When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red—like blood (II Kings 3:22).
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is our God. The Savior God of Israel is our Savior. From the record of how he dealt with his people in the Old Testament we learn what we can expect from him today. We can expect that he will control all things for our good. We should not be surprised if he does this in ways unexpected. The battle against Moab in the days of Elisha is a case in point.
Not surprisingly, tensions had erupted among Middle Eastern countries. Moab refused to pay tribute to the king of Israel’s Northern Tribes. In a rare display of solidarity, the king of Israel’s Southern Tribes (Judah) agreed to join in the effort to bring Moab back into line.
In an even more rare occurrence, the king of Edom joined the two Israelite kings in a march across the Desert of Edom to launch an allied attack. It did not go well. After seven days in the desert, the allies ran out of water. Men and animals were about to perish. They began to wonder, Is God against us? They turned to the Prophet Elisha for the answer. What they heard astounded them.
The Lord said, “You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink.” But that’s not all: “This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD; he will also deliver Moab into your hands.” Almost unbelievable! But there is more. Every young and old Moabite who could bear arms was called up and stationed at the border. Blood was going to flow. But not as expected.
As promised, water began pouring in from an unknown source. But there is more. As the sun shone on the water it looked red to the Moabites. “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”
What a mistake! The Moabite army rushed in to be decimated. Even the sacrifice of the king’s son in the name of an idol was for nothing. All for nothing!
We remember the words: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” “If God be for us…” But is he for us? Ancient Israel did not deserve to have him on its side. We don’t deserve that either. But listen: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31,32)
That’s right! God is for us. We have better proof than that he has allowed us to have some success in life—even some victories over some enemies. This King sacrificed his Son for us! Along with that, he will give us everything we truly need. All this undeserved! All this paid for by blood. The receipt for our salvation is colored blood red.
We pray: Almighty and eternal God, whose ways are beyond our understanding and whose love is beyond our grasp, we come before you in humble admission that we deserve none of your goodness in our lives. We further admit that we often fail to recognize or thank you for your blessings and protection. But now we see more clearly. We see the blood-red stain that marks our ticket to heaven. We know you are for us, not against us. Thank you! Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida-Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military