May 3, 2006

2 Kings 6

In Today's Reading:

The ax head made to float; Syrians (Arameans) attack Israel; famine in Samaria; Elisha's prophecy fulfilled

Ben-hadad was a title of the king of Syria and may not have been the king who initiated the Syrian soldiers to capture the prophet Elisha. Those soldiers had been miraculously blinded and were then led by Elisha inside the walls of the capital city of Samaria. Once trapped there, the soldiers had been at the mercy of the king of Israel. However, at Elisha's command, the king prepared great provision (a great feast) for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel. And it came to pass after this, that Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria (II Kings 6:23-25).

The once-powerful, luxurious, fortress-city of Samaria was faced with all the horrors of an extended famine. To surrender to Syria meant death for King Jehoram (Joram) and slavery for his people. But, remaining within the walls eventually reduced the people to starvation, some even resorted to cannibalism. These appalling conditions were the result of Israel's disobedience as God had forewarned (Leviticus 26:14-29).

When it appeared there was no hope, the Lord again brought Jehoram face to face with Elisha, who proclaimed: Hear ye the Word of the LORD . . . To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria (II Kings 7:1). One of the king's officials ridiculed him, saying: Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? Elisha replied: Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof (7:2).

The prophecy was miraculously fulfilled when God, in His great mercy, sent fear into the hearts of the Syrian army and they hurriedly abandoned their camp leaving their food in abundance for the Israelites. The king's official was trampled to death in the rush for food (7:17).

Obedient Christians need not fear for tomorrow! Instead, we can rejoice in the promises of God, who shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

Christ Portrayed:

By Elisha, who wept when he realized what Hazael would do to Israel and its people (II Kings 8:11-12). We are reminded of Jesus as He wept over Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how often would I have gathered thy children together . . . and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37-38).

Word Studies:

6:1 strait =b> small; 6:30 within =b> underneath; 7:5 uttermost part =b> border, outskirts; 8:11 settled his countenance =b> stared intensely; 8:26 daughter =b> granddaughter.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in memory of Henry Rogers · Government Officials (listed on their birthdays): Rep. Ralph Hall (TX), Rep. C.L. Otter (ID), Sen. David Vitter (LA), and Sen. Ron Wyden (OR) · Country: Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) (19 million) an island in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern tip of India · Major languages: Sinhala and Tamil · Christianity suppressed · 67% Buddhist; 15% Hindu; 8% Roman Catholic; 7% Muslim; .75% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Ask for your daily needs (Luke 11:3).

Optional Reading: Romans 6

Memory Verse for the Week: I Kings 11:9