The book of 2 Kings is fascinating, tangled, and dark at times. Right at the beginning, we are told that the voice of God was withdrawn, absent. The impatient sought to inquire after a false King, rather than wait on the Lord. It is shocking to see such blatant idolatry, especially when they were expecting a godly King to arise. We hold on, chapter after chapter, hoping one of these kings will step up and lead with righteousness. Each section reveals kings who are evil, self-centered and involve their sons in their debauchery. While it is tempting to compare that to our current state of political events, I will not– other than to point out that there is nothing new under the sun. Our hope for change, direction and wisdom must be found in a sovereign, holy God. Anytime we place our trust in someone or something other than God, we will come up short. Humans can never do what God was meant to do. Seeking Him, inquiring of Him is a good place to start. Even a good place to stay.

While those who needed to inquire of the Lord- did not, there was one man who showed loyalty in spite of the disloyalty of his culture and that was Elisha. He persisted. He repeatedly told his mentor, “I will never leave you.” You might say he got “double for his trouble” as God rewarded him for his obedience and his loyalty. His life is a comparison of what Kingly behavior looks like and it had nothing to do with a title or crown. Elijah and Elisha continued to point to a higher authority. They stand in stark contrast to the  kings  and the prophets of their time.

Today – will we ask God what His will is for our lives and what direction we should take? Will we put down our cell phones, computer and let Google take a rest? Can we simply ask God for His  will? We would all benefit from that. A Facebook post said recently, “almost everything works better if you unplug it for a few minutes – even you.” I don’t think Elisha could have functioned as he did if he had been wrapped up in media or other distractions. It takes time before the Lord to see and hear His perspective and get aligned.

God does not change, and He is the same yesterday, today and forever. In 2 Kings 6:17, Elisha prayed and said, “Lord I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then 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.

Those who follow after God will have their spiritual vision adjusted. 

In chapter seven Elisha says, Hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord: “Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.” God will give us insights on tomorrow– if we will listen. Later in the chapter we are told, “For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses- the noise of a great army so they said to one another, Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!” God has many ways of fighting our battles –if we listen.

Those who follow after God will have their spiritual hearing adjusted. 

Remember Bing Crosbys recorded song, “Do you hear what I hear”? Did you know that song was written by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne? They were a song-writing couple and penned the words to it in the late sixties. The background to their lyrics was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Their sights were on the crisis and hope in the government to take action. The star in the night expressed their fears of a nuclear attack, as they fearfully listened to the radio for what might take place. The double meaning to the song is especially relevant when we consider the trouble in the Middle East and other threats of war. We want peace but face crisis. We hear the Nativity story and wrongly think things were trouble free in early Bethlehem but in reality, their story was filled with danger and fears. God lifted their sights upward and gave them a new song to hear as the angels rejoiced. Christ came to bring peace into their circumstances, to be God with them –Emmanuel. That is still His task today – to be with us. It is more than a Christmas carol – it is a promise of support and ultimate victory.

Do we see what God wants us to see? Can we hear what God wants us to hear through faith? If scripture does not give us Gods perspective, we cannot grasp what God is doing in our day. It seems that those who  inquire of Him, who choose His will  have a different understanding of life and the circumstances around them. God promises to be with those who seek Him.

If we draw near, He draws near to us. If we go after sacred places, high places, false gods and false solutions, God will most definitely back up or let us go into Exile until we remember who we are and WHOSE we are. He will withdraw and remove His presence from us, which is a literal definition of hell. A place without God. When we pray, we align ourselves with Heaven and the Kingdom of God. We cease to live merely for our own end or pleasure.

This month as I read  2 Kings and watched the nightly news, I saw many similarities.  Horrific stories of abuse and violence abound. We are in the midst of a very intense and rocky time nationally and  internationally.  Many are trying to find any peace possible. The land is filled with confusion  as people grasp for truth and answers from people and places that can not satisfy.  Lawsuits, anger, and injustice seem to reign in our cities as never before. Those wanting “justice” are often those who act very unjust.

Maybe you too are trying to make sense of things  that just are not reasonable or understandable. 2nd Kings reminds us that even in the midst of  wicked  Kings, God was still active. He sent a picture of Himself — two bright lights emerged – Elijah and Elisha. Doug Stuart in his book, “How to read the Bible for all its worth” points out that “Through them (Elijah and Elisha) God demonstrates that He is still Lord over all the earth — in 

Creation, nature; the nations, –Israel.

