2 Kings 8:7-15 is a passage which is both instructive and sobering. It speaks directly to the absolute sovereignty of God. Specifically, it places before us the fact that as the one and only sovereign Potentate He has the right to allow actions which are difficult for we humans to understand and, perhaps, accept. Why? Because they serve His divine purposes, purposes which are most often beyond our human comprehension. Bottomline: we are called to bow submissively to His will and ways at all times regardless of the difficulties they represent to mere human reasoning.
Benhadad the king of Syria was sick. Hearing that Elisha, “The man of God,” was in the area, he sent one of his key officers, Hazael, to “enquire of the LORD by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?”
When Hazael presented the inquiry, Elisha gave what most would consider to be a rather strange answer: “Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.”
Is Elisha being deceitful or “wishy washy” in this reply? Is the king going to recover or not? As we read on we discover why his answer was “right on.”
The full facts, once known, show the wisdom of Elisha’s answer. (1) the disease was not going to kill Benhadad, thus Elisha’s statement “Thou mayest certainly recover.” However, (2) the Lord had shown Elisha that Hazael was going to murder the king to ursurp the throne, thus Elisha’s statement “howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.”
With this knowledge, what should Elisha do? What would you do?
What Elisha did was submit fully to the LORD's will though doing so was very difficult for him. Elisha wept over the judgments that Hazael’s reign would inflict on God’s people, as I'm sure most of us would do. Yet he did nothing to stop this murder. Why? Because the judgments that would come were the LORD’s will. They were judgments to chasten God’s people for their idolatrous sins. They were the reaping for the sins that had been sown (Galatians 6:6, 7) In other words, they were just or right judgments. Elisha trusted both God's wisdom and love and, consequently, would not be moved from that trust by his own feelings, in this case, his own human compassion for the people He loved.
Did God then sanction this murder? No. God is not the author of sin. He “cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13b). However, with perfect knowledge (He is omniscient), and with perfect control (He is omnipotent), He allows what is best for Himself and His glory even though what He allows is sometimes not His perfect, directive will. Why? For the ultimate blessing of His people (He is love), for “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). God knows what is best. God does what is best..always, and in all things.
Again, to emphasize this most important truth, within the authority and restraint of Divine providence, God often allows man to act out the sins of his own evil heart to accomplish His own divine and perfect will. To this well established but difficult fact we must submit if we are to truly honor God.
Christian, God knows both the beginning and the end of all things. He is in absolute control at all times. This we all know and, I would hope, believe. What creates the difficulties of our life is the “in between” part, the time and events between God’s beginning and God’s end when we can’t fully comprehend the why’s, what’s, etc. of His workings in our life. It is in these times that we are to remember this: God’s ways are perfect, “past finding out” (Romans 11:33). It is in these times that natural sight must be set aside so that holy faith may reign. “For without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6a).
God bless you as you walk by faith in your loving, never-failing heavenly Father's sovereign grace.
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