Our last month’s devotion was a study of the life and ministry of the man Elijah. For this month, we will take a look at the man he mentored, the prophet Elisha. Keep in mind that these two great men of God were sent to Israel in a time of her greatest need spiritually. Israel had departed from the truth and had been blinded by gross idolatry and immorality. It was in these dark days that God’s most gracious light did shine. Let’s learn from these mighty prophets of God how we can shine for the glory of our Lord in these last days of darkness.
Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 19:15-16
In our passage today we read of the call of Elisha the son of Shaphat into the prophetic ministry. Compare this with the following passages: Isaiah 6:1-8; 49:1-5; Jeremiah 1:1-9; Galatians 1:13-16. From the beginning, the Lord called individuals to do His special bidding. Some were called to do works of kindness, as the widow woman of Zarephath that the Lord called to feed Elijah during the drought. Others were called of God to do mighty works through the power of God, as Samson the champion of Israel. Elisha was called to be a prophet, one who proclaimed God’s truth to a sinful and backslidden society. Paul was called to be an apostle, just as Timothy was called to be a “bishop,” or pastor of a local assembly of believers.
This fact is so very important, and one that must be understood. God calls men into the Gospel ministry, and none can succeed in this tremendously important work apart from the Divine call in their lives. Everyone can and should serve the Lord in their lives, but only those called of God and Divinely appointed can hold this important office.
One thing that must be mentioned before ending this devotion: the Lord’s Church has a sacred duty of seeking His face concerning the calling of servants into the Gospel ministry. The Lord Jesus emphasized this in Matthew 9:35-38. May He continue to lead into the Gospel ministry those who will be faithful to Him and to His blessed Word.
Father, we live in dark days, and there is such need for Your light in our world. Help us to let our light shine, and call into the Gospel ministry those who will shine for You without compromise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 19:19-21
The account before us raises some questions. Did Elisha know Elijah? Had he enjoyed previous times of communion with the aged prophet of God? He certainly had heard of the man, and understood well the significance of the mantle. When Elijah passed by the young man plowing, there seemed to be no words spoken, simply the casting of the mantle upon the young laborer. Elisha fully understood what this meant, for he immediately said, “…I will follow thee.” He knew that Elijah had issued a call for him, and he knew all that that call entailed. Thus began a career with Elisha that would occupy him for the rest of his life. He would spend the next six or seven years ministering to and training under Elijah, and then another sixty or so years as Israel’s prophet of God and mentor to those enrolled as the “sons of the prophets.” (See 1 Kings 20:35; 2 Kings 2:3,5,7,15; 4:1,38; 5:22; 6:1)
Before entering into his new life’s work, Elisha returned to his parents to kiss them and to inform them of his calling. He obviously was a young man of means, or at least his parents were, for he was seen plowing with 12 yoke of oxen (2 oxen on each yoke), eleven no doubt handled by his servants and he with the twelfth. The Lord did not call this man from a life of ease or laziness, but from a life of diligent industrious labor. The same is true of the apostles of our Lord, being called from businesses such as the commercial fishing business or from the work surrounding taxation and bookkeeping. The Lord has forever placed a priority on honest, hard labor, and has forever loathed the lazy and slothful. May He ever find us busying ourselves in those activities that bring honor and glory to Him, and that ever advance His cause in the world.
It should also be noted that for years, Elisha seemed to fade into the background unseen as Elijah’s servant. He is a lesson to all young men and women who aspire to greatness in the field they choose as their life’s work. The path to recognition in any field most always comes to those who are content to take the lower seat at the table in the days of their early labors. The challenge to all is faithfulness in the lot assigned by the Lord, and letting Him alone exalt in due season. (See 1 Peter 5:6; Luke 14:11; James 4:10)
Lord Jesus, help me to learn from those who have gone before us, leaving us examples of both things to emulate and to avoid. In Your Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 2:1-7
Why do you suppose Elijah encouraged Elisha to “tarry” at the various locations shared in our text? See Luke 9:57-62
2. The “sons of the prophets” (which seemed to be students as it were in training) inquired in Verses 3 and 5 if Elisha knew that the Lord was going to take Elijah away. Elisha responded that he was aware of that. Obviously, the Lord had revealed this to Elisha and to the sons of the prophets as well. Therefore, the words from Elijah for the younger Elisha to “tarry” was a test of his determination to faithfully serve his mentor and his desire and willingness to be used of God. Do followers of Christ face similar tests of the faithfulness to the Savior and His will for their lives? See James 1:1-8; Romans 5:1-5; Acts 5:41.
