
The car broke down, it was the peepers that came and got us took us home, but the car was repaired will in the Old Testament sometimes rewards happened immediately with happening now look at verse 15 and he said to her that is a lie.
She wants to do something special for this lady.
He tells a servant to call her when you called her. She stood in the doorway that he said at this season next year. You shall embrace us and she said no, my Lord Comed of God do not live to your maidservant is like saying you gotta be kidding.
It's too good to be true. For 17 and the woman conceived and bore a son that season.
Next year, as Elisha said to her now. Everything that we have just looked at I think is been given to us to prepare us to feel the remorse and the anguish that that she is about to feel for safety. The child was grown probably 11 or 12 years old. The day came that he went out to his father to the reapers and he said to his father my head my head and his father said it was servant carrying to his mother when he had taken him and brought him to his mother said her. He said him on her lap until or he sat on her lap and and then died. This is the son of her hopes and dreams. This miracle boy is dead of the woman I immediately saddled up and heads for Elisha shouldn't tell her husband where she's going or at least why he does know she's going to Elisha. Look at verse 28 she meets Elisha and she says to him, did I ask for a son from the Lord. Did I not say do not deceive me see what she's saying. I didn't ask for this boy. You promise them. I did ask for this great why would you why would you allow God to bring about conception and the birth of a boy only to have been snatched away. This doesn't make any sense were not told any of the reasons why, but Elisha immediately moves to restore the boys life for the sake of time to his is sent with Elisha's rod and is told to lay the rod over the body or on the body of the boy were not told why he was told to lay the rod on the body of the boy even though I read about eight reasons why we don't know why we come up with lots of reasons that I read about eight well, we do assume, based on the reaction of them that this was supposed to somehow restore life to the body of this boy and it doesn't work.
It seems that God would associate closely the prophet with the miracle of resurrection just does that happen with Elijah. Just as the greater Elijah would bring about the resurrection of Lazarus. So when Elisha arrives the miracle of resurrection takes place and were just told a few things and Elisha returned and walked in the house. Once back and forth. He went up and stretched himself on him.
The lad sneezed seven times the lad opened his eyes and he called to his eyes and said call this shooter might and when she came in to him, he said, take up your son that she went in and fell at his feet and bowed herself to the ground and took up her son and without either way, this is a wonderful foreshadowing to an illustration at best of Christ's appearance in the air in the church's rapture. Prior to that, just a brief second, those died in Christ, including the babies, their bodies glorified go to be with the Lord the year. Possibilities number five and six occur next and rather brief succession. They all have to do with food. One story revolves around poisonous to the other one around not enough to look at verse 38, when Elisha returned to Gill gal. There was a famine in the land as the sons of the prophets were sitting before him. He said it was servant put on the large pot and boil spoof of the sons of the prophet.
Remember legs. The prophets lived in a communal sort of setting. There was an Gill gal, a place where a seminary or a school of the prophets was located with these men could study and from this location. They would go out on their adventures of face.
The text tells us of the beginning of the verse, a very critical phrase.
There is a famine in the land. That means the righteousness of God are the righteous ones of God are suffering along with everyone answers there's a lack of food. And Elisha says hey let's put on the pot and that's boil some stucco, probably nothing more than flavored water. Let's get our soup spoons outdoor balls.
Let's have a little fellowship here maybe pretend who knows one of the young seminarians decides to go.
I know a nearby field and got her some wild vegetables which turned out to be poisonous. Serves him right for trying to find vegetables look at verse 39 then one went out into the field together herbs and found the wild mine and gathered from it. It's his lap full of wild gourds. The Hebrew word indicates, this was a wild cucumber and he came in he sliced them into the pot of stew like this for they did not know what they were know this sounds like the way only a group of men would click no idea what were doing, but they kinda look like cucumbers and that's just slices babies up and make sure the water is boiling, and all kinda boil up anything impure and make it disappear right at that works well.
I think this has to be the first reference in the Bible to potluck put everything in the pot and you hope you get lucky and lift what they're doing here. Verse 40 so they poured it out for the men to eat the men to be there testing and I don't know.
