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ELISHA SERIES: FROM FAMINE TO FEAST

The scriptures revealed Israel had disobeyed God’s statutes, laws, and commandments for years, and God had been long-suffering and merciful toward them. However, in chapters six and seven of 2 Kings, they experienced His judgment and punishment for their actions. He told them in Leviticus 26:27-29, “And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. God permitted Israel to experience a dreadful famine to the point they became cannibals, and then in His mercy, He brought about a miraculous change, and they enjoyed a feast.

In 2 Kings 5, Elisha came to the aid of Joram, king of Israel, when the king of Syria sent Naaman, the leper, to him to be healed. In Kings 6, Elisha helped save Israel numerous times from the attack of the Syrian army by revealing to the king of Israel the enemy’s plans of attack. Despite Elisha’s continuous benevolence to the king and Israel, as seen in these chapters, the king of Israel sought to execute Elisha when Israel experienced a famine caused by the Syrians. Thankfully, when the executioner arrived at Elisha’s home under Elisha’s direction, the elders in the house with him kept the executioner from entering.

Exasperated, the king followed the executioner to Elisha’s home, and while the king and executioner remained outside, Elisha gave a prophetic word about the famine ending the next day. He said, “Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.” In response, the king’s captain voiced his doubts about this event occurring, and Elisha told him he would see it but would not partake of the food.

Four hungry leprous men outside the city gate said, “If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.” To this end, at twilight, they went to the camp of the Syrians and found it deserted. God had allowed the Syrian soldiers to become scared when they heard the sound of chariots, horses, and a massive coalition army. Thinking they were about to be slaughtered, the army fled, leaving all their belongings behind.

 After eating and drinking several times, the lepers carried silver, gold, and clothes and hid them. Then they said to one another, “We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king’s household,” so they went to the porter of the city and told him of there findings and he, in turn, told the king’s servants.

When the king heard the report, he thought the Syrians schemed to deceive them, making them leave the city and go to the Syrian camp, which would allow the Syrians to get into Samaria unharmed. A servant persuaded the king to send some men to the Syrian camp to investigate. The men found the lepers’ information was true, and they sent and told the king. The king appointed the captain, who doubted Elisha’s word, to be in charge of the city gate as the people went to the Syrian camp. Consequently, he died in the stampede of the people running to get the Syrians’ spoils, fulfilling Elisha’s words.  

Since I am only summarizing 2 Kings 7, I recommend you read the chapter to get the details. As I’ve done in the past, I conclude this blog with my thoughts and nuggets on this chapter, and they are:

  • People often forget how you assisted them in their time of need.
  • People seek to blame others for their problems.
  • Stressful conditions can cause someone to make poor decisions. 
  • Unbelievers have difficulty believing a Word from God.
  • Just because you can’t see a way being made does not mean it won’t happen.
  • Don’t limit God to what you can see.
  • When necessary, God can make men hear that which does not exist.
  • Fright can lead to flight.
  • God can use the most unlikely persons to bring about deliverance.
  • Self-preservation can push you beyond your fears.
  • People who don’t want to be seen will travel in the dark.
  • Be willing to share the good news with those that need to hear it.
  • When you are untrustworthy, it is difficult to trust others.
  • God can make your enemy’s fortune yours.
  • Your demise may be the result of your unbelief
  • God is continually merciful to the undeserving.
  • God supplies all of our needs.
  • With Divine intervention, you can go from a famine to a feast within twenty-four hours.

ELISHA SERIES: REVELATION KNOWLEDGE IN OPERATION

Revelation knowledge is a priceless asset to have in operation in one’s life, and it is usually functioning in the lives of prophets. 2 Kings 6 highlights this gift in Elisha’s life and how he was able to use it to help a mentee, a king, and nation, and finally when threatened with death himself.

2 Kings 6 opens with the sons of the prophets telling Elisha they had outgrown their present abode and needed a larger place to accommodate them. They suggested they move closer to the Jordan River to which Elisha agreed and accompanied them. As the prophets were cutting down wood, a borrowed axe fell into the river. The prophet who dropped it cried out, and Elisha responded by casting a stick in the water. God revealed to Elisha what is do and where to do it, and thankfully the axe came to the surface, and the young prophet was able to retrieve it.

