2 Kings 6:1-7:20, Acts 15:36-16:15, Psalms 142:1-7, Proverbs 17:24-25
Today is the 24th day of June welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian it’s wonderful to be here with you today as we move through the center of another week and just keep one foot in front of the other taking step-by-step day by day and continuing our journey in community through the Bible. I mentioned yesterday to mark your calendars for the 7th of July which is the long walk and I have some things to share about that at the end, a brand-new resource coming on the 7th of July tailored for some of the time that we spend on the long walk. So, we’ll talk about that in a little bit. But let’s do what we come here to do. Let’s get into the Scriptures. We will pick up where we left off yesterday, which is what we do every day. We’re ion the book of second Kings in the Old Testament and we are journeying alongside the prophet Elisha, which is what we will continue to do today. Second Kings, chapters 6 and 7. And we’re reading from the New International Version this week.
Okay. So, in the book of second Kings we are a kind of traveling the journey of the prophet Elisha. And, so, some pretty significant, amazing, miraculous things happen in today’s reading like an axe head floating or Elisha informing the king of Israel that the king of Aram was attempting to…like what kind of traps he was setting. And…and the entire city, like trying to find Elisha and surrounding the entire city of Dothan only for Elisha to say there’s more with us than are with them and asking the Lord to strike the Army blind, which was not…obviously was not like blindness that they couldn’t see. It was like a…a cloud. They were blinded so that Elisha could go like, “hey, he’s not here, the one you’re looking for, but like, let me take you to him” and their just following along right into the capital city of Israel, which is Samaria and just turning them loose after feeding them. So, significant things today but…but then Samaria, the city is again surrounded and besieged by Ben-Hadad king of Aram again and this lasts. So, they surround Samaria and…and basically cut it off and then begin to starve the people. And that’s kind of one of the war tactics of walled cities at this time, just wait it out. Basically, nobody can get out and no supplies can get in. So, open the gates and let us in and nobody has to get hurt or keep your gates closed and we’ll just wait until you’re all dead and then we’ll come in. This goes on so long that Samaria really is starving. Like it’s gotten to the point that people are eating each other. So, that’s pretty bad starvation indeed. And, so, the king, he’s just had it with this prophet Elisha and he’s goona kill him because this famine is from the Lord. That’s what he believes. And, so, “I’m gonna…like, we’re not waiting anymore.” And, so, he’s gonna just be done with the Lord by killing the Lord’s prophet. And Elisha’s like, “you know, tomorrow…by this time tomorrow, every…like everything will change. There will be an abundance of resources to feed us. And, of course, that’s pretty hard to believe. And people say that’s pretty hard to believe, but in the end there’s some leprous people outside the city that go to the army camp thinking like, “we’re dead no matter what”. Like their, “the best option to live is to go surrender to the enemy because of we’re dead…I mean…we’re dead no matter what. And they find that the camp is empty, and supplies are plentiful. And, so, the heat and they start hiding things and it’s just this crazy scene. And you have to imagine, like put yourself in this position. You have been surrounded by the enemy for a very, very long time so that you are starving. And, so, you…you realize you’re gonna perish no matter what you do, but if you would go over to the enemy camp, maybe…I mean, like maybe they would actually feed you but what you find is there’s an abundance waiting. Like there is no enemy surrounding the city anymore. Well, after a while of them going…going in the tents and getting stuff they want and eating whatever they want they realize it’s not right that we do this. In fact, I’m quoting from second Kings here. This is what they said, “what we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.” Are you starting to track with me here? Like, we can look at this story and go, “these are…this this is the life and times of the prophet Elisha”, but then we look behind the story we find a mirror because weren’t we trapped, weren’t we surrounded spiritually as it were? Weren’t we starving to death, weren’t we willing to feed on whatever was around before freedom came into our lives? And then at…at some point the lights went on. We met Jesus and looked about us and realized that the reality we thought we were living in is different. We weren’t surrounded. The enemy had fled, and we were unaware, and we feasted on the good things of the Lord. But we do have to reach a point where we realize it’s not right to hoard this. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. We’re not the only ones free here. Victory over the darkness is available to anyone now. And maybe these leprous men who went into the Aramaean cam teach us a significant lesson about our own lives. Maybe there are people still starving, feeling surrounded and trapped, feeding on each other when freedom is completely available if someone would tell them.
