Thought for the Day:
“Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” 2 Kings 2:14
Elijah (“My God is Jehovah”) and Elisha (“God is my salvation”) are two prophets who demonstrated God’s power in their generation. They were different in character and temperament, but were willing channels of the Spirit of God. Both of them ministered during a time of great unfaithfulness on the part of God’s people. It teaches us that in the darkest hour, God’s light shines ever more brightly.
I The Dark Hour
The scene is set in 1 Kings 16:29 to 34 where Ahab, the king of Israel’s wickedness is described. He committed the “sins of Jeroboam” which is a phrase you’ll find repeated often. Read 1 Kings 12:28 to 30 to know what it was. Jeroboam was the first king of Israel (10 tribes to the northern part which broke away from Judah and Benjamin during the reign of Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
The 10 tribes were known as Israel and the other two as the kingdom of Judah. Most kings of Judah were righteous while most of the Israelite kings were wicked. The “sins of Jeroboam” had such devastating effect for years to come.). Ahab came to power some 40 years after Jeroboam and began to worship all kinds of false gods especially Baal.
The Bible comments in 1 Kings 21:25, 26 thus: “There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols . . .”
Note: “Prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth [goddess wife of Baal] were official murderers of little children. This is a sidelight of Elijah’s execution of the prophets of Baal, 18:40, and helps us to understand why Jehu was so ruthless in his extermination of Baalism.” — Halley’s Bible Handbook.
II Elijah’s Sudden Appearance
(1 Kings 17)
Like a thunderstorm striking without warning; Elijah appears on the scene. He had only one qualification—he served the God of Israel, the living God. He begins his ministry by confronting Ahab and saying that there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years.
God has His servants prepared and ready to meet the emergencies of the hour. At the right moment he thrusts them into the limelight to do His work. The need of the hour demanded a fiery prophet and God had Elijah ready.
You need to note that one of the striking characteristic of Old Testament prophets is their ability to confront powerful kings and tell them they’ve done wrong. This they were able to do because they knew the God they served. On the other hand, self-styled modern prophets say soothing things which we love to hear rather than confront us with God’s judgement on our sins.
III Lessons on God’s Provision
See Genesis 22:14 where God is revealed as Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide!
God now teaches Elijah lessons of His provision. He was first asked to hide in the Kerith Ravine. He was told that he will drink from the brook and “I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.” “So he did what the Lord told him.” God’s provision is experienced only by those who obey God! And when Elijah did what God told him, God kept His part of the promise; the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and evening.
● God Commands
But then the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land. God now gave him a new command. “Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.” One of the things you need to note here is that when God provides for you, He already would have commanded it. Here you find God saying, “I have ordered the ravens” and then “I have commanded a widow” to provide Elijah with food.
● Unlikely Sources
If the Kerith brook and the ravens were unlikely instruments, the widow of Zarephath was more so because she lived not in Israel but in a neighbouring country where false gods were worshipped. So know that God is not limited by any negative circumstance in your life. If you obey God by listening to His voice, He will cause the most unlikely sources to provide for you.
What is the statistical probability of Elijah finding that particular widow that God had commanded gathering sticks at the exact time when Elijah reached the town gate? I do not know but perhaps it would be one in a million chance for that to happen. Know that when God provides, He times it to perfection. When God provides for you, often people who become channels of His supply will cross your path at the exact time God has appointed for it.
● Sacrificial Giving
The widow was gathering sticks to make a last meal for herself and her son so that they could eat it and wait for death. But Elijah challenges her to first make him a small cake of bread and then make something for herself and her son. The widow obeyed and experienced the miracle that God promised through Elijah: “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.”
This widow also, like Elijah, obeyed God and experienced God’s provision for her. She was provided for because she first provided for God’s servant. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (NIV). Give to God first and then take care of your needs. Then you’ll know God’s provision in your life.
Giving to God when it seems foolishness to do so is a great test of our obedience and our priorities. When God commands, do not be afraid to empty your purse to the last. It is such sacrificial giving that God honours. And His supply for you will never end. In modern language, it was depression (an economic term) time then for all others. But for the widow who gave to God first out of her extreme poverty, God miraculously supplied her need in such a manner that she had no worries at all.
Most people wait for God to give them more before they’ll give to God. But God expects you to give out of the little you’ve so that He can multiply it back to you. The boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish gave it all to Jesus to see it multiplied many many times more and even had twelve baskets of loaves left over (John 6:5—13). Imagine that child’s delight at what he would have seen. This delight will surely be yours when you give all you have to God even though it is little. Read also Luke 6:38.
