Deuteronomy 32:36 (NIV)
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Title: An Inopportune season; An Opportune Moment: Preparing for God’s Next Suddenly
36 The LORD will vindicate his people and relent concerning his servants when he sees their strength is gone and no one is left, slave or free.
Overview of 2 Kings (Divided Kingdoms)
The second series of stories, once again, consists of those in which Elisha acts in international affairs (Healing Naaman). In each, the northern kingdom is under Syrian (or Aramean) attack. 2Ki 6:8-23, to begin with:
- Prophet amusingly revealing Syrian war strategies to the Israelite king.
- Out of frustration, the Syrians attack anyway, but they are miraculously blinded and captured.
- 2Ki 6:24-7:20:
- records yet another struggle with the Syrians. Encircled by enemy soldiers,
- Samaria is plagued by an ever-worsening famine.
- As a result, the famine passes, the prophetic word is substantiated, and the example of the lepers is preserved.
Note, Unbelief is a sin by which men greatly dishonour and displease God, and deprive themselves of the favours he designed for them. The murmuring Israelites saw Canaan, but could not enter in because of unbelief.
The Attack: Whether the noise was really made in the air by the ministry of angels, or whether it was only a sound in their ears, is not certain; which soever it was, it was from God, who both brings the wind out of his treasures, and forms the spirit of man within him. The sight of horses and chariots had encouraged the prophet’s servant, 2 Kgs. 6:17.
The noise of horses and chariots terrified the hosts of Syria. For notices from the invisible world are either very comfortable or very dreadful, according as men are at peace with God or at war with him. 2 Kgs 6.17
- Hearing this noise, they concluded the king of Israel had certainly procured assistance from some foreign power: He has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians.
- So they imposed upon themselves by the interpretation they made of it.
- How could the king of Israel, who was closely besieged, hold intelligence with those distant princes? What had he to hire them with? It was impossible but some notice would come, before, of the motions of so great a host; but there were they in great fear where no fear was.
None of them had so much sense as to send out scouts ... The wicked flee when none pursues.
- The watchmen on the walls were not aware of the retreat of the enemy, so silently did they steal away.
- But Providence employed four lepers to be the intelligencers, who had their lodging without the gate, being excluded from the city, as ceremonially unclean...
- They therefore determine to go over to the enemy, and throw themselves upon their mercy:
- They feasted in the first tent they came to (2 Kgs. 7:8) and then began to think of enriching themselves with the plunder;
- But they corrected themselves (2 Kgs. 7:9): “We do not well to conceal these good tidings from the community we are members of, under colour of being avenged upon them for excluding us from their society; it was the law that did it, not they, and therefore let us bring them the news. Though it awake them from sleep, it will be life from the dead to them.” Their own consciences told them that some mischief would befall them if they acted separately, and sought themselves only.
- Selfish narrow-spirited people cannot expect to prosper;
- Let not those who, like him, are unstable in all their ways, think to receive any thing from God; nay, a guilty conscience fears the worst and makes men suspicious.
- The wealth of the sinner laid up for the just (Job 27:16, 17)
2. The wants of Israel supplied in a way that they little thought of, which should encourage us to depend upon the power and goodness of God in our greatest straits.
➢A measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel; those that spoiled the camp had not only enough to supply themselves with, but an overplus to sell at an easy rate for the benefit of others, and so even those that tarried at home did divide the spoil,
➢God’s promise may be safely relied on, for no word of his shall fall to the ground.
Isaiah 33:23 23 Your rigging hangs loose: The mast is not held secure, the sail is not spread. Then an abundance of spoils will be divided and even the lame will carry off plunder.
He saw the plenty, for the silencing and shaming of his unbelief, corn cheap without opening windows in heaven, and therein saw his own folly in prescribing to God; but he did not eat of the plenty he saw.
1.) How deeply God resents out distrust of him, of his power, providence, and promise. When Israel said, Can God furnish a table? the Lord heard it and was wroth.
God never promises the end without knowing where to provide the means.
He whom the king leaned upon the people trod upon; he who fancied himself the stay and support of the government was trampled under foot as the mire in the streets. Thus hath the pride of men’s glory been often stained.
Let all men fear before the great God
Question/Challenge: How are you preparing for the next suddenly? Are you aware of the nature of God? Do you know his promises? Do your children? Is your expectancy dependent upon your strength? Is your faith limited by your failure? Is God really God to you? Can you stand to be blessed? God is UP to something really big this season! Will you be like the lepers in 2 Kings 2 or the trusted & wise royal advisor. Will you taste victory in this season?