3. Two men in Scripture were taken into heaven without suffering death; Elijah and Enoch. Are there any others in Scripture that will be taken to heaven without suffering death? Explain. See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Father, Your Word is truly a lamp and a light in my life. Thank You for the light You have given me in Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 2:8-15
Herein is found one of the many mighty miracles in the Word of God; the parting of the Jordan making it possible to walk across the dry river bed. This is not the only time the parting of Jordan took place. See Joshua 3:10-17. This reminds us of the parting of the Red Sea in order that the Children of Israel might pass over on dry ground heading toward the promised land. Some try to explain these miracles by some natural calamity, or else deny the miracle completely. Can you offer an explanation as to how such a miracle could take place? See Genesis 18:12-14; Matthew 19:26 with Hebrews 11:6.
2. Was the miraculous power in the mantle of Elijah? A similar question could be was Samson’s strength in his long hair?
3. An intriguing thought is found in Verses 9-10 in which Elisha requested a “double portion of” the spirit of Elijah. See also Numbers 11:23-25. Paul wrote, “…according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” It was said of the Lord Jesus that “…God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” When Elisha requested a “double portion” of the spirit that was upon Elijah, he was requesting a double portion of his power with God the Spirit, and a double portion of power for the fulfilling of God’s will for his life. As we continue with the study of Elisha, we will find that God honored that request which is clearly visible in the number of marvelous things attributed to the younger prophet. Was it wrong for Elisha to make such a request? See 1 Chronicles 4:9-10; Romans 15:30-33; Ephesians 6:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:1.
Lord Jesus, place Your hand upon our lives and empower us that we may be better prepared and enabled to do Your will. Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 2:11; 6:17
One of the more fascinating studies in Scripture is the study of angelic beings and their place in the workings of God among humanity. An interesting comparison to the passages we read today is found in Ezekiel 1 in his vision of the angelic beings and their means of transportation. I would not even begin to endeavor a detailed interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision, but would quickly maintain that what the prophet saw was literal, not at all symbolic. Neither were the “chariots of fire” spoken of in 2 Kings symbolic . Hebrew 1:14 declares, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Scripture speaks of these created spirit-beings as being of great power and miraculous ability. They are seen throughout Scripture ministering to God’s people in various ways, just as they ministered to the Lord Jesus in the wilderness of temptation. (See Matthew 4:1-11)
A fallacy of modern man is the belief that if something cannot be explained logically or “scientifically” it is not a reality. Unfortunately, this philosophy has caused many to deny the supernatural, including the Triune Godhead, and such doctrines as the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. An even more unfortunate reality is the liberal, unbelieving branch of professed Christianity that endeavors to explain away the miraculous in the Bible. We reject that liberal theological approach and maintain that such teaching is heretical and dooming of the souls of its adherents and all they influence. One of Satan’s greatest accomplishments is that rejection of many unbelievers in the miraculous truths taught in Scripture, and perhaps the greatest of all of his accomplishments is the convincing of most that he, the most powerful of the angelic host, does not exist.
Father, I believe Your Word. Thank You for faith to believe. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 2:14-18
What compelled the “sons of the prophets” to go looking for Elijah after they had witnessed his being caught up in the whirlwind? Compare Verses 3, 5, 16-17, and 18. My personal opinion is that they so loved and respected Elijah, they did not want to think that they would see him no more. There was perhaps also a sense of unbelief and of believing what their own eyes had seen, as well as the revelations that God had given them earlier about his departure.
2. What did the bowing before Elisha by the “sons of the prophets” reveal? Compare with Joshua 1:1-9 and Joshua 3:7.
3. While we should never literally bow before any human being, we are taught in God’s Word to show honor where it is due. Read the following passages: Romans 13:1-7 which deals with civil authorities, and Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24 which deals with spiritual leaders. Why should such honor and respect be given to God’s men? See again Hebrews 13:7 and 17 with 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13.
Father, help me to be obedient to Your Word and honoring to those whom You have called to lead. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 2:19-22
Herein is found the second miraculous deed of the prophet Elisha; the healing of the waters in Jericho where Elisha was staying. Jericho was an oasis in an otherwise barren land, an oasis fed by a large natural spring that can still be seen today. Obviously something had spoiled the water coming from that spring resulting in the poisoning of both the land and those that drank of its supply. Elisha called for a new cruse, or jar, to be filled with salt and cast into the water. In doing so, the water was “healed” and there was no more barrenness of the land or poisoning of those drinking the water.
