Eighth installment! What a great sermon. Made me think of a friend of mine who is going through a rough stage in the new Christian walk. He’s realizing that being a Christian is not all smiles and butterflies! While you’re thinking about him, pray for him?
The knowledge that my sins are known to God should be a cause for repentance. This man knows his sins are known to God and they’re known to God’s prophet, and the reaction of his wicked heart is to get rid of the person who knows about his secret plans – his sinful plans.
Here’s a kicker of a quote:
How then, Christian friends, should you deal with people who want to injure you? What does Elisha’s example show you? First of all, it should console your own heart. “No one can injure me as a child of God without specific divine permission.” The forces which surround me as a Christian would have to stand aside under specific, divine demand before any trouble could come through and actually touch me. So I can know for certain that no pain or difficulty or opposition or injury that I shall experience or have ever experienced can never ever reach me nor has it ever reached me without the specific permission of God. It’s a wonderful consolation to all Christians who have any form of trouble or tears. God has permitted it all, and he’s had to command his protective armies to stand aside for it to come through. Nothing ever happened to you without God saying it should.
We should pity those people who injure us, because, friends, the army that protects us could remove them from this world at any time. They don’t know what danger they’re in, they don’t know with what fire they’re playing. We should pity them. They’re not fighting us, they’re fighting God. The reason they’re opposed to us is the gospel of God’s grace, which we’ve come to love! It’s because of their spiritual blindness! We shouldn’t bear them any ill-will! If it wasn’t for the grace of God, we would be like them ourselves!
So how should we treat those who injure us? Well, first of all, we should pray for them. Not that they should be struck down! Elisha didn’t do that! But we should pray that God would confound them and confuse them and nullify their efforts and make them, if it’s His pleasure, powerless to carry through their evil plan. And if we do that with His glory in view, we’re certain to know His intervention.
…and then… we should pray that God might open their eyes, not to the apostate king of Israel, but that they should actually see the things that we can see ourselves.
And then we should treat them as Elisha did, with mercy and grace.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”