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Bible Pathways 05/03/2003

May 3

Read II Kings 6 -- 8

In Today's Reading:

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

Ben-hadad, the king of Syria (Aram), could not have "forgotten" that, when the Aramean soldiers had attempted to capture the prophet Elisha, they had been miraculously blinded and were then led by Elisha inside the walls of the capital city of Samaria. The soldiers then were trapped and at the mercy of the king of Israel. However, at Elisha's command, the king prepared a great feast for them and sent them safely home. Yet, some time later, King Ben-hadad surrounded Samaria with his army, cutting off all food supplies.

The once-powerful, luxurious, fortress-city of Samaria was faced with all the horrors of an extended famine. To surrender to Ben-hadad would mean death for King Jehoram (Joram) and slavery for his people. But, remaining within the walls eventually reduced the people to starvation, while some even resorted to cannibalism.

These appalling conditions were the result of Israel's disobedience as God had forewarned. When it appeared there was no hope, the Lord again brought Jehoram face to face with Elisha. The prophet proclaimed how the Lord would provide an abundance of food the next day. One of the king's officials ridiculed the prophecy as an impossibility. But, 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.

As the Israelites' prophet foretold, the king's official who ridiculed the prophecy was trampled to death in the rush for the Syrian food.

Obedient Christians need not fear what may happen tomorrow! Instead, we have the utmost confidence that God will provide all our needs, regardless of circumstances.

Devotional commentary also refers to: Leviticus 26:14-29; Matthew 6:31-33; Philippians 4:19.

Christ Portrayed:

By Elisha, who wept when he realized what Hazael would do to Israel and its people (see II Kings 8:11-12). We are reminded of Jesus as He lovingly wept over Jerusalem, knowing its future destruction because the people rejected Him as their Messiah (see Matthew 23:37).

Word Studies:

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

Prayer Needs:

Bible Pathway Distributors · the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Henry Rogers · Government Officials: Rep. Ralph Hall (TX), Rep. C.L. Otter (ID), Rep. David Vitter (LA), and Sen. Ron Wyden (OR) · Country: Belgium (10 million) in northwestern Europe · Major languages: Flemish and French · Religious freedom · 87% Roman Catholic; 3% Muslim; .8% Protestant; .5% Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Know that the Lord is loving and merciful to His children (Psalm 103:8).

Optional Reading: Romans 6

Memory Verse for the Week: Jeremiah 15:16

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