Posts Tagged ‘Elisha’

Now when Ahab told Jezebel that Elijah had put the prophets to death with the sword, she sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “As surely as you are Elijah and I am Jezebel, may the gods do to me what they will and more too, if I do not make your life as the life of one of those prophets by to-morrow about this time.”

Then he was afraid and fled for his life. And he came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness and sat down under a desert tree, and he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Jehovah, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”

Then he lay down and slept under the desert tree, but an angel touched him and said to him, “Rise, eat!” When he looked, he saw there at his head a loaf, baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. But the angel of Jehovah came again the second time and touched him and said, “Rise, eat, or else the journey will be too long for you.” So he rose and ate and drank and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mountain of God.

Then Jehovah passed by, and a very violent wind tore the mountain apart and broke the rocks in pieces before Jehovah; but Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake; but Jehovah was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire; but Jehovah was not in the fire. After the fire there was the sound of a low whisper. As soon as Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then he heard a voice saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very jealous for Jehovah the God of hosts, for the Israelites have forsaken thee, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword, and I only am left; and they seek to take my life.”

Then Jehovah said to him, “On your way back go to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you arrive there, anoint Hazael to rule over Aram, Jehu, the son of Nimshi, to rule over Israel, and Elisha, the son of Shaphat, to be prophet in your place. Then every one who escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death; and every one who escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. Yet I will spare seven thousand in Israel–all who have not worshipped Baal and kissed his image.”

After he had left, Elijah found Elisha the son of Shaphat, as he was ploughing with twelve pairs of oxen. When Elijah went up to him and threw his mantle upon him, he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” Elijah said to him, “Go back, for what have I done to you?” So Elisha turned back and took one pair of oxen and offered them as a sacrifice and, using the wooden ploughs and yokes as fuel, boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people to eat. Then he arose and followed Elijah and served him.


“‘About this time next year,’ Elisha said, ‘you will hold a son in your arms.’ ‘No, my lord!’ she objected. ‘Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!’”—2 Kings 4:16

The Torah portion for this week, Vayeira, is from Genesis 18:1—22:24 and 2 Kings 4:1–37.

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about the prediction of Isaac’s birth, Sarah’s incredulous reaction, and then Isaac’s actual birth. In the Haftorah portion, we read about Elisha’s promise to a Shunammite woman that she would finally become a mother. Like Sarah, the woman had been barren until that moment, and she had a hard time absorbing the news. But, as predicted, she welcomed her son exactly one year later.

Both stories teach us about faith in miracles, but the story of the Shunammite woman goes one step further. First we learn about the unlikely birth of her son, and then we read about his unexpected death. Next, we read about his miraculous return to life again. A double miracle – the second even greater than the first! But do you know what’s really unusual? While the Shunammite woman was skeptical when she heard about her son’s imminent birth, she appeared entirely confident that he would return from the dead!

Now, we’ve heard many stories about women who were told that they wouldn’t be able to have children, and then they miraculously did. This has happened from the time of the Matriarchs until today. But resurrection of the dead at that point was yet unheard of. However, the Shunammite woman was calm and confident when her son died in her arms. She placed him in bed, informed her husband that she was going to the prophet, and calmly informed Elisha that he had to make good on his promise. She had full confidence in the prophet and in God, and she was rewarded with the boy’s return to life. How did this woman go from doubting the possibility of birth to firm faith in the possibility of resurrection?

The answer is that when the woman experienced the first miracle – that of the birth of her son – she learned to believe in all miracles. To God, there is no difference between a minor miracle and a show-stopping, major, miraculous display. He can perform either just as easily. So the woman reasoned, if God could do one miracle, what’s to stop Him from doing another?

We all need to learn to think as she did. Faith unleashes miracles.

It’s not always easy to maintain perfect faith, but take strength from miracles that you have experienced in the past. Here’s one miracle that we’ve all experienced: You were born! Taking into account the likelihood of conception and the chances of miscarriage, it is entirely miraculous that any of us are here at all! Do you have kids? That is even more miraculous!

We have all been blessed to experience the miracle of life. Let us never lose faith that we can experience miracles in our lives.

“’Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.’” 2 Kings 6:16-17a

After reading the local and national headlines, my heart was broken over the clear and very disturbing realization that we’re losing America and any hope our children may have of living the American dream in a peaceful, prosperous nation.

