Elisha served as God’s prophet for about sixty years. Being a God-guided man, he transferred his responsibilities to the next generation before he died. Our goal is never to keep people dependent on us; our purpose is to guide others to fearlessly and diligently follow God.
“The prophet Elisha called one of the sons of the prophets and said, “Tuck your mantle under your belt, take this flask of oil with you, and go to Ramoth-gilead. When you get there, look for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. Go in, get him away from his colleagues, and take him to an inner room. Then, take the flask of oil, pour it on his head, and say, ‘This is what the Lord says: “I anoint you king over Israel.”’ Open the door and escape. Don’t wait.” So the young prophet went to Ramoth-gilead.” (2 Kings 9:1-4 HCSB Emphasis is mine.)
Do not be afraid to depend on God.
Elisha began transferring his responsibilities to the next prophets. He trusted an inexperienced prophet with an important job, anointing a king. This involved getting Jehu away from the others without arousing suspicion. The task was dangerous; notice the word “escape”. Just as God relies on us to expand His Kingdom. Elisha delegated with God’s assignment to an unnamed prophet. Christians are commanded to be dependent on one another rather than working alone (The Power of Community).
Satan lies to Christians, “God would never ask you to do anything difficult or dangerous.” Walking by faith means living outside our comfort zone, doing risky challenges as we obey God.
When Elisha became sick with the illness that he died from, Jehoash king of Israel went down and wept over him and said, “My father, my father, the chariots and horsemen of Israel!”
Elisha responded, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he got a bow and arrows. Then Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Put your hand on the bow.” So the king put his hand on it, and Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands. Elisha said, “Open the east window.” So he opened it. Elisha said, “Shoot!” So he shot. Then Elisha said, “The Lord’s arrow of victory, yes, the arrow of victory over Aram. You are to strike down the Arameans in Aphek until you have put an end to them.”
Then Elisha said, “Take the arrows!” So he took them. Then Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground!” So he struck the ground three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times. Then you would have struck down Aram until you had put an end to them, but now you will only strike down Aram three times.” (2 Kings 13:14-19 HCSB)
Do not be lazy when you depend on God.
Jehoash grief was not concern for a friend. He was losing a resource. Elisha was his guide in the battle against Aram. When we feel used by people, let’s follow Elisha’s example and not be offended. Instead decide to help others as often as we can (Luke 6:35).
Elisha reassured the king that God would not leave Israel just because he died. By placing his hands on the king’s, he was symbolically transferring the ability to defeat Aram to Jehoash. God is the one that directs the arrow, we are just the tool God uses to launch the attack.
When Jehoash struck the ground three times, he revealed how determined he was to destroy his enemy. He is like a student who is determined to study hard enough to pass the class, but not willing to do his best to make straight A’s (2 Timothy 2:15). The striking of the ground did not control the future, it declared how much effort he was willing to give to the battle. This is a warning to all Christians, we must preserve, as soldiers fighting satan we cannot be lackadaisical (2 Timothy 2:3).
Then Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to come into the land in the spring of the year. Once, as the Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a raiding party, so they threw the man into Elisha’s tomb. When he touched Elisha’s bones, the man revived and stood up! (2 Kings 13:20-21 HCSB)
Like Elijah, Elisha was faithful to each of the tasks God set before him. Elijah rode in a chariot of fire, Elisha didn’t. God heals some of cancer, some die in an accident; God is merciful, gracious, and loving to all. When God carefully designs each of our finger prints to be unique, how could we ever expect our lives to imitate another? Only children squabble over the color of the construction paper, or the size of the cookie, as adults we know the foolishness of comparing our lives and giftedness to others.
We trust that God carefully selects circumstances that will give Him glory develop our lives into maturity in the most gentle, effective ways. However, we do have the freewill to ignore from His instruction.
Elisha was a great man of faith, yet he died. I find it incredible when people blame illness on someone’s lack of faith. Was it because of the dead man’s faith that his bones revived? Of course not, it was an example of an unexplainable God and His power over life and death.
- Are you deliberately guiding those you to disciple to be dependent on you or
- Are you boldly tirelessly seeking to follow God’s will?
- Have you seen God work in unexplainable ways?