God selected Elisha as Elijah's successor (1 Kings 19:16). When Elijah was
taken up to heaven, Elisha took up his mantle and began his ministry. He was
given a “double portion” of Elijah's spirit, making him a mighty
worker of miracles. Due to the large number events from his ministry
recorded in 2 Kings chapters 1-13, this article discusses only a few. The
principle enemy of Israel during Elisha's time was Syria.
The Beginning of
Elisha's Ministry (2 Kings 2:1-18)
Elijah knew how to make an exit! Elijah, Elisha, and the sons of the
prophets knew that Elijah's ministry was close to the end (1 Kings 2:3-9).
Elisha, as the appointed successor of Elijah, asked for a double portion of
Elijah's spirit and this was conditionally granted (2:10). After the two
prophets were separated by horses and chariots of fire, Elijah was taken to
heaven in a whirlwind (1 Kings 2:11).
As Elijah departed, his mantle fell, and Elisha used it to cross the Jordan
miraculously. He was thereby accepted by the sons of the prophets as
Elijah's successor (2:14,15).
There come times when the appropriate response to something that troubles us
is to “be still.” (2 KINGS 2:5). The other prophets informed Elisha
that he was about to lose his mentor, friend and teacher. Would he be able
to endure his loss? Can he be successful without Elijah's guidance? His
answer to the prophets, Yes… “be still.” That is, be calm and at
peace. His life is a mission which will not be deterred even with the
departure of his friend and comrade. No loss ought to be allowed to thwart
the life's mission of a man or woman of God (see also Psalm 46:1-7;
God rewards His people on earth and in heaven. Elijah's departure was not a
defeat, but victory! Though his departure was unique, Elijah was heading
toward the same eternal victory that all God's faithful look forward to;
“knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.
It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
The Shunammite Woman
(2 Kings 4:8-37)
The Shunammite woman, a devout and prominent lady, provided food and lodging
for Elisha on his frequent trips by Shunem (2 Kings 4:8,9). When she refused
Elisha's offer of worldly recognition, he informed her that her reward would
be a son. Though she doubted as Sarah had a thousand years previously (Gen.
18:14). Of course, the prophecy was fulfilled (2 Kings 4:16).
When the son subsequently died, her great faith led her to travel the 25
miles to Mt. Carmel, bringing Elisha to heal her son (4:22-25).
God's people show their devoutness and faith by their works. It is easy to
claim devotion, but it is an empty claim apart from deeds (James 1:25;
2:17,18; Hebrews 6:9,10). Great faith brings great rewards to God's people,
The Scriptures say, “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap
sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one
must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under
compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all
grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything,
you may have an abundance for every good deed;” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
Naaman The Leper (2
Naaman, captain of the Syrian army, was leprous. Due to the faith of an
Israelite slave girl, he went to Israel to be healed, but mistakenly
presented himself before the king of Israel. The king took this to be a
pretext for war and was greatly distressed.
Elisha, hearing of the King's distress, sent for Naaman so that "he would
know that there is a prophet in Israel." Naaman was furious when Elisha
did not personally cure him but sent his servant, Gehazi, to tell Naaman to
wash in the "dirty" Jordan. Being well advised by his servants, Naaman
repented and did as he had been instructed. He was healed and believed in
God. (2 Kings 5:14,15)
God's word must be followed faithfully if one is to receive God's blessings.
Naaman thought there was a better way to do it. “Wouldn't it be better…”
No, it wouldn't. Naaman's preference would not cleanse him of his leprosy.
Likewise, our preferences will not cleanse us of sin. But God will, when we
are willing to do as Namaan did, and put away our preferences, and submit to
God. (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
The Anointing of
Hazael And Jehu (1 Kings 19:15-17; 2 Kings. 8:7-15; 9:1-13)
Ben-hadad, king of Syria, sent his servant Hazael to inquire of Elisha if he
would recover from a sickness. Elisha replied that he would recover, but
would certainly die. Hazael was ashamed when Elisha looked at him (2 Kings
8:11). Elisha told Hazael that he would be king over Syria, and would do
much harm to Israel. Hazael fulfilled these prophecies when he murdered Ben-hadad.
Shalmaneser III, king of Assyria, stated in an inscription that Hazael, son
of nobody, seized the throne of Syria. Thus, history confirms the accuracy
of Elisha's predictive words.
Jehu, a captain in Israel's army, was anointed by Elisha as king of Israel
(2 Kgs. 9:1-13). He was responsible for the deaths of Joram, Ahaziah,
Jezebel, and all of Ahab's household. This, too, was in fulfillment of God's
promise to judge the household of Ahab.
God punishes the unrighteous, one way or the other, sooner or later, Ben-hadad
would pay for his wickedness. This is true for everyone (2 Corinthians
5:10). Ahab's house was doomed because of his and Jezebel's wickedness.
Everything that had been prophesied about its demise, including incidentals
were fulfilled. God's prophetic word is true. All of it, without fail
9 "Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, "My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';
From The Bradley Banner 5/29/2005
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
Bradley, IL 60915