Thoughts and Reflection
Today in the bible readings we meet Ahaz one of Judah’s worst kings. Ahaz makes molten images for the Boals and even burns his sons as an offering in false worship. He foolishly leads the people into war and Judah is defeated.
We also read about Elisha and the widow. This is similar to the miracle when Elijah multiplied the flour and oil for the widow of Zarephath and her son to save them from the famine. Elisha multiples oil for a widow and her two sons and thus saves them. We also meet a Shunammite couple and they have no children. they have longed for a child. Elijah tells her that she will have a son by the same time the following year. When he is fully grown, he falls ill and dies while working with his father.
Why would God bring her a child and then have him die? Why would he take away this blessing? We know that God is one of the living and the dead. Her son will be restored to her. Luckily Jesus has revealed that death is not the end.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
2 Kings 4
1 The wife of a member of the prophetic brotherhood appealed to Elisha. ‘Your servant my husband is dead,’ she said, ‘and you know how your servant revered Yahweh. A creditor has now come to take my two children and make them his slaves.’
2 Elisha said, ‘What can I do for you? Tell me, what have you got in the house?’ ‘Your servant has nothing in the house,’ she replied, ‘except a flask of oil.’
3 Then he said, ‘Go outside and borrow jars from all your neighbours, empty jars and not too few.
4 When you come back, shut the door on yourself and your sons, and pour the oil into all these jars, putting each aside when it is full.’
5 So she left him; and she shut the door on herself and her sons; they passed her the jars and she went on pouring.
6 When the jars were full, she said to her son, ‘Pass me another jar.’ ‘There are no more,’ he replied. Then the oil stopped flowing.
7 She went and told the man of God, who said, ‘Go and sell the oil and redeem your pledge; you and your children can live on the remainder.’
8 One day as Elisha was on his way to Shunem, a woman of rank who lived there pressed him to stay and eat there. After this he always broke his journey for a meal when he passed that way.
9 She said to her husband, ‘Look, I am sure the man who is constantly passing our way must be a holy man of God.
10 Let us build him a small walled room, and put him a bed in it, and a table and chair and lamp; whenever he comes to us he can rest there.’
11 One day when he came, he retired to the upper room and lay down.
12 He said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Call our Shunammite.’ He called her and when she appeared, Elisha said,
13 ‘Tell her this: “Look, you have gone to all this trouble for us, what can we do for you? Is there anything you would like said for you to the king or to the commander of the army?” ‘ But she replied, ‘I live with my own people about me.’
14 ‘What can I do for you then?’ he asked. Gehazi replied, ‘Well, she has no son and her husband is old.’
15 Elisha said, ‘Call her.’ The servant called her and she stood at the door.
16 ‘This time next year’, he said, ‘you will hold a son in your arms.’ But she said, ‘No, my lord, do not deceive your servant.’
17 But the woman did conceive, and she gave birth to a son at the time that Elisha had said she would.
18 The child grew up; one day he went to his father who was with the reapers,
19 and exclaimed to his father, ‘Oh, my head! My head!’ The father told a servant to carry him to his mother.
20 He lifted him up and took him to his mother, and the boy lay on her lap until midday, when he died.
21 She went upstairs, laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door on him and went out.
22 She called her husband and said, ‘Send me one of the servants with a donkey. I must hurry to the man of God and back.’
23 ‘Why go to him today?’ he asked. ‘It is not New Moon or Sabbath.’ But she replied, ‘Never mind.’
24 She had the donkey saddled and said to her servant, ‘Lead on, go! Do not draw rein until I give the order.’
25 She set off and made her way to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her in the distance, he said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Look, here comes our Shunammite!
26 Now run and meet her and ask her, “Are you well? Is your husband well? Your child well?” ‘ ‘Yes,’ she replied.
27 When she came to the man of God there on the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi stepped forward to push her away, but the man of God said, ‘Leave her; there is bitterness in her soul and Yahweh has hidden it from me, he has not told me.’
28 She said, ‘Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say: Don’t deceive me?’
29 Elisha said to Gehazi, ‘Hitch up your clothes, take my staff in your hand and go. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; if anyone greets you, do not answer him. You are to stretch out my staff over the child.’
30 But the child’s mother said, ‘As Yahweh lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ Then he stood up and followed her.
31 Gehazi had gone ahead of them and had stretched out the staff over the child, but there was no sound or response. He went back to meet Elisha and told him. ‘The child has not woken up,’ he said.
32 Elisha then went to the house, and there on his bed lay the child, dead.
33 He went in and shut the door on the two of them and prayed to Yahweh.
34 Then he climbed on to the bed and stretched himself on top of the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes to his eyes, and his hands on his hands, and as he lowered himself on to him, the child’s flesh grew warm.
35 Then he got up and walked to and fro inside the house, and then climbed on to the bed again and lowered himself on to the child seven times in all; then the child sneezed and opened his eyes.
36 He then summoned Gehazi. ‘Call our Shunammite,’ he said. He called her. When she came to him, he said, ‘Pick up your son.’
37 She went in and, falling at his feet, prostrated herself on the floor and then picked up her son and went out.
38 Elisha went back to Gilgal while there was famine in the country. As the brotherhood of prophets were sitting with him, he said to his servant, ‘Put the large pot on the fire and cook some soup for the brotherhood.’
