One definition of insanity is repeating the same actions over and over again while expecting different results.
I’m not sure that the leaders of Israel were clinically insane, but it is true that they repeated the same actions over and over again and received the same results—increasing levels of God’s judgment. And they refused to change so as to avoid God’s judgment.
In the last episode in the life of Elisha, we found that God’s judgment had fallen on Samaria, the capital city of Israel, in the form of a Syrian siege. The food had run out, and the people of the city had resorted to violence and barbarism. But then the Lord provided a miraculous deliverance for the city. Starving people suddenly had an abundance of food available to them at reasonable prices. God saved the city.
You might think that the people of Israel would have changed their ways as a result of this experience. God had done a miracle to save them, and they should have turned away from their idolatry and returned to worshipping God.
But they didn’t do that. They continued on in their idolatry, and that led to further judgment/chastisement.
I sometimes wonder when I see people ruining their lives or doing the kinds of things that will ruin the nation—do these people not understand the results of their behavior? Do they think that there will be no consequences? Will God not bring them into judgment for their sin?
In this episode in the life of Elisha, we find that God demonstrates his special care and attention toward his faithful people even during a time of judgment. God protects his people and provides for them in unique ways.
This passage also brings up an important topic that I’d like to address in some depth—property rights.
What can we learn from this short episode in the life of Elisha?