If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Kings 4, 1 Timothy 1, Daniel 8, Psalm 116. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read 2 Kings 4.
There are a couple of things to remember as we read 2 Kings 4 today:
First, remember that Elisha served the Lord in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This is the kingdom where there nineteen total kings after the division of Jeroboam. Of those nineteen kings, not one of them is described as a “good” king. Elisha served God when there was no godly leadership in Israel’s government.
Second, remember that Elijah served the Lord during the kingdom of Ahab and Jezebel. Ahab was the worst king ever in the sight of God according to 1 Kings 16:30, 33: “Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him…. and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.” By the time Elisha became a prominent prophet, Ahab’s wicked son Ahaziah had already died (2 Kings 1:1-16) and since he had no son, Joram became king. Joram was not nearly as evil as Ahab, but 2 Kings 3:2-3 says, “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.” So he wasn’t as bad as Ahab but he was still an ungodly man.
This is the spiritual environment Elisha was serving in; given that, it is not surprising to know that God’s people were suffering because of their own disobedience. The person who wasn’t suffering, surprisingly, was Elisha; in fact, God was using him in unprecedented ways.
First, God used Elisha to take care of a widow. She was not just any widow, however; she was, “The wife of a man from the company of the prophets….” In other words, he was a man of God learning from Elisha how to serve the Lord as a prophet. When he died, he left a widow, two younger boys (vv. 1-2), and a truckload of debt (v. 1c, 7). It took a miracle, but God provided for this man’s family.
Second, God used Elisha to raise a young boy from the dead (vv. 8-37). He was not any young boy, however; he was the young son of “a well-to-do woman” (v. 8) who provided for God’s prophet Elisha.
Third, God used Elisha to miraculously feed his prophetic students by preserving them from poisoning (vv. 38-40).
Finally, God used Elisha to feed one hundred men (vv. 42-44).
The point of all of this is that in a country hostile to God’s word, God worked in and through Elisha’s life with power. He provided for his servant leaders (vv. 1-7), those who were generous to God’s prophet (vv.8-37), those who were studying to be God’s prophets (vv. 38-44). Why was there such an outburst of God’s activity at this time and through this man Elisha? Part of the answer has to do with how bad the moral and political climate was in Israel. With no godly king past, present, or future, things looked grim for Israel morally speaking. That’s when God sent the greatest miracle-worker of the Old Testament—Elisha. He sent him to speak for God and show God’s power in a nation that had rejected God. God not only used Elisha to rail against the sins of the creed, he used him to provide for others who were also serving him.
In our political climate it is hard not only to feel encouraged about our nation but also to know how to vote. Hysteria reigns supreme and evangelical leaders (who, really now, ought to know better) stoke the flames by telling us that this is the last election before America falls apart. So, we’d better vote to save America.
I do believe that the issues facing our country are serious, but let’s not overreact to it. God is in control of this election. His power worked through Elisha in unique during some of Israel’s most ungodly days, both providing for Elisha and his school of prophets and for godly others in the Northern kingdom who worshipped him faithfully. Let his passage encourage you, then; if God’s power worked through Elisha and God himself provided for Elisha’s helpers and patrons, isn’t he able to provide for us and protect us? Isn’t he able to unleash his power through us the faithful in ways that he never did before?
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/calvarybiblechurch/. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.