When schools are instituting programs to teach kindergartners foreign languages, abortion is legalized, illegal drug use is glorified, laws are introduced to strip parents of their rights to raise and educate their children, and all efforts are made to remove the influence of Christianity in our society, it is clear that things have changed, and not for the better. Where do we draw the line between tolerance and political correctness and the blatant disregard for the biblical principles on which our nation was founded?

The America of 2012 is not the America I grew up in. People are no longer willing to fight for the values and principles that made our nation a place of great freedom and opportunity. Patriotism and peaceful activism have been replaced with a determined effort to destroy any remnant of moral decency and political democracy.

Who are the ones who will fight to win America back? In Isaiah 6:8 the prophet Isaiah says, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” I believe God is crying out today for Christians and patriots to rise up and reclaim the America we once knew.

Is it too late to save our beloved nation? Have we passed the point of no return? The last verses of Isaiah 6 give me hope that it is not too late. Although these are the words of the Lord spoken to Isaiah regarding the nation of Israel, they are my prayer for America today: “And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land” (v. 13).

I believe that it is not too late for God to save America, but He needs soldiers who are willing to take up their shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit and fight in His behalf.   Will you go? Will you fight to reclaim our great nation?

Social networks on the Internet are on the rise. Even when separated by great distance, people are still able to gain insights and a listening ear from peers on-line. Blogs, Twitter, e-mail, and Web links add to the ways we can receive and give spiritual guidance.

But it’s also valuable to meet face to face with mature believers for mentoring. “Elisha . . . followed Elijah” (1 Kings 19:21), and Paul mentored Timothy as “a true son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2). He even admonished Timothy to set up a chain of mentoring which would multiply spiritual growth (2 Tim. 2:2). Moses exhorted parents to teach their children throughout their day: “when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:7). The Master Teacher, Christ Himself, illustrated how to mentor: “He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out” (Mark 3:14).

From these passages we see the value of meeting face to face in a variety of settings so that we can sharpen one another spiritually (Prov. 27:17). Along life’s journey, there are times when we can benefit from a wise guide or provide this same service to one who wants to follow.

Lord, who could be my mentor? And is there a younger person in the faith I could help? Please lead me so that I might grow stronger spiritually and help others as well.
We need each other to get where God wants us to go.

Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha . . . saw him no more —2 Kings 2:11-12

It is not wrong for you to depend on your “Elijah” for as long as God gives him to you. But remember that the time will come when he must leave and will no longer be your guide and your leader, because God does not intend for him to stay. Even the thought of that causes you to say, “I cannot continue without my ’Elijah.’ ” Yet God says you must continue.

Alone at Your “Jordan” (2 Kings 2:14). The Jordan River represents the type of separation where you have no fellowship with anyone else, and where no one else can take your responsibility from you. You now have to put to the test what you learned when you were with your “Elijah.” You have been to the Jordan over and over again with Elijah, but now you are facing it alone. There is no use in saying that you cannot go— the experience is here, and you must go. If you truly want to know whether or not God is the God your faith believes Him to be, then go through your “Jordan” alone.

Alone at Your “Jericho (2 Kings 2:15). Jericho represents the place where you have seen your “Elijah” do great things. Yet when you come alone to your “Jericho,” you have a strong reluctance to take the initiative and trust in God, wanting, instead, for someone else to take it for you. But if you remain true to what you learned while with your “Elijah,” you will receive a sign, as Elisha did, that God is with you.

Alone at Your “Bethel (2 Kings 2:23). At your “Bethel” you will find yourself at your wits’ end but at the beginning of God’s wisdom. When you come to your wits’ end and feel inclined to panic— don’t! Stand true to God and He will bring out His truth in a way that will make your life an expression of worship. Put into practice what you learned while with your “Elijah”— use his mantle and pray (see 2 Kings 2:13-14). Make a determination to trust in God, and do not even look for Elijah anymore.

