2 Kings 3:1-4:17, Acts 14:8-28, Psalm 140:1-13, Proverbs 17:22
Today is the 22nd day of June, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian, it’s great to be here with you today, as we do what we do every day, gather and take the next step forward together. And we are getting ourselves moved into the Book of second Kings and the times of the prophet Elisha and the kings that were in that time period, both in the northern Kingdom of Israel and in the southern Kingdom of Judah. So, let’s pick up the story, 2 Kings chapter 3 verse 1 through 4 verse 17 today.
Okay, a couple of things for us to sort of us to stay in the story with or at least to look at from the portion of the stories that we’re reading right now. In the Book of 2 Kings, Elisha is clearly the leading prophet in the land, as he’s taking on the mantle of Elijah. And in one of the scenes today with Elisha, he goes to a city named Shunem and there’s a lady there, she’s married to a man, and they have means, they have some resources, and they end up building a room for Elisha to stay in when he’s passing through and he begins to do that. And he begins to inquire, what could be done for her, what they could ask the king or even military commanders, or the Lord, what does she need. And she kind of, essentially says, I have my home and I have my own people, like I have what I need but what she doesn’t have is a child. And so, Elisha calls her and tells her, about this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms. That is her greatest hope. And so, she’s like, no, my lord, please, don’t mislead your servant, right. Like, don’t get my hopes up for no reason. This has been a hopeless place in my life. Really interesting what Elisha said, when he told her she would have a child, about this time next year. That is a very similar scene to what Sarah, Abraham’s wife, heard, when the promised child Isaac, was to be born. And as it turned out, the woman became pregnant and about that time next year, she gave birth to a son.
Then, in the Book of Acts we well, we actually concluded Paul’s first missionary journey. Today, they made it back to Antioch. So, they had been out and about in the different cities and we saw this seen today, that is almost comical if it weren’t so tragic, just how erratic things were for the people bringing the Gospel of Jesus. So, we’re in a city called Lystra. And the Apostle Paul is speaking, he’s teaching the good news. And there’s a person who has been lame and never walked and Paul can see that he has faith and he calls them out right, like in the middle of church, like right in the middle of it all. Stand up on your feet and the person stood up on their feet and began to walk. This is a sign and a wonder in a pagan town. So, they determined that yes, indeed this is miraculous. Yes indeed, this is divine. It is of the gods and so they decide that Paul and Barnabas are actually Zeus and Hermes and the next thing you know a crowd is gathering from the city and the priests of Zeus are coming with animals to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas. So, that’s the height of heights, right. Like, nobody that I know has ever wanted to be sacrificed to, but nobody’s ever tried to offer a sacrifice to them, to appease them, so that they would extend their goodwill upon them. This is what’s happening. So, Paul and Barnabas are freaking out about this, this is like the exact opposite of what they’re after, they’re trying to reveal Jesus. They are trying to expose God to these pagan people who are worshiping false gods and instead, it seems that the people think that they are those false gods, embodied. So, they got to run into the crowd and say we’re not gods, we are humans. Instead, the crowd turns on them and stones Paul and leaves him for dead. That is a massive shift to be happening on the same day. Like, one extreme to the other. Paul wasn’t dead though. But, man, he was left for dead. So, I mean a person who gets stoned to death, you can only imagine broken bones and the blood and the suffering of something like that, it seems hard to kind of imagine. Paul was fully stoned and left for dead and he gets back up and goes into the city. And they just continue their journey. That’s a miraculous thing in and of itself that they just continued their journey, strengthening those who have come to believe, but it is also a picture of the fact that the good news of the Gospel has always faced resistance from the very beginning. In fact, the kind of resistance that they are facing right now, is really unheard of, for most of us. This kind of resistance and persecution certainly does exist in the world and people do, indeed, die for the name of Jesus, because they will not denounce their faith, in certain parts of the world. But, for most of us, this isn’t really an issue. But what we need to see here is, is that it was an issue for the early church. They had to learn to find joy while they were enduring hardship. Otherwise, immense discouragement would descend upon the people and they would fall into depression and fall away right. So, they had to find a way to encourage themselves. One of the things that we will see, as we continue through the New Testament, is that one of the ways that they found, to encourage themselves was to embrace endurance. As we continue on in our journey in the New Testament, and get into the letters, we will see that the theme of endurance is everywhere. Everywhere, people are having to endure. So, I’m just pointing it out right now, because we’re seeing it. Like, this is part of the recipe of the early church, enduring hardship and finding joy, just to be associated with the name of Jesus, just to know you are in the family of God, just be in, brought them joy and when they suffered, they counted it joy, because Jesus had suffered. And so, to suffer along with Jesus, alongside Jesus, as Jesus did, was considered something to hold onto dearly, which really is in a sharp contrast to the way that we perceive things usually. And so, let’s consider those things that we are having to endure right now and how we look at those things. And let’s begin to realize that just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s bad. And these difficulties that we face and learn to endure, shape us, just like the wilderness and we are seeing endurance shape the early church in the book of Acts.