● Testing Times
God’s provision does not mean that you’re assured of a trouble-free life. Trouble and testing came to her life when her son died. Elijah saw this as tragedy (v. 20). But this time of testing became an opportunity in her life to know the Lord in a deeper manner (v.24). Elijah’s prayer restores the life of her son.
● God the Source of Your Supply
The great lesson Elijah was taught during this time was that it was neither the rain, nor the brook or the ravens, nor the widow that provided him with food that was the source of his supply. But it was God who was the source of His supply. Everything else and everyone else were but channels of His supply. So learn to depend on God to meet your needs.
Note: If we look carefully at what Elijah achieves on Mount Carmel in the 18th chapter we will understand that all that happened in chapter 17 were but steps through which God trained Elijah to depend on Him in faith. This training and preparation helped Elijah to confront 850 prophets of false gods single-handedly. If you are someone kept by God to do some great work for Him, He often takes you step by step through His training ground teaching you to depend on Him each step of the way.
IV Mount Carmel
(1 Kings 18)
Chapter 18 begins thus: “After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah.” See, God did not speak to Elijah every day. There was an absence of His word for a long time. How did Elijah live during that time? He did so by faith.
He knew that he had heard the word of the Lord declaring that there will be no rain. Now He was waiting for God to speak. The absence of God speaking did not discourage Elijah because He was living on what God already spoke. Know that God increases our faith by allowing us to wait for a long time before He speaks to us. The word that came to Elijah was: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.”
When Ahab meets Elijah, he asks, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” (18:17). Isn’t it strange that people who themselves are the cause of trouble often blame the godly for the trouble they are in?
The Important Question
Elijah posed a question to the people before he set about to prove that the Lord is God. He asked, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing. Even today, many Christians live in fear of false gods. They come to Church, attend prayer meetings and read the Bible; yet they also read horoscopes and predictions of astrologers and live in fear. The challenge of Elijah is to decide this day who is you God. If it is the Lord; follow Him wholeheartedly and not doubtfully.
Elijah puts the prophets of the false gods to the test. Though outnumbered by 1:850, Elijah is calm and courageous because He knew His God. It is very important to note what Elijah did then.
● He called the people to come to him. It is important the we as a people return to our God.
● He repaired the altar of the Lord which was in ruins. Before revival can come in our lives we should repair the altar of our hearts which we have allowed to go into ruins by neglecting the reading of God’s Word and prayer and fellowship with other believers.
● He got the sacrifice ready and asked the people to pour water on it in a good measure. He did this to show that no human means can now create a fire on the altar. When we pray for revival we should not try to bring it about by human methods.
● At the time of sacrifice, i.e. the evening sacrifice in the temple, Elijah stepped forward and prayed to God and God answered by sending fire on the altar which burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil and even the water that had collected in the trench. Prayer accomplishes God’s purposes on earth and definitely brings God’s answer.
● The people fall face down and cry out, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” And at Elijah’s command all the 850 prophets are killed. Acknowledging God and purging of evil are both required in our lives.
All this happened because one man obeyed God and challenged the prophets of the false gods on Mount Carmel. Do not be afraid to stand for God’s honour and cause even though you seem to be alone fighting the battle. God can bring great victories when one person (you) obeys God.
VI Elijah’s Prayer
(1 Kings 18:36—45)
Elijah’s public prayer is very short. But it brought great results. Many great men of God have said that long prayers in public are evidence of very short prayers in private. Jesus asked us to spent much time in prayer in private (Matthew 6:6). Your spending time in secret with God is what He rewards, said Jesus. You can compare Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:7, 8 with the long prayers of the prophets of Baal and Asherah on Mount Carmel.
Elijah’s prayer first of all focussed on God’s relationship with His people. “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel.” Then it focussed on God’s glory. “Let is be known today that you are God in Israel.” Then it turned to his obedience. Elijah wanted the people to know that he was God’s servant and that he was doing all this at God’s command. Finally there is an urgent plea from him saying, “Answer me, O Lord, answer me” so that people would know that the Lord is God and that God was turning their hearts back again.
God answered by fire and the people responded, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”
Now Elijah knew that rain would come. So he said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” But then he climbed to the top of Carmel and bent down and put his face between his knees. Some writers have said that during those times when women gave birth they adopted this posture.