“He prayed that he might die.”                                          1Ki 19:4 NKJV

Sometimes after “giving it your all,” you can end up totally drained. Look at Elijah. God used him on Mt. Carmel to call down fire from heaven on the prophets of Baal. Yet he fell apart under Jezebel’s threats. Fleeing for his life, he “sat down under a broom tree…and said, ‘It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life.’” The moment his focus changed from God to the enemy, he became overwhelmed. So God spoke to him again. This time it wasn’t in a spectacular display. Instead, He spoke in a “still small voice” (v. 12 NKJV), drawing him aside to rest and spend time with God. The next time the nation saw Elijah he was spiritually on top again. So answer this: has your focus shifted from God to all the “stuff you have to do”? If so, you need time out, time alone with God. When He calls you aside to rest, do it! Vic Pentz says, “Nothing fails so totally, as success without God.” The twofold danger in the aftermath of any success is: (1) spending too much time listening to the accolades of others; (2) presuming you have what it takes to succeed on your own. As a result you disconnect from God, Who is the source of your strength. David said, “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps 27:1). Fearlessness is foolishness, unless it’s based on faith in God. And one more thought: God sent Elisha to assist Elijah, and he can send the right person to help you too. He knows what to do to get you moving again.

Ben-hadad, the dark-eyed King of Syria, could no longer leap into his chariot and drive his swift horses through the fields as he used to do. He could not draw the bow of steel or fling the heavy spear as far or as straight as the young men of his tribe, for he was getting old; and he had given up going with his warriors on their fighting across the Jordan, leaving it to his younger chieftains.

His home was in the beautiful town of Damascus, set in a land so rich and green with tapering trees, vineyards, and fields of grass, and watered with such delightful streams, that the Arabs, coming on their camels from the yellow sands of the hot desert, cried out, when they saw its white walls hung with green creepers, that it shone “like a handful of pearls in a green cup.”

He ruled the tribes of Syria from that walled city, and in the spring-time of the year his chiefs gathered the young warriors to make up their minds where they should go to fight and plunder. Among the chiefs was Naaman the Syrian, a young man who led them out to battle when the king could not go, and had several times beaten their foes. Sitting among his chiefs, with his royal spear in his hand, a band of gold round his brow, and rings of gold on his arms and legs, the old king talked with them about fighting the men of Israel, and gave them their orders; and best of all his warriors the king loved Naaman the Syrian.

Now when Naaman blew the king’s horns and beat the king’s drums up and down the country, calling the young men of the tribes for a raid across the Jordan, it was either to steal cattle and corn, or to capture slaves; and boys and girls were the slaves they liked best.

One day, when he returned from one of these slave-raids, Naaman brought back with him a little Jewish maid; and she looked so pretty with her dark eyes and ruddy cheeks that he gave her as a present to his Syrian wife, to wait upon her and run her messages. When her mistress washed her hands, the little maid held the basin on bended knee. When she dressed her dark hair, she held the comb and the oil, and the little pots of yellow dye for her nails and the black paint for her eyebrows. When she went out, this little maid went also, in a little dress of scarlet, with a white kerchief on her dark head.

She learnt to love her mistress very much; and was sorry for her master, for he was troubled with the terrible sickness of leprosy, and she often wished he could be made well. One day she sighed, and said to her mistress,-

“Oh, I would to God that my master were with our prophet in Samaria! then he would get better of his leprosy.”

She believed with all her heart that Elisha the prophet, like a clever doctor, could do something for him.

Now what she had said was told to Naaman, who told it to the king; and as they had both heard about Elisha, the wild prophet of Israel, the king told his favourite chief to go and see the wonderful man. And he also wrote a letter to Joram, the King of Israel, and gave it to Naaman to deliver; and this is what he wrote:-

“When this letter comes to thee, O King Joram, it is to tell thee that I have sent Naaman, my servant, for thee to heal him of his leprosy.”

Naaman folded the letter in his tunic, and filling a few small bags with silver and gold, and rolling up some bundles of new clothing, he put them into the wide saddle-bags of his camels as presents for the King of Israel. Then stepping into his chariot, he drove down the river valley, with his men clattering after him, and up the hills to Samaria on the watch-hill, where he delivered the letter.

The King of Israel read it, and his chiefs saw that he was much troubled. Seizing his white tunic with both hands, he tore it from neck to hem-a sign of great grief-saying bitterly that he was not able to heal people of leprosy, and that the powerful King of Syria was only seeking another cause to quarrel with him. What kings say and what kings do many tongues tell, and Elisha the prophet, who had a house in white-walled Samaria, heard about the king’s grief, and sent his servant Gehazi to give him a message,-

“Why do you rend your clothes? Send the man to me!”

