11/8 Reading (2 Kings 4-6; Galatians 5)

2 Kings 4: The next three chapters focus on Elisha. They describe different stories focusing on his powers as a prophet. This chapter focuses on his helping his people. He helps a widow who was married to a member of his group of prophets. Some people she owes money want to take her children away and make them slaves as payment. Elisha solves this problem.

He then tells a woman who wasn’t able to have a child that she would conceive and give birth to a son one year later because of her helping him (Elisha). She has a son and years later he is injured and dies. The woman goes to Elisha and he returns to her home. Elisha is about to save her son with the help of the power of God. We see the use of seven here as with other locations in the Bible: “…the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes” (2 Kings 4.35).

This story is followed by Elisha producing more food during a time of famine, similar to what Moses did.

2 Kings 5: This chapter focuses on Elisha helping people from other nations, demonstrating that God helps all, not just those in Israel and Judah. A general for the king of Aram, Naaman, has a skin disease and he hears of Elisha and that he could heal him. Naaman’s king sends him to see Elisha, who tells Naaman to bathe 7 times in the Jordan river. Naaman gets angry and wants to leave, but his servants stop him, telling him to follow Elisha’s commands. He does it and his skin disease is healed. Naaman then declares that he will follow God and not longer follow the false gods of his land.

2 Kings 6: More prophetic events occur, each meant to demonstrate the power of Elisha and his connection with God.

Galatians 5: Paul explains to the people that circumcision doesn’t matter (i.e. the Law doesn’t matter). Specifically, Paul says “Being circumcised or not being circumcised doesn’t matter in Christ Jesus, but faith working through love does matter” (CEB Study Bible; 5.6; p. 360 NT). He makes it clear that the ones telling them they should follow the Law are misleading them, leading them astray. He implores them to return to following Jesus. I really like this verse when he talks about the difference between being guided by the Spirit verses one’s selfish desires: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (5.22-23; p. 361 NT). Again, that’s refreshing. I really like this book.

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