July 1, 2015 Bible Study — Willingly Facing Persecution

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 18:8

    Everyone likes to hear the latest rumours. We want to think that we are in the know. The problem is that we often forget that the rumours we heard are just that, rumours. We come to believe that they are true, even though we have heard no facts to back them up. When we hear rumours and gossip, let us make sure we remember that they may not be true, or may even be outright lies.


Psalm 149:1-9

    Another psalm of praise. The psalmist tells the faithful to rejoice that God delights in them. Let us execute the tasks which God has given us.


Acts 21:1-17

    As Paul traveled to Jerusalem he met with various groups of believers along the way. At each placed he stopped, one or more people were led by the Holy Spirit to urge Paul not to go to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, Paul was determined to complete his trip. Paul told the believers who urged him not to go that he was not only willing to be jailed for Christ but he was willing to die for Him. In making that statement Paul gave an example that all Christians should follow. Are you willing to be jailed for following Jesus? Are you willing to die in order to remain faithful to Him?
    As I have read this passage over, it seems to me that Paul was given the choice of avoiding being a martyr. I was going to write that the Holy Spirit was urging Paul to not go to Jerusalem. However, when I started to write that I realized that Paul was given the choice. I believe that if Paul had chosen not to go to Jerusalem, God had plans for him that did not involve him being a martyr. On the other hand, by going to Jerusalem knowing what he was going to face, Paul gave heart to many Christians, both in his time and later, who were facing persecution which they could not/can not avoid.


2 Kings 18:13-19:37

    This story is one of those which tells us a lot about God’s control of history. The officials of Assyria were sure of their power, and their ability to conquer Jerusalem. They declared that God would not be able to protect Jerusalem any more than the gods of other nations had protected them. Looking at this story from a secular perspective, there was nothing which could prevent the Assyrians from besieging Jerusalem until it was forced to surrender, or fell because its soldiers were no longer able to man the walls. Sennacherib’s will was supreme. No army, no power could prevent him from doing as he wished. He and his officials declared this to Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem.
    Hezekiah responded by doing what people of faith should always do when someone tells them such things. He turned to God in prayer and asked, “Do You hear this God? I call on You to answer this slander, because I know that Sennacherib is NOT sovereign. You, and You alone, are sovereign.” To which God replied, “I will answer Sennacherib and we will see who is truly sovereign. He will not conquer Jerusalem, he will not even besiege it. He will turn for home, where he will be killed.”
    That night, 185,000 of Sennacherib’s soldiers died and Sennacherib broke camp to return to Nineveh. While worshiping in the temple to the god of Nineveh, Sennacherib was killed. Yes, Hezekiah and the Kingdom of Judah could not stand against the military might of the Assyrians, but God is not limited by the limits of this earth. Those who declare themselves sovereign will discover, to their regret, that only God is sovereign. When we look at world history we see nation after nation and army after army which were unbeatable and against which no force on earth could stand. Yet, time and again, they fall before the might of God. Time and again they discover that they are not sovereign after all.

June 30, 2015 Bible Study — Let Every Created Thing Give Praise To the Lord!

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 18:6-7

    If you constantly find yourself getting into quarrels because of things you say, or if people beat you up in response to your words, you are probably speaking foolishly. If you find yourself trapped into actions you don’t want to do because of something you said, you probably speak foolishly.


Psalm 148:1-14

    Let every created thing give praise to the Lord! Today’s psalm continues the theme of encouraging us to praise God. The psalmist knows that there are many people who will not praise the Lord, but he also knows that they should. We owe God our very existence. Read this psalm, meditate on how great God is, then praise His name!


Acts 20:1-38

    One thing we learn in this passage is that Paul was not always, if ever, a dynamic speaker. On his last day in Troas, Paul spoke late into the night. One of the young men listening to him speak fell asleep sitting in a window. The young man fell three stories to his apparent death. Paul rushed down to the young man and declared that he was OK. Reading this passage it is clear that Luke believed the young man to have died, although Paul’s statement seems to be that he found the young man alive.
    Later when Luke recounts the message which Paul gave to the leaders of the Ephesian Church it resembles portions of the letters Paul wrote which we have elsewhere in the New Testament. The first point Paul makes to them is that he taught publicly. He taught the same message to everyone, both Jew and Gentile. Paul’s message, and hopefully ours, is that all must repent of their sins, turn to God, and have faith in Jesus. This is one of the most important things about our faith, we must declare our message publicly. There are no secret teachings reserved for those who have been properly initiated. And that message is the same for everyone, black, white, rich, poor, Jew, or Gentile. There is no group that gets to live by a different set of rules than everyone else.


