Preaching through Tears
Today’s reading: 2 Kings 8:7-10:17
My selection: II Kings 8:11-13
And he fixed his gaze and stared at him, until he was embarrassed. And the man of God wept. 12 And Hazael said, “Why does my lord weep?” He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Israel. You will set on fire their fortresses, and you will kill their young men with the sword and dash in pieces their little ones and rip open their pregnant women.” 13 And Hazael said, “What is your servant, who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?” Elisha answered, “The Lord has shown me that you are to be king over Syria.”
My reflections: Elisha was faithful to deliver the Lord’s message but it was not a pleasant one for him. It gave him no joy to think of Hazael, king of Syria, destroying Israel, killing young men, pregnant women, and children, despite the fact that Israel had incurred the judgment of God for her idolatry and wickedness.
The gospel is both good news and bad news. The good news is that there is salvation in Christ for all who believe. The bad news is that mankind is on a path of eternal destruction apart from Jesus Christ. All are born in sin and stand under the just condemnation of God if they do not repent and believe in the one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus.
We, who believe, cannot ignore the bad news and we cannot help but weep at the thought of judgment falling upon those who reject God’s truth. Elisha sets an example of faithfulness in delivering a message which troubled his heart. He did not neglect to tell the truth. In the end, it will be seen that sin, falling short of the glory of God, is justly punished and the joy of seeing God’s name vindicated will overwhelm the sorrow of judgment upon a vast host of mankind who remain of the serpent’s seed.
My challenge: Do you hesitate to give the bad news as you give the good news? Be faithful, even while brokenhearted, in giving the gospel to the world.
Tomorrow’s reading: 2 Kings 10:18-13:25