Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the two year reading plan the church is participating in. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.
Read 2 Kings 13 (Monday 5.22)
I don’t always know how to ask for things well. Even when it comes to legitimate needs, I find myself without quite the right words to tell God, or tell friends or family, that I need something. Is it pride that prevents me? Is it a strange asceticism? Often, I think it’s just that I simply don’t think of it; a kind of low-grade ennui. Things are the way they are, and I have to deal with them. In this story, King Jehoash is given a really strange command by Elisha. Elisha says to open the window and shoot arrows into the ground. This would, Elisha promised, give Jehoash victory over Aram. This is so interesting to me, because the means of grace in this story isn’t glamorous. It barely makes sense. It seems like just a symbol. When Jehoash shoots three arrows into the ground, Elisha yells at him, three victories?! That’s all you want? Somehow Jehoash fails to ask for enough. Maybe he feels silly. Maybe he doesn’t trust God to deliver. Or maybe he simply doesn’t think to ask for more, like I often do. I read this and hear what Elisha might say to me: Is that all you want? This is God you’re asking! Ask for more!
For Reflection: Is there anything you neglect to ask God for?
Read 2 Kings 20:1-11 (Thursday 5.25)
Shooting arrows into he ground symbolically is maybe a weird way for God to have you get what you ask for. But in these verses we see a very normal, almost mundane means of grace: prayer. Hezekiah is told that he’s going to die. So he faces the wall, and in honest and earnestness prays for more time. This prayer isn’t like the prayers we’re taught to pray now. Because this is pre-Jesus, and pre-promise-of-eternal-life, Hezekiah really things he’s facing the end of things. And he banks on his own righteousness, reminding God how how good he’s been. What’s encouraging about this is that God accepts this prayer in all it’s imperfection. Before Isaiah makes it out of there, God’s decided to give him fifteen more years. Even more beautiful, when Hezekiah asks for a sign that God will fulfill his promise, God agrees to give him one. He stops time on the sundial! Of course God is not going to give every person who asks this exact grace. But what if Hezekiah had not asked?
For Reflection: What is the value of an honest, private, earnest prayer?
Reflections written by Amy Giacalone