2 Kings 17-18:12

    The passage tells us that the Kingdom of Israel, the Northern Kingdom, fell to Assyria because its people worshiped gods other than God. They followed the practices of the people who had lived in the land before them and around them. In addition, they had adopted new practices which were contrary to God’s law. As I read the history of the people of Israel, I see that their fall to Assyria was not just God’s judgment upon them, although it was indeed that. It was the inevitable result of the practices they adopted. Rather than remain faithful to the practices God had instructed them in, which would have caused them to build a strong and prosperous nation, they adopted practices which weakened their nation and destroyed its economy.
    The writer tells us that the people of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, followed many of the same practices which the people of the Northern Kingdom had adopted. However, God allowed them to remain in the land for a longer time. The difference was that Judah had leaders who attempted to be faithful to God, even when they failed to lead the people to be faithful. While the Northern Kingdom was weakening and falling to the Assyrians, Hezekiah was strengthening the Southern Kingdom and expanding its borders. Hezekiah was able to do so because he was faithful in obeying the Laws God had given to Moses. He went further than his predecessors because he destroyed the various idols and pagan shrines which had been set up. He did more than be faithful himself. He led his people to turn to God.

June 29, 2015 Bible Study — How Good To Sing Praises To Our God!

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 18:4-5

    I really wanted to comment on the contrast the writer makes between deep waters and a rushing stream. However, I was unable to get my thoughts on the subject to come together.
    The second part is pretty clear, and seems pretty obvious. It is not a good thing when the innocent are denied justice because those in authority are biased towards the wicked. Unfortunately, some people forget this.


Psalm 147:1-20

    It is delightful and fitting to praise God. He does not play favorites. God does not delight in strength or might. He takes delight in those who fear Him and put their hope of victory in Him. Let us praise God because He uses His power to bring justice and healing to the broken hearted.


Acts 19:13-41

    Luke tells us about a group of Jews who traveled around casting out evil spirits. They attempted to increase their effectiveness by invoking the name of Jesus, even though they were not believers. This ended badly for them. I think there are several lessons in this for us, but the most interesting to me today is the one which the believers of the area seem to have taken from it. The lesson recounted in the passage was that practicing sorcery is incompatible with faith in Jesus.
    I am torn about the destruction of books described here. On the one hand, because these books were destroyed we do not know what they considered to be sorcery. On the other hand, those who did so were people who had been practicing sorcery, while at the same time claiming to have faith in Jesus. The books that were burned are described as being books of spells, that is, instructions for carrying out specific acts of sorcery. Those who destroyed their books of incantations were eliminating a source of future temptation. This destruction was not carried out at the behest of the government, or some other authority. Rather these people chose to do so of their own free will. By destroying their spellbooks they were making a statement that they had been practicing magic and that they were turning from doing so in the future.
    It is worth noting that this was not the destruction of music recordings, or roleplaying game books. This was the destruction of books which gave instruction on how to perform sorcery. By saying this I am not casting judgment on those who choose to destroy their collections of music recordings or roleplaying game books. There may be a case to be made for doing so, but this passage is not the basis for it. Jesus in Matthew 18 tells us to destroy anything we have which causes us to sin. These people destroyed their spellbooks because they caused them to sin. If listening to certain music causes you to sin, destroy your copies of that music. If a roleplaying game causes you to sin, destroy your copies of the rulebooks for that game. However, remember that others may possess those things and not be tempted to sin. That is a judgment for each of us to make on our own (with counsel from the Holy Spirit and our brothers and sisters in Christ).


2 Kings 15-16:20

    This passage tells us of two more kings of Judah who did what was pleasing in God’s sight. As a result, the Kingdom of Judah had stability at a time when the Kingdom of Israel was undergoing political turmoil due to rebellions and invasions. This is an important lesson for all people. When the people of a nation do what is evil in God’s sight there will be political turmoil. When they do what is pleasing in God’s sight they will have stability.

