II Kings 7-9
These times in history seem far removed from what we think about today. The societies were much less sophisticated, and most people seem to be just be seeking survival. Very dark times, indeed.
In fact, it seems that the only people who are truly committed to the Lord are the prophets and a few kings.
These times are similar to the dark ages of the Christian church. Roughly from the 6th century to the 15th century, the Christian church went into great darkness. There was a lot of corruption in the church, and lots of heretical teachings which took away the true power of God. In fact, the lay people were not allowed to read the scriptural texts for themselves; they had to have the priests tell them what they said.
People were taught that they had to go through the priest to reach God, and much advantage was taken of the people – large sums of money to “pay” for their sins.
In the 16th century, Martin Luther, a German monk was reading the scriptures when he realized that people are saved by faith and not by works. He wrote 95 Theses stating arguments against the Catholic Church and nailed them to the door of the monastery at Wittenburg. Of course, he came under great persecution, but Luther set a fire in the hearts of men which led to the Protestant Reformation.
Throughout the Dark Ages, God still had people who truly believed him and kept the fire in their hearts, even though it wasn’t reflected in society as a whole. It was the same during these days of Jewish history in II Kings. It seemed that only the prophets were believers, but God spoke to Elijah and said, “There are 7,000 who have not bowed their knee to Baal.”
We are to learn lessons from these scriptures. First we are to see how easy it is for each succeeding king to go with the flow of culture and leave God out of the story. (That’s a warning to us). Then next it is easy to see that God is a rewarder of those who truly seek Him – even in the darkest of times. Right in the middle of the darkness, we see miracles and His hand working on behalf of those who honor Him and believe Him.
We also see that, even though they seemed far removed from Him, God still had His hand on his covenant people. Our God never forsakes a covenant He has made.
He does the same with us.
John’s gospel is my favorite. The three gospels we have read so far are called the “synoptic” gospels. They are similar in that they all cover the natural accounts of what Jesus did and said as He ministered on the earth. They recount His miracles and His teachings. Yet they make very little mention of what these things might mean.
John’s gospel is different. He shares an understanding of the deeper revelation of just who Jesus is.
John starts by saying that Jesus was the Word – and all things which came into being came through Him. This may be hard to understand, but if you and I will ask our teacher, the Holy Spirit, He will help clarify the concepts we are going to learn.
This concept reflects back to the beginning of the Bible when we see that God said this and that to create (or recreate) the world. He literally spoke the world into existence. Jesus was the One who spoke the Word. The Word of God is the most powerful thing on the earth. It has the power to create!
Then, too, when Gabriel came to Mary and spoke the Word to her, saying that she would give birth to the Son of God, she said “Be it done to me according to your Word.”(Luke 1:38). The Word spoken to Mary became flesh within her womb and Jesus was born into the earth.
I can hear the Star Wars music going off in your ears right now, but hang in there. This is good – and this is true!
Then Jesus is called the “light.” He came to shine in darkness. As the light, Jesus came to set off the light bulb within each of us. That ah-ha moment, when we realize that He really is the Son of God …that God really does love us …and that God really did send Jesus to die for our sins.
So all the healings and all the teachings Jesus did were to turn on the light in the hearts of people to let them know that God is on their side – if they will get on His.
Yet The gospel says that “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to be called the children of God.”(v.11-12) “Those who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”(v.13).
This second birth – the born again experience – is truly the greatest occasion of anyone’s life.
We’ll be reading more about this as we continue with the book of John. In the meantime, meditate on these things as you go about your day. When you truly grasp what is being said here, your life will be changed forever.