39 One of them went into the fields to gather herbs and came on some wild vine, off which he gathered enough gourds to fill his lap. On his return, he cut them up into the pot of soup; they did not know what they were.
40 They then poured the soup out for the men to eat, but they had no sooner tasted the soup than they cried, ‘Man of God, there is death in the pot!’ And they could not eat it.
41 ‘Bring some meal then,’ Elisha said. This he threw into the pot, and said, ‘Pour out, for the company to eat!’ And there was nothing harmful in the pot.
42 A man came from Baal-Shalishah, bringing the man of God bread from the first-fruits, twenty barley loaves and fresh grain still in the husk. ‘Give it to the company to eat,’ Elisha said.
43 But his servant replied, ‘How can I serve this to a hundred men?’ ‘Give it to the company to eat,’ he insisted, ‘for Yahweh says this, “They will eat and have some left over.” ‘
44 He served them; they ate and had some left over, as Yahweh had said.
2 Chronicles 28
1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what Yahwehregards as right, as his ancestor David had done.
2 He followed the example of the kings of Israel, even having images cast for the Baals;
3 he burned incense in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom, caused his sons to pass through the fire of sacrifice, copying the disgusting practices of the nations whom Yahweh had dispossessed for the Israelites.
4 He offered sacrifices and incense on the high places, on the hills and under every green tree.
5 So Yahweh his God put him at the mercy of the king of Aram, who defeated him and took large numbers of captives, carrying them off to Damascus. He also put him at the mercy of the king of Israel, who inflicted heavy casualties on him.
6 In a single day, Pekah son of Remaliah killed a hundred and twenty thousand in Judah, all of them prominent men, because they had abandoned Yahweh, God of their ancestors.
7 Zichri, an Ephraimite champion, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, Azrikam the controller of the household and Elkanah the king’s second-in-command.
8 Of their brothers, the Israelites took two hundred thousand captive including wives, sons, daughters; they also took quantities of booty, carrying everything off to Samaria.
9 Now there was a prophet of Yahweh there by the name of Oded, who went out to meet the troops returning to Samaria and said, ‘Look, because Yahweh, God of your ancestors, was angry with Judah, he put them at your mercy, but you have slaughtered them with such fury as reached to heaven,
10 and now you propose to reduce the children of Judah and Jerusalem to being your male and female slaves! Have you not yourselves committed sins against Yahweh your God?
11 Now listen to me: release the captives you have taken from your brothers, for the fierce anger of Yahweh hangs over you.’
12 Some of the Ephraimite chieftains — Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berechaiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum and Amasa son of Hadlai — then protested to those returning from the war
13 and said to them, ‘You must not bring the captives here, for we have already sinned against Yahweh and you propose to add to our sin and guilt, although our guilt is already great, and fierce anger is hanging over Israel.’
14 So in the presence of the officials and whole assembly, the soldiers gave up the captives and the booty.
15 Men nominated for the purpose then took charge of the captives. From the booty they clothed all those of them who were naked; they gave them clothing and sandals, provided them with food and drink, mounted on donkeys all those who were infirm and took them back to Jericho, the city of palm trees, tho their brothers. Then they returned to Samaria.
16 This was when King Ahaz sent asking the king of Assyria to come to his assistance.
17 The Edomites again invaded, defeated Judah, and carried off captives,
18 while the Philistines raided the towns in the lowlands and in the Negeb of Judah, capturing Beth-Shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco and its dependencies, Timnah and its dependencies and Gimzo and its dependencies, and settled there.
19 For Yahweh brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel, since he behaved without restraint in Judah and had been unfaithful to Yahweh.
20 Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria attacked and besieged him; but he could not overpower him.
21 Although Ahaz robbed the Temple of Yahweh and the palaces of the king and princes and gave the proceeds to the king of Assyria, he received no help from him.
22 During the time when he was under siege he disobeyed Yahweh even more grossly, this King Ahaz.
23 For he offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus who had defeated him. ‘Since the gods of the kings of Aram’, he thought, ‘have supported them, I shall sacrifice to them, and perhaps they will help me.’ But they proved to be his and all Israel’s downfall.
24 Ahaz then collected the equipment of the Temple of God, broke up the equipment of the Temple of God, sealed the doors of the Temple of Yahweh and put his own altars in every corner of Jerusalem;
25 he set up high places in every town of Judah to burn incense to other gods, thus provoking the anger of Yahweh, God of his ancestors.
26 The rest of his history, his whole policy, from first to last, is recorded in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.
27 Then Ahaz fell asleep with his ancestors and was buried in the City, in Jerusalem, though he was not taken to the tombs of the kingsof Israel. His son Hezekiah succeeded him.
1 [Song of Ascents Of Solomon] If Yahweh does not build a house in vain do its builders toil. If Yahweh does not guard a city in vain does its guard keep watch.
2 In vain you get up earlier, and put off going to bed, sweating to make a living, since it is he who provides for his beloved as they sleep.
3 Sons are a birthright from Yahweh, children are a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in a warrior’s hand are the sons you father when young.
5 How blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them; in dispute with his enemies at the city gate he will not be worsted.