Old Testament Prophets #2: ELISHA http://jimandrachel.net/tag/prophets/ http://walkwiththeword.org OT prophets: 900 – 400 BCE Prophets’ work often had 2 components: enact a parable, articulate a message Curriculum: Old Testament Challenge: Pursuing Spiritual Authenticity. John Ortberg, Zondervan, 2004. Commentary: New International Biblical Commentary, 1 & 2 Kings. Iain W. Provan. Hendrickson Publishers, 1995. Extremely snarky, irreverent, but surprisingly useful abridged/condensed story of the Bible: God is Disappointed in You. Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler. Top Shelf Productions, 2013. 2 Kings “Somewhere along the line, God and the Jews became more than just friends. In fact, God considered himself to be married to the Jews…. (It) was a tempestuous, rancorous affair. The Jews were always … flirting with other gods, while God would lose his temper…. Every now and then, God would appoint a prophet to act as a sot of marriage counselor. These prophets were always trying to patch things up between God and the Jews. (Russell, p. 60) The prophet Elijah’s marriage counseling career had come to an end. For his retirement party, God sent a golden chariot, which came swooping down from the sky and carried Elijah…up to heaven. Elijah’s marriage counseling practice passed on to his protégé, Elisha. (Russell, p. 60) http://www.markmallett.com/ “To help him with his work, God granted Elisha miraculous powers. Elisha traveled the country, using his powers to remind the Jews of the spark they once felt for God. Most of the miracles Elisha performed were quite practical and helpful. … “Wow, thanks, Elisha!” people would say. “Maybe we can work things out with God, after all.” (Russell, 61) 2 Kings 6:14-23 So the King of Aram sent horses and chariots (to the city where Elisha was) and a great army; they came by night, and surrounded the city. When an attendant of Elisha’s, the man of God, rose early in the morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. His servant said, “Alas, master! What shall we do?” He replied, “Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.” Then Elisha prayed: “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 1. What if God’s reality is always greater than the fearful realities which surrounds us? Even when the odds are ridiculous? When have you felt like that – surrounded by difficulties bigger than yourself? or more numerous than you can count? Where was God already at work around you? What could you see at the time? What could you only recognize in hind sight? Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them. 2 Kings 6:16 Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 Right. So how should we then live?? (Francis Schaeffer, L’Abri, 1976) With RADICAL COMPASSION 2 Kings 6:18 – 23 When the Arameans came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, “Strike this people, please, with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness as Elisha had asked. Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city; follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria (about 11 miles south). As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men so that they may see.” The Lord opened their eyes, and they saw that they were inside Samaria. When the king of Israel saw them he said to Elisha, “Father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” He answered, “No! Did you capture with your sword and your bow those whom you want to kill? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink; and let them go to their master.” So he prepared for them a great feast; after they ate and drank, he sent them on their way, and they went to their master. And the Arameans no longer came raiding into the land of Israel.