Jericho in Scripture is a picture or type of the world struggling beneath the curse of sin. The poisoned waters of Jericho basically were declaring that there was no life and no hope in this cursed place. When the man of God gave orders to cast into the waters the salt from the cruse that had been brought forth, through the power of the Almighty he was giving hope to the city of the curse. Jesus, speaking of His followers, called them the “salt of the earth.” The world struggles this very day from the curse of sin and death, and its only hope is the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” shining forth the message of grace through the Lord Jesus Christ. (See Matthew 5:13-16) Beloved, cast your “salt” into the poisonous waters of this world by being faithful to the Lord that saved you by His grace, and by shining forth that message of hope.
Lord Jesus, help me to be the “salt of the earth,” and the “light of the world” that you called me to be. In Your Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 2:23-25
The thought of “little children” suffering as these did makes us question the severity of this reaction to their mocking of the man of God. It shouldn’t. The problem in Bethel, and throughout Israel, was that the Word of God, and God Himself for that matter, was no longer respected and honored by many, if not most. These “little children,” probably in their teens or late teen years, were displaying an attitude toward the man of God that they had learned from others around them. It is unfortunate that they had not been taught a reverence toward God, His Word and His men. Their lesson was one difficult to learn, and the scars of those that survived this attack would be carried as a harsh reminder to them and to their elders.
Beloved, we live in a time when the Word of God has been ridiculed, mocked and banned. Young people have been taught that the Bible is nothing more than ancient, out-dated mythology. How unfortunate! The sad fact is that there is a far greater judgment facing unbelievers than two she bears and their vicious claws and sharp teeth. And, lest we think otherwise, even young people are accountable to God. You and I that have been given the light of the glorious gospel must pray for younger souls that have not been presented the truth of God’s Word. May the Lord work in young hearts to bring them to Jesus that they might be saved.
Father, have mercy on young souls that have been led down a path blindly that leads to eternal destruction. May Your Spirit bring them light. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 3
“Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3) They cannot according to the Word of God, at least they should not. “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you….” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
Jehoshaphat had no place forming a union with Jehoram, the unbelieving king of the ten northern tribes. And, it would have been a complete disaster had it not been for Elisha. His intervention made the difference in the outcome of the battle, and the only reason he did that was because of Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah that did know and fear God. Elisha’s solution to the situation protected Jehoshaphat while at the same time condemning Jehoram and honoring God in the process.
Beloved, the Lord can use us to silence unbelief and honor our Lord if we will simply be obedient and sensitive to Him. We may not fill a dry valley with streams of water, but truth can prevail through our faith and our faithfulness to our Lord.
Lord Jesus, help me to be faithful to You and Your cause in our world today. In Your Name I pray, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 4:1-7
1.. Does faith in God and faithful service for Him exempt one from life’s difficult challenges? See 1 Peter 1:1-9; James 1:1-4.
2. How does this passage illustrate the important message given in Philippians 4:19?
3. God can take what we have and refine it, multiply it and utilize it for our good and His glory. He did so with the widow’s “pot of oil.” Can you think of other illustrations of this truth in Scripture? See Exodus 4:2; 1 Kings 17:12; John 6:9.
Every time I read this I think of when I was very young and my cousin was given a doll for Christmas. The doll had a baby bottle that had what looked like milk in it. When she held the bottle upright, it appeared to fill up with milk, and when she placed it in the doll’s mouth, holding it upside down, the milk seemed to flow out of the bottle until all gone. It seemed to be a miraculous, unlimited supply. Of course it really wasn’t, but God was able to multiply the widow’s “pot of oil” until her needs were met. He can do the same for us when necessity requires it. Let’s just have faith in our Lord to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory.
Father, help me to trust in Your gracious provisions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 4:8-10
Churches often have what is called a “prophet’s chamber,” which is a dwelling quarters set up like a motel room for visiting missionaries or evangelists. This is where that thought and expression originated; from the thoughtful consideration of a “great woman” of Shunem and her husband. Any time Elisha passed through Shunem, which was obviously often, he knew that he would have a place to rest, study and pray; a place that would fill like home, prepared and filled with godly love.
The “great woman” of Shunem had a good heart, and obviously so did her husband. They had been blessed with a home and the ability to add on to that home a room for the man of God. They used the material blessings they enjoyed to further the work of the Lord, and at the same time being a blessing to God’s man. There was a couple in the New Testament that did likewise. See Acts 18:1-3, 24-28.
