Thursday, July 2, 2009
Miracle from two sides
19 Then the men of the city said to Elisha, “Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the ground barren.”
20 And he said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.’” 22 So the water remains healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke.
23 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!”
24 So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.
25 Then he went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria. (II Kings 2:19-25)
Elisha received a double portion of his master's spirit, and there is recorded a number of miracles that Elisha performed. Here are two miracles juxtaposed: the first a blessing, and the second a curse. There are many things that could be said of both of these miracles, and many things have been said, but placing them together gives us an insight into the ways of God. Blessing and cursing are two sides of the same activity of God: God blesses the righteous by cursing the wicked; God saves His chosen through removing the damned; the righteous are made free by the proper judicial processes being enacted upon the guilty.
It is God who decides who are the righteous and who are the wicked; it is God who decides who are the justified and who are the guilty; it is God who decides what is right and what is wrong; He is the Sovereign Lord.
Salt is a symbol of Covenant. Jesus cut covenant through the offering up of His own blood. It is only through the cleansing of the blood of Jesus that individuals and communities can be healed and set free. "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin." "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Elisha placed the symbol of covenant at the source of life for the city, and the city was healed.
There is no other answer for our own city, other than the faithful proclamation of the Gospel. It is the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
On the other hand, Elisha took no rubbish from the youth of the city. Their disrespect for God's delegated authority was met with violent death. Our city is tyrannised by feral youth. Generally there is a soft response to youth crime. Much of this crime is because the injunction of the Scripture is not heeded: "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, and the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."
The message of the Gospel is both a message of life and a message of death. All who truly embrace the Gospel die to sin, die to this world, die to the lusts of the flesh and the self-centred life. On the other hand, those who have died in Christ, are raised into newness of life. Gospel life will transform a city, and many times it begins with the youth of the city being harnessed for the glorious Gospel.