The next portion of the chapter shares the events that took place when the king of Syria planned ambushments against Israel. Three times his plans failed because God revealed to Elisha the plans, and Elisha informed the king of Israel. At first, the king of Syria thought he had an informant amongst them who was sharing information with Israel. However, he was told by one of his servants, “None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.” With this news, the king sent a spy to find out where the prophet was. When the king was told Elisha was residing in Dothan, which was twelve miles from Samaria, the king sent horses, chariots, and a great host: and they surrounded Dothan during the night.

In the morning, when Elisha’s servant went out, he became alarmed when he saw The Syrian host, but Elisha said, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” Additionally, he prayed, “Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.” The Lord immediately answered this prayer by opening the eyes of the servant, and he saw the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around them. Because of the prayer request to God and the revelation knowledge Elisha shared with his servant, the servant could move from fear to faith.

As the enemy host came toward Elisha, he requested God to cause them to be blinded, which God did. Blinded and unbeknown to whom they were speaking, Elisha told them, “This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek, “and he led them into Samaria. Once again, he prayed, but he asked God to open their eyes this time. The king of Israel thought about killing these men, but first, he asked Elisha what should be done to them. Instead of killing the men, Elisha instructed the king to feed them and send them back to Syria.

After this, Israel experienced a period of peace, but then King Benhadad of Syria came with his army and besieged Samaria, causing a great famine to occur. This resulted in the animals forbidden by God to eat being consumed by the people. Additionally, after the king passed by the Samaria walls a woman requested help from him. Knowing his inability to do so, he said, “If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress? Consequently, the woman then described the cannibalistic act of her and her neighbor on her child, which made the king angry and blame Elisha for the famine.

Next, the enraged king sent an executioner to cut off Elisha’s head. God revealed to Elisha what was happening, and he instructed the elders to keep the door shut so the assassin could not get in. The last verse in this chapter reveals that the king who followed the executioner to Elisha’s abode felt God was causing the famine, so God was not going to intervene on their behalf. I will share what transpired after this in my next blog, which covers 2 Kings 7.  

In closing, here are my thoughts and nuggets that I gathered from this chapter:

  • When needed, industrious people do not mind working.
  • Leadership that is valued will be sought after.
  • A thoughtful leader will accompany his workers when requested.
  • While working, be diligent in handling the work equipment.
  • Confess what you have lost and what needs to be recovered.
  • God is concerned about the welfare of His servants.
  • When you borrow something, that item’s return is expected.
  • If you desire success, take counsel with God and not man.
  • Unbelievers do not know or understand the power of God.
  • God can reveal your secrets to a prophet.
  • A revelatory word accomplished the safety of a nation.
  • Thank God for those that will warn you of the enemy’s entrapments
  • You will be known far and near when you are a vessel God uses to do great exploits.
  • Particularly when it is dark, the enemy delights in setting up traps
  • When the enemy surrounds you, there is no need to fear, for the angels of God are present to assist you.
  • When in fear, speak to someone that can calm you.
  • Being able to see in the spirit realm is a valuable asset.
  • When needed, God will blind the eyes of your enemy.
  • God both opens and closes eyes.
  • To be charitable and hospitable to your enemy is pleasing to God.
  • Do good to those that hate you.
  • Kindness extended to the enemy army resulted in peace in the land.
  • Even kings must acknowledge it is from God that help comes
  • When people are starving, they will eat the unthinkable.
  • Anger and frustration cause people to forget who helped them in their time of need.
  • Before blaming others, look within yourself.
  • Attempting to kill a servant of God is not wise.

ELISHA SERIES: HEALING INSTRUCTIONS FOR A LEPER

Naaman, a Syrian army captain, known for his honorable characteristics, had leprosy. Being loved and cherished by King Ben-Hadad when told that a young maid who served Naaman’s wife said, “A prophet in Samaria could heal Naaman, “proposed that Naaman travel to Samaria to receive his healing.

