I am using One Year Bible Online for my daily Bible study. For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have found that by writing this daily blog of what I see when I read these scriptures, I get more out of them. I hope that by posting these ruminations others may get some benefit as well. If you have any thoughts or comments regarding these verses or what I have written about them, please post them.
After the death of his brother, Ahaziah, Ahab’s son, Joram takes the throne of Israel. We are told that while he did evil in the sight of the Lord, he was not as bad as his father and mother. Joram tore down the sacred pillar of Baal that Ahab had constructed. The king of Moab had given a tribute each year to King Ahab. When Ahab died the king of Moab stopped giving this tribute. When Joram took the throne, he went to war against Moab to enforce this tribute. Jehoshaphat of Judah and the king of Edom joined him in his war against Moab. Joram chose to launch his attack against Moab by a roundabout route through the wilderness. Unfortunately, Joram chose a route that did not have any water along it (at least at this time). After seven days, Joram is desperate and asks the other two kings what he should do. Jehoshaphat asks if there is a prophet of the Lord with them, they can ask him what to do. One of Joram’s officers says that Elisha was with the army and he used to be Elijah’s servant. The three kings go to Elisha. Elisha asks Joram why he has come, he should have gone to the pagan prophets of his parents. Joram replies that no, it was God that called the three kings to this place, so God was the one for them to consult. Elisha then says that he is only talking to them because of Jehoshaphat. He tells the three kings that the valley there will be no rain, but the valley they are in will fill with water. Elisha further tells them that they will utterly defeat Moab. The next morning water started flowing into the valley. The sun shining on the water made it appear to be blood to the Moabite army. This led the Moabites to believe that the three armies had fought among themselves and killed each other. The Moabites rushed in to plunder what they thought was an abandoned camp, when they got there the Israelite army came out to meet them and defeated them decisively.
Sometime later, a widow of one of the group of prophets came to Elisha to request help because a creditor was threatening to take her sons to sell them into slavery to pay off her debt. Elisha asks her what she has in the house. She replies that she has nothing of any value except for a flask of olive oil. Elisha tells her to borrow as many empty jars from her neighbors as she can. Then she should go into her house with her sons and close the doors. When she has done this she should start filling the containers. She followed these instructions and there continued to be more olive oil in her flask until all of the jars was filled. She then sold the olive oil and paid her debt with money left over for her and her sons to live on.
Still later a wealthy woman invited Elisha to come eat at her house. Whenever he passed that way he would stop for a meal. After a little bit the woman tells her husband that they should furnish a room for him to stay in as he passes by because he is a man of God. After a while Elisha has his servant ask her what they can do to repay her for her kindness. She replies that she is well cared for by her family. When she has left, Elisha asks his servant what they can do for her. The servant replies that she does not have a son and her husband is elderly. Elisha has his servant call her back. When she comes back, Elisha tells her that by next year at this time she will be holding a son in her arms. The woman is afraid to get her hopes up, but nevertheless by the following year she has born a son.
These two women had something in common. They both chose to serve the Lord. The one, when she was in need, turned to the community of God (Elisha was the leader of the group of prophets of which her husband had been a member). Elisha gives her instruction on what she should do. She acts on faith and God provides for her. Notice that Elisha does not give her money, he provides her a means to generate the income she needs. She still has to fill the jars with olive oil and sell them. The second has plenty and out of her plenty she shows hospitality. When Elisha asks her what her needs are, she replies that she is well cared for. Elisha then inquires of others what needs she might have. When he discovers that she does not have a son to care for her when her husband will no longer be able to, he asks God to provide her one.
While Paul was preaching in Lystra, there was a man who had been crippled since birth listening to him. Paul looks at the man and sees that he has the faith to be healed. So Paul calls out to him to stand up. The man does so and begins walking. The people of Lystra begin talking among themselves that Paul and Barnabas must be gods. They conclude that Paul is Hermes and Barnabas is Zeus. This discussion goes on in the local dialect, so Paul and Barnabas do not know what they are talking about until they see the priests begin the preparations for a sacrifice. Paul and Barnabas tore their clothes and emphatically told the people that they were not gods. They were barely able to restrain the people from offering a sacrifice to them. Shortly after this some Jews came from the last two towns Paul and Barnabas had been at and convinced the crowds to stone Paul and leave him for dead. When the believers gathered around Paul, he got up and went back into town. The next day Paul and Barnabas went to Derbe and preached there. It is interesting how fickle the crown was. When Paul and Barnabas refused to allow the people of Lystra to worship them, they quickly turned on them.
After spending some time in Derbe, Paul and Barnabas retraced their steps through Asia Minor appointing elders in the local churches. They then sailed back to Antioch of Syria and reported on their trip.
The psalmist here asks God to protect him from those trying to trap him and destroy him with violence. He asks God to not let the wicked become successful in their plots against the innocent. He asks God to destroy them by catching them in the traps they had set for others. The psalmist concludes that God will give justice to the poor and the righteous praise His name.
Those who are cheerful always seem to be in better health than those who complain about every little thing. I have noticed that when I am happy pain bothers me less. Admittedly, it is hard to stay cheerful and upbeat when you are in pain, but it is worth trying because it seems to make things better.