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Day 102 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Second Kings and Psalms.
2 Kings 4 – The author of Kings was writing to an audience perhaps already experiencing the tragedy and difficulty of life in exile. As such, the several miracles recorded in this lengthy chapter would have functioned to remind God’s people of his power to restore the blessings forfeited due to repeated infidelity and covenant breaking. Even in the midst of famine or the death of a husband, the Lord can and will provide. He can make the barren fertile and restore life by the power of resurrection.
Until our Lord returns to make all things new, His people will live like aliens in a world to which they do not fully belong. For Believers living in this fallen world, we live in exile. As resident aliens, tragedy and suffering will be a normal part of our lives in this fallen world (John 16:33; 1 Peter 4:12). But even here, the Lord desires to set before the eyes of His people the hope of all things being made new. The miracles recorded in this chapter continue to remind us that we look forward to greater things. One day we will be satisfied at the table of the Lord. Death, hunger, and debt will no longer have any place.
How does this secure future empower you to live today?
2 Kings 5 – The account of the healing of Naaman’s leprosy is a lesson in the unexpected nature of God’s grace and mercy. To begin with, Naaman was a foreigner. But he was not just any foreigner. He was the leader of the Syrian army, the enemy of God’s people. For a prophet of the Lord to heal an Israelite leper was one thing, but to restore the very person whose job it was to oppress you—that was altogether outrageous! Yet this is who the Lord is. He is lavishly generous with His grace, pouring it out upon those who are especially undeserving.
We are also warned by this account. Notice how the king of Israel was terrified by Naaman’s request. He did not believe in the promises of God or the power of His grace to be a blessing. And what about Elisha’s servant, Gehazi? He had seen God’s grace in action but used it to exploit and steal. These two men should have known better than most about the nature of God’s grace, but they were blind to it. It is humbling to observe that these men, so closely connected to the work of God in the world, were oblivious to its power in their own lives.
But even if the expected heralds of God’s goodness have become blind, we need not despair. The Lord is not limited by such obstacles. Take note of the unexpected conduits of God’s power and goodness in this narrative: the little Israelite slave girl, and Naaman’s servants. These “second class citizens” are the heroes of the story. They are the ones who encourage Naaman to seek help in Israel and submit to washing in the Jordan River. God has chosen the weak and foolish things of this world to make Himself known (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Because the Lord has been generous with His grace to us (Romans 5:10), we are free to be gracious with others, even desiring to see God’s grace poured out in the lives of our enemies. May we never become blind or callous to this grace, but rather see it in all of life, especially in the weak, humble, and foolish things.
I don’t have a question for you here—just enjoy the freedom of God’s grace in this moment and every moment!
2 Kings 6 – Oftentimes our fear and anxiety are the result of spiritual blindness. Here, the servant of Elisha is terrified by the presence of the army of the enemy. With his physical eyes, he sees only one army. But Elisha prays that his servant might see all of reality, not just the visible but the invisible too. Once the veil of the invisible world is peeled back, Elisha’s servant perceives the fullness of reality, and the reason for his fear no longer exists.
We might be thinking that if God would only do the same thing for us, and show us the power of His invisible kingdom, we too would no longer fear or be anxious. But this is exactly what He has done. Did not the Father send the Son, the fullness of His kingdom and power, into this world? Has not the invisible God become visible in the incarnation? Our Lord did not just peel back the curtain of His invisible kingdom. He came from it and lived in our midst, as a flesh-and-blood man. With Jesus, we see clearly the power of God’s invisible kingdom in its fullness. In fact, compared with what Elisha’s servant saw on that day, we have seen so much more!
When fear and anxiety strike at our hearts, we must pray that God would open our eyes by faith to the fullness of reality that can be found only in his Son, “For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16).
The good news from our covenant Lord is that He has accomplished for us what we could not do for ourselves. When we think about the gospel, or God’s good news, our minds probably run straight to the person and work of Jesus. And rightly so! Certainly the person and work of Jesus on our behalf is the best news ever told. But God’s good news is not limited to the New Testament. The Old Testament prepares us to expect it. The entire Bible is a unified saving message of God’s merciful redemption of sinners through his Son.
The siege of the Syrian army and the famine that accompanied it were so severe that mothers were eating their children. Things didn’t just look hopeless. Things were hopeless, tragically so. But God intervened and did for Israel what it could not do for itself. He sent the foreign invaders packing and fed all of Samaria with the contents from the enemy’s camp. It is even more amazing to discover how God accomplished this great deliverance—not with sword, spear, chariot, or even a single warrior, but with a rumor. God mocked the enemy with the power of His whisper, defeating them with almost no effort at all. The incalculable nature of God’s power is demonstrated by His ability to deliver us from the greatest of terrors with almost no effort at all; indeed, with what might appear to be weakness.
How will you trust God with whatever is scaring you right now?
He will deliver you!
2 Kings 7 – The trouble with deliverance of this kind, however, is that it is almost impossible for us to believe. Observe that the account of God’s deliverance in this chapter is framed by references to the king’s captain. In verse 2, the captain did not believe the declaration of the prophet’s good news because it seemed ridiculously impossible. Then at the very end, in verse 17, the captain perished because of his unbelief.
We are reminded that our salvation depends not only on God’s willingness to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, but also, because His deliverance is so great, it depends on hearts ready to believe that His salvation is true. When God’s outrageous free grace seems just too good to be true, believe it! It was designed to be outrageous and remarkable. Grace involves no balancing of the scales, no careful weighing of merits and demerits. Because of Jesus’ atoning work, God’s grace washes over us and into our lives regardless of what we deserve or do not deserve.
Will you humble yourself and receive His grace?
Psalm 102 – This psalm is an individual lament that captures the weakness, plight, and distress God’s people often feel. Such weakness is in contrast to the eternal greatness of God, who delights to pledge Himself to weak and needy Believers. The confidence in God expressed by Paul amid his weakness—“when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10)—echoes the struggle and hope of this psalm.
The psalmist begins with a plea for the Lord to hear his cry and come to his aid. Great internal distresses, even despair, mark his experiences. Pain, groaning, and sleeplessness are coupled with the taunting and derision of his enemies, leaving him almost utterly without hope. But then the psalmist contemplates the greatness of God who has promised to be with His people in every generation. God has covenanted with Zion, the people of Israel, so that His people can know that God will not fail to come to their aid. With renewed hope, the weary psalmist declares, “He regards the prayer of the destitute,” so even generations yet future may also find their hope in this merciful and saving God.
The constancy and faithfulness of God is an assured reality. Whereas even the apparently stable earth and heavens can perish, more permanent and fixed even than these is God Himself. He is the same, and His years have no end. Hebrews 1:10–12 quotes this Psalm and applies them to Jesus, through whom God created (Hebrews 1:2) and redeemed (Hebrews 2:17–18) the world.
Believers of all generations may put their hope in Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is their salvation. He is their hope. In Him the people of God “shall dwell secure”.
How does the steadfastness of God give you confidence to trust where He leads you today?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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