The king of Syria sent Naaman with a letter to Joram, the king of Israel. Also, he carried ten talents of silver, six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment to be given to the prophet. Upon arrival in Israel, Naaman gave the letter sent by the king of Syria to him, and after reading it, the king became troubled. Renting his clothes, the king stated, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.”

When Elisha heard that the king had rented his clothes, he sent this word to the king, “Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” Thus Naaman was directed with those that accompanied him to Elisha’s house; however, Elisha did not come out and meet him but sent him these instructions. “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.”

Because Elisha did not come out to him, nor call on the name of the God, and strike his hand over him that he might recover from leprosy. Naaman became angry and declared, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?” About to leave and return home, his servants urged him to follow the simple instructions. Relenting, Naaman went to the Jordan River and dipped seven times, and on the seventh time, he was clean, and his flesh healed. 

Appreciative Naaman returned to Elisha, declaring that he now knew there was no God on all the earth but in Israel. Additionally, Naaman attempted to give Elisha gifts, but Elisha rejected the offer. Naaman requested some of the soil of Israel and uttered that though he was required to assist the king of Syria when he went to the temple of Rimmon, he would only offer sacrifices to Elisha’s God in the future.

After hearing the conversation between Naaman and Elisha Gehazi with an unauthorized plan to get some of the gifts pursued after Naaman, who was journeying home. By lying and misrepresenting, Elisha Gehazi was able to accomplish his plan, and when he got back home, he hid the gifts in his tent. He then went to Elisha, who questioned where he had been. Naaman lied again, but Elisha exposed Naaman’s wrongdoing and cursed him, saying, “Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed forever.” Consequently, Gehazi immediately became a leper.

Above, I did a summary of 2 Kings 5, but for an in-depth look into the life of Naaman, Elisha, and Gehazi, I recommend reading this chapter. As I’ve done in the previous blogs of this series, I end with my thoughts and nuggets on this story, and they are:

ELISHA SERIES: THE MIRACULOUS DEEDS OF ELISHA

While Elisha headed the schools of the prophets, 2 Kings 4 records four miraculous deeds that happened as he traveled to different areas teaching and ministering to those in need of a miracle.

As this chapter opens, a widow unable to pay her creditor comes to Elisha seeking assistance. She reminds Elisha of her husband’s fear of the Lord and informs him of the creditor’s plans. Elisha instructs her to borrow all the vessels she can from her neighbors and bring them into her house. Next, she is to shut the door of her home, take the pot of oil she has, and pour it into these empty vessels. After completing the task, the widow returned to Elisha, and he told her, “Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.”

The next miraculous event takes place in Shunem. After becoming friendly with Elisha and convinced that he was a holy man of God, a wealthy Shunem woman invited Elisha to stay in her house whenever he was in the area. Because of her kindness, Elisha wanted to do something for her. After finding out from the woman, she did not need material assistance, his servant Gehazi mentioned the woman whose husband was elderly did not have any children. Thusly, Elisha informed the woman that she would conceive and have a son the following year, which she did.

One day years later, this child became ill and died. His mother laid him on the bed in the room set aside for Elisha and shut the door. She told her husband, “ Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again,” and when her husband questioned what she was doing she said, “It shall be well.”

As she was approaching Elisha, who was at Mount Carmel, he saw her and sent Gehazi to find out if she and her family were well, to which she responded, “It is well” However, when she got to Elisha, she grabbed his feet and said, “Did I desire a son of my Lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?” In response, Elisha sends Gehazi with his staff and tells him, “Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child.” Meanwhile, the woman refuses to leave Elisha, so he travels with her back to her home.  

After following Elisha’s instructions and getting no response from the child, Gehazi returns to Elisha, who is on his way. Elisha went to his room upon arrival, shut the door, and prayed. Then he stretched himself upon the child, laid with his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hand until the child began to warm up. Elisha left his room, walked back and forth in the house, and then returned and laid himself on the child again. The child sneezed seven times and opened his eyes. Elisha had Gehazi call the women who came in and saw her son alive bowed herself to the ground at Elisha’s feet, then took up her son and went out.

