God Keeps His Heart Open

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God’s Story

God’s supremacy is on display in Elisha’s miracles. God fills a penniless widow’s borrowed jars with valuable oil. He knits a baby boy in the womb of a barren woman, and several years later He raises that same boy back to life. He purifies a poisonous pot of stew and heals a leprous enemy army commander. But Israel is still worshiping false gods.

God lets Elisha in on the Aramean army’s every move, and Elisha passes the information along to Israel’s king. Angered, the Aramean king sends an army to surround the city where Elisha is staying. Elisha’s servant panics at the show of force, but Elisha assures him that God’s forces are mightier. God opens the servant’s eyes so he can see the full reality: an entire army of fiery horses and chariots.

God is there in power. At Elisha’s request, God strikes the enemies blind. The conflict ends.

Later, the Aramean king surrounds Samaria, causing a famine. Food prices skyrocket. Parents are eating their children. Elisha predicts the famine’s end—the next day the Israelites will be feasting. His prediction seems ludicrous. But God causes the Aramean warriors to hear the sound of a mighty advancing army and they run for their lives, leaving food, clothing and equipment. The Israelites plunder the camp the Arameans left behind. The famine is over.

In Judah, King Jehoshaphat dies. His son Jehoram—an awful king—reigns for eight years. He even marries into Ahab’s dark-god family. His son Ahaziah succeeds him, ruling for one evil year. God’s people are very sick.

The King’s Heart

She should have hated him. Raiders from Aram, serving under Naaman, had taken her from her homeland, her family—stealing her freedom and her future. The young Israelite girl spent her youth seeing to the needs of Naaman’s wife. It would be an easy place for bitterness to grow. But she didn’t allow it. She allowed a tender heart of love and compassion to grow there instead. “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy” (2 Kings 5:3).

Every day, people insulted God, splaying themselves before demonic stones and poles and shrines. He saw every offense, felt every injury. It would be an easy place for bitterness to grow. But the good King wouldn’t allow it. A beautiful heart of love remained there instead—longing, forgiving. “If only my people would come to me, the Healer among them. I am the cure for their captivity, the remover of their sin.”

Insight

When God opened Elisha’s servant eyes, He showed him a reality that is always true for us:

The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – 1 John 4:4

Excerpted with permission from NIV Discover God’s Heart Devotional Bible, copyright Zondervan 2014.

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Your Turn

In John 16:33, Christ acknowledges the trouble and chaos in our world and encourages us with this: take heart! I have overcome the world. When we align our perspective with His presence and power there is overwhelming peace. We can rest in the knowledge that He is greater! Join the conversation on the blog. We would love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

Zondervan

For over eighty years, Zondervan has partnered with authors to deliver transformational, educational and vocational resources that renew minds, enrich lives, and change the world.

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