Today we have Superpowers at war, leaders  misbehaving, people presenting themselves as holy but living dual lifestyles, people morally falling … it is disappointing. It grabs our heart and emotions as we hear stories and look on the carnage. Where are our eyes and ears? In our current darkness,

I wonder — where are the Elishas of the Lord God?

Whether  it’s Dr. Rand Paul and the Festivus report, or Navy Vet Michael Cassidy or even a 90 year old Sunday school teacher who says “enough is enough” – God still  uses people to speak up for holiness.  What is hte cost and what does it look like in this moment to be a God fearer? In our home, our church, our city, our nation?   Every once in awhile someone reminds us that God is greater, bigger than public opinion or the crowds. Firebrands do not lay down when everyone else is tolerating wickedness or sin. They stand up. Not because they are people with a cause but because they are people of presence, people obeying God. Who reminds you of Elijah and Elisha? Their passion and fire grew the more they were persecuted. This isn’t permission to be radical, disobedient or weird but to obey a holy God. Elisha was God directed. 

What if the calm Christmas story reflected things, like we read in 2 Kings? It would make Christmas plays vastly different. A dangerous journey and miracles would be included. Inquiring Anna rejoicing and Zacharias going mute would be included. What if  children were taught that Anna and Zacharias were not just coincidental participants, but that God chose them because they were  waiting, holy and righteous? What if we taught that God does not play favorites, but He does favor and answer those who are seeking HIM. That’s very contrary to the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality we see in todays schools.

Last Christmas our family got the flu while staying at a hotel.  It was horrendous. I gained a new appreciation for Innkeepers and management. Loud body functions, noise, and constant medical care are not conducive to your other guests getting a good night’s sleep. It is very disruptive. The innkeeper should get credit for squeezing them in the only available space left. He was flexible and could have just say no altogether. The manger scene of Jesus’ birth  was not a matter of hospitality but functionality to quarantine a worried father and very pregnant, screaming mother. What was impolite to the young couple was very protective of a house full of guests who needed their sleep and peace. Jesus’ introduction into the world was anything but calm or sterile. The “interruption” of the silent night was foretold in  Matthew (chapter 2), “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Who wants to be saved from their sin at 2 A.M. in a hotel while sleeping?

2nd Kings is a cycle of ignoring God, seeking other gods, then doing their own thing. All these examples  point us to the One, true King to come – Jesus. He will not be wicked or capricious. Luke 2 tells us, “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” The long-awaited King was right there – at the door, next to the hotel with warm beds and food to eat, water to drink. He was right there, for them to seek after but the little family running from danger and preparing for birth (mother, father, luggage) was just too much –so the Inn, put them in a set apart place. still on the property.  A place out of the way so they would not “bother” anyone or interrupt their respite. A distant place was preferred so as not to interrupt the “gold star” guests. Oh if only they knew Jesus was the finest “gold star” visitor. We don’t know if those regular guests got free breakfast and gym benefits, but what they didn’t get was the smell of donkeys, manure and sheep. They also did not get the presence of the King of kings and Lord of Lords come down from Heaven to visit them that night. Only the bargain barn folks got that benefit. God wanted ALL to know that this was the One they were to seek, so He shines a big holy spotlight on His son so they couldn’t miss it. Seek THIS ONE. This is the one you have been waiting for and this is the KING that will bring ultimate peace. The one sent by the King of the Universe, his father. Chariots of fire that surrounded Elijah didn’t appear when baby Jesus arrived,  but a whole host of heaven did. There was room in the sky for them.

Maybe God doesn’t mind the mess.  Maybe He is not worried about the right time, the right place, and the right people for others opinions as much as to fulfill His word and promise. Maybe He can still move in spite of wicked leaders, nations and those claiming to be “religious.” Maybe loyalty and love meant more to God than finery on that Holy day. He found them; He led others to them. Son of Heaven, yet God let them stay in a less than five-star hotel. Maybe God was more concerned with His  eternal kingdom than their temporal comfort.  The loyal king and prophet who would tell them “I will never leave you” had come and the king of ALL kings was near. 

Those who step up will be remembered not for their perfect words or clothes or actions but for following the will of the Father and obeying His commands. First we have to see and hear what those are in our generation. These stories are not that different from those who walk with Christ today. 

In all our searching, in all our political quagmires, in all our disappointments and pain,  we can read 2 Kings and be very grateful that Christ, the TRUE King, and example has come. That should give us hope. That leader and King, is still reigning, still saving and still Lord.

Do you see what I see? Do you hear what I hear? The child, no longer a babe, still calls to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. In Revelation that King says, “I’m coming back soon.”

May we respond and in hope,  bring light to the world as  Elisha did — prepare His way.

RenaeRoche 2023