At Gilgal, Elisha was teaching the young prophets, and at mealtime, he told his servant Gehazi to make them some stew to eat. Due to a famine in the land, the regular provisions were unavailable, so a young prophet went out in the field and gathered some wild gourds for Gehazi to cook. After the people started eating, they realized the food was poisoned, and they declared, “Oh, sir, there’s poison in this stew!” Elisha threw some meal in the pot, and the prophets were able to eat the stew without being harmed.

In the final recorded event of this chapter, Elisha told Gehazi to feed one hundred prophets with fresh corn and twenty loaves of barley bread brought to him by a Baal-shalisha man. Gehazi was hesitant to do so, thinking they did not have enough food; however, Elisha told him there would be enough, and they would even have leftovers. Just as Elisha said, when Gehazi fed them, all the prophets ate, and there were leftovers.

I have given a limited summary of these four miraculous deeds; therefore, I recommend you take time to read 2 Kings 4 for more details of these events. As I’ve done in the previous blogs, I end this similarly with my thoughts and nuggets on the chapter; and here they are:

  • When in trouble, know where to go for directions.
  • God is concerned about the care of widows.
  • When you know a prophet is legit, follow their directions.
  • God uses what you have.
  • As long as there is something empty, God can fill it.
  • God can make much out of little.
  • God is a God of multiplication.
  • When God provides, pay your debt.
  • Following the directions of the prophet yielded a positive outcome.
  • The hospitality extended to a servant of God can be rewarding.
  • God honors and rewards the kindness given to His servants.
  • When you are satisfied with your life, you feel content with what you have.
  • Don’t take advantage of someone’s generosity
  • Despite what you see, don’t doubt the power of God.
  • Act with faith on your beliefs.
  • Don’t succumb to discouragement while waiting and trusting God to intervene.
  • Rather than voice your fears, speak positively.
  • God reveals what He chooses to His servants, and they only know what God reveals.
  • Without the anointing, man cannot operate in the miraculous.
  • Some miracles only occur behind closed doors.
  • Some miracles happen over time.
  • A true servant of God is concerned about the welfare of others.
  • God can sustain His servants in times of famine.
  • When you are blessed, be willing to share with others.
  • God provides abundantly.
  • No matter your situation, obedience to godly instructions will yield positive results.

  ELISHA SERIES: A PROPHET OF THE LORD

The story of Elisha’s prophetic journey continues in 2 Kings 3. In 1 Kings 19:16, God told Elijah to anoint Elisha to be a prophet; however, in this chapter, we see him first called and recognized as a prophet by his countrymen.

King Ahab and Jezebel’s son Jehoram reigned in Israel, and it is stated that he continued the sins of Jeroboam, but he did remove the image of Baal from the land. Moab, a vassal state to Israel during King Ahab’s reign, rebelled against Israel by refusing to pay the yearly tribute. Consequently, Jehoram, not wanting to relinquish Moab’s sizable tribute, decided to engage Moab in battle, and he enlisted the help of Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah. Additionally, King Jehoshaphat engaged the king of Edom, a tributary of Judah, to join them.

While traveling with their troops through what was determined the best route in Edom, they experienced thirst, for there was no water in the area for man or beast. Mistakenly, King Jehoram thought God had brought them together for the defeat by Moab. However, King Jehoshaphat made this request, “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him?” In response, an Israelite servant said. “Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah,” to which Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So, the three kings went to Elisha, who knew the evil practices of King Jehoram’s parents, and he was angry that the king of Israel came to him. King Jehoram voiced his fears to Elisha and Elisha told him that the presence of King Jehoshaphat was the only reason he was conversing with them.

The hand of the Lord came on Elisha in response to him asking for a minstrel to play, and he spoke the word of the Lord to the three kings. He told them, “Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand. And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.”

The next morning at the time the meat offering was offered in Jerusalem, the ditches were filled with water coming from the direction of Edom. When the Moabites assembled for battle at the border of Edom saw the water, it appeared as blood. Mistakenly they thought the three kings had turned on each other and fought among themselves. Hence, they came to the camp of Israel to gather the spoil, only to find themselves in a losing battle. Israel followed the word of the Lord given to them by Elisha and despoiled the land of Moab. Finally, in desperation, the king of Moab offered a burnt offering of his oldest son to the god Chemosh on the city wall. Seeing what the king of Moab did troubled Israel and caused them to return to their land.