And so, Father, we don’t like endurance, we would prefer not to participate in endurance. We would prefer that we could just ask You to take everything away and that it would just go away. And yet, we would become very, very weak, when we actually need to mature and become strong. So, help us to properly interpret the things that we have to endure, because sometimes there are things that we have to contend for and we are pleading with You. At other times, You are inviting us in, to walk-through something because we are going to gain knowledge and wisdom that we cannot get any other way. Help us to have a discerning heart. Help us to listen to Your Holy Spirit, so that we understand and properly interpret what’s going on with us. Come, Holy Spirit, into this, we pray, in the name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com, that’s home base, that’s where you find out what’s going on around here. I mentioned yesterday and will continue to mention that we have something special coming up on the seventh day of July, and that is our own little Global Campfire holiday, known as the Daily Audio Bible long walk. And I kind of unpacked that a little bit yesterday but I think the first long walk was in 2008. So, this would be the 14th one, coming up here, 14 years in a row we’ve had this holiday, so it’s a tradition around here and it’s quite simple. We have reached the halfway point of the year and as we move through the halfway time in the year, it’s a good time to reflect, we’re halfway through. So, we reflect back on where we’ve come from but we’re also, so we’re just kind of re-setting ourselves for the second half of the year, so that we finish strong, and so, in the middle, is where we find ourselves and we just simply give ourselves permission to take a day. Not a random day, an intentional day off to spend with God. We may talk to God every day. Hopefully we do. Hopefully lots. Hopefully it’s an ongoing conversation but so rarely do we have the time to have uninterrupted time with most anybody, including God. And so, all of our communications are quick texts, quick posts, quick calls. We don’t ever really have the time to just let time stand still. Although, we have the capacity for that. If we’ve ever fallen in love, we know that time can stand still and we do all kinds of romantic silly things, long walks being one of them. Where so much communication can happen. So, we take a day, in the middle of the year. The 7th of July and go somewhere beautiful and that somewhere beautiful for you can be the closest park to where you live or can be hours away, to a place that’s so beautiful and has so much meaning for you. It doesn’t really matter, the important thing is to go outside and enjoy what God has made, what He has bestowed upon us to enjoy. And we take a day and we’re spending a lot of the time in silence and we’re not filling our minds with all kinds of visual and all kinds of inputs. We’re just observing the beauty of creation and drinking it in, it’s very healing, to just walk and sit and watch the squirrels and the bunnies and hear the birds and the breeze on our face. It’s so restorative but then to be spending that time with God, where we actually are unhurried and uninterrupted, where we can say everything that is in our hearts. Everything that needs to be said and also take unhurried time to just walk in silence and feel the presence of the Lord and hear as He responds to us and gives us advance words about what the second half of our year is supposed to look like. I mean, this can sound like something that we should do on a regular basis and that’s true but we just don’t. But as we’ve, kind of immersed ourselves in the Scriptures and we’re halfway through and we’re moving toward the second half, this is the time, to give ourselves a day of unhurried time in our lives. I mean, every day, we come around the Global Campfire and so often I say like we’re just exhaling, we’re releasing everything that’s going on, we’re giving ourselves permission for a few minutes of this day, to be devoted to the Scriptures. And all those anxieties and all of the stresses that come with life, we can go get all those things, like we can pick up where we left off, but it’s remarkable how often the Bible is speaking so specifically to us, that, when we leave the Global Campfire and go back into our day, our posture has changed. Some things have shifted, we’ve reminded ourselves of the story that we’re in and what’s most important to us, becomes more and more clear. Imagine what a day with God could do, to reprioritize the trajectory of our lives. And so, make plans for that, for 7 July. There will be thousands and thousands and thousands of us all over the world, going for a long walk with God. And so that’s a very individual thing, but what makes it a communal thing is that we can share with each other. And so, we’ll put a post for the Long Walk up on the Daily Audio Bible Facebook page, and we can all come back and share pictures or videos. Cause, that’s the thing, like, we’re on this Long Walk and we don’t want to forget. So, maybe we take pictures and but we can share those things and they become, those pictures become windows, into each other’s lives. Whether it’s a little video that you took of where you are, or little video of you, kind of talking about where you are and sending greetings or pictures, whatever. Something that commemorates your Long Walk and we get to share those together and it’s beautiful. It’s absolutely stunning to me, not only to see the beauty of creation all over the world and to be able to get a glimpse into where brothers and sisters are and what it looks like where they live and to be able to share the same thing, myself. But just to drink in the beauty all over the world and just to hear the stories as we share with one another of our Long Walks, makes it a community experience. And so, that is coming up on the seventh day of July, which is two weeks from tomorrow. So, let’s make plans for that.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible, thank you. We couldn’t be here if we weren’t in this together and so thank you, profoundly for your partnership, as we head into the summertime. There is a link on the homepage at dailyaudiobible.com. If you’re using the app, you can press the Give button in the upper right-hand corner or the mailing address is P.O. Box 1996 Springhill, 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.