It came about as they were eating and the still that they cried out and said man of God. There is death in the pot and I don't want to ruin your lunch but what's happening here is these men are losing theirs right. The Bible says they were unable to eat. That's quite an understatement. Verse 41, but he said no bring meal and he threw it into the pot and he said poured out for the people that they may eat. Then there was no harm in the pot that this is one more miracle that's that's easy to pass by. Miracle was not in the mail anymore than it was in our last discussion and ample assault.
Elisha get a front Angela leads and would've worked if the meal had somehow naturally drawn the poison than they would've been foolish to not strain this this doing separate the meal didn't he just threw in some mail and he said it's all right to eat, go ahead no way to second here at this potluck and you just seen a few your close friends turn green and run into the woods and Elisha says the pots okay, let's eat up what would you say excuse me, I've lost my appetite.
No thank you. If Elisha had taken a pollen said to all those gathered around maybe 150 or 200 you believe that I've cured the pot we would've all raised her hand. Yeah, he's a man of God, prophet of God. He okay how many of you want to bowl the reason I'm making that point is that for this miracle to be enjoyed. This group of people had to not only say they believed they had to operate in behalf of what they said they believed they had to operate on the basis of the word of God in the prophet of God, not on the basis of what they just seen happen from people who'd eaten it and got does it to us, but based on things we see, but based only on his word. He asks us to operate see God intends to develop their face and hours as well. He's committed to building in us, not just crisis face but confident face just confident faith but confirmed faith, not just confirmed faith, but contagious faith.
Now if if you've ever had delicious stew which this potluck turned out to be the meal really needs what it needs is some good bread kind where you can just sort of sop it into your bowl needed and if you don't have company over you can kinda swipe the bottom of the bowl and get one last morsel. Well, that's what happens here verse 42 now man then came from Val Shelley Chin brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits 20 loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in the segment. This is really turning into a Thanksgiving meal here and he said give them to the people that they may eat in his attendance said what shall I set this before 100 men, that is this little sack of 20 loaves allows to be that the size of the palm of my hand connecting in a clean 20 of those little pancake things that took 200 men, six men could eat those my two boys could eat those probably. He said give them to the people that they may eat for thus says the Lord.
They shall eat and have some left over faith. Again, the word alone so he set it before them, and they ate and guess what they had some leftover according to the word of the Lord. This also is a foreshadowing of Christ would feed the multitude by means of that miracle of creation.
There's a famine in the land here if the servants of God are enjoying a rare fees because they are willing to live by the word of God. I want to tie this up with three thoughts number one when your voice is silent and God works in you there's little difficulty recognizing his power, George Mueller would often sit at his table with his orphans without any food you've probably read some of those stories and he would give thanks the food that had not yet arrived. He wrote these words. Listen carefully, God delights to develop the faith of his children, we ought carefully follow this. Instead of wanting no trials before victory. No exercise for patients to be willing to take them from God's hand is a means I say and say it deliberately trials obstacles difficulties and sometimes defeats are the very food of faith. Good second thought when your strength is broken and God works through you. There is no question who receives the credit we we have a terrible tendency. Ladies and gentlemen to obscure the glory of God. We have a horrible habit of stealing praise the way we pray in the way we share answered prayer with others, and that's why when you get in a dark room in your hands are tied.
It's a wonderful thing to your faith and your spiritual character to know that God's hands are at work. You can depend on him and when things happen when the light comes on clear and flip the switch. Maybe he's keeping it off in our lives until we are willing to give him the glory for when it comes to third while God's solution may be temporary. The lessons learned can last a lifetime were not told by the way, chapter 4, at the end of it, that the famine lifted. This is an interesting point were not told that their stomachs would never ground with hunger again were not even told of the Shuman.
I couple outlive their son. When I told that there weren't funerals in their future as they they had some solutions are are temporary, but that's the story of Israel, and in fact more than 300 times in the in the Old Testament that record which is supposed to give us what we can have in our New Testament lies.
They are told to remember remember remember what God will do something to the Joe never go hungry again on don't remember what he did when you were hungry.
That time how dark that rumor was when God turn the light on. You remember that tragedy did not give you the grace to go through.
Remember, remember, remember those lessons can last your lifetime, and with pulse by the word of God can come true in your life and mine were as we learn the lessons of the Israelite nation.
We can have perseverance we can encourage hope that when our hands are tied.
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