Does the Old Testament Impact My Life Today? January 28, 2021
Oftentimes, if we are being honest with ourselves, it can be difficult to take a passage of scripture and see the lesson that applies to our daily lives. This can be especially true of passages in the Old Testament. Last Sunday, Pastor Chris Shelton spoke on 2 Kings 2:19-22 (NIV):
“The people of the city said to Elisha, ‘Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.’
‘Bring me a new bowl,’ he said, ‘and put salt in it.’ So they brought it to him.
Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, This is what the LORD says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’ And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.”
What does this passage tell us about the heart and will of God, and how do these words impact our lives as modern believers? Pastor Chris gives us several insights as to how this passage applies today:
First, this passage shows that curses can be broken. The people of Jericho warned Elisha that the water was bad and the land unproductive. This was due to a curse that the city had been under for years (Joshua 6:26, 1 Kings 16:34). Because of this cursed history, there was nothing the people of the city could do to help their water or land. There was no hope for change. However, this passage shows that though history may describe where you have been, it does not have to decide your future. Why? Because curses can be broken.
Just like Jericho, we are all living under the curse of sin. We live with the idea that we are being held back by our past and our own cursed history. But Scripture points to a God who does not hold our past and our cursed history against us. Through God’s grace, the curse over Jericho was broken through Elisha. Through God’s grace, the curse of sin in our own lives was broken by Jesus. Because of this, we are able to live with hope in the renewal and healing power of the Lord.
Second, this passage shows that new beginnings start with new thinking. What you think, what you say, and what you believe has an enormous impact on your self-esteem and how you think about others. How you think informs your reality. If you think of yourself as being unlovable and hopeless, you will likely view the world as an unlovable and hopeless place. If you give yourself little grace, you are unlikely to extend grace to others. However, if we view ourselves as worthy to be loved because of the grace of God, we will begin to see others as Christ’s image-bearers. Therefore, we must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10: 5). After Elisha, the Lord no longer thought of Jericho as a land that was cursed. Nor does the Lord think of us and think only of our cursed past. In his eyes we are a new creation, and we should think of ourselves in the same way. Our new beginnings start with new thinking.
Finally, this passage shows that God’s Word makes new things possible. Despite the effort that the people of Jericho must have gone to to make their water pure and their land productive, there was ultimately nothing they could do to change their outcome. Similarly, no effort we can go to can create real, lasting change in us. The Word of God is the only thing that can make new things possible. Though Elisha was the one who spoke over Jericho, he was not the one who brought healing to the city. Elisha delivered the words of the Lord, and the word of the Lord is what brought healing. It’s the Word of God that has the power to break cycles, patterns, and curses in our own lives.
The Word of God had the final authority over Jericho, and through his grace he lifted the city’s curse and brought healing. God’s Word has the final authority over our lives as well. Our curse has been broken. We have a new beginning and a new way of thinking. And Lord’s grace has made all of this possible.
Thanks be to God.
You can watch Pastor Chris Shelton's sermon "Salt in the Water" here.