Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2 Kings 8: Elisha's Good/Bad News


2 Kings 8:1-2 Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, "Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the Lord has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years." The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.

2 Kings 8:10-13 Elisha answered, "Go and say to him, 'You will certainly recover'; but the Lord has revealed to me that he will in fact die." He stared at him with a fixed gaze until Hazael felt ashamed. Then the man of God began to weep. "Why is my lord weeping?" asked Hazael. "Because I know the harm you will do to the Israelites," he answered. "You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women." Hazael said, "How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?" "The Lord has shown me that you will become king of Aram," answered Elisha. 

I like the joke about the man who went back to the neurosurgeon for his brain scan report. The neurosurgeon asked him whether he wanted to hear the good news or the bad news first. The man said, "Give me the good news first." The neurosurgeon said: "The good news is there is nothing RIGHT  in your LEFT brain." The man cried out: "You call that good news? What's the bad news?" The doctor replied: "The bad news is there is nothing LEFT in your RIGHT brain!"

Elisha's prophetic word to the Shunanmmite and Ben-Hadad sounded like a "good news/bad news" type of message, depending how you have been living your life.

For the Shunammite woman, she received first the bad news that the Lord had decreed a famine of seven years of famine in Israel. But the good news was that her family could escape the starvation by fleeing to the land of the Philistines during those seven years. It was a good news embedded in a bad news.

On the other hand, when Ben-Hadad sent his emissary Hazael to inquire of the Lord from Elisha if he would recover from his sickness, he got the good news first. The good news was that he would recover from his sickness. Then came the bad news:  he would die nevertheless because he would be assassinated before he could fully recover. So, in this case, the bad news was embedded in the good news.

So, if we live in obedience to God's rule, bad news may not always turn out bad because he would provide a way of escape. So, we can escape the consequences of the bad news if we learn to listen to His voice and obey. But if we live outside God's will, what may sound like good news may in fact turn out to be disastrous for us. The real key to living above the fray of the "good news/bad news" conundrums is to walk close to God and have our ears listening to His voice. That is the only guarantee that the outcome will always be good--whether the latest news from the weathermen or the economists is good or bad. When we walk in obedience to God, we always live in the realm of the Good News, for He has said in Hebrews 13:5, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.'" 

But there is a catch, a pre-condition to this promise: "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have..." It can be good news or bad news depending on whether we love God or Money.

Father, thank You that You have delivered us from the curse of the Bad News through the Cross. Help us to walk in obedience to Your will so that we can always live in the realm of the Good News no matter what world's latest news is. Amen.

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