What Everybody Ought to Know About God’s Protection
We often don’t recognize or understand God’s protection until after the fact. And then to have it followed by restoration? Bonus! From what do you need God’s protection?
It was a dream in the making. The kids had left the nest, and now they could go on grand adventures of their choosing.
They had been planning the trip for months–training, saving, studying the route. My dad had taken 6 weeks off of work. He and Mom would join the bicycle ride across America, the Iowa 150 – Sesquicentennial Expedition, about halfway through. The ride had started in San Francisco. They would meet up with the cross-country cyclists at RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Big Ride Across Iowa, and then bicycle the rest of the way with the group to Washington, DC.
What a feat this would be to accomplish!
They started RAGBRAI in western Iowa full of enthusiasm and that exhilaration you have at the beginning of a long vacation.
On the second day, after a mid-morning stop for a snack, as they were getting back on their bikes, my mom’s foot got caught on her pedal straps. She fell on her left knee, but not hard. She thought everything was OK . . . until she felt faint.
A trip to the hospital confirmed it: a small crack in the bone above the knee. There would be no ride across the Midwest and East Coast, no dipping of the tires in the Atlantic.
Instead, they returned home, Mom in a long cast so she wouldn’t walk on her leg and cause an even worse break. They made the best of it and planned weekend trips, Dad pushing Mom in a wheelchair to see the sites.
While I had been overly sentimental, completely sad for my parents that they hadn’t been able to complete the trip, years later my mom related how she thought it had all been part of God’s protection. Not long after the trip, while they were out of town, Dad started feeling bad. A doctor hospitalized him and treated him for an irregular heartbeat. In the process, they discovered an aortic aneurysm, easily repaired with surgery.
Had he overexerted on the bike trip–say, crossing the Appalachians–the aneurysm could have burst, and he likely would not have survived. Instead, Mom and Dad spent many more years biking and traveling together.
God provided protection, and that protection led to restoration–in my dad’s case, the discovery and surgical repair of the aneurysm.
So it is with the woman in our Bible account today. Remember the Shunammite woman? Here she is again! Elisha knew of the upcoming famine and warned her to leave the country. He even told her how long to stay away, because he knew how long the famine would last.
God’s protection does not always seem logical. Can you imagine uprooting your household and traveling to another country because a man told you there was going to be a famine? It took faith on the woman’s part to trust Elisha’s word.
God’s protection sometimes leads to restoration, and God’s restoration often involves more than we can ask or imagine. After the famine, the Shunammite woman asked for her house and her land. But the king restored to her “all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now.” Extra food!
When have you experienced God’s protection without knowing it? Could it have been at one of these times?
- You didn’t get the job, even though you thought it was perfect for you.
- You got sick or injured and couldn’t attend a function or keep doing all of your regular activities.
- You had been standing in a forever long checkout line, with the person in front of you fumbling for change or the dreaded blinking light summoning a manager.
- You couldn’t for the life of you get out of the house on time. The kids didn’t have the right clothes, the right shoes, and their lunch, or you couldn’t find your keys and you always know where they are.
What might this delay or change of plans have protected you from?
Do you have a story of God’s protection? Have you experienced lavish restoration?
What do you need protection from today?
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Check out today’s tender account from the Bible (it’s short!), and then treasure the time with the Lord as you work through the Digging Deeper questions.
2 Kings 8:1-6 (ESV)
The Shunammite’s Land Restored
Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Arise, and depart with your household, and sojourn wherever you can, for the LORD has called for a famine, and it will come upon the land for seven years.” 2 So the woman arose and did according to the word of the man of God. She went with her household and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years. 3 And at the end of the seven years, when the woman returned from the land of the Philistines, she went to appeal to the king for her house and her land. 4 Now the king was talking with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me all the great things that Elisha has done.” 5 And while he was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, behold, the woman whose son he had restored to life appealed to the king for her house and her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, here is the woman, and here is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” 6 And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed an official for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now.”
Digging Deeper: God’s Protection
Enjoy this time with the Lord. Reflect on or journal about the following questions, listening for God’s voice.
- When have you experienced God’s protection? Do you recall a time when you realized after the fact that God had protected you?
- Do you or a friend need God’s protection from something? Lift it to the Lord, asking Him to guard and direct you or your friend.
- The interaction between Elisha and the Shunammite woman gives us a picture of our rescue from sin and restoration to a wholeness with God through trusting Jesus.
– If you trust Jesus as your Savior, thank Him for the indescribable gift of being made right with God. Consider the lavish gifts you have been given, in addition to restoration with God. List the first few gifts that come to mind. Lavish restoration!
– If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, there is no better time than the present! Welcome Him into your heart and ask Him to cleanse you. He is faithful to do it! He longs to walk with you as a friend. Treasure this sweet moment.
You might remember that in 2 Kings 5, after Elisha’s servant Gehazi swindled Naaman out of silver and clothing, Gehazi suffered the consequence of becoming leprous, “white as snow” (NIV) or “like snow” (ESV). So why does Gehazi appear in chapter 8, serving the king, no less? Several explanations are possible, although the first two seem most plausible.
- It is possible, even likely, that the first part of 2 Kings is not recorded in strict chronological order, and that the events of chapter 8 occurred before those of chapter 5. This is well known about other books in the Bible (e.g., Jeremiah), and many people consider this a possibility in the early part of 2 Kings.
- Very likely, the type of leprosy Gehazi had was not the type that required quarantine. The word leprosy was used for any number of skin diseases. “The leprosy that excluded people from Jewish society was in the form of a boil, raw flesh, or an itchy infection, etc., that . . . was infectious; if someone’s leprosy was white then they were considered ‘clean’ (it was not infectious) and they were not excluded from society” (bibleq.net; see Leviticus 13). Because Gehazi’s leprosy was described as white, “like snow,” it was likely not contagious and did not, under the Levitical laws, require quarantine.
- The king did not obey all of the Law, and so it is possible that he didn’t obey the laws about leprosy and allowed Gehazi to serve under his command.
- God may have cured Gehazi of his leprosy, although this is not recorded. Note that later in 2 Kings, Hezekiah’s death was postponed because of prayer (see 2 Kings 20:1-6).
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