In that sense he was giving birth to the rain in prayer. The first prayer had been answered quickly. But this second one, he had to be persistent in prayer. Even though God had already told him that He would send rain; Elijah had to pray to bring it to pass.
Seven times he asks his servant to go and look (Mount Carmel overlooks the sea). The seventh time the servant said, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” In your life too, you may have to pray with persistence before you see a small sign that God is about to act.
Elijah now runs ahead of Ahab because the power of the Lord (the Holy Spirit) came upon him. Read two passages: 1. Deuteronomy 11:16, 17 to know what God had said in His Word abut worshipping false gods. 2. James 5:17, 18 to know what the earnest prayer of an ordinary man, a man just like us, can bring about.
VII Elijah’s Depression
(1 Kings 19)
Mountaintop experiences with God are often followed by the valley of despair. So you’ve to learn to deal with it. That is perhaps one of the reasons why God has kept a record of Elijah’s depression for us to learn from. Also note that mountaintop experiences are given to us to enable us to serve better in the valley where urgent human needs are to be met (Matthew 17)
You also need to remember that what happened on Mount Carmel was just one extraordinary day in the life of Elijah. The other days were spent as any other ordinary human being would. So do not make the mistake of glorifying Elijah. He was a person just like us (James 5:17).
Elijah fled for his life when Jezebel threatened to take his life. The day before he was running in triumph in the power of the Spirit of the Lord. And he ran ahead of Ahab’s chariots. Today he was running in fear in the strength of his flesh. What a huge contrast!
He leaves his servant at Beersheba, but he himself goes into the desert and sits under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. We’ve already seen from the life of Jonah how God is merciful enough not to answer our foolish prayers. Now Elijah lies down and sleeps.
Immediately an angel comes and “touched him.” God knows the power of a touch when we’re depressed. It gives you the knowledge that you’re still valued in God’s eyes. That is one of the reasons why Jesus touched the lepers of his day giving back to them their sense of worth before healing them. Reach out and touch your friend when he or she is walking through despair. That touch will be angelic!
Then he was given bread baked over hot coals and water. This was repeated twice. Strengthened by that food, he travelled forty days and forty nights to reach Horeb, the mountain of God. There God asked Elijah, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” God always would love to hear you out. So He is asking you today, “What are you doing here, ?” Elijah tells a story in which he is the hero; but left alone to do God’s work. In modern language it reads, “Ah, poor me! I alone to do all this work. And everybody is against me.”
This is called a Victim Story in communication. Do not fall into self pity and go around telling people that you’re a victim of others and your circumstances. It might be true that there are difficulties in your life that seem big and beyond solving. But a talk with God will give you a true picture or perspective.
God now gives an awesome display of His power in the wind, the earthquake and the fire; but the Lord was not in it. That does not mean that God cannot speak through those. We see God speaking to Job out of the storm (Job 38:1, 40:6). But for Depression here God speaks to Elijah in a gentle whisper. He knows what method to use to communicate to us. Elijah needed God’s reassurance in his life whereas Job needed a might demonstration of God’s power and wisdom. Elijah was given another chance to explain himself. He repeats his earlier story.
God’s prescription was far different from what Elijah had expected. Instead of saying, “Oh, poor little creature, how sad everybody is against you,” God thunders some specific commands to Elijah. “Go back the way you came.” What does that teach you? Do not run in the strength of your flesh in fear. Elijah could have stayed where he was and received this message from God had he waited on God. He was asked to anoint Hazael and Jehu as kings and Elisha as prophet to succeed him.
And perhaps the most important thing God said was, “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18 NIV). Never think that you’re alone in the fight. There are God’s people hidden away doing His work. Never tell God, “I am the only one left.” “Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself” (Psalm 4:3 NIV). “The Lord knows those who are his” (2 Timothy 2:19 NIV).
Like to see how an
Then look at God’s
sleep (v. 5); food (v.
