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Summary: Should we look at our relationship with God as a way to avoid life’s miseries, or as a way to get to know Him and find strength to endure the curves life sends our way?

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1. My wife makes a mean Broccoli soup; never turns out at mo-in-laws

2. The newspaper is always there--except the one time in your life in

which your photo is included...

3. The truth of the matter is that life is unpredictable. And so is God.

4. Don’t get me wrong: I believe God is faithful. But the way He deals with us or with situations seems unpredictable.

5. Some prayers are answered miraculously; others are not. Sometimes God accomplishes His will through human beings; other times, in spite of us....

6. In OT, sometimes God commands the army to attack; other times to "lay back" and leave the driving to Him.

7. And even when His way is clear and His will known, it can be a painful wait....

Question: Should we look at our relationship with God as a way to

avoid life’s miseries, or as a way to get to know Him and find strength to endure the curves life sends our way?

I. The Background

1. Wicked King Ahab and his extra-wicked wife, Jezebel...

---she was Phoenician, brought in intense Baal worship...child sacrifice and immorality....(sex gods)...

(1) Joram (Jehoram) was not as bad....3:2

(2) but, he let his mother, Jezebel, influence him...more as he ages

(3) his sister, Athatliah, marries the king of Judah...spiritual infect

(4) Jehu kills Joram and Jezebel....2 Kings 10:28

2. Jehu probably the king here (not chronological); takes a positive

attitude toward Elisha...King’s advisor....

-----Joram and Jehu probably best of the northern kings...

3. The people of Aram (Syria)--Aramaic...had their eyes on Israel...Ben-hadad (a title like Pharaoh or Caesar)...

II. God Delivers Israel through Elisha....(6:8-23)

1. Tells King Jehu the Syrian plans of attack....ready....

2. Ben-Hadad suspects a traitor....they inform him no, a prophet...

3. Now Elisha becomes the center of attack....army sent to Dotham.... his servant scared to death.....God opens his eyes...chariots/horses

4. Vast army "blinded" (confused sight)....led to the capital of the

Northern Kingdom, Samaria....

----note vs. 19 and its ethical implications---

5. Jehu asks Elisha what to do....feed and free....eyes opened...

III. The Next Challenge: Things Aren’t Going So Well (6:24-7:20)

1. The Assyrians are attacking Samaria with a massive army....under

seige....people "walled in."

2. Great famine: donkey’s head $200, seed pods $15 a cup... (vs.25)

3. People have probably died because of famine....

4. The people had resorted to cannibalism, and Joram couldn’t take it....

5. In the city sits Elisha with the elders...while this is happening....

6. Jehu, angry about the cannibalism, sends a guard to kill Elisha; has

second thoughts, follows quickly...

7. He asks the question of 6:33.....Why....

8. Elisha promises the next day, flour would sell for practically nothing!!!

9. God causes a great miracle to happen---Four lepers left the

city....desperate.....found Assyrian camp--deserted!!!

10. Read 7:5-7

11. The Lepers report the good news---and food for tens of thousands of men is now available for the Israelites....

Question: Should we look at our relationship with God as a way to

avoid life’s miseries, or as a way to get to know Him and find strength to endure the curves life sends our way?

IV. God’s Dealing Are Unpredictable!

1. In one instance, God delivered the Israelites w/out suffering

2. In the second, people died of famine/cannibalism, the suffering was intense....

3. We can never think we have God under control....or figured out....

(1) we all want to feel comfortable and secure....prosperity/health

(2) but we can never manipulate God to eat out of our hands!

(3) Hebrews 11:32-38---by faith, people were delivered; by faith,

people suffered....

4. Prayers: can be powerful, at time miraculous....at other times,

nothing! Sometimes God opens one door after another like the

automatic doors of a supermark...other times, it’s like trying to break

into a vault...

5. What we can learn...

(1) God can do (and sometimes does) the impossible

(2) It is consistent w/godliness to suffer and be walled up in Samaria

(3) What happens for you may not for another, and vice-versa!

(4) What happens for you today may not tomorrow/vice-versa!

(5) Although life and circumstances and God’s dealings are unpredictable, God’s character and promises remain the same...

6. God cannot be put in a Box--isn’t that wonderful! He is bigger,

greater, more complicated than we can understand.....

7. So don’t be so uptight, blaming yourself for every trial or wondering why God isn’t doing for you what He’s done for others....He may do more for you....it’s an adventure...

8. What matters is the big picture--a life organized by God Himself!

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