Vs. 1, “The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” Our chapter today involves the powerful ministry of Elisha. Question: Why? Because Israel had no godly king, so God would raise up prophets like Elijah to continue to provide for His people. The oil for the widow (vs. 1-7) reveals to us the mercy and compassion the LORD has upon the widow and her family. Elisha’s miracle would pay off the debt and provide for their future. In our next circumstance, Elijah is provided a place to stay in Shunem which is along a route he frequents (vs. 8-37). A Shunammite woman’s provision towards Elijah gives her the opportunity to ask of Elijah a request. Her request was to have a son. The following year a son was provided and all was well. However, he would die with his father out in the fields. Elisha would provide another miracle and heal the dead boy. The latter part of our chapter (vs. 38-44) involves Elisha’s healing poisonous food (death in a pot) and providing a multiplication of bread enough to feed a hundred.
Regarding application…Giving What We Have. Vs. 43, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked. But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the LORD says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.” Throughout our chapter today, are reminded that God uses what we already have to provide for our needs. As we begin a new year in 2014, we may be concerned and worried about how God will provide. Question: Will I have enough money to pay the bills? Will I have enough money to pay my college tuition? Will I be enough talent to keep my job? But notice how God uses what we already have to multiply what we need! I love it! What a wonderful reminder as we see our God care enough about individual people as much as He cares about the whole world! Let us give what we have in our lives wholly to the Lord!
Vs. 10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” In this chapter we see Jesus nearing Jerusalem and making His triumphant entry. But as Jesus was journeying south, he ran into our friend Zacchaeus (vs. 1-10). It’s important to note that while Zacchaeus climbed a tree to see Jesus, it was Jesus who called him (vs. 5). It is only when we realize the depths of our sins that we can than acknowledge the one who came to save us. The Parable of the Minas (one mina was about four months wages), gives us a different perspective than the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25). In this we see the master give everyone the same amount of money (vs. 11-27). Question: Why the difference from the Talents? Jesus is emphasizing that we all have the same opportunity to respond to Him. And now we come to Jesus’ final week before his crucifixion and triumphant entry (vs. 28-48). It always touches my heart when we see Jesus weep (vs. 41) for the future lost.
Regarding application…Investing Your Life. Vs. 15, “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.” This is the last day of 2011. As we round the corner to the New Year, what are you going to invest your life in? Investing is a scary thing because nothing is guaranteed. Buying a home, investing in a 401k/IRA, to name just a few shaky things we can put our hard earned money towards. However, the wisest way you can invest your life is storing up treasures in Heaven. It’s when you choose to live a life declaring, “Not my will, but yours be done.” It’s not a popular investment to devote your life to the Lord and His church, but certainly the most important eternal investment you will ever make! Make 2012 a year of investing in the Lord!
Vs. 2, “But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” What the Pharisee’s didn’t realize is that they were the “sinners”. Jesus goes on to share with us three very powerful parables about the lost. People have different views on how God approaches His relationship with His creation. In the examples of the sheep and coin, we see God making the assertive effort to find the lost. In the prodigal son, we see the son making the effort to turn back to the Father. It is important to note that in all three: sheep, coin, son…we understand how valuable they are to God. Each of us have high value when it comes to how God sees us!
Regarding application…When God Ran. Vs. 20, “So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Phillips, Craig & Dean wrote and sang this very powerful song called “When God Ran”! This story of the prodigal son cuts deep into my heart. In a time where families all over the world struggle with relationships and absent Fathers, we are poignantly reminded of the Father’s love. There are lessons to be learned in the response of the younger son and the older son, but the parable really is about the Father. Question: Are you lost? Do you feel like you have been playing hide & seek with God? As we round the last corner of 2011, let us be found by God and let Him use us powerfully as the New Year begins.