Windows in Heaven: Chapter 19

2 Kings 6:3‑33; 2 Kings 7:1‑2  •  12 min. read  •  grade level: 5
We often speak of the sea of life, and surely those words bring a very true picture before us. Life is indeed like a great, wide sea, covered with countless little ships. Some are just starting on the voyage with new sails and new rigging, all trim and tidy; others have seen many a storm and are weather-beaten and old. Some cross the sea quickly and easily and soon gain the port; others are tossed about for a long, long time on the rough waters of life. Some are floating along in sunshine with the sea calm and the wind quiet while others are battling for life with the stormy wind and tempest.
If that is a picture of life, it can also be a picture of a company of people. Some are young, full of health, strength and energy; others have weathered many a storm and are careworn and old. Some are sailing in sunshine and prosperity, without trouble or shadow, while others are being tossed to and fro by the rough waters, till they are ready to cry out to God, “All Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me.”
But let us remember this: We may be sailing in brightest sunshine now, yet storms will surely come, for we live in a world of storms, and some come very suddenly. One moment all is bright - the sky is blue and the sea is calm - but the very next moment the clouds have gathered, and we find ourselves tossed to and fro in the agony of some great sorrow.
Now I want to ask you a question. It is a Bible question, which was asked by a heathen general 2700 years ago, but it is a question well worth remembering and to which it is all important to give an answer. The question is this: “Now on whom dost thou trust?”
When the sudden storm comes, what will you do? Have you any shelter in the time of storm? Who is your pilot? Who has His hand on the helm of your boat? Can you say: One who has known in storms to sail I have on board; Above the raging of the gale I hear my Lord.
He holds me when the billows smite,
I shall not fall;
Though sharp,’tis short; though long,’tis light;
He tempers all.
Safe to the port, safe to the port,
The end is this;
And then with Him go hand in hand
Far into bliss.
It is a terrible thing when the storm of trouble comes and we have no friend to whom to turn. So King Jehoram found. He was in sore trouble. His city was besieged, his people were starving and he himself was suffering the pangs of hunger. A woman in Samaria had even eaten her own child. The storm had indeed broken over his head.
Now on whom do you lean, King Jehoram? What refuge do you have in trouble? He has none; he is utterly helpless. He paces the walls; he rends his garments; he fumes. But God is not his refuge and his strength. God is not his very present help in trouble. Instead of being able to turn to God and to lean on Him, he is angry with God for sending the trouble and angry with God’s Elisha - so angry that he gives orders for his immediate execution.
And what of Elisha, the man of God? He also is in great straits. He is feeling, in common with the rest of Samaria, the awful pangs of hunger. Has he a shelter in the time of storm? Now on whom do you trust, Elisha? Do you have any friend to whom you can turn? Confidently, Elisha could answer, “I trust in my God. My God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
And, accordingly, we find Elisha on the porch of his house, surrounded by a little company of men. The elders of the city have come to him in this time of trouble. As they pray, footsteps are heard entering the outer door. Whose steps are they? Elisha knows quite well. They are the steps of the messenger, sent by the king, to lead him out to execution. Had not Jehoram said on the wall, a few moments before, “God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day,” and had not God told Elisha the very words the king had uttered?
The prophet turns to the elders and says, “See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?”
Yes, his master was following swiftly behind the messenger, so swiftly that no sooner has the soldier appeared than his master appears also, leaning on the arm of his favorite courtier.
Angrily he addresses Elisha. “I know who sends me all this trouble,” he says. “It is the Lord. Behold, this evil is of the Lord. Now I am weary of waiting for the Lord. He does not mean to help me, and I do not believe He ever will help me.”
No, Jehoram, if you got what you deserve, He would not help you. But in that city of Samaria God had His salt, His own faithful people. Elisha was there; these elders, his friends, were there, and as salt keeps meat from corruption, so these godly men kept Samaria.
Elisha answers by announcing wonderful news. He said, “Hear ye the word of the Lord; thus saith the Lord, Tomorrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.”
Fine flour! There was none in the whole city! Barley! They had not a single grain! If thousands of dollars had been offered for a bit of grain, it could not have been found, nor was there any possibility of importing more into the city, for the Syrian host had shut them closely in for many long months.
Yet what does the Lord say? “Tomorrow, at this time, flour shall be cheap and barley shall be plentiful. A market shall be held in the old place, outside the city gate, and there abundance of corn shall be sold, tomorrow about this time.”
Then came a sneer, but not from the elders. They heard the news with glad and thankful hearts; they felt it was a direct answer to prayer. There was no sneer from the king; he stood amazed and utterly bewildered. The sneer came from the courtier, the lord on whose hand the king leaned.
Scornfully, unbelievingly, he said, “Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?” No bread can possibly come from earth. Windows in the sky and bread showered down into the city is the only way for such an absurd statement to come true. So he mocked in unbelief. He thought this was Elisha’s way of saving his life and gaining time. He deemed it utterly impossible for God to fulfill the word of His servant Elisha.