6); conversation (v. 9);
ventilation of feelings
(v. 10); a change of
perspective (vv. 11—
12); and a new
challenge (vv. 15—
16). Ask the Lord to
apply the same
treatment to you the
next time you feel
depressed. Taken from
Bible Discovery Series,
Character,” by Selwyn
Hughes & Trevor J. Patridge
Related Posts (Elijah):
1 Kings 17:5a So He Did What the Lord Had Told Him
1 Kings 17:7,8,9 Go At Once to Zarephath
1 Kings 17:13b But First Make a Small Cake of Bread for Me
1 Kings 18:1 Go and Present Yourself to Ahab
1 Kings 18:30b Repaired the Altar Which Was in Ruins
1 Kings 18:44a A Cloud As Small As a Man’s Hand
1 Kings 19:3a Elijah Was Afraid and Ran for His Life
1 Kings 19:18 Yet I Reserve Seven Thousand in Israel
VII The Call of Elisha
(1 Kings 19:19—21)
Elisha was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen. He himself was driving the twelfth pair when Elijah came and threw his cloak around him. Elisha immediately knew that it was the call to serve Elijah and follow God. One thing you need to note is that almost always God called people who were busy with their day-to-day work.
Moses was tending flock (Exodus 3:1), Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress (Judges 6:11), David was shepherding the sheep (Psalm 78:70, 71), Amos was taking care of sycamore-fig trees (Amos 7:14), and Peter, Andrew, John and James were busy with their nets (Matthew 4:18—22) when they were called to the Lord’s work. Unless God finds you faithful in your secular work, He will never call you to do His work.
Elisha sought permission to say good-bye to his father and mother. Later he joined Elijah. He shows the servant-attitude of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:7, Mark 10:43—45). It was rightly said of Elisha, “He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah” (2 Kings 3:11). It is said that “He who cannot obey should not command.” It was surely the servant-attitude in Elisha that later God honoured as he was elevated to succeed Elijah as prophet.
Elisha also left the security of a home life to follow a prophet of the wilderness. He left behind wealth and position to obey God’s call. Therefore, God’s call on your life means that you put following God above everything else in life.
Look at Elisha. He had character. This godly character is demonstrated in his servant-attitude. That is why God promoted him as prophet to succeed Elijah with a double portion of his spirit. So seek to be a servant. Then God will put you into leadership. Remain humble there, free from the love of money as Elisha did.
VIII Elijah Taken Up to Heaven
(2 Kings 2:1—18)
Elisha follows Elijah like his shadow. Nowhere else is this so evident than in 2 Kings 2 where Elijah is taken up to heaven. At Gilgal, Bethel and Jericho Elijah asks Elisha to stay behind. But he holds on to him. This is a quality that is rewarded.
When Elijah was fleeing from Jezebel we read of a servant who was left at Beersheba. That servant did not follow Elijah. Some scholars point out that it is the last mention of that servant in the Bible.
But Elisha was loyal to the very last moment. He was not being disobedient but showing an understanding of God’s purpose in his life. Read a similar story of Ruth clinging on to her mother-in-law even though she had opportunity to leave her (Ruth 1:15—18); and thus became part of the Messianic line (Matthew 1:5).
The same spirit is shown by Jacob when he wrestled with God and said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26). [This prayer is not for blessings as we popularly understand material benefits; but is something that godly people understand who crave for God’s presence and favour in their lives.]
Finally, both Elijah and Elisha cross the Jordan as Elijah rolled up his cloak and struck the water with it. And Elijah asked Elisha what he wanted done for him before Elijah was taken from him? Elisha replied: “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.” Elijah replied, “You have asked a difficult thing, yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise not.”
The Bible says that as they were having a “walk and talk,” suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. The Bible again says, “Elisha saw this!” He alone saw this. This man ever since was blessed with a keen spiritual vision and insight into heavenly realities, as we will soon see.
God blessed Elisha with a double portion because he was earnest in seeking it and boldly asked for it. His asking was answered because Elisha never had wrong motives (like making money out of this blessing. Read James 4:3/2 Kings 5:16) in asking for it.
Elisha cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” Now what does this mean. It was used by King Jehoash of Israel also when Elisha’s death drew near too (2 Kings 13:14). It means that the strength of the nation was not in its king or armies but in the Lord their God. And during those times, God’s presence and strength was experienced by the nation through these prophets. Read Psalm 20:7, 8.
Elisha starts off from where Elijah left off. He takes the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and goes and stands at the bank of the Jordan. The first time when Elijah put his cloak around him, Elisha got God’s call. This time, a double portion of Elijah’s spirit was received by Elisha. It was soon demonstrated when Elisha struck the Jordan with it asking, “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14). Then the waters divided.
IX Elisha Creates a Sense of Expectancy
(2 Kings 3 and 4)
Faith is expecting God to work when no evidence of a miracle is seen. Read also Hebrews 11:1. Perhaps more than focussing on the miracles of Elisha, let us focus on the role of expectancy in a believer’s life.
