Jan Johnson

Wisbit - September 2016

Kingdom Life Now: Generous and Unafraid

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we live in the Kingdom of God here and now. When I focus on this, I’m more likely to be caring and not crabby, adventurous not lethargic. I no longer let my mind wander into imaginary conversations with others in which I try to prove my point. Ugh.

One way I’m wrapping my mind around this truth is having fun meditating on how Elisha was aware of the Kingdom of God in the midst of certain death. You see, Elisha had been protecting Israel by letting the Spirit inform him of the movements of armies that were trying to raid Israel. Then Elisha would tell Israel’s commanders and Israel’s army would quickly move out of harm’s way. This made the raiding armies angry and Elisha became a wanted man!

The raiding army hunted Elisha down and surrounded his city with horses and chariots (tanks!). Elisha’s servant panicked and asked Elisha what they could do. Like this servant, I also bring all sorts of problems to God’s attention

Meeting God in ScriptureBut Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Two men against an entire army? Then Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the servant saw the surrounding hills filled of horses and chariots of fire to protect them (2 Kings 6:16-17).  Elisha wasn’t worried because he lived in the companionship of God and saw God’s power all around him

Since Elisha was not panicked, he was stress-free enough to be creative. When the army approached, Elisha could have struck them dead but instead he struck them with blindness. Then instead of defeating them, he led them to Israel’s king. (Now they were surrounded by their enemy.) Then Elisha asked God to open their eyes.

As we would expect, Israel’s king asked Elisha if they should kill this enemy army. No. Because Elisha lived securely in the power and love of the Kingdom of God, he said, “Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master” (v. 22). So Israel prepared a feast for the enemy army and sent them home. The result: They quit raiding Israel.

If I were as aware of God’s kingdom power all around me, I would be more generous and kind to people, even if they aren’t generous and kind to me. I might even do what Jesus said: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.” (Luke 6:38). Can you imagine opening a can of pinto beans or a box of granola cereal and instead of it being half-empty, it’s so full that the food spills over onto the kitchen counter? Elisha’s love and generosity was like that: running over.

The capacity to be so secure that I can be generous, creative and kind to those who oppose me is right there within my reach. I can’t do it myself, but as I become more aware that I live in the Kingdom of God here and now, it is all possible. Any minute.

This and 39 other Scripture meditation exercises are included in my new book Meeting God in Scripture:  A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divina on pages 87-92. Each exercise provides background study of culture, scriptural context and original words to immerse you in the passage. In between exercises are 16 full page sidebars to offer guidelines and insights about the process. Enjoy!

Register here for Free online workshop and free video resources to learn about this process and experience a meditation together:  Tuesday Oct 4, 4 PM (Pacific Daylight Time) and Thursday October 6, 7 PM (PDT). Register here - 8 week online course to follow!

Grace and peace,
Jan Johnson

www.JanJohnson.org

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