Tuesday, June 15, 2010

2010 – June 15 – Grave Humor

Study from God’s Word 2 Kgs 12: 21b, 14: 1-2 [2 Chron 24: 27b; 25: 1]; 2 Kgs 14: 3-6 [2 Chron 25: 2-4]; 2 Kgs 13: 20-21; 2 Kgs 12: 22-25; 2 Chron 25: 5-10; 2 Kgs 14: 7 [2 Chron 25: 11-12]; 2 Chron 25: 13-16; 2 Kgs 14: 8-14 [2 Chron 25: 17: 24]; 2 Kgs 13: 12-13, 14: 15-16; 2 Kgs 14: 16b, 23-24 … Passage for Reflection: 2nd Kings 13: 20 - 21 … NIV 20 Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.

My Journal for Today: If you, as I have been doing, read through the books of 2nd Kings and/or 2nd Chronicles, you have to be impressed by the running and continuing disobedience of God’s chosen people, … yes, even their stupidity. These Jewish people who had been divided into the northern kingdom (Israel) and the southern tribe of Judah ever so repeatedly because subject to idolatry and the influences of the pagans surrounding them. And even with all of this, God is so long-suffering, giving His children prophets to speak against their disobedience, warning them of what is to come if they remain fixed in their disobedience; and also giving them many opportunities to repent.

And in the midst of all this serious political intrigue and warfare with Israel fighting their neighboring rivals and each other, in today’s text, highlighted by Dr. Smith’s devotional, God gives His people (and future readers of Scripture) a joke for the ages, … what Dr. Smith calls, “Grave Humor.” And don’tcha just love the pun!

Have you ever noted in God’s word that God has a sense of humor? Yes, occasionally our Lord, through history, as chronicled in His word, expresses a powerful truth in an incredibly humorous bit of history, getting a powerful point across in almost an absurd way. I remember how God used a donkey to convey a truth to Balaam in Numbers 22; and today’s passage is somewhat like that as well. I had read this passage from 2 Kings 13 in past Bible studies; but until today I had totally missed God’s punch-line here to His people; but God’s sense of humor certainly resonates with me today.

Think about it. Paganized Israelites, maybe just trying to escape the wrath of pagan warriors while burying a friend, throw their friend’s body in Elisha’s crypt where his bones rested; and then we read their friend came to life when that body touched the bones of Elisha. How cool is that?! And can you just image what those men felt like when they witnessed this absurd, but true, resurrection event?

Do you get the joke? Do you get what God is saying through this event, the news of which likely spread like wildfire through God’s people? God was saying that mankind must die to himself and be raised again by being cast into the tomb of God’s holiest. I don’t think I have to tell you where that imagery is headed prophetically, do I? As Smith often asks a personalize challenge question at the end of his devotional entries, he writes, ”If I want to overcome death, am I willing to jump into an open tomb for that to happen?” And that, my friend, is no joke!! No, it’s deadly (or rather, livingly) serious!

God was saying to his people with His incredibly picturesque sense of humor, that His people must die to themselves and follow Him into the grave, carrying their sins with them, and following their Savior so that they could be raised eternally as was that dead body who came into contact with the bones of Elisha. Is that not an incredible prophetic picture of what Jesus said to His disciples, as quoted by Matthew, Mark, and Luke when Jesus said to them, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross (daily), and follow Me… ?”

And I can only hope you’ve joined me by following our Lord into and out of His empty tomb, carrying in those daily – and deadly - sins, and being raised again unto life eternal through belief in the reason for our Lord’s death on that cross to save any who would follow Him.

My Prayer for Today: Oh, Lord, what a picture; and I hope all who read here get Your joke. Amen

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