June 28, 2015 Bible Study

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 18:2-3

    When you get into an argument/debate with someone, listen to the case they make for their point of view so that you can gain understanding. If all you do is spend your time telling them what you think, you are a fool.


Psalm 146:1-10

    Let all that I am praise the Lord! The psalmist reminds us not to put our faith in human beings, whether they are Governors, Presidents, or Supreme Court Justices. They cannot save. No matter how powerful they are, or how cleverly they plan, their ability to impose their will on others will end with their death, if not sooner. It is God to whom we must turn for justice. It is He who can offer us help which lasts beyond the moment.


Acts 18:23-19:12

    Today’s passage talks about Apollos, who apparently came to follow Jesus without direct teaching from anyone. I am convinced that Apollos was someone who followed the teachings of John the Baptist and heard stories both about John’s comments about Jesus and about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Certainly, Apollos had heard stories about Jesus’ death and resurrection, although apparently not from believers. As a result of these stories and his study of Jewish Scripture, Apollos became a believer. This tells us something about the power of the Holy Spirit and of the Gospel message. The passage also tells us about other believers who came to a belief in Jesus by way of the teachings of John the Baptist. It is not clear how that happened, whether through their own study or the teachings of Apollos from before he met Priscilla and Aquila.
    This story confirms for me something I firmly believe. Those who genuinely seek God will find Him, and when they are ready, He will bring into their lives those who can fill in the gaps in their self-acquired knowledge of Him.


2 Kings 13-14:29

    Today’s passage gives a great example of the dangers of pride. King Amaziah of Judah did what was pleasing to God, even though he did not eliminate the worship of idols by the people. However, after defeating the Edomites in battle, he became proud and decided to make war against Israel. The King of Israel at the time tried to persuade Amaziah not to attack, but was unsuccessful. The war went badly for Amaziah and Judah.

June 27, 2015 Bible Study — Don’t Be Afraid! Speak Out!

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 18:1

    No one considers someone who always pursues selfish goals friendly. If you start quarrels for no good reason, no one will like you. If you want people to like you, seek to do things which help them, which make their life better. From there, seek to avoid quarrels as much as it is within your control.


Psalm 145:1-21

    He is my God and my King. I will praise His name every day. Let each generation tell the next about the wonderful things God has done. I will meditate on the wonderful things which God has done. God is compassionate, rich in love and slow to anger. I need to meditate more on His word and spend more time in prayer. What a great psalm for meditating on God!


Acts 18:1-22

    There are two things that stood out to me about Paul’s stay in Corinth. The first was God’s command to him in a vision, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!” I think this is a message which is meant for all of us. Right now God is telling us not to be afraid, to speak out. Now is not the time to be silent.
    The other thing which stands out to me is what happened after the proconsul threw out the case against Paul. The crowd, which had been stirred up against Paul, grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him. The passage does not tell us anything else about Sosthenes. We do not know if he was sympathetic to Paul, or opposed to Paul. Considering that Paul remained in Corinth for some time after this without another incident, it strikes me as likely that Sosthenes had been among the leaders of those who brought Paul before the proconsul.


2 Kings 10:32-12:21

    Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab who became queen of Judah. When her son was killed by Jehu, who overthrew her brother as King of Israel, she seized the throne of Judah, killing all of the remaining royal house she could lay her hands on. However, her daughter (or perhaps her husband’s daughter by another woman, the phrasing in the passage makes this less than clear), took her grandson from the nursery to the Temple and put him under the protection of the Temple priests. This grandson was Joash. He was raised by the high priest, who arranged to put him on the throne as soon as practicable. The life of Joash reminds us of the importance of good mentors. As a result of the influence of the high priest who raised him, Joash led the people of Judah back to worshiping God and repaired the Temple.

June 26, 2015 Bible Study — Finding the Missing Piece

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 17:27-28

    Those who are wise use words sparingly. There are several reasons for this. One of which is touched on in today’s passage: even a fool will seem wise if he doesn’t say anything. Another advantage of not saying everything that comes to your mind is that you have time to think over what you thought and polish your thought so that your wording is well chosen. Yet another reason to not say what comes to your mind is that by keeping silent and listening you may learn things which show you the error in your original thought before you speak.
    There is one other point I would like to make. While it is true that a fool who keeps silent will be thought wise when they are not, a fool who keeps silent will gain wisdom by doing so (and is probably demonstrating that they have already started the process of ceasing to be a fool).