The Lord has ever used willing souls to accomplish His work. That can be seen in the construction of the Tabernacle as willing individuals among the Children of Israel brought the materials needed for that great work. It was seen in the New Testament with Paul’s Christian friends that helped him in his ministry. Even in the ministry of the Lord Jesus there were “certain women” that traveled with the Lord and His disciples and “ministered unto him of their substance.” Elisha’s work could have been done without the aid of the woman of Shunem and her husband, but their faithfulness and willingness to be used of God made that work less stressful and allowed him to be more concentrated on the Lord’s business. Thank God for willing souls that are willing to be God’s servants to advance His cause.
Father, there are many willing souls that dedicate themselves to Your service. Bless them for their sacrifice, and draw others to thus dedicate themselves to You and Your Work. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 4:11-17
Have you ever considered the births in Scripture that would have to be considered miraculous. There was the birth Isaac at a time when Sarah was past the age of childbearing. There was the birth of Samuel, which came as a result of his mother’s crying out to God to take away her barrenness. John the Baptist’s birth was a blessing to his godly parents and a fulfillment of prophesies concerning the forerunner of the Messiah. Of course, the greatest “miraculous” birth was that of the Son of God, He that was born of the virgin Mary. Thank God for that miraculous birth!
When asked of what could be done for the Shunemite woman, Elisha’s servant mentioned her barren condition, insinuating that a great blessing for this godly woman would be that of a child. Elisha sent for the woman and when she arrived he declared to her, “About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son.” This miraculous birth would take place because the man of God would pray that the Lord would bless the woman for her service and sacrifice for the Lord’s work.
Honestly, all births are miraculous. As Christians, we see the birth of a child as a blessing from heaven to be cherished and protected. May the Lord have mercy on those who see the birth of a child as an inconvenience, and choose rather to prevent birth through abortion. Child of God, pray for our country, its citizens, judiciary and leaders, that the terrible aborting of the unborn might become an awful mistake of our past.
Lord Jesus, forgive our national sin of abortion, and forgive those who have chosen this terrible alternative to life. Be with our representatives and our judiciary in making the right decisions when it comes to this pressing issue. In Your Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 4:18-37
1. How can we see the faith of the Shunammite woman? See Verses Verse 23, 26.
2. An outstanding characteristic of this woman was her determination and tenacity. She was determined to personally confront the man of God, and to have him come personally to see her son. O, to be so determined in our walk with Christ!
3. Her faith and determination resulted in seeing the Lord work in her life in a miraculous way.
This is truly one of the most amazing miracles in God’s Word. Some might try to explain away this miracle, but don’t be so foolish and unbelieving. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus; “…all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23)
Lord, give me faith to believe, a determined and tenacious faith, that I might see you work in my life and the lives of those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 4:38-41
The wild vine looked edible, and the man that gathered the wild gourds was excited with his find. His intentions were good. Through his efforts many would be able to have something to eat during a time of “dearth in the land.” But as good as his intentions were, there was “death in the pot.”
The best of intentions can produce the worse results if those intentions are not governed by God’s will as revealed through His Word. The man meant well, but he obviously was not familiar with the different plants that grew in the area. His efforts, although well intended, were actually harmful to his friends, and could have had disastrous results. When it comes to the Lord’s work in the world, we have a guide book to show us how that work is to be done. This guide book, the Word of God, was given to us to guide us in this life, in every aspect of this life. It teaches us how we should conduct ourselves personally as followers of Christ, and it tells us how we should behave ourselves in the house of God. (See 1 Timothy 3:15)
Because of this man’s misguided efforts, that which was meant to be helpful was actually harmful. May the Lord ever guide us through His Word that our efforts may produce positive results and bring Him glory and praise.
Lord Jesus, guide me in all that I do that my life might bring you glory and be a blessing to others around me. In Your Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 4:42-44
The land of Israel was experiencing what the Bible called a time of “dearth.” This time of famine and hunger had been caused by Israel’s disobedience to God’s Word. Read Leviticus 26. God had made some wonderful promises to Israel based upon their obedience and faithfulness. He also had issued some dire warnings if they refused to obey His Word. Elisha was living in a day when Israel was experiencing the judging hand of God for their idolatrous disobedience. It was in those dark days that God raised up Elijah and Elisha to try to draw Israel back to the place of obedience and blessing.
Those with Elisha were suffering from the “dearth” just like everyone else. Jesus said, “…he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45) It could also be said that when the Lord brings judgment upon a land, even the good in that land suffer. The faithfulness of Elisha and his associates did not exempt them from suffering. When the man from Baalshalisha brought bread and full ears of corn, it was simply not enough to feed all those that were with Elisha, but God took that which the man had brought and miraculously fed “an hundred men.” This miraculous multiplying of the bread and corn is reminiscent of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand with a lad’s lunch. There is an old song that says, “Little is much when God is in it.” The Lord has proven that simple truth time and time again. Let’s trust the Lord to turn our “little” into “much” through His gracious power.
