Todays readings… 2 Kings 5, Lamentations 1, 1 Corinthians 14
“BECAUSE THE LORD HAS AFFLICTED”
Both of our Old Testament readings testify to the LORD’s actions in punishing godlessness. First, in 2 Kings ch. 5, we have individual godlessness; Gehazi, Elisha’s servant had witnessed in his lifetime the works of his master in possessing, in some awesome degree, the powers of the LORD, the Creator. We ourselves, increasingly sense his all-seeing eyes – of everything that happens – and, just as much (and more awesome when we meditate on it) his awareness of the motivations of every human mind. Gehazi’s most recent experience was the healing of Naaman, the Syrian, but it seems to have been of no ‘marvel’ to him. He was self-centred.
Elisha had refused to accept any presents from Naaman; Gehazi was peeved about this and his human greed pushed aside all thoughts of conscience and honesty and he went after Naaman and told him lies in order to gain some personal benefit. Then he told lies to Elisha to hide what he had done, but, as Solomon wrote in the Proverbs, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” [15 v.3]
Elisha, as a man of God, was blessed with these perceptions: and we ponder what powers the saints will possess in the kingdom, surely they will be, to some extent, similar! See Hebrews 6 v.5.
Then we read the first chapter of Jeremiah’s Lamentations. It reads as if the prophet is inspired to personify Jerusalem, “because the LORD has afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions” [v.5]
Her inhabitants had constantly demonstrated, spiritual blindness and endless ungodliness! We recognise parallels with today‘ – our world’s inhabitants – the one’s that surround us! They must not influence us, do they? . Are we developing a degree of empathy with Jeremiah and his agonies of mind? We should.
“Jerusalem sinned grievously; therefore she became filthy …” [v.8] “Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the LORD inflicted on the day of his fierce anger.” [v.12]
It is with heartfelt awe that we remember the predictions of God through Isaiah in his 13th chapter – that ” the day of the LORD “ will be the time of… “his fierce anger” [v.9,13] When we add to these the words of our Lord – about the suddenness of it all and the need for “those days” to be “cut short” or “no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” [Matt. 24 v.22] These are words which cause us to be in awe of our own position and anxious to be sure of the reality of our faith!
May we be delivered, in “the day of his fierce anger” from being among those “afflicted” by “the LORD.”