Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Faith To Follow

I love when you see a scripture in a new context and it speaks to you in that context.

If we are not humble we can approach the Bible and just find verses that support the idea we already have formed in our mind. That is a slippery slope. It is like going to a counselor with a problem... We should be going for help or guidance through the problem but it is possible because of the difficulty we look for justification in our problem and a place to put blame or move blame away from ourselves.

We can bring our situation and life with us to the scriptures and have them speak to us in newness. That is a different ball game. In that place we receive a new provision and not a band-aid for an old wound.

I read these verses thinking about the woman's life before this incident and how it shaped her responses and actions in it.

"Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, 'Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.'

And Elisha said to her, 'What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?'

And she said, 'Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.' Then he said, 'Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.'

So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, 'Bring me another vessel.'

And he said to her, 'There is not another.'

Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, 'Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.' " - 2 Kings 4:1-7 ESV

She was in a tough place. She was married to a man of God for years and his death created a crisis in her life, a void. It made me think of Elisabeth Elliot. A wife of a missionary killed attempting to reach native people with the Gospel on a foreign field. Like this woman her husband's life left a legacy and a problem. God was up to the challenge of the problem and because of the legacy this widow knew where to go in her problem. Elisabeth Elliot saw great redemption in her life and went on to have a powerful ministry to many people.

Men of God are not perfect people. Pastors and leaders are not perfect. Not all people who stand and appear to represent God actually represent the God of all grace. True men of God are greatly out numbered by counterfeit ones. It has always been this way and will continue to be that way until Christ comes. But what a provision they are when you find them... imperfect men who know and point us to a perfect God and a often unexpected provision.

This woman didn't place blame anywhere. She had learned with her husband where to go and she went there. The provision required her to learn new skills in humility. She did what was needed and went back to Church, the equivalent of it in ancient Israel, and got more direction.

We have needed men to teach us not to blame. We needed them to point us to God in their generation. Then we, men and women, can teach those same lessons. Our provision is a provision of grace. That pathway to it must be shown to others in order for them to see it.

Follow the faith of the man who does not blame and preaches the grace message. If he is going somewhere and you go with Him you will see things you would not otherwise see. There will be challenges but there will also be great redemptions and redemption is where we see God manifested in the world.


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