Father, take our “little” and do much with it for Your own glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 5:1-14
“…Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of His God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.”
There is something you need to know, child of God. Our Lord doesn’t always do things the way we think He should. He certainly doesn’t work according to our plans and schedules. Naaman had imagined in his mind this amazing theatrical drama of his healing of leprosy. It would be regal, awe inspiring and fantastic. He would be able to return to his homeland cleansed and carrying a story that would show just how important he really was. It was going to be exciting! How shocked he was when the man of God didn’t even come out to meet him, sending rather a servant to tell him to go dip himself in Jordan seven times. Can’t you just hear Naaman saying, “What! That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. If that’s all it takes I can do that in our own rivers back home.” One thing is for sure, he would later be most thankful for the advice he received from one of his servants, “…if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to the, Wash and be clean?”
No, the Lord is not on our schedule and He does not operate according to our plans. Remember that, believer, the next time things just don’t seem to be working the way you thought they should. Keep trusting the Lord and expecting from Him what He sees best.
By the way, its interesting how little Elisha was impressed with the pomp and prestige of the visiting man of power from Syria. You know, beloved, once you have been introduced to the Almighty God of eternity, man’s greatness just sort of fades into insignificance. You say with the Psalmist, “What is man that thou art mindful of him?” (Psalms 8:4) Were it not for His love and grace, none would be so important as to deserve His favors. Thank God for His goodness!
Father, help me to never think more highly of myself than I ought to thing, but to ever be mindful of Your goodness and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 5:15-27
It ever amazes me how the adversary whispers in the ear, “You deserve this. You’ve labored hard, you’ve sacrificed, and you should be getting more, or at least being recognized more. This is your chance to get what you really deserve.” That’s what he told Gehazi. There probably wasn’t a lot of recognition in his job, and the pay was probably not that good. Here was a wealthy man that wanted to load Elisha down with much goods, and rightly so. Naaman had been miraculously healed of leprosy. The rewards were there for the taking and Elisha had just turned them down. “I might have been given some of that!” Can’t you just hear the reasoning going on in the servant’s mind?
That’s when he made his mistake. He sneaked off, told a lie to receive the goods from Naaman, and then returned home and hid them. No one would ever know. Well, we know that’s not true, for the Lord sees and knows all things. Do you think that Gehazi forgot who Elisha was? Do you imagine that Gehazi thought the Lord didn’t know and see, and that He wouldn’t tell the man of God?
Believer, here are some good verses to remember: “Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.” Let your promotions and rewards come from God.
Lord Jesus, help me to ever trust in You, and to wait upon You in all things. In Your Name I pray, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 6:1-7
“…and the iron did swim.”
“…and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.” Exodus 14:21-22
“And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water…that the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap…and those that came down toward the sea of the plain…failed, and were cut off. And the people passed over right against Jericho.” Joshua 3:15-16
“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.” Mark 4:39
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
You either believe or you do not! Do you believe? Then call upon Him and trust His saving power through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus, I believe with all my heart that you are the Christ, the Savior of the world, and my faith is in Your death, burial and resurrection. To Your Name may be all glory given. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 6:8-12
1. Where did Elisha get the information concerning the plans of the king of Syria that were spoken in private during the time of war between his country and Israel? Compare this with Matthew 9:4; Mark 2:5-8; Hebrews 4:13; Psalms 139:2.
2. Read 1 Corinthians 4:5. Comparing this with 2 Kings 6:8-12 helps us to understand that the Lord’s judgment is not based upon outward appearances, but upon the intents of the heart. Man’s judgment is based upon what he hears or sees, but God’s judgment is true for it gets to the heart of the matter. That is why the Lord Jesus could say, “…whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
3. The king of Syria thought he had a trader among his most trusted soldiers and advisors, for plans spoken privately in his bedchamber were being revealed to the king of Israel. Read Matthew 6:3-6. In these verses, the Lord Jesus assured believers that there was a great benefit in the all-knowing wisdom of God for what He hears and sees in secret He acts upon accordingly. The downside to this is that He does hear and see things thought to have been done or said in secret, as with the king of Syria. Nothing is hidden from the knowledge and understanding of our Lord. All should take that truth to heart.
