Psalm 139:17-24; 2 Kings 5:15-6:23; Acts 1:15-26

Psalm 139:17-24: The psalmist reflects on the impossibility of knowing, much less understanding, God’s thoughts: “As for me, how weighty are Your thoughts, /O God, how numerous their sum.” Even if he could understand them, there are so many that comprehension remains impossible: “Should I count them, they would be more than the sand.” (18)

So, what are God’s thoughts, anyway?  I think this is the only place in the Psalms where the idea of perceiving God’s thoughts arises. We know that God is love, so his thoughts must be lovely. We also know that God is justice, so that must occupy much of his thinking as well. We know that God is Creator, so the universe and all that is within it is also very much on his mind.

Perhaps Jesus gives us the best idea of the infinitude of God’s thoughts when he tells us that God knows the number of hairs on our head and when a robin falls from the tree. Even though we think we have great knowledge and that we are learning more each day, it is still infinitesimal compared to God.

The psalmist does not merely accept the idea that God is infinite and we are not, he asks God to act. “Search me, God, and know my heart,/ probe me and know my mind.” (23) This is a request to become completely aligned with God and His thoughts. For if God knows our innermost being and our motivations and we are willing to listen and to be led by God, then we are indeed led “on the eternal way.” (24)

Of course, as Christians we know there is an even better way that praying to be aligned with God’s thoughts and that is the saving power of Jesus Christ.

2 Kings 5:15-6:23: Namaan attempts to express his gratitude to Elisha for being healed, but the “Man of God,” as he is called, sends him on his way. Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, sees and opportunity for personal gain and runs after Namaan, who gives him two talents of gold. Elisha asks where he’s been; Gehazi lies but Elisha says, “Did I not go with you in spirit when someone left his chariot to meet you?” (5:26) For his greed, Gehazi–and all his descendants–inherit Namaan’s leprosy. Lesson learned.

The Arameans want to invade Israel and surround the city of Dothan. Elisha’s servant sees the vast army and cries, “what shall we do.” Elisha prays to God, “Strike this people, please, with blindness.” (I like the “please.”) God obliges and Elisha leads them back into Samaria, right to the king of Israel, and after Elisha prays, God opens their eyes. The king asks if he should kill them, but Elisha points out tht the king did not capture them. Instead, the king “prepared for them a great feast; after they ate and drank, he sent them on their way,…And the Arameans no longer came raiding into the land of Israel.” (6:23). The lesson here is that sometimes prayer and providing a feast rather than a war how to win the peace. A lesson we could bear remembering on several fronts today.

Acts 1:15-26: Peter assumes the leadership role with the disciples, who Luke tells us, number 120 persons), quoting from the Psalms regarding Judas’ rather gruesome fate of falling headlong on his newly-acquired property such that “he burst open in the middle and his bowels gushed out” (18), saying “the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas.” (16). Peter then quotes a different psalm to cause the election of a disciple to replace Judas. There are two candidates: Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. The lot falls to Matthias.

What’s interesting here is that we see a new side of Peter: he knows his Scripture, and this will be important right after Pentecost. The other thing we learn is that there is really quite a clear organizational structure: the are 120 followers, 12 of whom are the disciples, and there is urgency that the full contingent of 12 be preserved. We often think of the followers of Jesus being a disorganized crowd, but Luke makes it clear here that there is discipline, process and structure. This will also become important as the story of the early church unfolds.


Speak Your Mind