God’s Ways, Thoughts and Our Obedience;
Part 1: Baffled by His Ways? God always has Reasons
Part 2: Our God May Choose to go against the status quo.
Part 1 Baffled by His Ways? God always has Reasons.
Key Scriptures: 2 Kings 4:8-37, John 14:21-23In 2 Kings 4.
Elisha’s servant Gehazi obeyed when Elisha told him to go to the Shunammite woman’s home and to lay his staff upon her son who was dead. I noted that Elisha told him to be focused and not to be distracted on his journey, a detail which adds to the reader’s confidence that the servant’s mission would certainly result in the woman’s son rising from the dead.
However it did not happen.One might ask “Why is it that the man of God’s staff was unable to produce the intended miracle?”We realise later on in this account that when Elisha and the Shunammite woman arrived at her home after the servant had, Elisha performed the miracle of resurrection by praying, then laying on the woman’s son.
Again one might ask “what was the point in Elisha sending his servant ahead in the first place if God intended the miracle of resurrection to happen in a different way?”.
At times as Elisha’s servant we may know without reasonable doubt that The LORD has told us to do something and He has given us specific instructions on how to do it as Elisha did his servant. However having obeyed God, we do not see any change or godly fruit as expected.
The Lord wants to encourage us by reminding us that His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isa 55:8-9).
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33 KJV).
There are several reasons why we may not experience or see the fruit or outcome we expect from obeying God, here are two:
1. What we do for The LORD is at times part of a chain of events and there is someone or other individuals who will fulfill their part in that chain at different times.
In the 2 Kings account, Elisha the prophet’s actions were the final stages to the boy’s resurrection. We should be encouraged that what The LORD has asked us to do however fruitless or trivial it may appear to the natural eye or human understanding may be an important part of a process leading to a glorious outcome.
2. What The LORD told us to do may have achieved the outcome to the glory of God, however it was not evident as yet to the natural eye.God could choose to open our spiritual eyes to it at a later date or not at all. For instance many intercessors have prayed about issues God has placed on their hearts and engaged in prophetic intercessory acts by the leading of the LORD but have not seen or heard evident changes to the glory of God as a direct result of their intercession.
Our part is to be as Elisha’s servant, undistracted and focused in our obedience to God and our pursuit of godliness, trusting him all the way.
We must rest assured that whatever we do for God through Christ Jesus is never in vain whether we see the outcome one day, never do or the end result is not as we expected it to be. We serve a sovereign God who is in absolute control.“Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or [being] his counsellor hath taught him?”(Isa. 40:13 KJV).We who love God are reminded of the rewards of obedience:
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23 KJV).
Abiding in God’s presence or glory, as a reward of obedience to Him, should be our priority above all else. It is the key to attaining all that He has for us and being fruitful for His sake every day of our lives.
Part 2 God may choose to go against the Status Quo
“He (Elisha) went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.” (2 Kings 4:33-35).
When we think of the unconventional manner in which Elisha was used by God to resurrect the son of the Shunammite woman, (2 Kings 4:33-35) we cannot help but conclude as with other incidents that the Most High God is master of every circumstance and therefore He may choose to act differently in situations which may be the same or similar and produce the same glorious outcome. With this in mind, we think of how some healings are straight forward in that someone lays hands on the sick and they are instantly healed whereas other healings may take time.
The way the Lord would choose to heal someone may be unusual or unconventional but the result manifests as would a “normal” healing process; a glorious testimony of the healing of God.
Some examples in scripture include whenI. Jesus spat on clay and placed it on the eyes of a blind man and he regained his sight (John 9:5-6).II. Naaman had expected Elisha (2 Kings 5:1-12) to heal him in the way he approved of and felt was appropriate. As a man well esteemed in Aram, he was used to being elevated and had a great measure of self pride.
THE “NATURAL” MAN RESISTS OBEDIENCE
Naaman was offended that Elisha did not come to heal him by waving his hand on the spot where he had leprosy and calling on the name of the LORD, instead Elisha sent a messenger to tell him to go and wash himself seven times in the Jordan. Naaman was also offended by the choice of the river which was Jordan in Israelite territory. He initially refused to wash in the Jordan for he deemed it an inferior river in comparison to the rivers of Damascus until his servant persuaded him to obey the prophet.
Naaman’s resistance was due to the fact that he judged by his natural mind; because of the debased value he attached to the river Jordan compared to the rivers of Damascus, he automatically concluded that God could not or should not use it to heal him.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinth. 2:14-16).
This account shows us the dangers of resisting what God wants to do in our lives. Resistance occurs because people do not discern that He is at work as events taking place do not appear normal or they go against the status quo.
“Father we pray that you would grant us the gift of discerning of spirits, your wisdom and knowledge so that we would know when you are at work and also see things the way that you see them, in Jesus’ name, Amen”.
FAITH, PATIENCE AND TRUST IN A GOD WHO IS IN ABSOLUTE CONTROL.
When the Shunammite woman and Elisha (2 Kings 4:8-37) arrived at her house after the servant, she discovered that despite the servant obediently laying Elisha’s staff on her son, he did not rise from the dead.
However she did not complain, she was a woman of faith and therefore had confidence in Elisha; after all did not the LORD give her a son through the prophetic word spoken by Elisha (2 Kings 4:8-16)?
She also believed that God would revival her son through this same prophet which is why she hastily went to see him when he died.
The woman had faith in the man of God and served him as a result God gave her a son. Likewise as we have faith in the LORD and serve Him, we are guaranteed to bear lasting fruit (John 15).
As the Shunammite woman, we too must exercise our faith and be patient, trusting that the Lord will fulfill that which He has promised however long it takes.
“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.” (Isa.55:10-11).
We praise God that He is a God of second chances who breathes life into all the “dead” areas of the life of His children.“ Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26 KJV).
Next, Snapshots of Glory-Word Focus 2 Day: Part 3: Obedience is partnering with God by faith for His will to be done on earth.
NOTE: These articles are from Chapter 1 from my book God’s ways are Higher (Light of the World-John8.12 Publishing).
In this book, I discuss case studies from scripture that reveal God’s Ways that are often not easily understood by people and at times may appear foolish to the human mind. However His sovereignty, wisdom and might are greatly revealed in the process as well as the outcome. This book also helps us to know and understand the God we serve and gives the ready a greater thirst to search the scriptures more and to cultivate an intimate lifestyle with God even more. This book as my other books are available on Amazon Books online (put my name/title in the search).