Reading through the Bible together
The kingdoms of Israel and Judah were engaged in a war with their neighbors the Moabites. In an effort to surprise their enemies from behind they decided to take a long circuitous march through the desert. I might add that it is one of the hottest, driest, and lowest deserts in the world. The way being longer than they expected, the army of Israel soon ran out of water. In those days, armies took cattle with them as portable provisions. But the cattle had no grass to eat and no water to drink. The soldiers were thirsty and the animals were dying. So the King of Judah asked the prophet Elisha, who accompanied them on their march, “What do we do?” Elisha requested something unusual. He said, “Bring me a musician” and when they found a soldier who could sing, they brought him to Elisha. Then the Holy Spirit descended upon the musician, who began to sing and the “hand of the Lord came upon him and he said, “Make this valley full of ditches.” So in faith the king of Judah had the soldiers start digging dry troughs in the flat sand. Miraculously, during the night, thunderstorms in the mountains of Edom filled the ditches with water. And the refreshed soldiers successfully defeated the Moabites. This reminds us of the miraculous living water through Jesus that God gives to us so we can have victory over our adversary Satan.
But there’s one more very important event in this chapter. During the battle the Israelites drove the Moabites back to their fortress. When the King of Moab saw that their escape was fruitless and the doom of his people seemed immanent, he offered his firstborn son, the crown prince, as a sacrifice high upon the wall where all could see. This desperate sacrifice so stunned all sides in the conflict a cease-fire was declared and the armies of Israel withdrew. Who can miss the profound spiritual significance of this? It is only the sacrifice of God’s Son that will bring peace in the great controversy.
Dear Lord, give us the faith and determination to dig ditches to receive your blessing even when there are no clouds in the sky. Please surprise and refresh us in this desolate world with the living water made available by the sacrifice of Your only begotten Son. Amen.
Sacramento Central Church