Margin notes: Things I scribbled in the white spaces on Aug. 5, 2K8

1 – 2 Kings 6:1-7 (ESV) Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. 2 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.” 3 Then one of them said, “Be pleased to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” 4 So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5 But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Alas, my master! It was borrowed.” 6 Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float. 7 And he said, “Take it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it.

RAF: All of the graces we had in Adam, were granted to us – “borrowed” from God, are were not ours inherently. This is so because we did not create ourselves nor do we sustain ourselves. (1 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV) For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?) All we had was from Him. And what little we have left is still from Him. But our righteousness, this we lost. The holiness and uprightness we were created in is gone. The very image of God in us was marred beyond recognition. We were no longer able to glorify – to reveal Him as were created to do. Lost so as to be irrecoverable by human means. It would take a miracle of grace alone to do the impossible in saving us. The very transcendence of nature and its laws. That which could only be done by God Himelf. Oh, what a glorious salvation belongs to those who believe.

2 – 2 Kings 6:15 (ESV) 15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

RAF: “What shall WE do?” is a good question, but if it is our only question, it can quickly lead to despair. Gehazi’s exclamation seems to indicate his sense of hopelessness. But Elisha knew that we must ask the other question which brings everything back into focus: “What shall God do?” For He is with us, we are His, and He will act on behalf of His own. Look to Him!

3 – 2 Kings 8:9-10 (ESV) 9 So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, all kinds of goods of Damascus, forty camel loads. When he came and stood before him, he said, “Your son Ben-hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this sickness?’ ” 10 And Elisha said to him, “Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover,’ but the Lord has shown me that he shall certainly die.”

RAF: This is no case of double talk. The illness was not to take Ben-hadad;s life, nevertheless, Hazael would. Ben-hadad’s inquiry was too short sighted. Like most of us, he was thinking only of the immediate circumstances. God is dealing with our souls – what goes on after the fires of this life are put out. If our only concerns are for the here and now, we will find ourselves completely unprepared for the end of our lives. We cannot live well today, unless we do so in the full light of eternity.

4 – 2 Kings 9:6 (ESV) 6 So he arose and went into the house. And the young man poured the oil on his head, saying to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, I anoint you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel.

RAF: We need to pause and get our bearings here. Israel, now the northern kingdom, had split off from Judah – the southern kindgom as a result of the oppressive regime of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. Israel then alomst immediately entered into the worst kind of idolatry, and is headed by one wicked king after another. The nation is in disarray, and never in right spiritual relationship with God. And yet we read these words – “I anoint you king over the people of the LORD, over Israel.” If I were God, I would not have owned them at this point. Now, after many successive generations of wickedness, God remains true to His promises – true to His people, even under such extreme circumstances. How much more ought the child of God take refuge in the faithfulness of his God when we stumble, but by no means turn our backs on Him as they did. He is a faithful God. He knows our weaknesses. Yes we fail. Yes we stumble and fall – and yes God remains our God. He does not abandon us. He does not cut us off suddenly as though a mere fall is the sum of the story. In patience He abides with us. How confident we ought to be that He hears our confessions, knows the brokenness of our hearts over our sin, and pledges His full love to us over and over in meeting us where we have been wounded. Take heart weary Christian, you have been overtaken in your sin and have stumbled – our God is faithful. He has brought you into His New and everlasting Covenant which is sealed in the blood of His Son, and cannot be broken. He will not foresake His own. He will complete the work He has begun in you.

5 – 2 Kings 10:28-31 (ESV) 28 Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. 29 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. 30 And the Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.” 31 But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.

RAF: The mere turning from idolatry without the accompanying abandonment of all other sin, is not sufficient. We cannot remain in our sins under the pretense of having turned to the True God. Jehu’s failure to abandon the sins of his predecessors lead to his demise regardless of his labors in rooting out idolatry.

6 – 2 Kings 11:14 (ESV) 14 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!”

RAF: Those who protest the loudest against a particular sin in others, are often so keen to it because it is their own. I know it is true in my own case. I am most prone to the sins I see and respond to most strongly in others.

7 – 2 Kings 12:13-14 (ESV) 13 But there were not made for the house of the Lord basins of silver, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, or any vessels of gold, or of silver, from the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, 14 for that was given to the workmen who were repairing the house of the Lord with it.

RAF: There is nothing wrong with hiring good and skilled men, and paying them accordingly, to accomplish such tasks in the house of the Lord. Voluntary workers are not always best. Nor is the Lord honored by shoddy workmanship, or inferior materials. If we are doing it for His name’s sake, then we ought not flinch to see it done with excellence. Ostentation is a sin it is true – but so is the fear of wasting the costly perfume on Jesus’ feet. He is to be truly honored among us. Let the World not imagine us cheap and content with mediocrity in the service of our King. When we have but humble means, let us not be ashamed, and yet do all we can to utilize them with dignity and uprightness. And when we have greater means, let us not be afraid to employ them in such a way that men see clearly that it is never a waste to show our honor to Him in excellence.

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