Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fathering the World

In the first lesson this morning for morning prayer, we read about the famous episode in Elisha's ministry where he single-handedly disarmed the Syrian/Aramean Army (1 Kgs 6). In fact, he stands as a "father" over the battling kings. He intervenes to protect one king from slaughter; then he intervenes and protects the other king's army from slaughter. He is a "father" who steps in between a couple of toddler-kings whose most creative strategies extend to the possibilities striking and striking back.

Elisha stands in this position because he is the "man of God." And the Spirit-cloud with the host of heaven constantly stands encamped around him. He knows what the kings say in their bedrooms, and he intervenes to save and spare lives. After he leads the Syrian/Aramean Army (blind) into Samaria, he does not allow the Israelite king to kill the enemy troops, rather, he commands him to throw them a "great feast." Peter Leithart points out in his Kings commentary that this feast is ordered by Elisha in the midst of a great famine in the land. There is a great economic crisis, and Elisha orders a great deal of the remaining resources to be given to another nation.

What a glorious military strategy. Overwhelm them with feasting, until they cannot send their raiding bands any longer. Of course the Church is called to this "fatherly" ministry in the world. We gather every week for a feast, where we remember and enact the fact that this is God's primary strategy. He invites His enemies to a feast, he heaps up burning coals on our heads until we become His friends.

And this lesson is for the childish nations of the world.

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