Father, I praise You that Your judgment is based upon truth and not speculation. Thank you for knowing the thoughts of my heart and for hearing the prayers that I make in the privacy of my communion with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 6:13–17
Here is a statement we should ever remember; “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” Beloved, we are all at times going to face insurmountable obstacles, unstoppable adversaries or impossible tasks. When we do we must remember that there is nothing too hard for God, no enemy too strong for Him to conquer and no challenge too extreme for Him overcome. Check out the following Verses in your Bible:
Matthew 17:20; 19:26; Luke 1:33-37.
Another blessed thought is found in this passage. Elisha was encircled and protected by a host of angelic beings. So are you that belong to God. See Psalms 34:7; 91:11; Daniel 6:22; Matthew 18:10; Hebrews 1:14. Elisha’s servant was terrified by the presence of the Syrian army, but the man of God showed no such fear for he knew that the Lord would protect him. Beloved, please always know that nothing can befall you outside the perfect will of your Father which is in heaven. Just trust in Him!
Almighty God, I praise Your Name that You are so concerned for me that Your eyes are ever upon me, and I am ever in Your care. I praise You for this in Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 6:18-23
The Lord must have a sense of humor. When the Syrian army that had come to apprehend Elisha arrived in Dothan, the prophet prayed that the Lord would blind them. When they were groping around in shock from their unexpected blindness, Elisha said, “…follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek.” When their eyes were opened, they found themselves in the capital of the Ten Northern Tribes, in Samaria, surrounded by their enemy. God in His mercy led Elisha to have them fed a fine meal and then allowed them to return to their homeland. Scripture then declares, “…the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.” Wouldn’t it be good if all conflicts ended so amicably?
There are several lessons we can learn from this event. First, the Lord has a solution to all problems and situations. We must seek His face for guidance and wisdom in all things we face. Second, we must learn that the Lord’s ways are always best. Man would have taken the opportunity to have slain those helpless enemy combatants. God’s plan was much better. And, of course, the greatest lesson is that God protects His own. The charge Satan leveled against God in the Book of Job was, “Hast thou not made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side.” The Lord never denied this charge. We are told in Psalms 34:7, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Elisha calmly faced the enemy that surrounded him because he knew well this blessed truth.
Father, I praise You for Your all-seeing eye and the truth that You are ever concerned for me. I’m not worthy of this, but I praise You for this blessed truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 6:24 - 7:20
Why was Israel, the Ten Northern Tribes, enduring this time of famine? See Deuteronomy 27:14-26 with 28:1-8.
2. Psychological warfare can take on many forms, from radio broadcasts to the dropping of leaflets to the use of loud sound to dismay the enemy. How did the Lord use psychological warfare against the Syrians? See 7:6-7.
3. The king of Samaria’s right hand man was killed in a stampede of hungry souls fleeing Samaria to find food in the abandoned Syrian camp. Why did this happen?
Lord, You gave the promise “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalms 33:12) That is true for nations, and it is true for individuals as well. “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” (Psalms 144:15) Help me to ever walk obediently in faith that I may know the full blessings in life You intend for me as Your child. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 8:1-6
The “Shunammite” woman in these verses played a very important part in the life of the man of God, Elisha. You will remember that her and her husband built a “prophet’s chamber” on the wall of the house for him to stay in when in their area. It was her son that was miraculously brought back to life from the dead by the prophet. Prior to the famine, Elisha informed the woman of the coming famine, a famine that would last seven years, instructing her to sojourn in the land of the Philistines until the famine be passed. When she returned to the land, she presented herself to the king in order that her land might be restored to her.
Scripture declares that as she approached the king, he was at that very moment having a conversation with the man that had served Elisha by the name of Gehazi. At the very moment Gehazi was rehearsing before the king the miracles God did through the prophet for the Shunammite woman, she entered the room. When Gehazi saw her he said, “O king, this is the woman….” What a coincidence! No, not at all. This reminds me of a statement made about Ruth in the book that bears her name; “And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.” (Ruth 2:3) No, beloved, there is no such thing as coincidence when it comes to God’s people. Remember the blessed truth of Scripture, “…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Lord, I am so grateful that You are in control of my life! In Christ’s Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 8:7-15
1. The Lord sent Elisha to Damascus in Syria, where King Benhadad had taken ill. When asked if the king would recover, Elisha affirmed that he would recover from the illness, but that he would die nonethless. Upon giving this prophetic truth, the man of God began weeping. What caused this brokenness of the prophet?
