From the Pastor’s Desk: Reversing the Curse

Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,

As we considered last week in our study in Mark, the Lord Jesus Christ is a Savior filled with compassion.  In fact, his mercy perfectly meets our most desperate circumstances.  He is the friend of sinners, the shepherd of the sheep, and the compassionate high priest.  But also, as we will consider this week in our study of Psalm 24, he is the exalted and ascended King.  He is the king of glory might in power!!  And both is power and his pity should be our constant source of comfort and encouragement this week.

A few announcement in the life of CSOPC:

* this Lord’s Day we will begin our summer series of “A Summer in the Psalms” by looking at Psalm 24.

* also this Lord’s day we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper and collect the deacon’s offering.

* we will enjoy our fellowship meal following worship this Sunday.

* our monthly prayer meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, June 4th.

* finally, this week’s devotion is a reflection from 2 Kings 2 on the power and blessing of God’s word.

From the Pastor’s Desk

Mid-week Devotional

Reversing the Curse”

2 Kings 2:21, “Then he went to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, ‘Thus says the LORD, I have healed this water.’”

Elijah is gone. Elisha is now the sovereignly selected mouthpiece of God. And throughout 2 Kings 2 Elisha retraces the steps of Elijah indicating the continuity with his great prophetic predecessor. Thus as we highlighted last week, such continuity underscores the constancy of God’s word. God is never without a witness. His word is ever-present with is people. Just as God was with his people through the words of Elijah, so also he was with his people through the words of Elisha.

2 Kings 2 concludes with two episodes that serve as reminders of the dual nature of God’s word. God’s word is powerful … to bless and to curse! It is a two-edged sword! The constant word of God brings both life and judgment. Today we will highlight the life-giving aspect of God’s word from 2 Kings 2:19-22. Elisha’s ‘retracing journey’ brings him to the city of Jericho (vv. 15, 18). The men of the city speak to Elisha, “The situation of this city is pleasant, as my Lord sees, but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful” (v. 19). A better translation would be: “the land is miscarrying.” In other words, the land is producing death. It is critical to keep in mind, however, that the city of Jericho was a cursed city. In fact, it is this reality that gives significant meaning to Elisha’s actions. Jericho was the first city Israel defeated after they entered the Promised Land under Joshua (Joshua 6). After the city fell, the text tells us the following: “Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, ‘Cursed before the LORD be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho’” (Josh 6:26a). But many generations later, however, the city was rebuilt in violation of the express commandment of God. During the reign of wicked King Ahab, a man named Hiel rebuilt the destroyed city of Jericho (1 Kings 16:34). What is the point of this brief history lesson? The point is simply this: the city of Jericho – now rebuilt in violation of God’s word – sits under the shadow of God’s curse. The unfruitfulness of the land described in 2 Kings 2:19 is simply God’s covenant curse (Deut 29:18).

With this background now in place, what is Elisha’s response to the need of the city and what implications does it have for us today? Elisha takes salt from a bowl, throws it into the water, and then speaks: “Thus says the LORD, I have healed this water; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it. So the water has been healed to this day, according to the word that Elisha s spoke” (vv. 21-22). The word of God healed the water! The word of the Lord reversed the curse! Where there was death, now there is life!

Brothers and sisters, this is the power of the word – the power to bring life! Paul writes that the gospel word is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom 1:16). The word of God gives life to the valley of dry bones (Ezek 37:1-14). The word of God – signified by and spoken by the prophet Elisha – brings life where there was death – it brings blessing where there was cursing. And brothers and sisters, such a reversal of the curse is seen climatically in the incarnate word who redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Gal 3:13). As we rest in Christ by faith, we are no longer under the curse, but we receive the blessing of God because our Savior became a curse in our place! Oh what a marvelous reversal! What a blessed reversal. No more curse, but blessing. No more death, but life in Christ – in the very Word of God (John 1:1, 14)!

Have a wonderful remainder of the week and I look forward to seeing you this Lord’s Day,