Elisha: Amazing Prophet
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
His Call: I Kings 19:15-21
Elisha totally turned from all he had been doing to follow this call. He destroyed the path back to his previous means of support. (No turning back…) He immediately became Elijah’s personal attendant. He was present for all the ministry of Elijah from then on. He carried within himself, the same zeal for God Elijah had.
Miracle #1. (Mantle: A large sleeveless outer garment -Davis Dictionary of the Bible/Baker Book House): II Kings 2:1-14. Elijah’s mantle was used to part the river. Notice that Elijah had said “If this happens, then that will happen.” “If this happens, then your request has been granted”. Once the mantle was in Elisha’s grasp, he used it as Elijah had. His request had been granted by God.
Miracle #2. (Healed waters): II Kings 2:19-22. -Throwing the salt into the water was a prophetic act, not a chemical cure. Prophetic acts are often seen in connection with miracles done through the prophets. God met the legitimate need of His people by means of a miracle. Interestingly, Jesus calls those who truly follow him “the Salt of the Earth”. (preventing decay, preserving goodness, adding flavor, melting ice)
Miracle #3. (Judgement upon the large gang of mocking teens) 2:23-25: (not children. This was a gang.) Note: Elisha did not call for bears to come and attack this gang. He simply pronounced a curse. The bears did not necessarily kill these young men, but they would never again look down at Elisha. As far as we know, nothing like this public ridicule/bullying ever happened to Elisha again in all the cities he went to. Baldness cannot hinder God from moving through those who are yielded to Him. By the way, neither can God be stopped by someone’s last name, shortness, tall/gawkiness, coming from a poor family, color/race, or any things such as these. God is looking for people who are sold out to Him. That is who He can use to do His will.
Miracle #4. (The flooded ditches and victory over Moab): also note the power of music in situations where God is needed: 3:1-24 The King asked Elisha to get God’s help when the army was facing a lack of water and was in real peril. God responded when the King did as God said through the prophet. Not only was there a miracle provision of more than enough water, but the enemy army was destroyed when they saw what they assumed to be Israelite blood, assumed the Israeli army was dead, and came swooping in to loot whatever was there. God did more than anyone could have imagined, in response to a request for water.
Miracle #5. (The Widow’s Oil): 4:1-7 (prophetic act in borrowing the pots.) Note that part of the instructions to her was to borrow “many vessels…not just a few”. The level of God’s miracle provision here was according to her level of obedience. Her faith was shown by this obedience. The enemy tries to steal your hope for the future, as with her sons, but God desires to take care of His people, and calls us to cooperate with Him in such matters.
Miracle #6. (The Shunammite Woman bears a son): 4:8-17 In this instance, this woman did not have to do anything to demonstrate faith. The prophet’s word simply came to pass. Her part came earlier, in providing shelter, food, and rest for God’s servant. God simply was going to bless her and her husband in this instance.
Miracle #7. (The dead son raised to life): 4:18-37 Many years, perhaps 12 have passed. The child has grown up and is becoming a young man who has learned the family farm business. Something terrible happened in his head, perhaps a burst aneurysm, and it killed him. His mother did not panic, but immediately sought out Elisha, whom she knew to be connected to God. But, she was also struggling with her faith and against bitterness in that hour. This was revealed in her words to Elisha. Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, failed to bring back the young man, even with Elisha’s staff in his hand. Gehazi went through the motions. He was not fully given over to seeing this young man brought back to life. Then Elisha gave himself 100% to the task of raising the dead boy to life. (By touching the boy’s body, Elisha made himself ceremonially unclean.) Elisha even made a second effort after a partial result (The body grew warm after having been cold.) the first time. Then the boy was raised from the dead completely. (Awake and competent.)
Miracle #8. (The poison neutralized): 4:38-41 A substance was used in a prophetic act here. Throwing flour into the pot did not neutralize the poison. Obeying God’s leading neutralized the poison. God does His will here on Earth by means of people who will obey Him 100%, thus becoming conduits truth, of life, of blessing, of correction, of light in the dark world.
Miracle #9. (Food Multiplied): 4:42-44. Note that this was right after the healing of the stew. The famine was still on. A godly Israelite man brought a first fruits offering to Elisha and the camp of the prophets. Elisha then set this package of 20 dinner rolls and possibly 20 ears of corn before 100 very hungry men, In doing this, Elisha foreshadowed the later multiplying of food in Jesus’ ministry. Notice that he didn’t have to call a meeting of advisors to decide what to do. He didn’t even need time alone to think and pray. He just knew what to do, because he was close to the Lord. He sensed the Lord’s leading and went with it. There was food left over.
Miracle #10. (Naaman’s Healing): 5:1-14. Naaman needed to do a humble act of obedience. He was prideful about his nationality. He trusted in that, but it could not save him. Fortunately, he listened to a wise servant girl and did what Elisha had instructed him to do. Then he was healed. It was always God’s will for him to be healed, but if he had ridden off in his pride, he would never have been healed. Religious minded people would have said that God simply wanted him to be diseased. Thus, his prideful disobedience would have doomed him to leprosy, and it would have misrepresented God to others.