Father, we invite You into that. Yes, yes we’re talking about sharing the good news and we go to all kinds of places and all kinds of methods and everything but that’s really not the point. The…the point is that we are supposed to be living in this freedom and when we see people surrounded and in bondage and dying spiritually, we should have the same awareness that these leprous men had. We’re not doing the right thing by hording everything. This is a day of freedom. This is a day of good news. We can’t just keep this to ourselves. So, come Holy Spirit. Show us how to live in the light so that everything that we do is light and life and good news. And sometimes we say it with words and sometimes it’s with a smile to a stranger whose having an awful time of things and just a moment of kindness brought the kingdom to them. And we…we didn’t even know it. We were just aware. We were just kind. We were just Christ like. Come Holy Spirit and show us how to live like this in the name of Jesus we ask. Amen.
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And what’s coming up is July 7th, which is our own little community celebration or our own little holiday that we have for ourselves. And we call it the long walk and it happens every July 7th and it is exactly what it sounds like. We…of course…we can’t all gather together and go for a long walk. We’re all over the world, but we can all do it on the same day and it’s the center of the year and it’s, like I said yesterday, been a heck of a year so far. So, this is more necessary than ever that we carve out some time, that we carve out a day and try to disrupt the routines that are dragging us and go somewhere beautiful and drink in the life that is happening all around us that God is giving us moment by moment just to become aware of His presence through the beauty of nature and to go for a long walk and finally have the time to not be rushed, to not be rushed with God or anything else, to just be able to say everything that needs to be said and to listen because the Lord has so much. You…He’s…He’s been trying to say, has been waiting to say. And this is a time to just devote ourselves to listening to what He has to say about the second half of our year. Like how should we point ourselves? Where should we go? How should we head? And listen for his direction. So, that’s the long walk and that is that two weeks from yesterday. So, the 7th of July.
But I’m I mentioned yesterday, and I mentioned at the beginning today, there’s a new resource that’s coming. This resource is called “Heart”. And the…well…I’ll tell you why it matters to the long walk in a minute, but first let me just tell you the story. I mean so many of the resources that…that we create and develop here, they…they take a long time. So, like I’ve written several books but you don’t just sit down one day in front of a word processer…processor and go like, “alright…I’m ready to go. I’m gonna write …write a book.” You might do that, but if you get past the first page…yeah…you…it's…it’s a process of contemplation of research of thinking of living into of understanding of trying to get clarity on what you’re trying to say it. It’s…it’s a long process that takes years sometimes. So, like in the case of the God of Your Story, which is the latest resource that we’ve…we released…yeah…that took several years to write but it took 12 years of Daily Audio Bible to sort of like live into So, some of these resources take a very long time. And this one took several years. It was four years ago this month I was traveling around speaking about Sneezing Jesus and my mom had not been well but she became quite ill and this had been coming on to the point that it was really necessary for my brother and I to be involved and that very, very quickly became a seven day a week involvement and she was kind of sliding. I mean she had a lot of things going on, congestive heart failure and diabetes, and some incontinence issues that were…that were bringing on kind of repetitive UTIs. And those of you who have kind of been with…been with, especially people who are beginning to age and UTIs…I didn’t know anything about this, but…yeah…you can just really start…becoming incoherent with that infection. And, so, these things are going on and then finally just understanding that dementia, actually really fast-moving dementia was setting in. So, a super, super trying time that ended with her passing away on the 13th January of the next year, which was 2017. And those of you who have been around for a few years, you were there. And I thank you for walking through that with me. That was really, really hard. I mean still hard to this very day. And, so…so, that’s kind of the beginning of the story and then after she passed away it took some time to just…grief…get some counseling, get some…some voices in my life and walk through…because it…it rocked me. I’m like I’m still rocked because it was a situation where was really trying to do everything right and it still didn’t end up well, you know. And, so, just kind of questioning a lot of things that I…you know…I’m still working through with the Lord, not in a bad way. Like it’s catapulted me, to opened my eyes to see in a lot of ways but not to just kind of relive that story, that was just sort of the beginning of things and a couple months later, I guess is when I began this project, Heart. And many…many of you…many of you know I have a music industry background and that’s where I come from, and that I migrated from there into ministry here. And, so, you know, I kind of speak that language, I speak the language of music. It’s what I did for a living. And sometimes those of you who are musicians you will understand very…very well what I’m saying. Sometimes