Here are the nuggets that I gained from 2 Kings 3 as relating to Elisha and the kings of Israel, Judah, and Moab:

  • God requires total submission to His laws, statutes, and commandments.
  • God recognizes when you serve him half-heartedly.
  • Check with God before aligning yourself with others.
  • Accept advice from those that are experienced.
  • If you haven’t consulted God first, don’t blame Him when you get into problematic situations.
  • People recognize a true prophet of God.
  • People will seek you when you are known to give an accurate word from God.
  • A true prophet can discern the heart of individuals.
  • Connection with the right person opens doors for you that otherwise would be shut.
  • The presence of the righteous brings favor from the Lord.
  • A skilled and gifted musician can set the atmosphere for the Word of the Lord to come forth.
  • When your spirit is calm, you are open to hearing from God.
  • God gives water to the thirsty.
  • God gave Israel both water and victory.
  • Divine intervention requires obedience to directions.
  • God can cause movement that the human ear will not detect.
  • God works in mysterious ways; He performs miracles that man can’t fathom.
  • God will allow your enemy to be deceived to mete out His judgment on them.
  • When you are fighting the enemy, destroy all of his resources
  • With God on your side, you are sure to win.
  • Move away from those that egregiously sin.

ELISHA SERIES: MOVING INTO THE NEXT

Previously, I did a blog on Elijah’s translation, and if you are interested in reading it, you can find it in the archive of theteacherspick.com. titled “ELIJAH SERIES: ELIJAH’S TRANSLATION.” In that blog, I focused on Elijah; in this blog, my focus will be on Elisha, who will be sadly closing one assignment and moving into his next one.

Years have passed since Elijah cast his mantle on Elisha, and during that time, Elisha served Elijah as a servant and mentee. Whether this time of serving and training was rewarding or taxing, the scriptures did not say; in this second time, we see Elijah and Elisha together 2 King 2 reveals a bond has taken place, and Elisha is having difficulty with Elijah’s pending departure.

Elijah and Elisha’s last day together started in the town of Gilgal. Then they traveled to Bethel and on to Jericho. In these places, the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? Elisha confirmed that he knew what would happen and told them to stop talking. Also, while in these various areas, Elijah told Elisha to remain; however, Elisha responded, “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.”                      

From Jericho, they went to the Jordan River, which was divided for them when Elijah took his mantle and smote the waters, and they went over to the other side. Then Elijah asked Elisha what he could do for him before he left him, and Elisha answered, “I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” Elijah informed Elisha his request was difficult; nevertheless, if Elisha saw his translation, his request would be granted.

While they journeyed on, a chariot of fire with horses of fire appeared and separated them, and a whirlwind took Elijah up into heaven. Seeing this, Elisha cried, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof,” and in grief, he tore his clothes into two pieces. Then he picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him as he ascended into heaven.

Now alone, Elisha returned to the Jordan River and smote the waters with Elijah’s mantle, saying, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” As it did previously, the waters parted, and Elisha crossed over to the other side, where he met the sons of the prophets who had been watching from that side of the Jordan River. Saying, “The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha,” they came and bowed themselves to the ground before him. Additionally, they requested permission to send fifty servants to search for the body of Elijah. At first, Elisha told them not to do so, but then he yielded to the pressure they placed on him to send out a search party. When the servants returned empty-handed, he said, “Did I not say unto you, Go not?”

The second miracle performed by Elisha occurred when the men of the city said to him, “Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren.” Elisha had the men bring him a jar with salt in it which he poured into the waters, followed by a word from the Lord declaring the waters healed, and there would be no more death or barren land.

Thereafter while traveling to Bethel, Elisha encountered a group of youth who foolishly mocked his assignment and appearance. Elisha responded by cursing them in the Lord’s name; consequently, two she-bears came out of the wood and mauled forty-two of them. Elisha continued on his journey to Mount Carmel, and from there, he returned to Samaria.

