I’ll be honest, these books get really hard for me to follow sometimes. So many of these kings have the same names. Sometimes the king of Israel and the king of Judah have the same name at the same time. Sometimes one is good and one is bad. Sometimes, actually it seems rather frequently, the narrative is not linear. The account seems to be told rather out of order.
I get lost.
And then there’s stories like Elisha’s deathbed prophecy. I don’t get it. I really don’t. I mean, okay, he has the king shoot and an arrow and says, “See? Just like that God will grant you victory.” And, nope, I don’t see the relationship between the arrow and the victory at all. I don’t follow the metaphor. Did the arrow hit a particularly impressive target? Fly impressively straight? Except then he tells the king to use the remaining arrows to hit the ground, and the king obeys, but not… correctly? How was he supposed to know how many times to hit the ground? Three seems pretty reasonable to me. So I’ve got nothing.
What about you? Do you have any insight? Do you have a resource that’s made sense of this prophecy for you? Care to share?
And you have the man that gets brought back to life just because his body was tossed on top of Elisha’s bones. Part of me believe this wasn’t so much because his bones were inherently powerful or because it was just such a great thing to touch the bones. I think it was maybe about the disrespect of it all. That body needed to get off of him, thank you very much, and the easiest way to accomplish that was to wake him up and have him move himself. I mean, they could have disintegrated or something if that is what it was really about. But I’m not sure what else it could have been. No one was praying over this guy. There was no faith that tossing him here would revive him because of who happened to already be there. So that’s just my first… guess. I wonder if I’ll discover a better perspective on it someday, have a different insight.
I don’t want you to think I’m being flippant about today’s reading. I’m not. I understand that this is part of Scripture and has something to say. At the moment, what it is saying to me is that not understanding is okay. It’s telling me that I’m allowed to have questions. I’m allowed to come to the Bible and admit that it isn’t making sense to me right. I’m not expected to have it all together or have all the answers. I’m only expected to come, to listen, and to be open to the guidance of the Spirit. I’m only expected to test new ideas against what I already know, to test all that I know against the word of Christ.
There are always going to be mysteries.