● The Valley Full of Ditches
In 2 Kings Chapter 3 we find three kings going to war and about to perish because of lack of water. King Jehoshaphat was wise enough to seek Elisha’s advice. While a harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord (the Spirit of the Lord) came upon Elisha and he said, “Make this valley full of ditches. For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water” (2 Kings 3:16, 17).
This the kings proceeded to do and the next day water came and filled the ditches. What if these kings had not proceeded to make that valley full of ditches because there was no sign of rain? When God says that He is going to do something in your life, wait in expectancy. That is why it is said, when you pray for rain, carry an umbrella!
● The Widow’s Oil
In Chapter 4 you find a story of a widow. She had nothing but a little oil with her. And she and her sons were threatened by the creditor. So Elisha asks her to collect as many empty jars as possible. His specific command was, “Don’t ask for just a few.” So the widow with the help of her sons collected empty jars in plenty. That act showed that she was expecting the miracle to happen. So when you expect God to work in your life, remember Psalm 81:10, “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”
● The Shunammite Woman
Again in Chapter 4, there is the story of a well-to-do Shunammite woman who said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God.” Isn’t that a lovely description of Elisha? Unlike Elijah who made sudden appearances in a fiery manner, Elisha was a “holy man of God” who “often comes our way.” God used both characters to fulfil His purposes in their generation.
Well, the Shunammite woman made her husband build a small upper room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for Elisha. This being done, Elisha wanted to reward her. And from Gehazi his servant, Elisha understood that she had no child. Elisha told her, “About this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms.” Now she had given up all hopes of having a child. So she pleaded with Elisha not to give her false hopes.
But Elisha’s prophetic word created an expectancy in her and the next year about that same time she gave birth to her child, a son! A prophetic word from the Lord combined with the expectancy of faith is what brings about a miracle!
● The Multiplication of Loaves
We find Elisha also doing a miracle of multiplication of loaves. A man brought twenty barley loaves to Elisha. But then Elisha asked his servant to give it to the people. The servant then asked, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: `They will eat and have some left over.’ ” Here also a sense of expectancy was created.
Without such expectation from His people, God will not do His miracles. Read Mark 6:5, 6, where it says about Jesus, “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.” (NIV).
“Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God” – William Carey
● The King’s Officer (2 Kings 7: 1 to 4 and 17 to 20)
Expectancy is created by Elisha in the minds of the king and his officer during a very severe famine, when he says, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.” But the officer on whose arm the king was leaning disbelieved.
He had no sense of expectancy. Therefore he said, “Look even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” Elisha told him, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it.” And this exactly what happened when this officer was trampled him in the gateway the next day when food was given out in plenty. So be warned. Do not try to ask how God is going to do what He promises to do in your life. But instead wait in expectancy.
● King Jehoash and the Arrows (2 Kings 13:14 to 19)
When Elisha is about to die, King Jehoash of Israel visits him. Elisha asked the king to take his bow in his hand and shoot an arrow. When he had taken the bow, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hand and asked him to shoot through the opened east window. And Elisha told him that it was the Lord’s arrow of victory over Aram [symbolic] and that he will defeat the enemies Arameans completely at Aphek.
Again, Elisha asked the king to take the arrows and strike the ground. He struck it three times and stopped. Elisha became angry and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will only defeat it only three times” (2 Kings 13:19 NIV). And that was what exactly happened. Now why was Elisha angry? Because this king did not have the expectancy of faith that God would indeed give him victory over Aram. He was not fully believing it to happen. That is why he stopped after striking three times.
Sharing of the Good News
● The Four Lepers (2 Kings 7:3 to 11)
Good News is to be shared. And those who believe in God and trust in Jesus Christ are the only ones in this world who have good news worth sharing (Ref. Luke 2:10/Acts 4:12 and 5:20). But many of us keep it to ourselves. This is not right. That was what was exactly the opinion of four lepers who went into the enemy camp at dusk.
They risked their lives because there was a severe famine in the land of Israel. But when they reached the enemy camp, they saw that God had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army so that they had fled leaving their camp as it was.
Then these four men entered one of the tents, ate and drank, and carried away plunder and hid them. They repeated this with some other tents too. But suddenly they said to each other, “We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace” (2 Kings 7:9 NIV).
Dear friends, you are in possession of good news because Jesus bled for you on the cross, forgave your sins and has granted eternal life to you. And you’ll live in heaven with Him for ever. Isn’t this good news? But if you don’t share it with others how will others know of it? Read Romans 10:13 to 15.
