The words that jumped out at me today struck me by their poetic extravagance. I'm not sure where I'll go with this, but we'll find out together.
Israel was in the middle of a 7 year famine (and still rebelling against God, but no surprise there). Unlike the dramatic showdown at Mt. Carmel between Elijah and Baal's prophets, Elisha casually walks up to the palace one day. The king was talking to Elisha at the end of chapter 6: "This trouble is directly from God! I'm fed up with God."
So perhaps chapter 7 is part of the same confrontation, or perhaps not. But one thing is clear: there was no love lost between the king and the prophet.
It does feel like poetic justice that Elisha's response to the king (I hate God!) was to announce, "The famine is over. Tomorrow one handful of meal or two handfuls of grain will cost a shekel."
The king's advisor scorned him. (any more than Ahab believed the drought was over when Elijah announced it.) Here is the phrase that caught my attention: "You expect us to believe that? Trapdoors opening in the sky and food falling out?"
Maybe he should have studied Israel's history better. Because God did exactly that during the Wilderness Wanderings, providing quail until everyone was sick of meat. And manna showed up each morning like dew.
I'm arrested by the visual imagery of his complaint. A trapdoor in the sky and food falling out. Can you picture it? The closest I can come to imagining it makes me laugh.
Do I need to point out that Elisha's prophecy came true?
Look at the juxtaposition of the two chapters. The king says, "I hate God!"
God responds--not with a dire warning, but with compassion and concern and love. "I'm stopping the famine."
The king's advisor, like the second thief crucified with Christ, made fun of God doing the impossible. The king himself? He at least enjoyed telling tall tales of Elisha the prophet. Alas, he didn't repent, but he gave God's spokesperson a grudging respect.
Today I have been greatly discouraged. A door that hoped would open wide for my writing instead only opened a crack. I have been mourning/ranging/crying about it all day.
Perhaps that's why I need this message tonight. When God moves, things can happen instantaneously. If God so chooses, the trapdoor that now remains latched although cracked, can swing wide open. Tomorrow.
If it does - praise God.
If it doesn't - still praise God. And realize that God is causing that the famine with that publisher for His own reasons.