2. From the weeping of Elisha it is obvious that often men of God were given messages to deliver from God that were difficult. Compare this with Jeremiah’s grief in Lamentations 2:11,18; 3:46-51; Psalms 119:136. Their’s was a difficult task in proclaiming coming judgment, harsh judgment on the very people they had prayed for and sought to draw back to God in repentance. Compare this with Luke 19:41-44.
3. Elisha’s weeping was not for the Syrian king, but for the people of Israel that would suffer due to the oppression they would endure at the hand of the king’s successor. Their suffering would be a judgment from God for their wickedness, but God would use a vile Gentile as a tool in fulfilling His purposes.
4. God’s Word is filled with wonderful promises and blessed truths, but it also contains messages of warning and pending judgment for those who reject its truths and disobey its commands.
Father, help me to know, understand and to obey Your precious Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 9:1-13
1. Who was Jehu? See Verse 1; Compare with 1 Kings 19:16; 2 Chronicles 22:7. Jehu was the son of Jehoshaphat who was the son of Nimshi. This is not the Jehoshaphat that was king of Judah. Jehu was the grandson of Nimshi, who must have been a more well known man than Jehoshaphat, and it was not uncommon for a grandson to be referred to as a son. This anointing of Jehu to be king in the stead of Jerom was a changing of the ruling dynasty in Israel by God’s decree.
2. The judgment against Ahab was to be severe. While Ahab had died earlier, every male living in that family was to be killed. Ahab held the dubious distinction of being the most wicked king that had ever ruled over Israel. This illustrates clearly many passages found in Scripture. Examine the following passages: Numbers 32:33; Psalms 28:4; Proverbs 1:31; Isaiah 3:11; Romans 2:9.
3. Elisha was fulfilling a task that had been assigned to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:16. He had picked up the mantle of Elijah and was completing the work the former prophet had begun. This is an illustration of the work of the Church, for it is a continuation of the work that began two thousand years ago. Compare this with 2 Timothy 2:1-2.
Lord Jesus, help me to do my part in fulfilling Your great plan for Your Church. Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 9:14-37 with 1 Kings 21:20-24
1. 1 Kings 22:29-40 records the death of Ahab. Upon his death, Ahaziah, his son, reigned in his stead. Ahaziah, who was as wicked as his father, died an untimely death, and his brother, Jehoram took the throne. His reign lasted 12 years. It was this Jehoram, called Joram in 2 Kings 9:14, son of Ahab, that Jehu killed in battle.
2. After slaying the king, Jehu came to Jezreel and had Jezebel slain, fulfilling a prophecy against her spoken by Elijah. See 1 King 21:23.
Lord Jesus, we often see the vileness and wickedness of men and wonder how they continue to prosper seemingly without any retribution for their sins. Help us to remember that You will recompense to every person their due, either in this life or in that which to come. And ever help us to be mindful of the mercy and grace You have shown us through our Lord Jesus Christ. In Whose Name we pray, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 13:14
We have been examining the life and ministry of Elisha and now we are nearing the time of his death. His mentor was blessed to escape this part of sin’s curse when he was taken up into heaven in a angelic chariot of fire. It is always sad when one of the heroes of faith comes to this which faces all humanity, the just and the unjust. Notice the following passages: Genesis 25:7-9; 49:33; 50:26; Deuteronomy 34:1-5; Joshua 24:29; and this list continues all through the Word of God.
Elisha’s was a very important and needed ministry in the land of Israel, and one would think that his parting would leave a void that would be difficult to fill. And, in one way of thinking it would be difficult to fill, but then we must remember that Elisha was merely a man. He was a man of God that God used in a dark time in Israel’s history, but he was just a man. For thousands of years men have come and gone. They have had their opportunity to know and to serve God, and then their lives have come to an end. This has been true of vile men like Ahab, and of godly servants of the Lord like Elisha. The thing we must remember is that the work of the Lord continues and that He will always have a faithful remnant of dedicated followers to serve and represent Him and His cause. This was what He reminded Elijah of in 1 Kings 19:17. We do understand, however, Joash’s feelings when he learned of Elisha’s sickness.
Many faithful men and women have gone “the way of all the earth,” (Joshua 23:13) but the work of the Lord has continued, and it will do so until we enter into that blessed eternal day. The challenge for us is to keep our eyes upon the Lord and to serve him faithfully until we go the way of all the earth, or until we meet Him in the clouds upon His return. May the Lord help us so to be until He comes. Amen!