The king was delighted, and soon Naaman’s chariot and horses, his armed guards and his brown camels, were standing at the door of the prophet’s house. But only Gehazi appeared in answer to the captain’s call.

“Go,” he said to the proud Syrian chief-“go and wash thyself seven times in the river Jordan, and thou shalt be healed, and be clean of thy leprosy.”             This was a message from his master Elisha, who was not coming out to see the great captain! The Syrian chief was filled with anger at the man who dared to send him away from the prophet’s door as if he were a beggar, and he exclaimed,-

“I thought he would surely come out to see me, and stand and call on his God, and wave his hand over the place and heal me. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them and be clean?”

Springing into his chariot, he grasped the reins, and shook them as he brought his whip fiercely down on the horses’ backs, causing them to leap forward from the door. The horses galloped swiftly through the narrow streets, and out by the gate in the city wall, and down the road to the plain, the guards and servants of the great captain following after him as quickly as they could. Naaman considered that he had been mocked by this foreign prophet, and was galloping back to Syria as quickly as he could.

But horses cannot gallop for ever, however angry their masters may be; and when at length they came to a walking pace, Naaman began to talk with his friends about the insult he had received from the rude old prophet. Why should he bathe in the Jordan River, where the water was clay-white and often muddy, when he had his own rivers of Abana the golden and Pharpar the sweet, brimming with the finest water in the world? His friends did not answer him in his wrath; but they soon reached the ford of crossing, and if he would not bathe in the Jordan, he would have to ride through it, for there was no bridge. Then one of his friends gave him this piece of very good advice.

“My father,” he said, “if the prophet had told thee to do some hard thing, thou wouldst have done it. How much more shouldst thou obey him when what he commands is such a little thing as this?”

Naaman’s rage had passed off with the lashing of his horses and his furious driving, but his terrible leprosy remained. Was he going back to his master with the disease still upon him, to tell him that he had not done what the prophet had told him because it was too easy? There was the white river rushing past at his feet. To ride so far and then refuse to wash would seem very foolish; so he changed his mind, and stopping his chariot at the water’s edge, went into the stream and bathed, and to his surprise and delight was at once healed of his leprosy, so that his skin became like that of a little child.

It was with a changed heart that he turned his horses’ heads and drove slowly back out of the valley, and up the road to the hills down which he had just come clattering in his anger. When next he stood at the door of the prophet’s little house all the pride was gone out of him.

“Now I know,” he said to the prophet, “that there is no God in all the world but in Israel. I pray thee to take a present from thy servant.”

Elisha stood before him in worn cloak and sandals, his head covered with a striped kerchief, his eyes bright and piercing. The camels were there, laden with presents in their saddle-bags.

“As God liveth, before whom I stand,” exclaimed the old man, “I will take nothing.”

Gold and silver, fine clothing, sweet spices, scented oils, had no real value for him. They were only a few of the many things he could quite well do without. This Syrian chief had obeyed what was really the command of the living God, and that was much more important. The Syrian pressed him to take something, but the poor prophet would have nothing. Naaman then asked leave to carry away two mule loads of earth from Samaria, saying that he would never again offer sacrifice to idols after the manner of his own people, but would sacrifice to God only.

Again Naaman shook the reins and cracked his whip as the horses sprang forward with the light chariot, the wooden wheels clattering on the stones. Outside the city walls his servants scraped the earth together until they had filled two mule-sacks, and then the small band of Syrians, shouldering their spears, set out on the homeward road.

Soon the eyes of the Syrian drivers saw the green palm-trees, the spires of glittering brass, and the white walls of Damascus. They were back again in their own country, bringing no camel-loads of plunder, no droves of stolen cattle, no chains of weeping slaves-only two sacks of earth from Samaria, and a chief with a healthy body and a grateful heart. If his wife was glad to see him, so also was the little Jewish maid; and we need not doubt that she would not be much longer a slave, but free-set free as a sign that Naaman the Syrian had a grateful heart for his little friend who had sent him to be healed by the prophet of Israel.