Friday after the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Kings 8:1-15 (NKJV)
1 Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, “Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the LORD has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years.” 2 So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years.
3 It came to pass, at the end of seven years, that the woman returned from the land of the Philistines; and she went to make an appeal to the king for her house and for her land. 4 Then the king talked with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me, please, all the great things Elisha has done.” 5 Now it happened, as he was telling the king how he had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” 6 And when the king asked the woman, she told him.
So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.”
7 Then Elisha went to Damascus, and Ben-Hadad king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, “The man of God has come here.” 8 And the king said to Hazael, “Take a present in your hand, and go to meet the man of God, and inquire of the LORD by him, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this disease?’” 9 So Hazael went to meet him and took a present with him, of every good thing of Damascus, forty camel-loads; and he came and stood before him, and said, “Your son Ben-Hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this disease?’”
10 And Elisha said to him, “Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover.’ However the LORD has shown me that he will really die.” 11 Then he set his countenance in a stare until he was ashamed; and the man of God wept. 12 And Hazael said, “Why is my lord weeping?”
He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel: Their strongholds you will set on fire, and their young men you will kill with the sword; and you will dash their children, and rip open their women with child.”
13 So Hazael said, “But what is your servant– a dog, that he should do this gross thing?”
And Elisha answered, “The LORD has shown me that you will become king over Syria.”
14 Then he departed from Elisha, and came to his master, who said to him, “What did Elisha say to you?” And he answered, “He told me you would surely recover.” 15 But it happened on the next day that he took a thick cloth and dipped it in water, and spread it over his face so that he died; and Hazael reigned in his place.
Hazael met Elisha and asked if his master will recover from his illness. Elisha gave what seemed to be a contradictory answer. “Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover.’ However, the Lord has shown me that he will really die” (8:10). Does Elisha speak a lie to the king of Syria? This cannot be the case, for David writes in Psalm 5:4, “You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You.” The Lord is never dishonest when He speaks, for that would be contrary to His character. Elijah said plainly that Ben-Hadad will recover from this illness, but in spite of that recovery he will still die. It is wicked Hazael who takes this Word of God and assumes that He is to murder his master.
It is vitally important that we recognize that God’s word never deceives. As it is written, “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6). St. Peter says of Christ, the Word of God in human flesh, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). When God’s Word of Law goes forth we must not doubt that He will punish sin. It is also true that we must not doubt the Word of the Gospel that goes forth after the Law is preached. The heavenly Father, in His gospel call, is just as sincere, for He desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth which is only found in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We pray: Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word of truth through faith in Christ Jesus, so that we may not doubt it but firmly believe it. Amen.