Miracle #11. (Judgement on Gehazi): 5:15-27. (Greed leads to many sins.) Gehazi was not wholehearted about serving God the way that Elisha had been back when he was Elijah’s attendant. This left Gehazi open to feelings of entitlement regarding money. This led to greed and a wicked plot, which he carried out in defrauding Naaman, and in lying to both Naaman and Elisha. Elisha had made it totally clear that there was to be no money in exchange for God’s kindness to Naaman, but Naaman’s offer of money got stuck in Gehazi’s thinking, because he was self-seeking. Gehazi went after Naaman to falsely claim that Elisha had requested money and clothes for 2 young men.
God transported Elisha in the spirit to the place where Gehazi asked Naaman for these things. Elisha heard and saw the whole matter. When he later pronounced God’s judgment upon Gehazi in this matter, he did so as a witness to the transgression which had taken place. The judgment of leprosy upon Gehazi was indeed fearsome. We do not know what could have been if Gehazi had then repented of his sin and sought God’s mercy. He did not do so. It seems that this personal attendant of Elisha was not of the same heart as his master. He left the camp and was never mentioned again in the Bible.
Miracle #12. (The Ax head floats.): 6:1-7 (very young man/boy, then a prophetic act) The young man in this incident, who was a part of the group of godly men known as the sons of the prophets, probably made a simple mistake in not fitting a fresh wedge into the ax handle of his borrowed tool. As he was using the ax, the head flew off from it and into the Jordan river. When he could not find the ax head, he did the right thing in telling Elisha about it. This stick thrown into the river was not magic. The Lord God prompted Elisha to do this and he did it in obedience to God. This obedience released God’s miracle power into this situation and the need was met, as the impossible happened before their eyes.
Miracles #13 & #14. (Word of knowledge, discerning of spirits, blindness, and healing from blindness): 6:8-23
God often would give a word of knowledge to Elisha, concerning the whereabouts of the enemy army and king, when they were trying to be sneaky and capture or kill the kind of Israel. Elisha would then let the king know what was happening. This thwarted the enemy’s plans over and over. So, the king of Aram decided to capture Elisha, in order to put a stop to this. He came with overwhelming force to do so. Elisha’s new personal attendant became very afraid when he saw the enemy’s encampment surrounding them. Elisha prayed for the servant’s eyes (spiritual eyes) to be opened and suddenly the man could see God’s angel army with chariots of fire everywhere. This formidable force was there with them!
This actual seeing into the spirit realm was what the New Testament calls “The discerning of spirits”. It gave great confidence to Elisha’s personal servant when he saw that “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
Then, when the enemy approached, Elisha called for God to bring blindness upon them all; and God did so. Then Elisha led them all into the capital city Samaria. There he asked God to restore their sight, and God did so. The King of Israel asked the prophet if he should kill them all, but Elisha prescribed kindness, and the King prepared a great feast for them and then send them home to Aram. They never raided Israel any more after that…for some years.
Miracle #15. (The siege broken): 6:24-7:20. Some time (years) later, the King of Aram besieged Samaria. There was no food after a while and people were starving and desperate. King Ahab wanted to kill Elisha, somehow blaming him (and God) for this crisis. When he sent a messenger to Elisha’s house, and went there himself, Elisha told the men who were visiting him ahead of time exactly the order of this visit. He then told the king that the siege would be broken within 24 hours and there would be a great abundance of food. When the king’s attendant refused to believe this, Elisha told him that he would see it happen, but would not partake of this bounty.
It all came true. Four lepers who went out to surrender to the Arameans found that they had fled in terror and had left all their provisions behind. God had caused them to panic, hearing a giant army coming after them…an army that did not exist!
After investigation, the king let the people go get the Aramean food and goods. There was more than enough for the whole city and prices fell to almost nothing! The servant of the king who had scoffed at what Elisha had said, got trampled by the crowd and died after having seen this miracle provision. It all happened exactly as Elisha had said.
Miracle #16. (The deathbed prophecy to Joash): 13:14-19 & 22-25. Here, the very elderly Elisha called upon the king to do a prophetic act, and the king did so, but it was done weakly and without enthusiasm. The Arameans had been a thorn in Israel’s side for several generations. Elisha prophesied Israel’s soon-coming multiple victories over Aram. In the course of this he asked the King to strike the ground with his arrows, but king, Joash, only hit the ground 3 times, which limited the victories to 3. Prophetic acts can be vital in the releasing of God’s power and blessing into a situation.
Miracle #17. (The raising of a dead man after Elisha’s death): 13:20-21. Resurrection is coming. God does not abandon His own people after death. The presence of God was still there, even in the tomb, keeping track of Elisha’s earthly remains. This is important, because the resurrection is a central truth of our Faith. God designed us as tri-part beings. We are spirit beings who have a soul and live in a body. We will live in our bodies in eternity too. Paul wrote that for the believer, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, (II Corinthians 5:8) He also wrote that this separation will not be permanent. I Corinthians 15 goes into much detail about the resurrection of our bodies, and in I Thessalonians 4 we have a description of that amazing future moment when all of the dead in Christ will be raised, and all believers who are alive at that time shall then be caught up into the air with them to meet the Lord, and also changed into their resurrection bodies, without dying first!
So, the final thing we see concerning Elisha the prophet is God’s resurrection power in action! That day will come! Do not be discouraged about that. Walk with the Lord. Stay close to Him! n