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Summary: This is the first in the "That's Weird" series where we look at strange stories from the Bible. This message looks at the story of the floating axe head and what that means for us today.

If you did the Sunday School thing, or have been attending church most of your life then you probably know who I mean when I reference Elijah. If you didn’t do the Sunday School thing or you’re relatively new to the church thing then you might not know who Elijah was.

He was an Old Testament prophet who did some really cool things. And I’ve preached on a few of them. There was the time during a famine that he approached a widow looking for food and she responded that she only had enough to prepare one last meal for her and her son before they gave up and died. The prophet told her that if she shared her meal with him that her food wouldn’t run out until the famine was over. And she did and it didn’t. That’s cool.

Later the widow’s son dies and Elijah raises him from the dead. That’s cool.

One of my favourite stories was when Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a showdown. Maybe you remember that the challenge was that they would set up an altar with a sacrifice and then beseech their respective gods to send down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice.

Well, the prophets of Baal spent the day crying out to their god to send fire but to no avail. When it was Elijah’s turn he has the sacrifice and the altar soaked with water and then prays and fire from heaven consumes the sacrifice, the altar and the all the water. Go big or go home. That’s cool.

And there is no record of Elijah’s death. Have you ever heard the song “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”? Probably, the first verse goes:

Swing low, sweet chariot

Coming for to carry me home

Swing low, sweet chariot

Coming for to carry me home

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?

(Coming for to carry me home)

I saw a band of angels coming after me

(Coming for to carry me home)

That was inspired by this account of Elijah and his protégée Elisha, we read about it in,

2 Kings 2:9-11 When they came to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away.” And Elisha replied, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.” “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah replied. “If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won’t.” As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven.

That’s cool. But this morning I’m not going to be speaking about Elijah, instead, we are going to be looking at a story about Elisha. You know, the other guy.

Have you ever been reading along in the bible and come to something and your first reaction is: That’s weird!?

Maybe you are more spiritual then I am, and that never happens to you, you don’t think anything in the bible is weird. And that’s weird. But if you were completely honest it probably has happened to you.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve mentioned to different people that I was thinking about preaching on this topic and often times they’d say “You mean stories like. . . ?” And they tell me about a particular Bible story that struck them as odd. And often time the story they mentioned was one of the stories that was already in the pipeline because it was weird.

I started this morning talking about Elijah but the story is actually about something that happened to Elisha who was Elijah’s student and successor. But Elisha tends to get overshadowed by his mentor, so I was just trying to get Elijah out of the way.

And while Elijah gets most of the press, Elisha was no slouch either.

After Elijah was taken up in the chariot Elisha parts the Jordan river and walks across on dry land to return to Jericho. That’s cool.

The leaders of the town of Jericho had heard that Elisha was a prophet and they came to him to tell him that the spring that the town used for its primary water supply was bad and unfit for drinking, Elisha went out to the spring and threw some salt in it invoked the power of God and the spring was made clean. That’s cool. The spring is still there and almost 3000 years later the water is still good.

And then we get one of those weird stories, although not the one I’m speaking about today. At the end of 2 Kings chapter 2 it says that Elisha was returning to Bethel from Jericho and a large group of teen boys comes out and start mocking him, and shouting stuff like, “Hey baldy go home”.

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