You want me to do what, God?!
2 Kings, of the Old Testament, isn’t the most exciting part of the Bible. Part of the story is that Israel (now the northern kingdom of what was once a united Israel under David and Solomon; Judah is the southern kingdom) has fallen to the Assyrians and, now, Judah and Jerusalem itself are under siege. The second book of Kings seems to imply that God is actually, in some way, working through the Assyrians -and the messengers they send to the king of Judah - to call the Israelites to faithfulness. The message is hard for Israel (Judah) to hear: make peace, pay tribute, become a vassal state to Assyria. God’s will really rubbed the royal house of Judah raw, for sure. Judah will ultimately fall to the Babylonians later on and, in part, because they refused to listen to God’s command not to resist.
How hard is it to be faithful when God seems to be telling us to do something that, at least presently, makes no plain sense? How do we rightly discern when God is challenging us to stay in a situation, get out of a situation, make a certain decision, or take on a new thing? I think the simple answer is that it is hard to know yet God commands us to, well, discern, to pray and bring all of our life to Him. The more we stop focusing completely on what we want to happen and try to pray, instead, about what God is doing in our lives, oftentimes subtly and under the surface, the more and more we will begin to see His will for us. I do not pretend that I am anywhere close to where I want to be, in relationship to God’s will for my life. God does powerfully speak to us through prayer, the people in our lives, and in all manner of ways. We must get over what we want and ask God for the wisdom to discern what He wants and what we, after all, most need to serve God and the world we are a part of.