Entry Eighty-Five: Elisha the Prophet

Submitted by johnlo on Sun, 2008-06-08 08:43

 ENTRY EIGHTY-FIVE – JUNE 8, 2008

 

85-THE DIVIDED KINGDOM - PART V (aka "Elisha the Prophet")

-       II Kings 1-4, 6, 8; Obadiah

 

  • This entry, which is for three days of reading, covers topics such as ELISHA’S MIRACLES and WARNING AGAINST PRIDE.

 

  • Please note that since I am following F. LaGard Smith's order, I will be jumping back and forth between the Kings and Chronicles texts frequently and I normally won't refer to the specific passage unless it affects the meaning.

 

  • Elijah’s time on earth is drawing to a close, but not to worry – he has been practicing the principle of discipling, or mentoring; he has been training his protégé, Elisha. Now Elisha was no wimp – he had been called while plowing the field with oxen! Real men DO get discipled, amen??!! This reading begins with the ungodly king of Israel, the son of Ahab, injuring himself. He was so unspiritual he sent men to the prophets of Baal to inquire if he would recover. Elijah interrupted the messengers with a challenge and told them to deliver a death sentence to the king. Ahab must have told his son about “the troubler”, Elijah, because Ahaziah recognized Elijah by a description of the prophet’s clothing along with the fact that the message was bad news! In his arrogance, he still thought his position meant something! So he sent commanders with 50 men each to bring Elijah for a face to face meeting, but God was slightly stronger <smile> and they all died!! The third commander begged humbly for his life, and Elijah spared him, then rebuked Ahaziah personally, and sure enough, the king died! Sorry! Better listen to God’s prophets! And don’t think your earthly position or wealth or education will protect you from the end!!
  • Joram, his brother, succeeded him on the throne.

 

  • The other prophets of the Lord, by this time, have figured out that their “boss” will not be around much longer, and Elisha begs his role model for a double portion of his spirit. I am not sure what that means, but he gets it, and we do notice that there are twice the amount of miracles attributed in writing to Elisha as to Elijah, if that means anything.
  • The first visual proof of the passing of Elijah’s spirit to his trainee is that when Elisha picks up Elijah’s cloak, he uses it to part the water, just as Elijah had done. So far, so good! It is interesting to note that all it says about his demise is “Elijah saw him no more”. This puts Elijah in the same category as Enoch, who walked with God (Gen 5) and then was no more because God took him away. Wow! I am not sure what the significance is for us, but it should at least be a catalyst for us to desire walking closer with our heavenly Father.

 

 

  • Elisha’s next two miraculous interventions are not very glamourous, but demonstrate his connection to God nonetheless. First, he purified unclean water. You can bet that was important to the people in that region! Next, he calls down bears from a mountain to teach some smart-alecky and disrespectful youths to show respect to their elders. We could use Elisha around our high schools today, amen??!! But really, perhaps we must examine if we are teaching our children to show respect to others or to make fun of others. Interesting side point.

 

  • Like his mentor, Elisha multiplies food for a widow, and he brought blessings to a childless woman, known as the Shunammite woman, who had been generous with him.  Later, he removed food-poison from a pot of deadly soup, and multiplied bread for 100 people. When the Shunammite woman’s son died, Elisha felt so much for him that he was able (with God’s power, of course) to raise the boy from the dead! Wow!! I have heard several sermons about how Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, wasn’t able to help the boy because he didn’t have love for the family but was doing it out of duty, whereas Elisha loved the family and was able to tap into God’s power through that love. He also miraculously made an axe head float, just to help a friend. Elisha was a prophet with heart!!

 

  • So many of the kings did well in many areas, but dropped the ball in their parenting. This seems to be the case with Jehoshaphat, who put his son, Jehoram, on the throne to be co-regent with him. Not content to have such an honour, the evil Jehoram murdered all of his brothers! Jehoshaphat again paired up with the king of Israel, but this time, God seemed to be behind it, and, despite the presence of bad rulers, still miraculously led the Israelites to victory. There may be several lessons here, but one is certainly that so-called “victory” is not necessarily a sign that God thinks you are a righteous leader!!

 

  • After his dad dies, Jehoram marries a daughter of Ahab (DUH!!) but because of God’s promise to never let the lamp of the house of David go out, God didn’t destroy him entirely. He did send him a letter (from the prophet Elijah, who had already died!! Wouldn’t THAT be creepy?? Getting a letter from a dead prophet??) telling Jehoram that he would eventually die of a lingering bowel disease. Now I am not even going to go into that, but let’s just say, I have a lot of experience in this area. (Coffee enemas, etc…enough said!) That would not be a pleasant way to die – “death by bowel melt-down!!” The enemies of Judah killed all in his palace, except for his youngest son, in keeping with God’s promise to David. Things were not looking good for Jehoram, who was also just about to enter into another war, this time with Edom.
  • At this point, we will look at the prophecy of Obadiah, who spoke out against the pride of Edom. I remember this short book for verses 3-4, “The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord. Whoa, baby!! Let’s make sure we repent of our arrogance and self-reliance, amen??!!

karenlouis@seachurches.org