words can’t say what needs to be said. Sometimes…sometimes it’s just silence because there isn’t anything to say. And then…but for me anyway, sometimes I can sit down in front of piano and I can say what I need to say without words by just…by just playing. And that’s just what I started doing and that often is the beginning of something. And, so, I just began to compose how I was feeling, and I began to explore specific things. Like if I’m dealing with the loss or if I’m dealing with having to persevere or if I’m dealing with my hope being deferred and…and feeling sick inside and wondering where my hope has gone or wondering how to move forward or just contemplating the bittersweet nature of things. How that, you know, for every wonderful thing that we are given we also need to release something, like it just kind of moves through our hands and that’s the nature of things and how to live with that. I just began speaking in music to myself. Like, I would ask myself, “okay this is what I’m feeling right now. And what does that sound like? What is…how can I play this and experience that emotion through melody?” And, so, over the course of the next couple of years very, very slowly I composed pieces that were speaking to exactly the kinds of things that I was going through. And I thought, “you know, well, I’ll get these songs done and then we’ll use them in the Daily Audio Bible. I mean, like what's…what’s in the background right now, like this music that’s playing in the background right now comes from the Promised Land films and it came the same way. That whole project started because I got dust really really bad dust in my eyes in the desert in Jordan when we were in Israel many years ago. And by the time I got back to the United States I had an eye infection. I couldn’t see very well. And, so, I just began to play, you know, just began to speak how I…I could. And that became the same…same kind of story here. And I thought I would get several compositions done and just make them available and we would use them. But I began, like it was my custom of the time to go for a nightly walk and walk for an hour or an hour and a half maybe even two hours sometimes and just try to find a serene place in my life. A lot was going on - trying to write the God of your story, trying to do develop a farm that we have and just a lot of work. And I began it to walk but I would walk with these compositions in my earphones. And I began to pray. I began to pray about those specific emotions that I was feeling and that became kind of a nightly thing. And I realized this is really helping me. Like, I am praying what I feel, I am opening myself to God and then I am allowing the melodies to wash over me so that I could just, in silence, experience the emotion and experience the presence of God in it all. So, then I took a step back and I thought, “well…it’s a very, very personal thing, but I don’t think that these things that I’ve been experiencing in my life are solitary to me. I think these are things that we all experience.” And, so, I started thinking, “maybe this is more than just music. Maybe this is something that is like guided prayer, like we would pray together and then do exactly that. Let the music wash in and speak to the things that are beyond words and be silent as the melodies wash over us so that we’re not just filling the room. We’re filling the atmosphere with our own words but we’re being silent and becoming aware with the presence of God.” That is Heart. Heart, a contemplative journey. And that is finally gonna see the light of day and it will become available on the 7th of July. And that’s why it makes so much sense for the long walk. It's…I mean just to go into that journey and being able to just open up our hearts to God for a little while in a…in a guided way and just allowing music to speak to us and open us up as we’re walking with God and then to just listen…just to listen to Him. So, that's…that’s what’s coming - this brand-new resource, Heart, a contemplative journey. And it’s available for preorder now. So, you can get it on iTunes or Apple music, or you can get it on Google Play or wherever it is that you get your music. One little thing about this particular project is that it's…at this point it’s not on streaming services. You can purchase it. And kind here’s why. These prayers, like if it…if it’s streamable then these prayers can be disembodied from, you know, from their associated compositions and music and stuff and so they’re just they’re just like random. And I thought that would be just such a strange thing in a streaming environment. So, you can buy Heart, just look for Heart, H E A R T or look for my name, Brian Hardin, and look for the album Heart and you can preorder it now in preparation for the seventh of July. And, of course, the resources that…that come into the Daily Audio Bible because of…of this recording…they…they throw logs on the Global Campfire. And that's…that’s what it’s for. And, so, it’s available for preorder now and I…I appreciate your partnership and support in this project. When we release a resource and it becomes visible then it just draws more and more people into our community here around the Global Campfire. So, heart is available for preorder now and will become available for full release on the 7th of July just in time for the long walk.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible you can do that at dailyaudiobible.com. There is a link on the homepage, and I thank you humbly, gratefully your partnership as we move through summertime. If you’re using the Daily Audio Bible app you can press the Give button in the upper right-hand corner or, if you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.