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Bible verses about Elisha
(From Forerunner Commentary)

1 Kings 18:19-21  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Elijah is quite instructive here. He began to prophesy in a time of immediate crisis, one that would become far worse before it ever improved. There was tremendous evil to overcome. His ministry took place about 150 years before Israel was to fall, becoming the Lost Ten Tribes, so God was beginning to make a powerful witness to them. Elijah's work was to reveal the true God to Israel in a time of growing national crisis. Elijah prepared the way for Elisha, who had a double portion of Elijah's spirit and did many more miracles. In this regard, Elijah was a type of John the Baptist, and Elisha, a type of Christ. God's pattern is being established. He sends someone long before the real crisis reaches its peak, while it is building.

Elijah says disturbing things. This is a prophet's job, a hallmark of a prophet of God. People like to feel comfortable. The only trouble is that people like to feel comfortable in moral mediocrity. They become "settled on their lees," as it says in Zephaniah 1:12. The prophet comes along and troubles people by awakening them to their sins, making them feel guilty about their relationships with God and each other. He awakens them to their spiritual and moral responsibilities. These Israelites were lethargic in terms of true, spiritual matters.

When a person is freezing to death, he feels a pleasant numbness that he does not want to end. He just goes to sleep as he is freezing to death. But when heat is applied, and the blood begins rushing into the affected areas, pain immediately occurs. Though it hurts, the pain is indicative of rescue and cure. God sends a prophet to people who are cold in their relationship with God—spiritually freezing to death—though they want to stay that way. The prophet turns the heat on, and they become angry with him when he is actually working to make them better. He is often accused of causing their pain.

A prophet's life is not a happy situation. Perhaps the clearest example of this is Jeremiah, who moaned and complained to God, "This is more difficult than You ever told me it would be. You tricked me." He did not like the position God put him in. He wanted people to like him, which is understandable. Nevertheless, he was still faithful, and he did his job. Yet, he was in trouble his whole life, from his teenage years on.

There are several ideas as to exactly what Elijah meant by "How long will you falter between two opinions?" One idea is that he means, "How long are you going to hop from branch to branch?"—like a bird in a tree. The bird cannot make up its mind where it wants to settle down, so it just keeps hopping around. Another idea is that it pictures a person shifting his weight from one foot to the other, indicating a degree of lameness. A third is that he is describing somebody teetering on a tightrope and trying to maintain his balance. Whatever the case, there is no doubt about Elijah's intent: "How long will you keep shifting from one opinion to the other?" Their spiritual lethargy for the true God made them uncommitted. Their commitment went one way, and then it went the other way.

Once Elijah began preaching, their conscience pricked them, and it encouraged them to worship the true God. But their carnality and their fear of men persuaded them to worship Baal, because they wanted to be friends with their fellow Israelites. They were straddling the fence in a precarious state of imbalance, attempting to combine the worship of God with the more popular worship of Baal and Asherah. This is typical Israeliltish syncretism, but it will not work.

At one point in A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton, he deals with soldiers who left the service of their army—either the Confederate army or the Union army. These soldiers would surrender themselves to the other side to be given a bit of favor and put into prison. In exchange, they would offer information about their unit. For a while, both sides—the Confederate and the Union—accepted those turncoats and took their information. However, before the war was over, both sides were summarily executing anybody who did this because those traitors could not be trusted. Most of the information they gave turned out to be wrong, to be lies. Most of them were just saving themselves and making themselves comfortable in their situation. They were not committed to the side that they were supposed to be on. Elijah was dealing with the same thing here, albeit spiritually.

When Elijah preached his message, it put the people in a bind because they knew their conscience was telling them that they had to commit themselves to God or to Baal. It disturbed them. Only the individual could decide which side he would be on, because Elijah made it clear, "God does not want you the way you are. Either you are going to be committed to Him or not. If you will not be committed to Him, you are going to die."

Baal, of course, could not talk to them, but if he could, he would probably have said basically the same thing, so the people were in a very uncomfortable situation. The lesson for us becomes clear, because Jesus says the same thing (Matthew 6:24; 12:25). The Sovereign Creator is not a God who allows His favor to be bought with crumbs. He is a loving Master who only is to be obeyed and served—and only on His terms.

Elijah was sent by God, and he was fulfilling the responsibility of a prophet, to prod the people to whom he was sent to their responsibilities. He was to be an aid in getting them from their state of being merely "churched" to that of being truly religious and servants of the Most High God.

Some become discouraged with the church because we are always being told—to some measure anyway—disturbing things about ourselves. But church is where we come to have our minds stretched and measured against Christ's standard. For one to keep on coming to services and leaving, like a theatergoer, without his options, opinions, or decisions resolved but deferred, is an erosion of character. "Whatever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23).

The sum of what Elijah said is actually spiritually dangerous, due to the fact that God is judging. Christ's purpose is to cure, not merely to comfort, so pain will be often involved when dealing with a prophet.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 1)


 

2 Kings 4:8-37  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Integral to understanding this event in Elisha's life are the various characters involved, as well as the scene of the action. The story takes place in the territory of Issachar in northern Israel. Shunem overlooks the fertile Plain of Esdraelon (Jezreel) toward Mount Carmel more than 15 miles distant where the prophet has a home. It is just a few miles from the towns of Jezreel to the south, En-Dor to the east, and Megiddo to the west.

