Our world is full of "new" things. Television shows have new episodes every week, new car models are produced every year, scientists are constantly making new discoveries. New phones, tablets, and other devices are constantly being produced. If anything can be said confidently about our world it is that we like new things.
Wouldn't it be nice to find some peace? Wouldn't it be great to find something that will never be replaced by the next iteration?
In the days of Joash King of Israel, the Syrians had reduced the army of Israel to a meager state. Joash inherited an army of fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen (2 Kings 13:7). In desperation Joash sought the counsel of a dying Elisha, and Elisha provided help by the power of God:
"And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” … And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.” And he struck three times and stopped. 19 Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.” -2 Kings 13:15-19
Genesis 16 tells of Hagar, Sarai, and Abram. The decisions they made produced a tense situation: Hagar was with child by Abram, while Sarai was, at this time, unable to bear children. Hagar feels superior to Sarai because she can bear children, and in return Sarai uses her authority to humiliate and oppress Hagar. Hagar runs from her, and comes to a spring of water in the wilderness where she meets the angel of the Lord.
He directs her to return to Sarai and remain in submission to her, and promises Hagar many descendants as repayment for her difficult life under Sarai’s authority (Gen. 16:11). Her son’s name would be Ishmael, translated, “God hears”. Hagar responds, “You are a God who sees” (Gen. 16:13).
Eli Schnell is the Youth and Family Minister at the Northwest Church of Christ
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135