It Doesn't Have to Be This Way (Reading 2 Kings 8)

The ability of humans to inflict pain is unimaginable. In 2 Kings 8:11 Elisha stares into the eyes of one of humanities greatest monsters, the soon to be Syrian king, Hazael. It was a long, awkward stare that led to weeping. “And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he was embarrassed. And the man of God wept.” The gift of the prophet is the ability to see consequences, to come face to face fate. Elisha knew what God was about to do. God was about to allow a human to inflict unimaginable pain on His people. God was about to uncage a monster. Their sin sealed their fate.

“Why does my lord weep? Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel.” (2 Kings 8:12a)

Just prior to this story, Elisha is able to bring another person face to face with fate, the Shunammite woman. This is the same faithful Shunammite from 2 Kings 4. She has a living son that has once been dead. She is a walking testimony that if a person is faithful to God, God will be faithful to him. In the face of coming calamity Elisha is able to steer her away from the path of disaster. Now she returns and she experiences restoration. She is a parable to the people of Israel. If you return to your God, He will restore your land (2 Kings 8:1-6). Her life is a metaphor for Israel, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Each of us stare into the eyes of fate. For some it is the hellish eyes of Hazael. For others it is into the eyes of a Shunammite woman. We will either do evil and suffer the consequences or we will be faithful and experience the blessings. If we could only have some semblance of that prophetic gift and be able to discern the path of consequences. For instance certain sins and attitudes will hasten Hazael into your marriage. He will rape, pillage, and destroy. On the other hand, faithfulness will bring about the blessing of the Shunammite, life when there is death, restoration of what is lost.

It could be said of marriage, money, morality, any aspect of life in general. Sin will ring the bell of Hazael. Faithfulness will render the blessing of the Shunammite. Stare into the eyes of fate. What do you see? What is your path? Where are you headed? If you see destruction on the horizon please know that it doesn’t have to be this way. God is faithful and He desires for His people to return to Him. He can heal, restore, and forgive. It is time to make a change. If Hazael is standing on your doorstep you should know, it doesn’t have to be this way.


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