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2 Kings Chapter 6 (ESV)
24 Afterward Ben-hadad king of Syria mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria. 25 And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver. 26 Now as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!” 27 And he said, “If the Lord will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?” 28 And the king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.” 30 When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes—now he was passing by on the wall—and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body— 31 and he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”
32 Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Now the king had dispatched a man from his presence, but before the messenger arrived Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see how this murderer has sent to take off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door fast against him. Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?” 33 And while he was still speaking with them, the messenger came down to him and said, “This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”
- If time permits, please read the whole chapter about some of Elisha’s ministries.
- The evil deeds and policies of the king have led to intense suffering for the people. After a lengthy siege, Samaria was brought to the verge of starvation. Jehoram acknowledged God’s superiority over him (v. 27). The sackcloth Jehoram wore represented repentance, but that repentance was very superficial (30).
- Even the horror of cannibalism did not humble Jehoram, but made him angry! Jehoram blamed God for not accepting his grudging confession. In complaining, “Why should I wait on the Lord any longer?” Jehoram was saying “I’ve pushed the right buttons, God. Now, why haven’t you started working?”
- Jehoram had the outward display of repentance (wearing sackcloth) without true repentance which is the inner commitment to humble himself before the Lord.
- Could misfortune and suffering, in fact be God’s loving call for me to return to Him in repentance or for healing and redemption? Could my anger toward God be a signal that I need to check my personal relationship with Him?
Use the following passage to converse with God. Ask God these tough questions and leave some time and space to listen to God’s response. Then use the passage, especially the last sentence, as my response prayer to God to re-commit myself to Him and His will.
“I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have You forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’ Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”(Ps 42:9, 11)