Grab your Bibles, and let’s go deeper into the life and testimony of the prophet Elisha.
Elisha was a prophet whose faith and miracles were a great sign of an awesome God at work in and through him.
In 2 Kings 2:1-14, we see Elijah’s handoff to Elisha. In this, Elisha is being given the ministry of Elijah. This is confirmed in the fact that Elijah’s cloak falls on him. Also, God parts the waters for him, just as this was a sign of God’s favor on the leadership of Moses and of Joshua before him. Leading up to this, we know that Elisha had served with Elijah for some time before succeeding him as prophet. When asked what Elijah could bless him with in his parting, Elisha requests a “double portion” of the spirit that was upon Elijah. In this, Elisha shows incredible wisdom, as he understands it is not enough to just seek success, but it is far better to have the Person who works in and through His people, namely the Holy Spirit of God. If we were offered one wish, we would likely burn it on something temporary, but not Elisha. He sees the lasting benefit of the Holy Spirit upon him. For those of us who are saved, we don’t realize how good we have it. Are you making the most of the fact that in Christ, the Holy Spirit is present and able to convict you of sin and guide you in all things? Let Elisha’s longing for the Holy Spirit be a great reminder to us today.
Ephesians 1:13-14 teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the seal of salvation for all those who believe: “… When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (NIV). Praise God for this!
In this exchange, Elisha faces a moment of decision. He could take up Elijah’s mantle of prophethood, the anointing of the Spirit, and the rejection by the world that went with it, or he could go his own way. Elisha goes on to be one of the greatest prophets in the history of God’s people. Although none of us are a prophet like Elisha, we, likewise, face a moment of decision when the Lord calls us. The question is will we take up His mantle and follow Him?
In 2 Kings 4:1-9, we read one of the most memorable testimonies of Elisha’s ministry. A widow is being threatened to have her sons taken, and Elisha tells her to take her little remaining oil and to pour it into large vats to be sold off. Once again, we see the sovereign hand of God working His supernatural ways to bring provision and blessing in a way only He can. The vats are filled, and the sons are spared. This stands as another marker that God can, and will, provide for His people. Our lives are His, and He will continue us for as long as He has determined. We need to remain in faith, and rest in Him, even when our situation seems bleak. Philippians 4:19-20 says, “my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
I love the testimony of the wealthy woman we read about in 2 Kings 4:8-10, who provides a regular space in her home for the man of God who would often pass through. Many who are of wealth are often the ones who are pickier with their means and slower to share. But here we have one entrusted with much using it for God-honoring purposes. What are you doing with what God has entrusted to you? Now some of you are thinking, “But I am not rich like the woman in the story.” I want to encourage you to reconsider that view of your life. In 1 Timothy 6:17, Timothy is instructed to command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth.
Here is our problem: Most of us hear this verse and we think that it is for someone else—someone rich. But most of us have a car! Some of us own more than one. Do you realize that only 8% of the people in the world own a car? That means 92% of the world looks at us and sees wealth.
I went to Vietnam in 2013 on a mission trip where, in Ho Chi Minh City, there are 6.5 million people (the same as the entire state of Arizona), and only a tiny group of people own cars. The Vietnamese travel their family of four, and sometimes more, mainly by moped, because there is no way they can afford, in a lifetime, to buy a car.
In the world, 780 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water. That is three-and-a-half times the population of the United States. This is the reason 3.4 million people die each year from water-related diseases. You and I are so wealthy that we can literally go to any hose bib in our city, open it up, and safely drink from it. But most of us won’t even do that—because it tastes bad—not because it’s contaminated, because chlorine tastes gross. Do you realize millions of people in this highly-advanced world don’t even know what it’s like to turn on a water source—any water source—and have something come out for them to drink? They don’t know what this is like.
How many freshly prepared meals and yummy snacks will you consume today? Over 800 million people will not eat anything today. Even the homeless in America can beg and get food in their bellies. Our homeless are wealthier than 800 million people around the world.
So, we must read a text like this with new eyes and realize we have been entrusted with so much by God. Our response should not be guilt but to use it for His purposes. So, let me ask you, do you hoard what you have and consume it all, or are you looking for ways to invest into the kingdom and others who have need? God wants us to be good stewards of the resources and talents with which He entrusts us. The question is, are we leaving a legacy like this woman and investing those means into others?
In 2 Kings 6:8-23, we see another great example of God at work in and through Elisha. God gives Elisha the “gift of knowledge” (1 Corinthians 12:8-11; 1 Corinthians 14:6), by which he knows King Aram’s secret plans. With that gift, he is able to advise the King of Israel in the foiling of Aram’s every move. When the siege starts, God gives Elisha “spiritual vision” to see the armies of heaven protecting him. This no doubt helps Elisha remain calm and confident in the face of the enemy siege. When Elisha prays, God answers him by opening His servant’s eyes and blinding the enemy’s army.
Do you often feel like you are surrounded by the enemy? While we may not be facing a crisis as large as what Elisha was facing, it can certainly seem that way to us. We have the opportunity to look at such situations as opportunities to exercise our faith and obey God, rather than responding with fear.
When we are surrounded and taunted by the enemy, we are tempted to look at our adversaries and cower in fear. When that happens, I find it helpful to follow Elisha’s example and remember that God is with me and has a plan for me. We too can pray, “O Lord, open my eyes so I may see,” so that His will and word is in full view as we look to honor Him with our lives.
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC