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November 23 – Devastation and deliverance

“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” – Luke 24:46-47 

Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 28:15, 52-57; 2 Kings 6:24-7:1

It is an unpleasant story. The siege is bad enough with all of its fear-inducing characteristics. It’s compounded by the resultant famine. But even that doesn’t capture the devastation. That comes in the story the woman told the king about the horrific experience with her son.

Here we see the destructive power of sin in high definition. Sin is ugly, grotesque, hideous, a monster. And sin will not tell you that. Satan is not going to alert you to its gross ramifications. Only someone who loves you will do that. And in this passage our loving God is warning you to kill sin before sin kills you and those dear to you. What makes things so infuriating was that this situation was avoidable. As Deuteronomy 28 pointed out, this was a judgement from God upon His rebellious people. Repentance would have changed everything.

It appears that the king had begun to repent (there was sackcloth under his robe), but he didn’t follow through. There is no real brokenness for sin as having grieved their holy God. It seems that he is just bothered by the consequences. He blames Elisha and, like his mother Jezebel, threatens to remove Elisha’s head from his shoulders. But in the midst of the devastation, don’t miss the promise of deliverance. The siege is going to end and prices will go down. Isn’t that unexpected? But that’s always God’s way. He offers deliverance from the devastation of sin. May that revelation of His grace lead us all to repentance.

Suggestions for prayer

Ask the Lord to open our eyes to see the horrific, destroying power of sin so that we might turn from it to the Lord of grace and mercy.

Reverend John van Eyk has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017.

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