Psalm 144:1-15

    I will praise the Lord, He provides me with stability and a safe place to stand. He gives me the talents and training I need to accomplish the tasks to which He has called me. I am but a man, a human being of little consequence is this large and varied universe. Yet God cares for me. He cares for every single person.
    I was going somewhere else with my thoughts on this psalm when I got to this point. I am not very significant when one looks at the universe, or even at the people of this earth. Despite my insignificance God cares for me. Not only does He care about me, He cares about every single person on this earth, no matter how insignificant we think they are. What does that mean for us? There is the obvious; if God cares about you (and He does), then you should not think of yourself as someone of no worth. If God cares about you, you are clearly someone of value. However, there is a more important thing for us to take from this; if we think that someone is not worth caring about, we had better re-examine our conclusion because God disagrees. He is a much better judge of a person’s value than we are.


Acts 17:1-34

    When Paul arrived in Athens he got into a discussion with some philosophers there. It seems that they found his philosophy appealing, but balked at the idea of resurrection from the dead. One of Paul’s key points in his discussion with the philosophers of Athens was that they were spiritual in every way they could imagine, yet they acknowledged that something was missing. Paul’s message to the people of Athens is one we need to convey to those around us. No matter how spiritual people may be, if they have not come to know Jesus, something is missing. Most of them will realize this and seek to fill that void. The Christian message is that the Gospel provides the answer about what is missing. Once one truly comprehends the Gospel message one realizes that Jesus fills the missing place in all other spirituality.


2 Kings 9:14-10:31

    Jehu killed Ahab’s son to become king over Israel. He killed all of Ahab’s family, fulfilling Elijah’s promise regarding Ahab. Jehu then proceeded to completely eliminate Baal worship in Israel. It is interesting that while Jehu recognized the evil in Baal worship, he did not recognize the evil in worshiping the golden calves which Jeroboam had set up.

June 25, 2015 Bible Study — Praising God When Persecuted

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 17:26

    Bad things result when people are punished for doing good and leaders are criticized for being honest. Any society which does such things is headed for disaster.


Psalm 143:1-12

    If you are suffering from depression or feeling overwhelmed by the events of your life, call out to God. Pay attention to what He says and follow the path He lays out for you. Start each day by reading about God’s acts of unfailing love. Give yourself to God and He will lift the weight from your shoulders. If you start your day by calling to God His Spirit will lead you to firm footing where the troubles of this life will no longer seem insurmountable.


Acts 16:16-40

    I find a couple of points about this passage interesting. The first thing I find interesting is that a demon caused the girl to tell people that Paul and Silas were servants of God. What was it attempting to accomplish by doing so? The second thing I find interesting is that the slave girl’s masters new immediately that she no longer had the ability to tell fortunes after Paul cast out the demon. How? Clearly, something dramatic happened when Paul commanded the demon to leave the girl.
    Another thing that I find interesting, but in a different way, is that Paul and Silas spent the night in prison praying and singing. The praying part is not particularly noteworthy, but the singing is different. They had been severely beaten before being imprisoned. Yet here they were singing praises to God. We should behave likewise. When we are counted worthy of suffering because of our faith we should praise God for so honoring us. I’m not sure I could do it, but I believe that I should.


2 Kings 8-9:13

    In this passage we discover the problem with Jehoshaphat’s friendship with King Ahab. Despite Jehoshaphat’s faithfulness to God, he allowed, or more likely, arranged, for his son to marry Ahab’s daughter. As a result of this marriage, Jehoram, Jehoshaphat’s son, followed the example of Ahab and was just as wicked. All-in-all, this passage reminds us of the importance of choosing our associates carefully, and in choosing wisely when we get married. As a result of Jehoshaphat’s association with Ahab, both his son and his grandson became wicked kings and both died at a relatively young age.

June 24, 2015 Bible Study — There Are More On Our Side Than On Theirs

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 17:24-25

    This proverb reminds me of something I hear said about how news stories often seem designed to distract us from what is important. While I do not quite subscribe to that, it dovetails with this proverb. We need to keep our eyes focused on what is wise. It is important that we not allow ourselves to be distracted by either the “shiny” or the “train wreck”.