Father, help me to ever be faithful to You and to Your cause until You come for me by way of death or rapture. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 13:14-19
Joash was not a good king. There were no good kings that ruled over the ten northern tribes. Some were more vile than others, but of none of those kings is it said that they did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. While it would appear that Joash was not as bad as was Ahab, it does say in Verse 11 that “he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin: but he walked therein.” Jeroboam’s sin is recorded 1 Kings 12:28-33. It would appear that Joash loved Elisha, and perhaps even believed in his ministry and message. He obviously respected the man of God. However, that did not change the fact that he was an evil king that departed not from Jeroboam’s sin.
The last official act of the prophet of God is recorded in our verses for today. Joash took up a bow and arrows according to the prophet’s command, and Elisha placed his hands over the king’s. When he shot one of the arrows out of the window as instructed by the prophet, Elisha proclaimed, “The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.” Then Elisha told the king to smite the ground with the arrows. He hit the ground three times and stopped. An angered Elisha said, “Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou has consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.” See 2 Kings 13:25. Those arrows represented the Lord’s deliverance of Israel from Syria, and the king should have beaten those arrows to pieces on the ground upon Elisha’s command. This final act of Elisha teaches us to be wholehearted in our service for Christ. Let’s give ourselves completely to Him, to His worship and to His will for our lives. It is only through this complete surrender to Him that we can find true victory in this life.
Lord Jesus, help me to fully dedicate myself to You and to that which You have called me to in this life. In Your Name I pray, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 13:20-21
How many times do you suppose this unnamed man rehearsed this story about the day he died and was revived from death miraculously when his dead form touched the “bones of Elisha?” How many people do you suppose who were told this story chuckled in disbelief? “It was probably just a dream. He was probably delirious with fever and….”
Beloved, this actual event was God’s stamp of approval on the life and ministry of the prophet Elisha. It was an affirmation of his ministry and message, and it was a repeating of God’s call to the ten northern tribes to repent of their sins and to return to Him. This was the influence of a true follower of the Lord living on after his parting. The message and ministry of Elisha was not silenced with death, and it continues to live on to this very day.
What a challenge this is to believers today. The history of the true Christian Church has many examples of godly lives and the influence those lives had, and continue to have. It began with the Lord Jesus, then was followed by men like Stephen, James and then with all of the apostles of our Lord. Couples like Priscilla and Aquila have left a legacy for Christian couples today to emulate. Godly women like those who traveled with the Lord and His apostles, ministering to Him of their substance, has left an inspiration to women of this very generation. May the Lord help us to leave a godly legacy for the generations to come.
Lord Jesus, make my life count for You! Amen!
October 30 - 31
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Our look at the lives of Elijah and Elisha has been uplifting, challenging and encouraging. According to the Apostle Paul, these stories we have examined of these two great prophets of God serve as “ensamples: and they are written for admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
Think of the day that these men were living. Their ministry was primarily to the Ten Northern tribes of Israel, and those tribes were steeped in idolatry. The day in which they ministered was truly characterized by wickedness and unbelief. This surely is the spirit of the day we find ourselves living in. (See 2 Timothy 3:1-13) The messages they proclaimed and the lives they lived before their peers was a call for that generation to return to God and to lay aside their idolatrous ways. Is this not the task of this generation of believers? (See Philippians 2:12-16)
Elijah and Elisha never compromised their message when confronted with royalty or with riches. Their office could not be purchased with the fine things of Syria or with the prestige of being associated with men of power. They were unashamed of Biblical holiness and unafraid to cry out against the wickedness of their day. If standing for truth meant standing alone they were most willing to do that. Did they have difficult times? Were they ever discouraged in their service for the Lord? Absolutely, but that did not at all effect their faithfulness to the Lord and His cause.
The call for followers of Jesus Christ in these dark days is to be dedicated to the Savior and obedient to His Word. In Romans 12:21 we are commanded, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Peter declared, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9) Look at the promises given to faithful believers in Revelation 2:7, 17, 25-28; 3:5, 10-12, 21. Elijah and Elisha were faithful to the Lord and to their calling under trying and difficult circumstances, and this can be true of believers in these last days. In closing out these devotional studies, I encourage you to read carefully Paul’s counsel found in Romans 15:1-14 and 2 Thessalonians 3. We have been blessed with the great opportunity to be living in some of the most important days in the history of the Christian Church. May the Lord help us to be faithful to Him until the day He comes for us with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, that we might meet Him in the air as He promised.
Blessed Savior, help us in these last days to be faithful servants as were Elijah and Elisha. May our lives reflect Your glory and extend Your message of grace and forgiveness to all around us. In Your Name we pray, Amen!