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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

…the LORD is working in my family.

We’ve been watching Israel (the north) and Judah (the south) as they fight their own battles to walk together with God.  The north is not doing so well.  Their kings have been leading the people to worship false gods.  The south is doing better, as they follow the LORD and walk in His ways.  Even with this difference, they recognize that they are all “brothers,” as all twelve tribes came from one man: Israel.

But after Ahab's death, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. So King Joram promptly mustered the army of Israel and marched from Samaria. On the way, he sent this message to King Jehoshaphat of Judah: "The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you join me in battle against him?" And Jehoshaphat replied, "Why, of course! You and I are as one. My troops are your troops, and my horses are your horses." Then Jehoshaphat asked, "What route will we take?" "We will attack from the wilderness of Edom," Joram replied. The king of Edom and his troops joined them, and all three armies traveled along a roundabout route through the wilderness for seven days. But there was no water for the men or their animals. "What should we do?" the king of Israel cried out. "The LORD has brought the three of us here to let the king of Moab defeat us." (2 Kings 3:5-10 NLT)

Life can be complicated – especially with family.  Some family members walk with God.  Others say they are believers, but it’s hard to hear it in their words or see it in their actions.  Others, still, don’t want to have anything to do with God.  This makes every decision complicated, because we want to walk with God ourselves and help them to do the same.  We don’t want to let their unbelief pull us away from a Garden Walk.

But King Jehoshaphat of Judah asked, "Is there no prophet of the LORD with us? If there is, we can ask the LORD what to do through him." One of King Joram's officers replied, "Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to be Elijah's personal assistant. " Jehoshaphat said, "Yes, the LORD speaks through him." So the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom went to consult with Elisha. "Why are you coming to me?" Elisha asked the king of Israel. "Go to the pagan prophets of your father and mother!" But King Joram of Israel said, "No! For it was the LORD who called us three kings here--only to be defeated by the king of Moab!" Elisha replied, "As surely as the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, I wouldn't even bother with you except for my respect for King Jehoshaphat of Judah. (2 Kings 3:11-14 NLT)

The principle is simple, though.  We learn to love.  We love people no matter what “category” we think they are in.  We love our enemies.  We love our neighbors.  And, yes, we love our family – no matter what.  Building relationships with people can be a struggle and, yes, we run the risk of falling ourselves.  But when we don’t fall, we have placed ourselves in a position where God can work in and through us to be a blessing to those we care about most.

Now bring me someone who can play the harp." While the harp was being played, the power of the LORD came upon Elisha, and he said, "This is what the LORD says: This dry valley will be filled with pools of water! You will see neither wind nor rain, says the LORD, but this valley will be filled with water. You will have plenty for yourselves and your cattle and other animals. But this is only a simple thing for the LORD, for He will make you victorious over the army of Moab! You will conquer the best of their towns, even the fortified ones. You will cut down all their good trees, stop up all their springs, and ruin all their good land with stones." (2 Kings 3:15-19 NLT)

Jehoshaphat, who was walking with God, said yes to his fellow-Israelite “brother,” Joram, who was not walking with God.  Because of that relationship, Jehoshaphat was able to introduce God into their decision-making process.  Elijah was not only called, but shared a message from the LORD because Jehoshaphat was there.  Joram, now, will have a front row seat to the power of God in action.

The next day at about the time when the morning sacrifice was offered, water suddenly appeared! It was flowing from the direction of Edom, and soon there was water everywhere. Meanwhile, when the people of Moab heard about the three armies marching against them, they mobilized every man who was old enough to strap on a sword, and they stationed themselves along their border. But when they got up the next morning, the sun was shining across the water, making it appear red to the Moabites--like blood. "It's blood!" the Moabites exclaimed. "The three armies must have attacked and killed each other! Let's go, men of Moab, and collect the plunder!" But when the Moabites arrived at the Israelite camp, the army of Israel rushed out and attacked them until they turned and ran. The army of Israel chased them into the land of Moab, destroying everything as they went. (2 Kings 3:20-24 NLT)

How about you?  Are you the family member who is fighting God, acting like you follow God, or who is actually walking together with God?  Do you love your enemies, your neighbors, and especially your family – even when it is difficult?  Do you allow God to work through you to bring God into their lives?  Is the LORD working through you to empower your family?