Psalm 142:1-7

    When overwhelmed by your troubles, cry out to God. He will tell you which way to turn. You may think that you are surrounded by traps, that no matter which way you go you will be trapped and destroyed. But if you cry out to God and follow the path He shows you you will bypass all of those traps and escape the fate your enemies had in store for you. I will trust in God and call on Him.


Acts 15:36-16:15

    When Paul spoke to Barnabas about going back to visit those who had accepted the Gospel on their first mission trip, Barnabas was enthusiastic about doing so. However, Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark with them again, while Paul felt that John Mark had abandoned them on the first trip. I think we see in this another example of Barnabas’ tendency to care for “strays”. In the end, it was Barnabas who revisited the cities they preached at on the first trip.
    Paul went in a different direction. It is interesting that not long after starting his mission trip, Paul recognized that Barnabas had a point when he argued for having John Mark accompany them. I, also, believe that this story tells us something about how God often works. Paul and Barnabas had a falling out over John Mark. It was a shame that two such great men could allow that to damage their friendship, even if only for a short time. However, let us look at what came of this falling out. Barnabas took John Mark with him and revisited the cities to which they had gone on the first trip, bringing encouragement and further teaching to those who believed in those cities. John Mark later worked closely with Paul. Paul, on the other hand, set forth on a new mission trip to cities which had not previously heard the Gospel. He took with him Timothy, who later became a leader in the Church. God used their falling out to reach twice as many people as would have been reached if they had not argued, AND gained training for two future leaders of the Church rather than just one.


2 Kings 6-7:20

    There are two stories in today’s passage which really convey how God controls what goes on in this world. In the first story, the king of Aram decides to deprive the king of Israel of the support of God’s prophet, Elisha. He sends a large portion of his army to capture Elisha. When the king of Aram’s army arrived, Elisha’s servant was frightened. Elisha was not. Elisha realized that the power of God was more than sufficient to protect from the army of Aram. Elisha told his servant that there were more on their side than on the side of their enemy. As I read this I was reminded of when Elijah fled into the wilderness and proclaimed that he was the last man of God, all the rest had been killed, but God told Elijah that He had reserved 7,000 men who had not bowed down to Baal. Here, Elisha’s servant was overwhelmed with fear when he saw the forces arrayed against them. He did not see, at first, the forces arrayed for their defense.
    The second story describes a siege of Samaria. Things have gotten so bad that mothers are eating their own children to survive. Yet, Elisha prophecies that by the following day, not only would the siege be lifted but food would be ridiculously cheap. There was no way that such a thing could happen, and yet it did. This story reminds me of the 1980s. The Soviet Union and its Communism was just something we were going to need to live with. Best case scenario, it would take decades to break their terrible power over the lands they controlled. Then in 1989, the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union soon followed. Our God is a powerful God and history flows according to His plans and no thers.

June 23, 2015 Bible Study — How The Church Should Makes Decisions

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. For those of you who do not read this every day, I was very sick last week and it affected my writing (I do not know if for the better or worse). While I am still taking antibiotics, I am otherwise feeling better. I thank those of you have been praying for me.


Proverbs 17:23

    This proverb reminds us that those who take bribes are wicked and the result of bribes is the perversion of justice. There is no getting around these facts.


Psalm 141:1-10

    The first thing that struck me as I read this psalm was the reference to prayer as an incense offering we make to God. I suppose in part because I have been convicted lately that I need to pray more. Of course the next line is one that I have been praying for the last few years. I do indeed desire that God take control of what I say and guard every utterance that comes out of my mouth. It is to God whom I will look for help. I pray that He keep me from the traps which the wicked have set for the godly.


Acts 15:1-35

    A dispute about doctrine arose between Paul and Barnabas and some unnamed believers from Jerusalem. The congregation of Antioch in Syria sent a delegation to Jerusalem to get the apostles opinion on the issue. The delegation included Paul and Barnabas, which suggests where the bulk of the congregation stood on the issue. When they got to Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas were welcomed by the entire Church there, including the apostles and the elders of the Church. Paul and Barnabas gave an account of their mission trip and what God had done through them. Some of the believers present stood up and said that the Gentiles needed to be circumcised.
    So, we have a dispute over Church doctrine. The key factor was over how they resolved the issue. The Church elders and the apostles met together and discussed the issue. However this was not a small, exclusive group. The account tells us that there was much discussion, then Peter got up and recounted the vision he had before visiting Cornelius. The n Paul and Barnabas told about the signs and miracles they had witnessed among the Gentiles. At that point, the NIV translates the description of the group as “the whole assembly”.
    So, what do we learn about how we should resolve such issues? The elders and leadership of the entire Church gathered and discussed the issue. Everyone got a hearing. And while the passage not specify this, I believe that they prayed and sought the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Gradually, the respected leaders presented their thoughts directing towards a consensus, which the larger group accepted. Having made a decision, the group appointed delegates to convey their thoughts to the Church in Antioch.


