Summary: That strange story about the dead bones of Elisha and the man coming back to life, is a picture of a creative God who will try to get the attention of His coldhearted people anyway... Elisha and the prophets of God, and all God’s people in general, includ
We come here today pay our respect to _____________________ and to comfort members of the family and friends. We belong to a larger family, the family of believers in Jesus Christ, the conqueror of death. And this is the hour when our belief in Him is tested. This is the moment when our declared personal relationship with the Lord, is made obvious. Thank everyone for your prayers, for your friendship, etc. Our brother ( ) was special…
PRAYER: O God our Father, Creator of us all, giver and preserver of all life: We confess to you our slowness to accept death as part of this world ugly side. Death as part of the human nature shaped by sin. We confess our reluctance to commit to you those whom we love. Restore our faith that we may come to trust in your care and providence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I wonder if you ever read the last story of Elisha? Do you know what that story is? In that last story, recorded in Second Kings, chapter 13, Elisha was actually dead and buried. In fact, there was not a prophet of God in Israel at all, at that time. There were just the dead bones of Elisha. The nation of Israel had rejected the messages that God had sent through His prophets.
And by the time the Bible records this story there had been a lot of oppression and war. Raiding armies from Moab would invade villages in Israel every year to plunder, to steal the food and the goods that the Israelites had produced.
They would steal from homes; they would take their goats and sheep. They would steal the children, and they would kill the adults who were in their way. One day the invaders were on the war path one day in a village, at the same time a funeral was going on. The people looked up from their funeral procession, they saw them coming.
Now, you may realize that in those days middle-eastern custom, people usually wailed loudly at funerals. I grew up in a Greek-Orthodox country and until today the custom requires a loud and visible weep for the dead. Can you imagine how perplexed I was when I watched people laughing, and joking at the funeral. It was my first funeral, in Arkansas, an eye doctor, Dr. George Stumph’s funeral, and they began to tell silly stories of what dr. George did or say… Laughing… Now, after so many years here and many funerals I participate, I understand – sharing memories, and treasuring the precious moments whit our loved ones… and hey, we believe in Jesus power of resurrection… But at that time…
Returning to the Bible story from the 2 Kings 13. A funeral procession and there was loud cries of mourning going on there.My guess is that when they saw these soldiers coming, they discovered that they had MORE reasons, additional reasons, for wailing. And a reason to run. And, of course, when you’ve got to make tracks really fast, the last thing you want slowing you down is a dead body.
So they quickly stuffed the body into the nearest tomb they could find and ran away to hide. It just happened to be Elisha’s tomb where they did that. And as soon as the dead body touched the bones of Elisha, the man came back to life.
Now I can’t help but wonder what that newly-resurrected man thought. He comes back to life, sits up, and looks at his surroundings. There’s just enough light to see what’s around him.
Brushing back the cobwebs, “Huh. . . Where am I?” “What’s this bad smell?”… “What are these strange sticks? Eeew, I’m in a pile of bones.”
Now if that had been you, what would have been your first thought? Oh, let’s stick around? No way! Get out as fast as you can. He scrambled out of that tomb, and what did he see? All his family and friends running off in the distance. Waving and yelling, “Hey everyone, I’m here. I’m alright. I’m not sick anymore. Where are you going?”
Just then he heard a noise behind him. Turning around, he noticed a bunch of scary-looking soldiers coming his way. But when they saw him coming alive from the tomb, covered in those bandages, the Moabites were scared also and turned around pretty quickly…
+++ What a strange story! It’s easy to think about the humor of the situation. After all, doesn’t God have a sense of humor? But seriously, it’s amazing to me that even after Elisha’s death, God used his dead bones to raise someone from the dead. Of course, Elisha had, really, nothing to do with it. God did. And one day Elisha will learn the story of what his bones were up to, after he died.