The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” – 2Kgs 6:27 NIV
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The king of Israel must have felt he had the golden and unusual opportunity to put an end to the negative activities of king of Aram when Elisha trapped his army in a miraculous manner. He asked Elisha for permission to kill them all but Elisha instead advised otherwise. He told the king to feast them and send them back to the king of Aram and he took to the advise (2Kgs. 6:8-23), only for the same king of Aram to re-enforce and set up a siege against Israel. This siege continued for so long that it brought an intense famine on Israel – 2Kgs. 6:24-25.
Meanwhile, the King of Israel was aware that there was famine in the land but probably under-estimated the extent until two women approached him for arbitration over a dispute they had amongst them. Because of the intensity of the famine and its effect on them, they had both agreed to offer each other’s child as meal in turns. The first had offered her child which they both feasted on but the other was reneging on this agreement by refusing to offer her child as a feast. The King instead of arbitrating was left emotionally devastated by this story and this he demonstrated by tearing his own clothes only to reveal an underlying sackcloth that he was wearing, albeit unknowingly, which was an indication that he was also mourning. Apparently, he was undergoing personal challenges of his that was unknown to his subjects and these two women in particular.
The woman who felt betrayed while approaching the king for arbitration had specifically asked the king for help (2Kgs. 6:26) and the response of the king to her request is the foundation scripture for today’s devotion. Simply put and stopping short of letting her know that he had his own challenges which he is living with, he replied her with a factual statement which will remain relevant for as long as the world exists. He made her realise that there was simply no way he or any one for that matter could help if the Lord did not help. He acted out this fact when after he heard the story of the two women, he decided to seek out Elisha, though in anger, promising to kill him if he could lay his hands on him. Elisha was the messenger of God through whom he had been relating with God and he had to be blamed for allowing things get to this level. He must have also concluded that it was Elisha that stopped him from dealing with the army of Aram by advising him not to kill them when he had the opportunity to do so, an advise which he accepted and which seems to be back to haunt him.
Human beings, especially Christians need to take this statement of the King of Israel to heart and know always that only the one whom the Almighty God wants to help will receive help. The psalmist says help comes from no where else but from the Lord – Psa. 75:6. However, beyond the factual statement of the king of Israel that help can only come form the Lord, the following knowledge also became available;
- No matter how highly placed or seemingly comfortable an individual may appear, there is no one without a challenge that he or she is nursing quietly – 2Kgs. 6:30. Challenges are integral units of life. To pray to avoid them is to wish for death. Progress is another word for overcoming challenges. Whoever desires progress must look forward to challenges. What should be of importance to anyone is the acquisition of the ability to overcome challenges, which the Almighty God offers to all those who ask. Do not be scared about challenges but be concerned about acquiring the ability to face them. That should be your major concern.
- People no matter how highly placed, may not always have as much information about a situation they are expected to know about. There may be the need to update their knowledge before accusing them of being insensitive – 2Kgs. 6:30. Although people in position of power are expected to have free flow of information in their direction, the truth is that they mostly have filtered information and are rarely told the real situation of things. Until they have the opportunity to come to the source of information, all they have mostly is what their aides believe they want to hear. Do all you can to ensure that your request gets to the necessary authority before concluding, just as it is important that you in position of leadership must do all you can to get information from source else your image may be damaged because of the filtered information that will keep coming your way.
- Know always that no matter how well intentioned a given advise may be, you will be held responsible should things go in an undesirable manner – 2Kgs. 6:31. The position of giving advise is one that an individual should be reluctant to take because you may not be acknowledged if the advise turns out good but you will definitely be blamed if the advise goes the other way. Do not just give advise, ensure that the advise is followed to the letter because failure resulting from improper execution of the advise will still be blamed on the adviser.
- Advise may come from men but just as help can only come from the Lord, the root of challenges may also be from the Lord – 2Kgs. 6:33b. Although, the siege was been laid by the army of the king of Aram, the king of Israel was clear about the power behind the siege. He knew that if the Lord did not permit it, it would have been impossible for the Arameans to successfully lay the siege. He therefore did not waste time attacking the army of the king of Aram and went straight to the one who could resolve everything in his favour. Save yourself from extended stress by seeing the Almighty God behind all the events of your life, positive or negative, once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The truth remains that nothing can happen to you without his approval. Stop according unmerited recognition to the devil and his agents. Nothing will happen to you as a Christian without his approval. So if you are not happy with any situation, then approach him directly and you are more likely going to have a resolution in your favour.
In summary, the Christian should always focus on the Lord for all things, help when needed, victory when it seems the enemy is having advantage and advise in times of trouble. He is the Alpha and Omega and all things start and end well, when he is placed in charge, irrespective of what may occur in between. May God grant us the Grace to see Him as the beginning and end of all things in Jesus name. Amen.