2 Kings 4:18-5:27

    I have heard and read many commentaries on the story of Naaman’s healing. Today the point that came to me is one I have heard before, but not the way it struck me. When Naaman came to Elisha he was upset by two things. First, he was upset that Elisha had not come out to meet him. How could Elisha not come out to meet the great general? Second, he was upset that Elisha had set him a task to complete in order to be healed, but not a heroic task, just washing himself in the Jordan. Anybody could wash themselves in the Jordan, that was no task to set a great man like Naaman. And if he had to wash himself in a river, why not one more convenient to home?
    The point of all this is that when God calls me to a task, that task is the one He wants me to complete. Fulfilling the tasks God sets me are demonstrations of but one thing, my willingness to do as God instructs me. If I am seeking to do some great work for God, I am focusing on the wrong thing. God gives me the tasks which it serves His purpose for me to complete. They are not designed to bring glory to me. They are not designed to show the world what a great servant of God I am. They are designed to further God’s purpose in this world. As long as I faithfully execute the tasks which God lays before me, I have served His purpose. It is not my job to change the world. I will leave that up to God.

June 22, 2015 Bible Study — Do Not Allow Ourselves to Be Praised for the Actions of God

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. For those of you who do not read this every day, I was very sick last week and it affected my writing (I do not know if for the better or worse). While I am still taking antibiotics, I am otherwise feeling better. I thank those of you have been praying for me.


Proverbs 17:22

    Those who are cheerful suffer less from illness and misfortune. Those who constantly look on the bright side feel less pain and recover from physical problems more rapidly. On the other hand, those who have been broken down by their suffering become depressed and do not have the energy to do anything.


Psalm 140:1-13

    Evil and violent people will plot against those who serve the Lord. They will lay out traps and pitfalls before us. If we rely on God and trust in Him, He will save us from their schemes. The evil they planned for us will fall upon them. Those who plot the downfall of the godly will find their plots rebounding upon themselves.


Acts 14:8-28

    While Paul was preaching the Gospel in Lystra he saw a man paralyzed since birth in the audience. Paul realized that the man had the faith to be healed, so he told the man to stand up. The reaction of the people of Lystra tells us something about the relationship of Paul and Barnabas. They thought that Paul and Barnabas must be gods and concluded that Barnabas was Zeus while Paul was Hermes. In part they reached this conclusion because Paul did most of the talking. However, it suggests that they observed Paul offering some level of deference to Barnabas.
    The story itself has an important lesson for us. If we are the conduits which the Holy Spirit uses to perform wonders some people will want to lift us up and hold us above the common man. They will want to worship us. So, when we find ourselves being used by the Holy Spirit we must stay alert for those who will attempt to make what is happening about us and not allow them to do so. I struggle with the lack of witnessing the power of the Holy Spirit in my life, but I know that part of the reason for it is that I would struggle with preventing people from holding me up as special.


2 Kings 3-4:17

    Once again, Jehoshaphat goes to war along with the king of Israel. Joram, the king of Israel, leads the armies through the wilderness without knowledge of where there are water sources. When the armies become desperate for water, Joram blames God for his bad decision making. However, Jehoshaphat suggests they seek a prophet among the men in the army. So the kings call upon Elisha, who happens to be with the armies. Elisha tells Joram that he is only willing to seek God’s word for the kings because of his respect for Jehoshaphat. He then reveals that God will provide the armies with water and with victory the following morning.
    The story of the prophet’s widow tells us a lot about how God provides for us. When she approached Elisha and begged for his help, his immediate response was to ask what she had of value. His miracle was not to miraculously provide her with money. Instead, he provided her with the ability to raise the funds she needed through her own effort. The story does not suggest that the widow was in a bad situation through any fault of her own, but God’s means of providing for her involved her taking an active part.