Highlights In Today's Reading:
God makes an iron ax head float on water. Through this incident God reveals His power and love to do the "impossible" (6:5-7). Then, even in famine, God can provide enough food for everyone as illustrated in Elisha's prophecy in verse 7:1 and fulfilled in 7:16. Notice that as the lepers sat, waiting to die, they asked: Why sit we here until we die? (7:3). When they moved, God provided.
Ben-hadad, King of Syria, was sick, but also an idol worshiper. At his request Hazael went to the prophet Elisha to ask if the king would recover from his sickness, Elisha told Hazael to tell the king: "Yes." Then Elisha began to weep and said: I know the evil that thou wilt do to the children of Israel (8:12). Hazael appeared shocked and said: Is thy servant a dog (8:13) that he would be so wicked? With deceptive concern, Hazael waited for his opportunity. Then he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on his (Ben-hadad's) face, so that he died: And Hazael reigned in his stead (8:15). Covetousness blinds a person to the cruel, unscrupulous actions of which he is capable in order to satisfy greed. Hazael was willing to stoop to any depth of evil in order to gain a favored position immediately. Perhaps in earlier years, Hazael would have been horrified at the thought that he would heartlessly assassinate his royal master.
Circumstances confront us with new temptations which were never before felt. Had Joseph's brothers been told that one day they would consider murdering or selling him into slavery, they undoubtedly would also have asked: Is thy servant a dog (8:13) that he would be so wicked? Like Hazael they were men and sinners by nature (Ephesians 2:3). Apart from the indwelling Christ, man yields readily to the passions which war against his soul; he gives way to the circumstances which appeal to his greed. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. . . . For sin shall not have dominion over you (Romans 6:12,14).
Hazael could have followed the example of King David who many years earlier, after he was anointed king by Samuel, had the opportunity to murder Saul. But David refused to take matters into his own hands; he knew that God's timing was best.
We are perfectly safe when we commit our desires to the Lord first and yield ourselves to be guided by His Word. Only he who is kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (I Peter 1:5) is safe.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen (Matthew 6:13).
Thought for Today:
Those that stop at nothing to promote themselves will always come to a bad end.
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).
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.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Linda Kennon • Government Officials: Rep. Ralph Hall (TX), Gov. C.L. Butch Otter (ID), Sen. David Vitter (LA), and Sen. Ron Wyden (OR) • Country: Morocco (28.2 million) on the northwestern coast of Africa • Major languages: Arabic and French • Government very hostile to Christians and missions • 99.75% Muslim (mostly Sunni); .25% Christian (including foreigners); small numbers of Jews and Baha'i • Prayer Suggestion: Be of one heart and mind with other Christians (I Corinthians 1:10).
Optional Reading: Romans 6
Memory Verse for the Week: James 2:26