Today’s reading: 2 Kings 1-12, Ps 49-50
Things continue to look bleak in today’s reading. King after king acts foolishly, leading the people astray and turning all of Israel into a spiritual wasteland. Yet once again, a lone prophet stands out for his firm resolve to remain obedient to the God of Israel.
A theme that runs throughout many of the episodes involving Elisha is trust. Time and time again, when the reactions of others around him reveal doubt and suspicion, Elisha remains confident that God will act. When the widow tells him that all she has is a little oil, Elisha trusts God to act on her behalf and fill enough jugs with it to cancel all her deceased husband’s debts. When the Shunammite woman has given up all hope of having a child, he boldly declares that she will become pregnant that year. Then, when the boy becomes ill and she is certain she has lost him forever, Elisha calls on God to breathe life back into him. One day at dinnertime, while others scoff at the slim rations in front of them, Elisha knows that God has provided more than enough for the hundred who are gathered there. When the meal is over, there are leftovers (hmmm. . .what story does this sound like?). Even Elisha’s rebuke of his servant is about trust–Gehazi, in spite of witnessing numerous examples of God’s providence, still feels compelled to try and secure a little extra for himself in the Naaman episode. Not even the threat of an execution order from the king can pry Elisha off center.
Elisha models for us a deep faith that will not be overcome by despair, disease, disaster, or even death. For his generation and for ours, living this kind of faith offers a powerful witness.