2 Kings 7 & 1 Timothy 4

2 Kings 7

    But Elisha said, “Hear the word of the LORD: thus says the LORD, Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.” Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, “If the LORD himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” But he said, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”

    Now there were four men who were lepers at the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘Let us enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Syrians. If they spare our lives we shall live, and if they kill us we shall but die.” So they arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians. But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Syrians, behold, there was no one there. For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses, the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to come against us.” So they fled away in the twilight and abandoned their tents, their horses, and their donkeys, leaving the camp as it was, and fled for their lives. And when these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and went and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent and carried off things from it and went and hid them.

    Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king's household.” So they came and called to the gatekeepers of the city and told them, “We came to the camp of the Syrians, and behold, there was no one to be seen or heard there, nothing but the horses tied and the donkeys tied and the tents as they were.” Then the gatekeepers called out, and it was told within the king's household. And the king rose in the night and said to his servants, “I will tell you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we are hungry. Therefore they have gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the open country, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we shall take them alive and get into the city.’” And one of his servants said, “Let some men take five of the remaining horses, seeing that those who are left here will fare like the whole multitude of Israel who have already perished. Let us send and see.” So they took two horsemen, and the king sent them after the army of the Syrians, saying, “Go and see.” So they went after them as far as the Jordan, and behold, all the way was littered with garments and equipment that the Syrians had thrown away in their haste. And the messengers returned and told the king.

    Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD. Now the king had appointed the captain on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate. And the people trampled him in the gate, so that he died, as the man of God had said when the king came down to him. For when the man of God had said to the king, “Two seahs of barley shall be sold for a shekel, and a seah of fine flour for a shekel, about this time tomorrow in the gate of Samaria,” the captain had answered the man of God, “If the LORD himself should make windows in heaven, could such a thing be?” And he had said, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.” And so it happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gate and he died.

(2 Kings 7 ESV)

1 Timothy 4

    Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

    If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

    Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

(1 Timothy 4 ESV)

Something to Consider

1 Timothy 4: Training in godliness is the only kind of training that promises pure joy in this life and the only kind of training that has eternal value beyond this world. One specific way in which we train ourselves in godliness is to study the Word of God and then do what it says to do. This is how we grow in our faith and this is what leads us to be used by God for His purposes.

So why is this so hard for us? Why is it easy for some of us to go to the gym and train for hours but so difficult to find time for prayer and reading our Bibles? If we could take a step back and examine our own lives, would our current approach to studying Scripture be considered sluggish? Are we lazy in the way we express our love for our Lord?

One condition we face because of the fall and our inherent sinful nature is this tendency to drift away from the things of God. Without an intentional effort to pursue godliness we will always begin to casually drift back into a state of self-centeredness and selfishness. We will never find ourselves just casually drifting toward godliness.

However, God is a gracious God and therefore has not left us on our own to overcome our sluggishness and our sinfulness. Our Lord said that if we love Him, we will obey Him; but then He promises to send a Helper to also help us obey. This Helper is the promised Holy Spirit sent to dwell within the heart of every true follower of Christ. And it is this Holy Spirit that helps us understand the Word of God, and the One who empowers us to do what it says. We're never growing in godliness on our own.

The original disciples followed our Lord for three years, and then they turned the world upside down. They had no formal training. They didn't attend the seminary of their day. And they were just simple blue collar fishermen.  

And many might say, "Come on. That was them. Those guys experienced what it was like to be with our Lord on a daily basis." 

However, we too can experience our Lord on a daily basis, but we often choose not to meet Him in prayer or to be taught by Him through His Word. Therefore, we don't have a good excuse for not growing in our faith because we do have the same Spirit willing to work in and through us for our own radical growth in godliness.