By Jon W. Quinn

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; Colossians 3:1-4).

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.”
(Colossians 3:24)

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 Kings 5:1-19)
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';

(Isaiah 46:9,10).

From The Bradley Banner 5/29/2005
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
Bradley, IL 60915


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