If your city or town is like mine, there are probably things about it you don’t like. Maybe it’s too hot in the summer or too humid. Maybe it rains too much or too little. Maybe it’s too big or too small or there’s not enough to do.
But, probably like my city, there are many things about it that make it pleasant, things about which we should be thankful. No matter if we love where we live or not, your city and mine suffer from a curse. If that’s true, what is the cure?
2 Kings 1 & 2
A Cure for the Curse
2 Kings 1 & 2:
Don’t you love Elisha’s boldness in asking for “a double portion” of the Lord’s Spirit in his life! I wonder how much more we could do for the Lord, if we just ASKED Him to do something through us! It made me think of Isaiah when He really saw God for Who He was:
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.'”
Do we, maybe out of a false sense of humility, neglect to say “Send me!” or “Please give me a double portion, Lord!”
A Cure for the Curse
Chapter 2.19-21 points out another great truth. It says:
“Then the men of the city said to Elisha, ‘Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the ground barren.’ And he said, ‘Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.’ So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, Thus says the LORD. ‘I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.'”
I thought about our city. It, too, is a pleasant city in so many ways. Even though we often complain about our dust, our hot summers, and our laid back attitude, there are so many things for which we should be thankful—first and foremost—our people. I believe we have some of the most wonderful people in the world! And wherever you live, there are things about your city or town that make it “pleasant.” But we, also, suffer from a curse, the curse of sin, just as every city and all of mankind does.
The answer to our problems is also the same—applying salt, God’s cleansing and purifying, to the source, the hearts of the people. Jesus told us that we are to be salt to those around us (Matt. 5.13). Let’s ask God to “send us” and “use us” to be His agents of grace, sharing the Gospel with those who need His cleansing power and loving them with His love!
Today’s Other Readings:
When others attack you, instead of defending yourself, keep your eyes on Him. Verses 14-16:
14 But I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.
15 My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
And Your salvation all the day,
For I do not know their limits.
16 I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD;
I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.
The Apostle Peter says it this way:
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. ‘Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth’; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously (2 Pet. 2.21-23).
The Power of the Tongue
Oh, the power of the tongue to do good or evil! Over and over, the Scriptures, especially the book of Proverbs, speaks of the tongue, the lips and the words of our mouths. Here in verses 6 & 7 we are told our mouths bring contention, blows and destruction. What a powerful weapon we wield. We need to learn to use it sparingly and wisely!
Be of Good Cheer in Trials
“Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”
We need to always keep an eternal perspective. We understand that we will encounter tests and trials, even suffer at times, but we can “be of good cheer” knowing the He has “overcome the world” (Jn. 16.33). Or as James puts it, we can count it all joy when we encounter various trials knowing that it is in the trials God is doing His greatest work! (Jas. 1.2-4).
What About You? Questions to Ponder or Journal:
Have you ever asked God to use your life? Have you ever invited Him to “send you”?
Where have you failed to “count it all joy” or “be of good cheer” in trials?
And, finally, how are you doing with “the tongue”? It’s a constant battle, isn’t it? But James said that the one who controls his tongue is a mature believer (Jas. 3.2). I know I haven’t arrived yet :-(, but I’m working on it!
Have you ever read some passage in the Bible and thought, “What in the world does that mean to me? How does it apply to the time and place where I live?”
Yesterday I talked about reading good books. Besides just reading, we all need a library of resources to help us study God’s Word. One good tool is a study bible. I frequently refer to the MacArthur Study Bible, but there are others, as well. I’ve added a couple of links at the bottom.
Study Bibles can help you understand the customs at the time when the Bible was written, give you additional background information, and help you “connect the dots” between God’s Word and your life.
For years, the spiritual lives of countless men and women all over the world have been strengthened with the help of The MacArthur Study Bible. This all-in-one spiritual library contains Dr. MacArthur’s personal study notes below the full-length Bible text. Virtually every Scripture has a matching study note with detailed information, explanation, and helpful insight. The notes are based on Dr. MacArthur’s verse-by-verse approach to the Bible and nearly forty years of careful study. His goal is to let the Bible speak for itself—nothing more, nothing less.
Also available on Kindle.
The Life Application Study Bible is today’s #1-selling study Bible, containing notes that not only explain difficult passages and give information on Bible life and times, but go a step further to show you how to “take it personally,” as God’s Word speaks to every situation and circumstance of your life! It’s the one Bible resource that incorporates today’s top scholarship in answering your real-life questions and includes nearly 10,000 Life Application notes and features designed to help readers apply God’s truth to everyday life.
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