Summary: Second in a series on Elisha. In a world that believes in the survival of the fittest, God's people have resources available to us that go beyond what the world thinks is possible. Church is to be a culture of life, not of scarcity.
VIDEO CLIP BEGINS THE SERMON…BE SURE AUDIO IS UP
=> INTRO: Bill Collector Video. Taken from YouTube, a former bill collector talks about making harassing phone calls and threats.
Slide: Woman holding child
=> The Widow’s story to this point
Don’t you imagine that if we could speak to the widow, she would have some hard questions to ask.
Why MY family? - Her husband = prophet. Man of God. Godly family. Now he’s dead.
Why didn’t God answer MY prayers?
Wasn’t it enough to lose my husband? Why do I now have to lose my children?
Slide: White documents with red writing
=> Creditors Come Knocking
We heard some pretty extreme examples of what bill collectors are capable of.
Understanding that a creditor was coming to take her children away, I don’t think she was dealing with a friendly kind, if there is one.
I wonder how it all started?
With her husband being among the community of prophets, it’s not likely she was wealthy to begin with.
I wonder where the first loan came from?
Did they make her big promises? Did they make it sound like a great favor. (Just wait until harvest…I’m sure you’ll have more than enough to pay us back.)
Around her home, I imagine the pieces of furniture starting to disappear, one at a time. A table, a bed, even some of her treasured heirlooms.
Do you think she started to panic inwardly every time she heard a knock at her door?
But there wasn’t enough…and now all she had left were her sons, and a small jar of oil.
Slide: Scarcity, Death, Limitations, Survival
=> A culture of death
Part of us has to wonder what it is about the world that these scenarios even become possible.
Left to its own, the world creates a culture of scarcity.
We emphasize SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.
If this world really is just one big game of the survival of the fittest, the weaker people of society become unimportant.
Those with power are focussed completely on maintaining power. Eliminating temporary threats.
In a culture of scarcity, we tend to believe that everything is completely locked in to place.
This is why even now we obsess over figuring out laws of the universe and laws of nature. We want them to be fixed, so that we can try and control all that falls within them.
We start to view human beings as mammals, rather than as image bearers of the divine.
And once a person is dead or dying, it matters little what becomes of them.
QUESTIONS If you want to examine the cultures your living in to discern whether you’re living in a culture of death, here are a few questions to ask:
1. How do we entertain ourselves? Do we find pleasure in violence? In stories of conquering and dominance? Is our entertainment driven by violence? Movies? Sports? Video games?
VIOLENCE ALWAYS DEVALUES
2. How do we treat the weakest members of our society? - What about a person who is drawing nearer the end of their life? Is our culture supportive of euthanasia? ASK: “How soon may we cease to think of these as fully human?” - What about the youngest and weakest people in our culture? Children in the womb? If you’ve been paying attention the last few weeks, this has been an important conversation. Planned Parenthood is involved not only in terminating the lives of unborn children, but in arranging for the distribution of their body parts. (The body parts are valued while the people are not.) ASK: “How soon must we consider them fully human?” These things are really ugly symptoms of a deeper problem. The problem is that our culture believes it is living in a story that is about the survival of the fittest, and that your own goals are too important to allow someone weaker than you to get in your way of what you want your life to be like. How do we treat the weakest members of our society?
3. - What kind of a God is a culture like ours willing to accept?
The Kings of Israel and Judah loved to pay lip service to the true God of Israel, but unless he was going to swoop in and give them favors, they didn’t want him making any demands of them or getting in the way of them doing what they wanted to do.
When people today describe the kind of God they’re comfortable with, is it not the God of deism?
The benevolent watch maker? If God is there, he wound things up, turned them loose, and now he stays out of the way.
Our culture likes a God that doesn’t try to tell them how to live or what to do.