Windows of Heaven
No, the title of this post is not a reference to a digital utopia. It refers to God’s ability to provide what is needed during extreme times, to open the windows of heaven and pour down his blessing upon us. In the Old Testament book of 2 Kings we read about a time of siege and severe famine. The capital city of Samaria was under attack by the king of Aram. Conditions were so bad that folks would pay exorbitant prices for a donkey’s head and some people had been reduced to cannibalism. At the height of their despair God’s prophet Elisha tells the people that by next day a bag of flour or barley will be sold for close to nothing. An officer who heard Elisha’s statement said, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven” (2 Kings 7:2). On the day Elisha made his proclamation, there were four lepers sitting around the city of Samaria waiting to die. They decided to go and turn themselves into the Aramean army which was surrounding the city. They reasoned that the worst that could happen is the soldiers would kill them and put them out of their misery. So, they escaped the city and made their way into the enemy camp, which to their surprise was deserted. Not only had the army taken off, they had done so in a hurry, leaving the camp completely outfitted with provisions. The text tells us that God caused the Aramean army to think they were under attack and they had fled for their lives in a panic. The lepers thought they had just won the lottery as they feasted their way from tent to tent. When they came to their senses they decided to go back and tell their leaders what they had discovered. The lepers’ story was reluctantly checked out and sure enough, the siege was over, the opposing army was gone and Elisha’s words became reality. The officer’s declaration of doubt and ensuing story demonstrate there is no limit on God’s power. He can in fact open “the windows of heaven” and pass down what we most need. The limitation lies with us, not with God. The officer forfeited joining in on God’s gift through his lack of faith. When we respond to life like the officer, we only limit our own capacity to witness and enjoy God’s blessings, not his capacity or desire to bless. Doubt seems to be our default mode, and unless intentionally sought, we fail to cultivate faith. Perhaps that is why Jesus was amazed when he encountered people who did have faith (see Matthew 8:5-13 in the New Testament). As we enter into the month of April why not take a risk and see what God can do? Each day for the month, present to God your greatest need and see if a window from heaven might open up to you. My brief overview of this story barely does it justice. I encourage you to go, read it for yourself in 2 Kings 6:24-7:20, and let me know what you think.
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