May 21, 2014
II Kings 4:8-10
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
If you walk with the Lord, He will lead you to truths that you might ordinarily miss. I try to keep my life in tune with Him by regularly reading and studying the Bible and keeping up my prayer life. I read through various editions, translations and paraphrases – one every six months – just to help me stay familiar with the Word of God. Currently I am reading through the 1917 edition of the Scofield Reference Bible with the notes. I have done that twice with my 1967 edition – my ‘go to’ Bible, but I had never before gone through the earlier edition.
This particular Bible belonged to a dedicated Christian who used it many years. It is obviously worn, but still in pretty good condition for being about 90 years old! The former owner made notes in the margins as he read and studied. And I came across something that had never before occurred to me concerning II Kings 4:8 through 10. Here is that scripture:
Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where was a notable
woman, and she constrained him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he
passed by, that he turned in there to eat some food. And she said to her
husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by
us regularly. Please let us make a upper room on the wall; and let us put a
bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lamp stand: it will be,
whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.”
The original owner of the Bible had marked ‘1, 2, 3 and 4 ‘ over the words, “…bed…table…chair…and lampstand….” In the margin he wrote “1 – rest, 2 – nourishment, 3 – instruction, 4 – illumination.” And I thought, “Wow! That is a great summary of The Complete Life for the Christian!”
1. Rest (illustrated by ‘bed ’) – We need rest – physically, mentally and even spiritually – if we are going to live our Christian life to the fullest! And remember, Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came that we “…may have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV).
As far as physical and mental rest, it says in Psalm 4:8, “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” And in Psalm 127:2, God tells us, “…He gives His beloved sleep.” Do you want a good remedy for insomnia? Commit these two scriptures to memory and dwell on them when you can’t get to sleep!
But what is meant by spiritual rest? Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” In Him we find peace and rest!
2. Nourishment (illustrated by table) – Again, we need nourishment for the whole person – physically, mentally and spiritually! Obviously, God gives us – especially in this wonderful country – great abundance! Don’t ever take His blessings for granted! As Paul wrote in I Timothy 4:3 (NIV), “…God created…foods…to be received with thanksgiving….”
But what about spiritual nourishment? Job boldly proclaimed in Job 23:12, “…I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Paul spoke plainly concerning the new nature – he called it the new man – which God gives everyone who comes to Jesus Christ, accepting Him as his or her Savior: “…you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him….” Renewed in knowledge – it is the knowledge that comes through the Word of God – the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ! Such knowledge is nourishment to the believer’s soul and spirit as much as food is to the body!
3. Instruction (as illustrated by chair) – How does the word chair illustrate instruction?
You are seated in a chair! And Jewish teachers always sat when teaching!
Are you teachable? Do you take the time and opportunities to be taught? These opportunities are presented when we gather to hear sermons or congregate for Bible study. They also occur when two or three believers get together to discuss the things of the Lord. And there are great teaching opportunities when we are alone and open our Bible, ready to be taught by the Author! Take advantage of opportunities for instruction!
4. Illumination (as illustrated by lamp stand) – We need light by which to see physically, we need understanding to ‘see’ mentally, and we need illumination from God’s Holy Spirit to have spiritual sight!
I John 2:27 points this out: “But the anointing [the Holy Spirit] which you have received from Him [Jesus] abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but…the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is truth, and is not a lie….” It is not that we don’t need gifted Christian teachers, it is that the Spirit is really the one illuminating the truth taught!
So prepare your little room – your life – and make sure you have in it a bed, a table, a chair and a lamp stand ! If you make full use of these furnishings, you will live The Complete Life as a Christian!