Here are some conclusions and nuggets that I gained from this chapter:

  • Elijah and Elisha were from different generations and shared a camaraderie and love for each other.
  • For years Elisha was a companion of Elijah, so he knew his spirit and desired to be like him.
  • Despite discouraging words from the sons of the prophets, Elisha continued his assignment with unwavering fidelity. Don’t allow negative statements to deter you. Shut negative comments and opinions down.
  • Some truths are difficult to hear.
  • Listen to the leading of God and not men.
  • As you journey through life, your commitment will be tested.
  • A double portion in Israel is known as the firstborn’s blessing, which enabled this individual to receive more than his siblings. Elisha was not Elijah’s natural son; he was spiritually connected to him. Elisha understood he needed a double portion to carry on the work, and thus he requested it. He did not seek the wealth or prestige that he previously had.
  • To acquire his request, Elisha could not be distracted; he had to remain focused on Elijah.
  • You must remain to the end to receive all that can be obtained.
  • A positive reward comes when you are in the right place.
  • Experiencing the departure of a loved one can be grievous. Elisha continued doing the work though he was grieving for his mentor.
  • In smiting the water as Elijah did, Elisha followed a pattern that worked previously.
  • There are always spectators waiting to see what is going to happen. Some speculate while others participate.
  • When people are unaware of how events occurred, they seek answers.
  • Jericho was under a curse from the time of Joshua. The city was to remain torn down; however, it was rebuilt during the reign of King Ahab (Joshua 6:26, 1 Kings 16:34). This was probably why the water was distasteful and the land barren.
  • Salt is known to purify, preserve, season, prevent putrefaction and is an emblem of grace and divine holiness. In this chapter, salt, accompanied by the Lord’s Word, healed the spring of waters and barren land.
  • As God was with Elijah, so was, He with Elisha.
  • Children are to be taught respect for their elders.
  • God will even use wild animals to execute judgment on the unbelieving.
  • Leaving the past is necessary to enter into the future.

Finally, I invite you to come back next week and read the next posting of this series as we continue to share the life of Elisha.

ELISHA SERIES: CHOSEN AS A SUCCESSOR

Elisha is introduced to readers in 1 Kings 19. In this chapter, we read Elijah and Elisha’s initial meeting after God had instructed Elijah to anoint Elisha, the son of Shaphat, whose name means “My God is salvation,” to be his successor.

Having received his instruction Elijah went to the Jordan valley, where he found Elisha in his field plowing behind twelve oxen and passing by him Elijah cast his mantel on him. Knowing what that meant, Elisha requested permission to say farewell to his parents before accompanying Elijah. Hence Elisha returned home, gave his farewells, slew and cooked two of his oxen, and gave the meat to the people. After which, he reconnected with Elijah and became his attendant.

Here are some nuggets that I obtained from this chapter: 

When God gives specific instructions, don’t delay in following them. Elijah did not hesitate in obeying God.

Elisha was not seeking promotion or a position; God chose him to be Elijah’s successor in Israel. God does have an assignment for each of us.

Elisha was not an idle man; Elijah found him working. God is known for using the industrious. God promotes busy people.

Throwing one’s cloak on another represented a symbolic invitation to discipleship.

Having twelve yokes of oxen reveals Elisha came from a wealthy family; however, he was willing to give it up to do God’s bidding. Without knowing the details of his future assignment, Elisha left his husbandry.

Elisha showed his knowledge of authority when he requested permission from Elijah to go and tell his parents he was leaving them.

There is a proper way to leave home. Loving and respecting his parents, Elisha informs them of his departure.

Resolved to follow Elijah, Elisha takes the plowing instruments and uses them for fuel to cook two of his oxen which he gives to the town people as a celebratory farewell meal. For you to move on may require getting rid of personal equipment. If you burn it as Elisha did, you can’t go back and retrieve it.

Before fully embracing the role of a prophet Elisha submitted himself to another. Commentaries believe Elisha served Elijah for approximately ten years; during this time, he probably learned valuable lessons. God allowed Elisha to receive training before actually stepping into the position of a prophet. God prepares men for their assignments.

Elisha accepted his assignment without questioning the particulars. To serve requires self-denial. Elisha gave up his life to serve Elijah.

Finally, you must leave the past to go into the future; you must leave the familiar to go into the unknown and must leave the old to go into the new.

