2 Kings 13:1-14:29; Acts 18:23-19:12; Psalm 146:1-10; Proverbs 18:2-3
Israel is just so pitiful, both the nation ("the Israelites lived in their own homes as they had before" [2 Ki. 13:6] - what a terrible commentary that this fact is worth noting) and the army ("nothing had been left of the army...except fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand foot soldiers" [vs. 7]). Such terrible decimation and destruction. No wonder Jehoahaz has a moment of clarity: "Then Jehoahaz sought the Lord's favor" (vs. 4). The relief is brief, however, and the succeeding kings are no better. Even so, "the Lord was gracious to [Israel] and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (vs. 23, emphasis mine). God is a vow-keeper, a faithful promise-fulfiller. He saw the oppression in and of Israel (see also 14:26-27), and he acted to preserve his people.
We see just this sort of steadfast trustworthiness at work in our psalm. Israel had "put [its] trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save....[whose] plans come to nothing" (Ps. 146:3-4) and had seen devastation result. But God - "the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them" (vs. 6) - is a God who "upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry[,]....sets prisoners free,...gives sight to the blind,...lifts up those who are bowed down,....watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow" (vs. 7-9). Even though Israel has lived like the fool in today's Proverbs reading, bringing contempt and shame and disgrace upon itself, God is yet faithful. God is yet present. God is still at work.
Perhaps you are like Israel today, full of shame and devastation. Have hope; God is yet faithful. God restores. God redeems. He longs to bring freedom and life, to give sight, to encourage and protect. Seek his favor this day; his covenant of love toward you is ready.
- Sarah Marsh
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