This episode occurs during the reign of Jehoram (or Joram), second son of Ahab and Jezebel, roughly 850 BC. From all indications, Jehoram gave lip service to God, allowing Elisha freedom to preach and travel, while granting similar freedom to pagan religions. As the writer of II Kings explains, "And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, but not like his father and mother. . . . Nevertheless he persisted in the sins of Jeroboam" (3:2-3).

The story unfolds among four principal characters: Elisha, God's prophet; Gehazi, his assistant; the Shunammite woman, a wealthy and pious woman; and her young son, miraculously born. The interaction of these four people, each with his or her modern-day counterparts, constructs an intriguing parable with pointed lessons for Christians today.

The prophet Elisha is God's servant, Elijah's successor, upon whom God's Spirit rests and by whom God does great miracles. He is a man of God, presented very positively in the biblical record; it is difficult to find a negative description of him or his actions. He represents all of God's true ministers.

Gehazi, on the other hand, stands for the hirelings (John 10:12-13; Zechariah 11:16-17), who set themselves up as ministers of God yet care only for themselves and their well being. This man's greed rises to the surface in the next chapter, when he takes Naaman's money and gifts after Elisha refuses to take them as payment for the Syrian commander's healing (II Kings 5:20-27). For this, God struck Gehazi and his descendants with Naaman's leprosy.

The Shunammite woman is described as "notable" (II Kings 4:8), a Hebrew word that can connote wealth, piety, renown, or elements of each. In the text, however, her piety predominates, as she sets aside a room for Elisha and cares for him whenever he comes to Shunem (verses 9-10). Evidently, she keeps the Sabbaths fastidiously, and her husband shrugs off her visiting Elisha on a normal day (verses 22-24). She is a type of the church as a whole (see Galatians 4:21-31; Revelation 12:1-2; 19:7-8).

Her offspring, a boy, is born as the result of an Abraham-and-Sarah-like miracle (II Kings 4:14-17). Other than that he seems to get along well with his father and mother'something read between the lines'the Bible tells us very little else about this child. To use a literary term, he is Everyman, and as the child of the type of the church, he represents the individual Christian.

Interestingly, the boy's father is an incidental character; he is involved but only in the background. Normally, we might think he represents God the Father, but this conclusion makes no sense in this case. The boy's father plays his bit part because he existed in the historical reality. Parables do not demand that each detail have an exact antitype, for as we all know, all analogies break down if taken too far.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Elisha and the Shunammite Woman, Part I: Reviving God's Children


 

2 Kings 6:8-10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The king of Syria wanted to do some dirty deeds against Israel, but God stirred up the spirit of His prophet Elisha so that he would understand what was happening in the secret councils of the king of Syria. Elisha would send a message to the king of Israel and say, "Don't go here or there, because, if you do, you will run into a huge, Syrian army, and it will attack you."

The king of Syria became totally frustrated because he could not spring any kind of surprise. Gathering his advisors together, he asked what was going on: "We've got a spy in the ranks. Who is it?" His advisors replied, "There are no spies here; nobody is being disloyal to you. It's just that the king of Israel has this prophet that keeps telling him what you're saying in your bedroom."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 3)


 

2 Kings 6:14-17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

It is likely that Elisha could not literally see all of these spirit beings that were out there on the mountain. But by faith, through the eyes of faith—because he knew God, because he was close to God—he understood that God was with Him always and a tremendous army of angelic protected His servant Elisha.

Whether that army was always there is a moot point. They may have been there simply because the Syrian army was there. It does not matter whether there was one or many angels. It is really an indication of God through Elisha and through the vision to this young man that wherever God is things are weighted in our favor. We have no need to fear the many who may come against us.

We need to realize that there are more for us than there are against us, and a great deal of spiritual activity is taking place around us that we are not physically able to discern. Nevertheless, it is there. God is showing us here that this is true. God intends this section to give us some encouragement.

From this, we ought to be able to understand that God is greater than any emergency we might find ourselves in. He tells us in Psalm 34:7, "The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him and delivers them." This man of God understood by spiritual discernment that things were going on around him, and by the same token, because we have the Spirit of God, we should also be sensitive to this because God's Word shows that this is indeed occurring.

Most people only see what is human. In fact, physically, that is all we can see. But we have to know—it has to be part of the way, the means, or the wherewithal by which we act. Jesus Christ, a divine Spirit, is the guiding force of His church. He tells us He will never leave us or forsake us. Just as sure as there are spirit beings who rule and guide the church, there are spirit beings who rule and guide the world. We see both sides of it here.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 3)


 

2 Kings 6:17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A spirit being is invisible just like wind or air is to the unaided eye. The wind and the air are real, just as spirit beings are real, and they have substance just as wind does. But the unaided eye is not able to spot them, so the ability to see something that is spirit, or composed of spirit, is not in us by nature. Though it is not there naturally, the ability to perceive them can be given.

This is what Elisha means: "Give him the ability to see what is around us." And so the young man apparently saw a tremendous army of spirit beings who were ready to do battle in Elisha's behalf should anything occur. They were there all the while, invisible but nonetheless there.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 4)


 

Find more Bible verses about Elisha:
Elisha {Nave's}
 




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