MEMBERSHIP IN THE HATED CLUB

What is the qualification for membership into the hated club, you might ask? The answer is loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. When you do this, you are quickly thrust into membership.

Most of us want to be loved and respected by the masses; however, Jesus took time to share with his followers that they would be hated by their parents, siblings, kinfolks, and friends (Matthew 10:22, Luke 21:16-17, Mark 13:12-13). Despite the words of Jesus, we act in denial of it. We, believers, fail to realize if we are faithful followers, we automatically have membership in The Hated Club.

In John 15:18- 24, Jesus shared information about this club to comfort his followers and give them knowledge and understanding of their future. These crucial points that He stated were relevant then and remain the same today.

  1. Jesus was the first to be hated in this association.
  2. The world loves those that are in alignment with them.
  3. Just as the world hated Jesus, it will hate you.
  4. Your chosen status causes you to be hated.
  5. Like the world persecuted Jesus, His chosen can expect a similar treatment of persecution.
  6. The world did not obey Jesus’ teachings, and they will not heed yours.
  7. The lack of knowledge and recognition of God caused the world to reject Him.
  8. Jesus’ coming and interaction with the world exposed their sins
  9. On earth, Jesus did what no other man had done; thus, the world had no excuse for sinning.
  10. When someone hates Christ, automatically, they are hating His Father.

In closing, please don’t feel hurt because you have membership in The Hated Club, for this club comes with blessings and eternal benefits, as recounted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. He said, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).

TAKE A BREAK

Jesus was extremely busy doing His father’s work. He would get up in the early morning to pray, and then he would go about the cities and towns preaching, teaching, healing the sick, and casting out demons (Mark 1:32-35). Additionally, the Gospels informed us that Jesus healed all that came to Him, causing the crowds to follow him and the disciples wherever they went (Matthew 8:16, Luke 4:40-41).

Since Jesus and his disciples were humans, they needed time to rest from the demands of ministry. Realizing His disciples were exhausted, the scripture said in Mark 6: 31-32, “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.” Similar to us, when we get busy and don’t stop to eat or rest, Jesus and His disciples had that same experience.

Fortunately, Jesus addressed the issue and showed us that taking a break was o.k. He understood life could be taxing: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Needless to say, in this chaotic stress-producing world in which we live, we all need to take a break. So, that is what I am going to do for the next several weeks. After that time, I will return to my weekly blogging. Until then, I pray all will be well with you, and if you haven’t done so, please take a break.

THE RAPTURE EXPERIENCE

During the lifetime of Jesus on earth, in the Jewish culture, a couple was considered married at the signing of their marriage contract, with the consummation and marriage feast planned as a future event. The intended groom would leave the bride and go to prepare a home for her, which was attached to his father’s house. After the home was completed and approved by his father, the father would send the groom to get his bride. Knowing His listeners were familiar with this wedding custom Jesus in His discourse of end-time events, used that fact in Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” He was telling the listeners He did not know when the rapture would happen; only His Father knew.

The word “rapture” is not found in the Bible; however, the dictionary defines it as transporting believers from earth to heaven at the Second Coming of Christ. Some commentaries believe the experience of John in Revelation 4:1, which states, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter,” is a reflection of the believers being caught up into the heaven at the time of the rapture, and there are others that debate it.

Though 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 does not use the word rapture, what happens in those verses describes the dictionary definition of rapture. It states, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” According to what is written, Jesus descends from heaven with a shout, a soul-stirring cry of an archangel, and a trumpet call of God. Those believers that have died, wherever they were buried, will arise, and by the time they reach the earth’s surface, those alive believers will join them and ascend into heaven to be with our Lord Jesus.

What is fascinating to me is at that time, believers will pass through a material, whether it be metal, water, wood, soil, or rock. Additionally, since the Bible says we will be like Jesus, we will probably continue to do so throughout eternity.

Also, 1 Corinthians 15: 51-53 informs us that our body will become immortal and incorruptible. Those verses states, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Thus, rapture believers will no longer die nor be corrupted by the sin nature, and all of this change takes place instantaneously.

I don’t know about you, but just thinking about this event excites me, and I am anxiously awaiting this rapture experience