What I Saw – 2 Kings 4:15-28

My personal reading time gave me 2 Kings 1-5.  In those chapters, I found this passage 4:15-28).

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What I saw her was a woman who seemingly did not expect to receive goodness from God.  I can’t be sure that’s what is going on here (I’m always aware there might be elements in this historical stories that I miss which cause me to misinterpret), but that’s what it seemed like to me.  She somewhat rejected Elisha’s initial suggestion of receiving a son, and she references that rejection at the (temporary) death of her son.  It seemed to me like she didn’t expect God to give her anything good.

Whether or not that is the case for this woman, it is often the case for me.  For some reason, I don’t see God as “the giver of all good things”.  I don’t emotionally, that is.  Though I know the Scripture says this and I accept it intellectually, I struggle with it practically.

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This passage then reminded me to see God this way both intellectually and emotionally, to accept this truth practically, to believe that God will give good to me.  It reminded me to believe this not just when nothing is happening (as when Elisha first spoke to the woman) but when bad things are happening (as when her song died).  God is inviting me to not only know but trust that He is doing/will continue to do good to me, is giving/will continue to give good to me.

That’s what I saw in 2 Kings 4:15-28.

What I Saw – Luke 6:39-49

I met Tuesday morning with a group of pastors, as usual.  Our reading came from the Moravian Daily Text.  It was Luke 6:39-40.

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At first glance, this seems like a collection of disparate teachings.  The leader of our group suggested that this was a rabbinical style “string of pearls” teaching technique (apparently the rabbis wouldn’t teach for too long on one subject but would move from one to another to keep the people engaged).  Nonetheless, I saw a similar idea in most if not all of the teachings.  I saw several other ideas as well, which I recorded in my journal.

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The big thing I heard here is that most teachings have behind them the idea of a “good” or “fully trained” man.  This in turn lead to the question, “Am I good/fully trained?”  For me, this is a difficult question, one I’ve struggled with all my life.  I “feel” and/or believe the answer to be, “No.”  For that reason, I felt very challenged by these teachings.  I felt eliminated by them, in fact, as if they disqualify me or reveal my disqualification from the community of Christ.

As I continued to contemplate these things, I realized there is actually invitation here.  I think it comes when Jesus says “The student is above his teacher”.  With that, Jesus is eliminating all need for competition and comparison.  He is telling me that there is only so far I can go in this goodness/training, that I’m certainly not going to go further than or supersede Him (the teacher in question).  That being the case, I am free to pursue goodness and training without needing to wonder how much I and/or how much more I am than anybody else.  I took this to be an encouragement.  I saw, then, that Jesus was not eliminating me here (establishing that I am not good/fully trained) but encouraging me (asking me to pursue goodness/training).

One of the pastors in the group further suggested that this is not something we can do on our own, that goodness comes into us only from God.  I think this is suggested by the “foundation” idea Jesus ends the message on.  That foundation is obviously God/the teachings of God.  The man builds on it, puts some effort into setting himself upon it.  But that effort is only effective because God is there to begin with.

The main idea I took from this reading, then, is that God is an encourager, encouraging me to growth/training in His Kingdom.  The subsequent action I took from this reading was a need to ask God to make me good, to remove the evil stirred up in my heart/the plank in my eye/my blindness so that I can be good and fully trained as He is encouraging me to be.

And that’s what I saw in Luke 6:39-49.

What I Saw – Luke 5:1-11

Luke 15:1-11 was the New Testament reading from the Moravian Daily Text for Jun 26, 2018.  I read this passage with a small group of pastors that Tuesday morning.

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I saw several wonderful truths during the reading of this passage.  The first is that Jesus sees potential and we don’t.  I saw this when one of my fellow pastors read verse 2 from a different translation than mine.  That translation had the word but in it.

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That little word suggested to me that there was potential here, potential that was not being realized.  Jesus could see this potential, but the fishermen/future disciples could not.  That idea carries into the miraculous catch of fish.  All Peter saw was a barren lake (or a lake that was at least barren for him at the current time).  Jesus saw something else and told Peter to cast in his nets.  Peter did, and there was a catch, fruit, harvest, life.

There were a couple other ideas I saw here.  I wrote them down in my journal.

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I doubt you can read my chicken-scratch handwriting, so here’s what it says:

  • Do we have eyes to see the potential?
  • Can we submit to Jesus’ authority in a place where we are experts? (This is what Peter did, and as we go forward with Kingdom work, I imagine it is what we will have to do as well; we will have to trust Jesus when He tells us to do something counter intuitive)
  • Can we accept the grace Jesus is offering sinful men? (This is another idea I got from this text.  Peter asks Jesus to leave him, understanding that he is sinful and thus not worthy of what Jesus is offering.  Jesus, however, graciously refuses, holding on to Peter despite Peter’s admitted and no doubt very real sinfulness).
  • Do we have a spirit that will attempt what seems hopeless?

All of these were challenging but inspirational.  They indicate that God is asking me to do a hard thing (which Kingdom work no doubt is) but that He is empowering me to do this hard thing and that I am accepted/allowed to do this hard thing and can do this hard thing by faith.

The leader of our group then asked us to summarize “the covenant word” we heard in this passage (covenant refers to our relationship with God; a covenant word is usually about God Himself; it is a fact or truth rather than a command).  We listed these:

  • God is a forgiver.
  • God holds on to us.
  • God has more for us.

And that is what I heard on June 26th, 2018.