Margin Notes: Things I scribbled in the white spaces on May 7, 2K8


1 – A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.” But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’ ” So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.” (2 Kings 4:42-44, ESV)

RAF: This precursor to Jesus feeding the 5000 & the 4000, is a great reminder of God’s good provision for us. And, how it is He often makes what we have sufficient, rather than our needing more. How we need to trust Him for sufficiency. Temptation is warded off when we look to Him to make sufficient what we already have.

2 – She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”” (2 Kings 5:3, ESV)

RAF: God’s people need to be quick to speak of His mercy. He has dealt with us mercifully and we ought to be very quick to tell others of His great mercy. Evangelism has one of its most powerful arguments here: We have tasted and seen that the Lord, He is good, and that His mercy overflows.

3 – But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”” (2 Kings 5:11-13, ESV)

RAF: “What do you mean just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved? I thought surely I would be instructed in works of charity, and asked to submit to religious ceremonies. Anyone can tell me to just believe on Him. What are the steps, the program, the method?” Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust Him as your sin-bearer. For your standing before the judgment seat of the Living God. Believe – Him. Don’t say you believe – believe. Trust your soul to Him.

4 – In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon your servant in this matter.” He said to him, “Go in peace.” But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance,” (2 Kings 5:18-19, ESV)

RAF: God knew that though Naaman’s heart was fully His, nevertheless he was going to return to a pagan environment. How could he navigate those waters, when his job would require him to accompany his King into the pagan temple and bow with him in the ceremonies? Go in peace is the Prophet’s answer. Not the one I would have given. How accommodating our God is, how aware of our circumstances and needs. How gracious.

5 – But he said to him, “Did not my heart go when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Was it a time to accept money and garments, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male servants and female servants?” (2 Kings 5:26, ESV)

RAF: It wasn’t that Elisha’s heart was impervious to desire. But he knew what a snare these things would be. And his answer displays the answer of faith: This is not the time. Our reward is yet to come. It is not in this life, and in this world – our reward is Christ in glory.

6 – Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.” And he answered, “Go.”” (2 Kings 6:1-2, ESV)

RAF: Leadership doesn’t always originate the vision. Sometimes it arises among the people as the need requires.

7 – He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:16-17, ESV)

RAF: Heavenly Father, give me the eyes of faith. Make me to see the truth of your loving care and provision in the most dire of circumstances. Remind me that Jesus’ words that He would never leave us nor forsake us were not hyperbole, but a divine promise. Make me to know it, to trust you, and to live in the reality of your great grace.

8 – and he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”” (2 Kings 6:31, ESV)

RAF: Once again we meet this oft repeated motif: That men, when suffering under the chastening hand of God are more angry at one who represents God, than they are broken for their sin and repentant. We ought not to think it strange that men in great distress often rail against Christians and the Church, rather than being humbled before god and crying out for mercy.

9 – Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.”” (2 Kings 7:9, ESV)

RAF: Can there be a more apt description of and impetus for – evangelism? Doomed in our own decay, suddenly stumbling upon the great work of God in His boundless provision – how can we keep it to ourselves? Today is a day of good news. While there are people so near us starving, we dare not keep it to ourselves.

10 – And the king rose in the night and said to his servants, “I will tell you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we are hungry. Therefore they have gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the open country, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we shall take them alive and get into the city.’ ”” (2 Kings 7:12, ESV)

RAF: It should come as no surprise that some will hear our good news with nothing but the utmost of skepticism. They will assume it is a scam of some sort. A ploy to bring about their destruction. Lord, give your Word success in the hearts of men.

11 – Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord.” (2 Kings 7:16, ESV)

RAF: Here is a very great rebuke. I fear I have but barely tasted of the good things of God. I certainly could not be said to have “plundered” them. Oh God, give me a heart to take in everything your hand has provided. Let me see how great your salvation truly is!

12 – And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he was embarrassed. And the man of God wept. And Hazael said, “Why does my lord weep?” He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel. You will set on fire their fortresses, and you will kill their young men with the sword and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women.”” (2 Kings 8:11-12, ESV)

RAF: No true man of God ever takes delight in God’s judgments. Ours here is to weep when the Father deems it necessary to take such hard measures with men. Oh Father, give me compassion, for once I was a child of wrath even as the rest.

13 – Yet the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David his servant, since he promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever.” (2 Kings 8:19, ESV)

RAF: The Lord is ALWAYS faithful to His promises. Ever full of grace.

14 – Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin—that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan.” (2 Kings 10:28-29, ESV)

RAF: It ultimately does no good to wipe out one sin, and leave others. If they are not all attacked and expelled, they will be a snare and destroy us in the end. It is good to expel any sin, but to leave any, will leave us vulnerable still. We must wage war on them all. Father, help us to rid our hearts of every defilement, no matter how strong, how slight or how familiar and comfortable.

15 – And when she looked, there was the king standing by the pillar, according to the custom, and the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets. And Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, “Treason! Treason!”” (2 Kings 11:14, ESV)

RAF: Those who protest the loudest against a particular sin in others, are often so keen to it because it is their own.

16 – Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and make offerings on the high places.” (2 Kings 12:3, ESV)

RAF: This nagging remnant reappears over and over. It is but a simple concession so that it is not so “hard” to serve God by doing all their service in Jerusalem at the Temple, yet the Scripture refers to it over and over again. It is no small thing.

17 – Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the holy things that is brought into the house of the Lord, the money for which each man is assessed—the money from the assessment of persons—and the money that a man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the Lord, let the priests take, each from his donor, and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered.”” (2 Kings 12:4-5, ESV)

RAF: In seasons of true revival, there is always great interest in restoring the Church to its proper condition. This manifests itself somewhat in the buildings themselves, but it is the “Church” that needs repair. People have abandoned it. They can worship on the “high places” – as they see fit. They fail to see the need to gather as God’s people. They grow eclectic and individualistic. The state of the Church – God’s people – decays and falls into disrepair. But when the Spirit begins to move, men grow interested again in making the Church – the Body of Christ – strong and healthy. The parts come back together. They begin to desire a more robust, shared common life. The Church rises up again in importance in their thinking and devotion. God is honored for Christ came to build His Church.

18 – Then Jehoahaz sought the favor of the Lord, and the Lord listened to him, for he saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Syria oppressed them. (Therefore the Lord gave Israel a savior, so that they escaped from the hand of the Syrians, and the people of Israel lived in their homes as formerly. Nevertheless, they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin, but walked in them; and the Asherah also remained in Samaria.)” (2 Kings 13:4-6, ESV)

RAF: Behold the unfathomable grace of God, who hears the petitions of these who seek His favor, even though they did not depart from their sins. This does not mean they will not be judged for their sins, that they do not matter or that it is excused. It is just to say God is far more willing to bless than any of us are willing to believe. Oh Father – how amazingly good you are!

19 – Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and wept before him, crying, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!”” (2 Kings 13:14, ESV)

RAF: He was seeking a blessing by referring to the legendary way Elisha received his own. But he proves himself less than willing to plunge in all the way.

20 – So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.” (2 Kings 13:20-21, ESV)

RAF: God’s true servants leave behind a life giving legacy to those who follow. What will you leave behind to the generations who follow you? Life, or death?

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