Monday, November 02, 2009

Who was this man Elisha? Part 8

Elisha shows up again in chapter 13. Jehu, apparently, is gone. Hazael is still going strong. Elisha is sick and dying. Jehoash, now king of Israel in Samaria, is doing evil in the eyes of the LORD but he comes to Elisha. Weeping over Elisha, Jehoash cries, ""My father! My father! . . .The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" [Upset because Elisha is sick and dying or upset about the impending battle?]

Kings 13 (NIV)

15 Elisha said, "Get a bow and some arrows," and he did so. 16 "Take the bow in your hands," he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king's hands.

17 "Open the east window," he said, and he opened it. "Shoot!" Elisha said, and he shot. "The LORD's arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!" Elisha declared. "You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek."[Remember, this isn't a king who seems to be walking with God but Elisha is still helping him.]

18 Then he said, "Take the arrows," and the king took them. Elisha told him, "Strike the ground." He struck it three times and stopped. [Notice, Elisha doesn't coach this guy the way he did the widow he sent out for the jars.] 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, "You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times." [Has Elisha gotten angry before? Even when he cursed the boys, does it say he was angry?]

20 Elisha died and was buried. "

But that's not the end of Elisha's story. Continuing at verse 20..."Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet." [Interesting?]

"24 Hazael king of Aram died, and Ben-Hadad his son succeeded him as king. 25 Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz recaptured from Ben-Hadad son of Hazael the towns he had taken in battle from his father Jehoahaz. Three times Jehoash defeated him, and so he recovered the Israelite towns." So I say, "Yay! They won!" but then I remember that Elisha got mad because Jehoash would ONLY win 3 times. Next time, he would lose.

Luke 4:27-28 (NIV) is the next place we hear about Elisha: Scripture says: "27And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian. 28All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this." Because of who Elisha was? or was it just God's choice? or both?

Which takes us back to Naaman and the little servant girl who just seemed to be in the right place at the right time and not by her own choice and God used her to start something that people would hear about (literally) for ages . . .

. . . Right. We were talking about Elisha. He was one of the prophets that Jesus specifically mentions.

So that's an example of an amateur character study - yet another way to look at scripture and learn about God. I have to say that I'm left with a new understanding and respect for the prophet Elisha - one of the men God used to write His story. And if you want, go back through Elisha's story or the story of any of God's characters. Look at God as the significant character in the story, the role he played and how He responded to Elisha and the other people around him.

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