Sunday, August 7, 2011

2 Kings: 4, 5, 6 : A Catalog of Miracles: Elisha

Tremendous miracles, signs, and wonders were seen throughout Samaria, the Northern Kingdom of Israel which was so deeply entrenched in pagan worship.  No, pagan deities did not perform miracles.  Rather, through Elisha the prophet, God worked miracles and made the supernatural into the expected or anticipated.  

Throughout these chapters, God’s love and compassion were highlighted as He met the deepest needs of people while revealing His love for each one. 

Narrative 1: When creditors were about to sell a widow’s children into slavery in order to satisfy her husbands debts, she cried out to Elisha for help.  She knew that God would help her.

Elisha asked the woman what she had in the house.  When she answered that she had a bit of oil, he instructed her to get as many jars as she could from everyone in the village and then to pour the oil from her supply into these jars.  The oil continued to flow until she ran out of jars.  God worked with what she had; with what she made available to Him.  The widow was able to pay off her creditors and still have enough money on which to live. 

Narrative 2: A wealthy Shunamite woman extended hospitality to Elisha because she perceived that he was a man of God.  In a sense, she worshipped the God of Israel when first she provided meals for Elisha and then secondly, when she built an addition to her house so that he could rest comfortably when he was in the area.  By honoring Elisha, she honored the God he served.  She gave freely without asking for anything of God.  Because he appreciated what she had done for him, Elisha wanted to extend a blessing upon her.  When he understood that she was without child, he prophesied that within a year, she would have a son.  It happened exactly as Elisha said.

Many years later, the Shunamite’s son died in childhood.  Instead of grieving, calling her husband, notifying her neighbors and family, she resolutely mounted a donkey and hurried to Elisha at Mount Carmel.  This time she had a request of God – a full fledged need for the God of Israel to meet.   She told Elisha that her son had died and that she wouldn’t have known this pain if she never had a son in the first place.  Elisha raised the boy from the dead.

Narrative 3:  During a famine, when a group of prophets of the God of Israel prepared a stew of desert vegetation, a poisonous plant was mistakenly used.  The hungry prophets cried out to Elisha that the stew was poisoned.  Elisha asked for flour to be brought to him.  After he threw some of their flour into the stew, Elisha declared that it was safe to eat.  In faith, the men ate and were not harmed.

Narrative 4:  When a man from Baal Shalishah brought Elisha twenty loaves of barley bread, Elisha instructed his servant to feed those loaves to the hundred men who were with him.  When his servant questioned Elisha’s order to feed the hundred men with twenty loaves of bread, Elisha simply quoted God’s Word to him, “They will eat and have some left over.”

Narrative 5:  When an iron axe head a prophet had borrowed accidentally fell into the Jordan River, he was overcome with anxiety.  At that time an iron axe head was extremely valuable and not readily replaced.  The prophet worried because it sank in the Jordan River and he would not be able to return it.  Showing how much God cared for this man, Elisha threw a piece of wood in the spot where it was dropped, and miraculously the axe head floated up to the surface.  The prophet was then able to retrieve it.

Narrative 6:  Naaman, a pagan and an important commander in the army of the King of Aram, was afflicted with leprosy.  There was no healing for this disease. His situation was dire.  His situation was hopeless until a young Israelite slave told Naaman’s wife that there was a prophet in Israel who healed people.   Somehow, both Naaman and the King of Aram came to believe that it was the King of Israel who healed people.  So, equipped with a letter from the king of Aram in which he asked the King of Israel for a cure, Naaman set out for Israel.   When the King of Israel read this letter, he protested and thought that the Arameans were trying to pick a fight with him.  An international crisis threatened!
When Elisha heard this, he reminded the King that Israel did indeed have a prophet of God – him.  With great expectations, Naaman then went to Elisha.  But, a messenger met him with a word from Elisha: wash in the Jordan seven times and you will be cleansed.
Naaman was probably used to pagan priests who waved their hands, danced, recited incantations, cut themselves, etc.  Elisha simply gave him God’s Word via a messenger – pure and simple.  There was nothing complicated to do – just wash seven times in the Jordan.

Naaman was furious – maybe he felt cheated.  Enraged, he was ready to leave.  But, since one of his servants managed to get him to listen to Elisha’s command, Naaman washed in the Jordan as prescribed and was cured.  But, greater than the cure was his confession, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” 2 Kings 5: 15.

No comments:

Post a Comment

HostGator promo codes