Authority and Faith
Today’s reading: II Kings 6-8; John 4:31-54
12 And the king rose in the night and said to his servants, “I will tell you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we are hungry. Therefore they have gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the open country, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we shall take them alive and get into the city.’” I Kings 7:12
53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. John 4:53
Those who hold significant authority in this world need God’s help and mercy, but sometimes they find it hard to believe in Him.
The king of Israel was told that the Syrian army had fled, leaving their equipment and food behind. Even though Elisha had already prophesied that there would be abundance of food within a day, the king was quick to look for a trick. He assumed that Elisha was wrong so he was not expecting some kind of miraculous intervention. He was wrong. Did his position as king cause him to be more self-confident and less willing to believe God’s word through His prophet? It seems that those who have the most power and wealth sense the least need for divine assistance.
But this is not always the case. When Jesus arrived at Cana, an official of King Herod the Tetrarch went to Jesus requesting healing for his son. The official hoped that Jesus would come to his home and heal the boy, but Jesus rebuked him for looking for signs and wonders as a basis for faith. The man implored him again and Jesus sent him on his way with a promise that his son would be well. The healing occurred at the hour Jesus had spoken. Jesus was being constantly tested by the people requesting signs, but, in the case of the official, Jesus tested him to see if he believed enough to return home with only the assurance of the Lord’s word. He did and he believed, as did his whole household.
Why do some who hold power and wealth believe, while others do not? The inclination of the hearts of men is only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). Only by the work of the Spirit of God in people is there any willingness to believe. Jesus knew the hearts of men. Jesus declared that no one could come to Him unless the Father who sent Him draws him (John 6:44). Certainly, having power and wealth is no asset in coming to know God and believe His word. But God is able to draw the powerful, just as He is the powerless. He is also free to leave the powerful, like the king of Israel, in his unbelief and self-delusions.
If you believe God, it is not because you have some inherent wisdom to do so. It is His doing completely. You believe because He drew you. He drew you because He wanted to. You responded because He made you willing. Give Him all the praise.