Saturday, June 24, 2006

You don't expect me to believe that, do you?

As I read this part of the Bible, it strikes me that the chronicler is showing us something very important, something I've not noticed before. We read in succession that Elisha provides money for a poor widow, then a son for a rich woman, twice (2 Kings 4). Then we see him save the company of the prophets from poisoning and cure leprosy for the commander of the Aramean army (chapter 5), recover a lost axhead, provide military secrets to the king of Israel, and disarm an enemy task force (chapter 6).

In other words, the Lord can provide the needs of any family, and they don't necessarily even need to ask, so he owns everything - not just money but also life. He is the master of health and medicine. He is the lord over the laws of nature, and the lord over information.

And now, Samaria is under siege.
There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey's head sold for 80 shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.
2 Kings 6.25
(According to Unger's Bible Dictionary, a cab is about two quarts, so about a pint of seed pods cost 5 shekels. Keep that price in mind.) That's the situation. And now
Elisha said, "Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria."

The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, "Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?"

2 Kings 7.1-2
(A seah is about 17 pints, so 17 pints of flour - not seed pods - for one shekel - an incredible price drop.)
In other words, this officer was saying, "You don't expect me to believe that, do you?"

He also seemed to think Elisha needed a lesson in macroeconomic theory.

Of course at this point you aren't surprised by what happens next: the Lord arranges an astonishing way to fulfill his word: "Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the Lord had said." (2 Kings 7.16)

So the Lord here proves himself the lord over macroeconomic theory as well. Not that he refutes those principles; he just bypasses them.

What would you and I like to see happen in the world today?

Here's one thing. Today in the state of California, public school teachers aren't paid the same. The ones who have the nicest facilities and kids with a lot of material advantages, in other words the ones with the easiest task, are paid the most. Teachers who have to work in poorer facilities with difficult kids and a shortage of supplies -- teachers with the toughest jobs -- are paid the least. There are political reasons why this is hard to change, but in Jesus's name, this system of public school finance is wrong.

This unequal, unfair system -- in many states, not just in California -- is offensive to the Lord, and he is stronger than the forces of selfishness, greed, and wickedness that keep it in place.

So I believe he can change it.
posted Sunday 2006-06-25

No comments: