May 13 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“The king said, ‘This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?’
Elisha replied, ‘Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seah of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.’” ~2 Kings 6:33-7:1

Elisha served God in difficult times, and God used him in powerful ways. It’s no coincidence that the most famous prophets lived during the most infamous historical periods. Perhaps the primary calling of this spirit-filled leader was to stand out as a living testament to the power of God in the midst of an unfaithful generation. Sometimes the light shines more brightly in darkness.

However, all of Elisha’s exploits are not enough to bring his people to repentance as famine devours the land. In fact, the king angrily blames the prophet for the deprivation. It’s a classic case of “kill the messenger.” The Lord has brought hardship upon the land because the people failed to worship Him, but the Israelites refuse to see His hand, or their own culpability, in their difficult days of economic adversity.

I think that modern Christians often miss God’s powerful ways at work in the world today. Too many quickly dismiss divine causes in things such as recessions, disasters, and tragedies. I do not believe every difficulty is caused by personal (or social) sin. Lessons from the lives of men like Job and also Jesus tell us that sometimes good people suffer, even when they do what is right. However, we are foolish to think that God is never at work in tragedy or downturn. It is sad that during our most recent economic recession almost no one asked questions about the spiritual condition of the nation. That includes not considering the spiritual condition of the church!

Perhaps our first response when the economy isn’t doing well, or when natural disaster strikes, or when we face some great personal difficulty should be to examine our own lives. I know that sounds outlandish, but it needs to be said. (Don’t “kill” the messenger!) Sometimes God does bring difficulty to us so that we will turn back to Him. Pain and trial prompts us to repent, so the hard things we experience can serve to make us holy for our own happiness (Heb. 12:1-13). When trials come, let us approach God with open hearts. Let us be ready to learn, ready to see the error of our ways, and ready to pursue holiness for our happiness and His glory (Ps. 139:23-24). Let us not kill our messengers and thereby miss the message that is intended to bless us.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.