There are times that the king brings justice, and times when they listen to the word of the Lord. This woman was told to leave her estates and businesses and be a refugee, because a famine was coming. She did. And she lost everything, or would have, if it was not for the king that Elisha had anointed. It takes a righteous king for a few generations to build a righteous elite, but it only takes one generation for the courtiers and wormtongues to ruin everything. This is a key message from the history of the Kings of Israel, and there are those who are saying it is playing out now.
Electoral politics is dead, though its corpse will continue to be paraded about for a considerable time. It will not be revived for a very long time, for a live Republic requires a virtuous elite, and creating a virtuous elite is a project that requires a virtuous King, and a few generations.
We should not expect justice in this world. The restoration of this woman’s fortune was and should be accounted as one of the signs of the prophet. A true king gives justice: this king did. But true kings are only placed there by the grace of God. The elites, in any time, prefer them to be compromised and corrupt.
8 Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Arise, and depart with your household, and sojourn wherever you can, for the Lord has called for a famine, and it will come upon the land for seven years.” 2 So the woman arose and did according to the word of the man of God. She went with her household and sojourned in the land of the Philistines for seven years. 3 And at the end of the seven years, when the woman returned from the land of the Philistines, she went to appeal to the king for her house and her land. 4 Now the king was talking with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me all the great things that Elisha has done.” 5 And while he was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, behold, the woman whose son he had restored to life appealed to the king for her house and her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, here is the woman, and here is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” 6 And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed an official for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now.”
36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Under stress and pressure, sometimes we will break. There are consequences when we break. People don’t trust us as much. There are many in any of our lives with whom we are cautious because they don’t have the wisdom to give good advice, or the discretion to be quiet when they don’t know and to not share what they know. A friend knows where your secrets are and does not betray you.
Mark did not nark, but he could not cope. Paul would not have him with him. This led to an argument, and when you are that angry discretion and wisdom are somewhere three or farms away.
In his letters, Paul commends Mark. This was not a complete break. But in this there is a ring of truth. That the apostles, were men, and at times they fought, at times they got it wrong.
And then they learned from it and changed.
I am praying for repentance for our leaders in a time when there is nothing but platitudes for lead being in the water. The first thing you have to do is note that you have been a right doofus, and done wrong. You goofed. Then you have to fix it, apologise, make amends, and bring in structures to minimise the chance of it happening again.
In a high trust culture, you word would suffice. We no longer have a high trust culture. Such a culture did not exist in the territories ruled by the Romans (they invented divide and conquer as a military and diplomatic strategy: the British learned from them). So the way that the apostles did this was relentless honesty. They argued. But they did not fall out of fellowship.
And that generation changed the world. May ours do the same.