Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Why do you want to involve me? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.” “No,” the king of Israel answered, “because it was the Lord who called us three kings together to deliver us into the hands of Moab.” Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not pay any attention to you. But now bring me a harpist.” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha and he said, “This is what the Lord says: I will fill this valley with pools of water. For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord ; he will also deliver Moab into your hands. You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones. – 2 Kings 3:13-19
This passage begins a series of passages where God uses water and rich water imagery to reveal some important aspects of His nature and the grace He freely offers all of us flawed followers. In yesterday’s post the three kings found themselves “up a creek without a paddle”…or in this case in a desert without water. They had failed to invite God along and now they are trying to remedy this by talking with Elisha, God’s prophet. Elisha’s initial response is to tell the king of Israel to…” Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.”. Those were the gods that the kings had invited along on their journey through the desert.
The faith and previous faithful following of Jehosephat is what saves them from themselves. God honors Jehoshaphat’s previous attempts to seek and honor God; despite the fact that His seeking and honoring in this case comes a little late in the game. Not only does God acquiesce to there request, but He will do it in a dramatic way which leaves no doubt about where these kings should look for “water” in the future. “I will fill this valley with pools of water” God says…no gentle rain or even an outward rainstorm, just a gentle whisper and the pools of water, and God, shows up.
For whatever reason God chooses to deal with the Moabites rather harshly through these three kings. We are not told much about the “rebellion” that the king of Israel was trying to quell through his misguided move into the desert. That is ultimately part of their story with God. The consequences for the Moabites seem rather harsh…cities trashed…springs ruined…and fields spiked with stones. Just like when the Israelites entered the Promised Land God wants the Israelites to know these consequences are to repay the Moabites rather than reward the Israelites for their failure to invite God along.
There may be a hidden spring in this passage. What the three kings are experiencing in desert is a spiritual valley taking place in a physical valley. God fills the physical valley with pools of water and so doing fills this spiritual low point (spiritual valley) with His grace. This is reassuring for all of us who have felt like we are in a “spiritual valley”. It is tempting to become discouraged and give up. What this passage says to me is that we are called to seek God out and He will fill our valley with pools of living water from which we can be refreshed. The important thing is to keep asking and seeking.
Prayer: Thank You God for the grace You show us even when we forget to invite You along on our journey.