Archive for April 15th, 2017
Have you ever seen the results of panic-buying? Every time that there is the threat of bad weather people go out and buy unnecessary amounts of food and supplies in a state of panic. It doesn’t take long before supermarket shelves start getting very empty. In the UK we operate a “just in time” system for food production and retail, meaning that we do not have vast amounts in reserve. Our grocery stores generally hold no more than 2 weeks’ worth of stock, under normal trading conditions.
Samaria was under siege and famine had struck. Although the city was self-sufficient for a specific season they didn’t have enough to maintain themselves in the long run. The people had become extremely desperate and had even resorted to eating their own offspring (as predicted in Deuteronomy 28 : 53). It is hard for us to imagine this level of desperation.
What is interesting to note though, is the king of Israel’s initial response. In verse 27 he gives what may appear to be an almost sarcastic reply to her. However, it could equally be one of despair. After all, he has no food himself either. He is still prepared to listen to her story though. Then it turns into a scenario that is all too familiar throughout history. Instead of facing up to the root problems he finds another target to blame. Instead of leading his people back to the Lord, dealing with the prophets of Baal and tearing down the claves at Dan and Beth-el, he lashes out at Elisha.
There had been a long and sometimes strained relationship between the kings of Israel and God’s prophets. They often predicted doom due to the king’s misdemeanours. The kings often saw them as trouble-makers. In English history you may have heard the phrase “who will rid me of this meddlesome priest” attributed to King Henry II against Thomas Becket back in 1170. This still continues today when leaders of the church in this country and others speak out against the government of the day and are castigated for doing so.
Whatever the reason for the king’s response we know that Elisha was a man of God and that God had warned him that the king had sent a messenger to kill him.
Lord, open our eyes to see the reality of situations. Help us to not be so quick to lash out and blame others.