Friday, January 10, 2020

The Vision (1.10.20): The Lord provides for the widow, the barren, and the bereaved

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on 2 Kings 4:1-37.

And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? (2 Kings 4:2a).

2 Kings 4:1-37 describes three distinct episodes from the ministry of Elisha:

1.    The Lord provides for a widow (vv. 1-7);
2.    The Lord provides for a barren woman (vv. 8-17);
3.    The Lord provides for a bereaved woman (vv. 18-37).

There is so much here to be applied, one hardly knows where to begin or where to end.
Think of that widow commanded to pour from her one meager pot into all those gathered vessels. She witnessed the miraculous and powerful provisions of the Lord. Consider how are we being commanded to gather up vessels, to be obedient, in anticipation of his pouring out all that we need?

Think of that “great woman” (v. 8) and her passion for ministering to the saints, and especially of ministering to the ministers, as she extended hospitality to Elisha. Think of her discernment. She rightly perceived that Elisha was “an holy man of God” (v. 9). And consider how the Lord acknowledged what she had done and blessed her in this life, beyond what she ever could have asked or imagined, with a son.

Think of that same woman who lost that precious son and how the prophet, at her bidding, was the instrument that brought him back to life. See her as a model of relentless and persistent prayer. In Luke 18:1-8 the Lord told his disciples the parable of the persistent widow, “to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).

We might well see in these episodes from the life of Elisha a foreshadowing of the ministry of Christ, as he was working miracles that showed his mastery over creation, whether in feeding five thousand or walking on water. Elijah and Elisha were great, but Christ is greater!

Think also of Christ going into the room where the Jairus’s daughter had been laid and consider how he raised her to life: “And he took the damsel by the hand and said unto her, Talitha cumi, which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say to thee, arise” (Mark 5:41). Or recall when he interrupted the funeral procession, to raise to life the only son of the widow of Nain, saying, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise” (Luke 7:14). Or, when he raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11). All this anticipates what he will do at the end of the ages, when the dead will be raised to life (John 5:28-29).

And consider how he laid his own life down and then took it up again in the resurrection.

More than anything else, we see in these accounts the heart of God in the face of Christ. He is a God who provides for the widow, for the barren, for the bereaved. He is the Lord who hears the cries of the needy, the desperate, the poor, the weak, the dying, and he gives them life.

This is the God who saves sinners who have come to the end of themselves and know that Christ is not one option among many, but their only hope!

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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