So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.
The FB wall flooded yesterday with the news of the death, and possibly rape, of a third year ComSci UPLB student. Many readily changed their profile pictures to black ribbon badges calling for justice and in sympathy to the family. It was heartbreaking to know she too was a pastor’s kid like me. I cried over a video posted awhile ago with her singing Hillsong’s ‘Lord of Lords’ in church. ‘Oh Lord, why her? Why her family? They’re in Your service. They’ve been faithful.’ We all have questions.
And then this reading. Verse eight gives us the context that the king of Aram was setting camps and traps to harm Israel’s king. But eveytime he did so, Elisha already pre-warned the king so that he was on guard in such places. It enraged the Syrian so much that he shifted his orders to capturing the intelligence instead. Although that too will fail if you continue reading. Israel’s protection is God Himself. 24/7. Even if a strong army surrounds a city, His fiery chariots will outnumber them. At Elisha’s prayer, their enemies went blind and trapped helpless inside the gates. God can do this for His people. Even if they strayed away and worshipped lifeless idols. Amazing is His given grace.
And so we ask, if God can protect the faithless, shouldn’t the faithful deserve more? Read again and refer to what grace means and we’ll have a glimpse of His answer. Oftentimes our image of being in His service is having the faith that can win against wars, injustice, lions, flames, or death. But the heroes in Hebrews 11 were also found tortured, flogged, stoned, sawed in two and put to death. They were mistreated, persecuted, and many lived in destitute. Unfair? Refer this time to what faith means. God’s people live life and face death forward looking. Here and now is not where we can find better lives. There is no safety here. But like that young lady, we can be saved from here. A place where no moth and rust can destroy. A place where tears are no more. Where death or sorrow or crying or pain are gone forever. I’m sure you still feel she doesn’t deserve what happened to her. God understands. Here’s His statement in verse 38: ‘The world was not worthy of her’.