God not able! The Lord God Almighty who created all things out of nothing - He who made the stars -He who keeps them ever moving - God, the all-powerful, not able to supply one tiny city with bread! Oh the folly, the wicked folly of unbelief !
That unbelieving lord had his predecessors. One of them was a woman, an old woman of ninety. Standing in her tent, baking a cake, she heard a message from God. “Sarah,” said the messenger, “next spring shall have a son.” And Sarah laughed, not aloud, but within herself, the laugh of unbelief. “Impossible,” she thought. And God heard that laugh, and He answered it: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Another predecessor was a man, poor Moses. Six hundred thousand men, besides women and children, were with him in a barren desert, miles from any shops or farms. They wanted meat, and God promised meat at once, meat for the whole multitude, enough to last for a month. And poor Moses could not see how it was to be done. He was ready to cry, “Impossible!”
To God he says, “The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and Thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month. Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them to suffice them?”
God heard that unbelieving question, and He had His answer ready: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether My word shall come to pass unto thee or not.”
And the unbelieving lord has not only his predecessors, but, alas! he has also his followers today. Some of them are like himself, utterly unbelieving. They neither believe in God nor in His power. They sneer at those who believe. They turn into ridicule every attempt to acknowledge God in His dealings with man. In the office and on the street their laugh of unbelief is heard. They would ridicule all those around them out of their faith in God. Let us beware of allowing ourselves, even for a moment, to be shaken in our confidence. Those who join in the sneer of the unbeliever will share the unbeliever’s doom.
Elisha, in the name of his God, promises a good tomorrow - food and plenty, straight from God’s hand. That unbelieving lord sneers. He has his reward. Elisha says, “Behold, you shall see the glad tomorrow come but shall not enjoy it; you shall see the plenty but not taste it; you shall hear the rejoicing but never take part in it. A measure of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel and two measures of barley shall be sold for a shekel in you city gate, but not a morsel of that plentiful supply shall pass your lips. ‘Thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.’  ”
And just as Elisha said, so it came to pass. God’s Word, as always, proved true. The very next day a measure of fine flour and two measures of barley were sold at the cheap price foretold by the prophet, but the unbelieving lord was not allowed to share in the feast -before even a single bite passed his lips, he died.
The Word of the living God promises us just what Elisha promised Jehoram - a good tomorrow, fullness of joy forevermore, soul refreshment in that land where none shall ever hunger or thirst anymore. All this and more is promised to each humble believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Like Moses, some do not scoff, but they lose heart and become weak in faith. The situation seems so terrible when they cannot see a way out of their difficulties. They are quite ready to own that God has all power and all might, yet they act as if they did not believe it. How can God do it? They say, I do not see how the help is to come. I cannot imagine from what direction it will be brought to me.
Oh! how such unbelief must pain our loving God and Father! He gives us proof after proof of His love, and yet we doubt Him thus. Time after time He delivers us, yet when the next time comes we despair. Let the earnest prayer of our hearts be, “Lord, I believe; help Thou [cure Thou] mine unbelief.”
“God does not send money,” said a girl of eighteen, when money was scarce and the family was discussing its needs. Her mother had been quoting that verse, “My God shall supply all your need,” but her daughter refused to believe and to receive the comfort. She argued that while God sent patience, strength and spiritual blessings, He did not send money. She lived to regret and be ashamed of those unbelieving words. Soon after her marriage she had a serious illness and lay for six months in bed suffering pain. The expenses of the illness were enormous, and when God graciously restored her to health, she and her husband began to look at their finances. After carefully reckoning their income and their expenses, they came to the conclusion that they would be seriously in debt. This was a heavy sorrow to them, for they had never before owed a penny. Their income was so small that it would be a long time before they could pay it off. But the husband knelt by the side of his wife’s bed, and together they took the matter to the Lord. They left it entirely in His hands. The language of their hearts was this: What time I am afraid, Each dark and cloudy day, When gloomy looks my future sky, And help seems far away; Yet I will trust in Thee, I will not doubt Thy word; I know that Thou art good to me, My Savior and my Lord!
The very next day the answer came to their prayer. By the morning mail came a letter, in a handwriting which they did not know. It was addressed to the wife, and when she opened it, she found it was from a London lawyer telling her that a friend of her father, who had died some months before and whom she only knew very slightly, had left her a legacy. It was for just the amount needed to pay the medical bills. Can you wonder that, as she remembered her unbelieving words, “God does not send money,” she felt humbled and ashamed?
What is your difficulty? I do not know. It may be similar to hers or it may be something utterly different. I know not what it is, but I know this: The Lord will provide.
It may not be my way,
It may not be your way,
But in His way, the Lord will provide.