● The Young Girl Taken Captive (2 Kings 5:2, 3)
Another example in the portion that we’re studying now is a young Israelite girl who was taken captive to Aram. She served Naaman’s wife. Now Naaman was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. Now the girl though captive had good news in her heart which she was willing to share. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:3 NIV).
A young girl shared the good news and Naaman came to trust in the God of Israel. He was indeed healed of his leprosy. Now Elisha had asked him to wash himself seven times in the Jordan to be cleansed of his leprosy. Then Naaman was angry and said, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” (2 Kings 5:12). In the modern world we hear this as, “Are not all religions the same; like all rivers reaching the same ocean?” When your friends ask you this, tell them that the blood of Jesus alone washes away sins and makes one clean (1 John 1:7)!
And when they believe in what you say do not make things difficult for them. Instead encourage them to keep trusting in God even though they may not be able to change some observances over which they have no control. When Naaman in all sincerity told Elisha a practical difficulty he faced and sought God’s forgiveness in the matter, Elisha told him, “Go in peace.” (Ref. 2 Kings 5:17—19).
Warning Note: Elisha refused to take glory for the miracle in Naaman’s life. For God will not yield His glory to another (Isaiah 48:11). But Gehazi thought to make some money out of this. God judged this. Not because asking for money was wrong. But because Gehazi asked in the name of Elisha, thus discrediting the God of Elisha. Therefore God judged Gehazi and Naaman’s leprosy clung to him and his descendants forever. Read Acts 5:1—11 to know of God’s judgement in another context.
X Elisha the Man with Spiritual Vision/Insight
(2 Kings 6:8—17)
One of the greatest gifts that God can give you is keen spiritual insight. Elisha was gifted with this in abundance. He was enabled to see Elijah taken up to heaven and thus inherited a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. At a later time, we find Elisha have divine knowledge about the war plans of the king of Aram. All the plans that the king of Aram made in his bedroom was made known to the king of Israel by Elisha (2 Kings 6:12). That foiled all the plans of the Aramean king. He became so frustrated by this Secret Service Intelligence of Elisha that he ordered the capture of Elisha. So at night a great force surrounded the city of Dothan where Elisha was staying.
When Elisha’s servant got up and went out early the next morning, he saw this army with chariots and horses and he cried out to Elisha, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” Elisha’s reply is a classic: “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:16, 17 NIV).
Two things need to be noted here. First Elisha instructed his servant of the truth that there were more with them than with their enemies (Read also 1 John 4:4). Secondly he prayed that the Lord would open the servant’s eyes. Here we find Elisha, a man with keen spiritual vision or insight, praying for and enabling a weaker person in faith to see heavenly realities. Let us also do likewise.
XI Elisha’s Death
(2 Kings 13:20, 21).
Elijah did not die. Instead he was taken to heaven dramatically. But Elisha died of an illness (2 Kings 13:14). And one unique incident occurred after he died. To escape Moabite raiders a dead man’s body was thrown into Elisha’s tomb. Then that man came to life when his dead body touched Elisha’s bones. This incident is unique. It cannot be repeated (Later, we do not find people going to Elisha’s tomb and placing dead bodies there to raise them up.). Perhaps it was God’s way of honouring Elisha. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15 NIV).
Related Posts (Elisha):
2 Kings 3:16b,17a Make This Valley Full of Ditches
2 Kings 4:3,4 Go Around, Ask for Empty Jars, Not a Few
2 Kings 5:11 But Naaman Went Away Angry
2 Kings 7:2b Even If, Could This Happen?
2 Kings 7:9 A Day of Good News
2 Kings 8:5a Just As Gehazi Was Telling the King
2 Kings 13:17b The Lord’s Arrow of Victory Over Aram
XII Elijah’s Continuing Ministry
The Bible tells us that Elijah’s ministry was not ended. The last book of the Old Testament, Malachi, ended with the promise of the coming of the Prophet Elijah. After 400 years, John the Baptist came in the power and spirit of Elijah (Matthew 17:11, 12). But John was not Elijah as he himself said (John 1:21). But people could recognize the spirit of Elijah in him especially since both of them had a sudden appearance, a fierce message and similar manner of dress (Mark 1:6 and 2 Kings 1:8).
Later we find Elijah and Moses appearing in glorious splendour talking with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. They spoke about the crucifixion of Jesus which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem (Luke 9:30, 31). Perhaps they were sent to encourage Jesus Christ.