Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday May 22, 2015: 2 Kings 1-3, Matthew 12:1-23 ~ Elizabeth

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 1-3; Matthew 12:1-23

In early Hebrew tradition, 1 and 2 Kings were not separate books but were one long document, as the flow of the story itself shows. In the beginning of this part of the narrative, King Ahaziah and his troops show disdain for the Lord and His servant Elijah and are condemned with fire and death. Today the Lord would have us treat His servants with proper respect, pray for them, and hear His Word from them. In this sinful world, God’s Word is rare and precious, preserving our lives and delivering us from all condemnation. In Christ, we need not fear our enemies or His wrath.

After briefly noting Ahaziah’s death and before taking up the account of his successor’s reign, the author records the end of Elijah’s ministry and the first deeds of his disciple Elisha. When the Lord takes Elijah to heaven, He also bestows Elijah’s office and authority on Elisha, his chief disciple. The burning desire to serve God and His people through faithful leadership is proper. If we set our hearts on such noble service, and walk and talk with the Lord’s servants to learn from them His Word and wisdom, the Lord will prepare us for our calling. The heavenly Father will send His Spirit to embolden and uplift us, through Jesus, His Son. Through three miracles, the Lord removes all doubts about Elisha as Elijah’s successor. As the Lord calls us to service, He will prepare and support us. Though miracles may not follow us (as with Elisha) we have God’s miraculous Word in the pages of Holy Scripture by which the Lord will bless us with the comfort of salvation and equip us for every good work.

King Jehoram led Jehoshaphat and the Edomites against Moab on an ill-conceived military campaign, which had some success due to the Lords intervention through Elisha. Today, do not equate poor planning with faith. For all your endeavors, seek God’s blessing through prayer and make your plans through the wisdom of His Word. The Lord grants us wisdom and thoughtful hearts so that we may honor Him with our deeds. Thankfully, He planned for our victory over evil and our everlasting salvation in the person of His Son, Jesus, who offered Himself freely for the sins of all people.

In our reading from Matthew, God’s purpose in giving the Sabbath law was to provide physical rest for His people. But those in Jesus’ day who tried to follow all the Sabbath regulations imposed by the Pharisees found that the law had become a heavy burden, a yoke on their necks. We keep the Sabbath Day holy when “we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it” (Luther’s Small Catechism). Jesus offers true rest, the yoke of the Gospel. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 2 Kings 4-6; Matthew 12:24-50


TammyIsBlessed said...

I always find the account of Elijah being taken up to heaven amazing - obviously for Elijah himself to experience, and also for Elisha to witness.

The Pharisees show how the sinful nature manages to corrupt what God intends for good (Sabbath rest). Thankful that we can find true rest in Jesus.

Pamela said...

I thought the same thing Tammy did. It was more spectacular because Elisha refused to leave Elijah's side and he was able to witness the event firsthand.

I often struggle with keeping the Sabbath for rest as it sometimes becomes my day to catch up with things. It's an area I need to work on.

Conrad said...

I know Elijah was relaying God's message to the messengers sent from the king of Samaria, but once again Elijah is relaying some bad news.

Sometimes I have to give a customer some news that I know they don't want to hear, so I always try to have a response to what their different possible reactions could be. I wonder if Elijah did that? Or did he have peace knowing God was in control?