Summary: We take a look at three specific miracles Elisha did which show that God is extremely practical, and I believe this speaks to a verse we looked at before Easter where Jesus says a couple times in the book of John that "..you can ask anything in my name, a
Now the "in my name" is the important part there, and as we look at these prophets we see that they are completely submitted and obedient to God. They are completely in His will, desiring to show God to the people above anything else in their life. It’s like it becomes their sole purpose once they are called. So it seems like when they ask, like the early disciples in Acts, that God really does come through on this promise. Will he for us?
The other principle today’s passages address is the value of apprenticeship in our spiritual lives. One of the reasons Elisha could so successfully take over for Elijah is because he spent time watching and learning from a more mature prophet. He completely devoted his life to being a disciple. When Elisha took over he had seen God work so much through Elijah, that he had faith that God would act for Him as well, especially since it was confirmed that a double portion of Elijah’s spirit rested on him when he saw Elijah get taken up to heaven. I. God’s miracles are always performed through apprentices.
We saw last week that Elisha did a very practical miracle when he put salt in the water at God’s prompting and it purified the water – very practical. And the first miracle we look at today is along the same lines. Before we read this text I want to just point something out to you. The water miracle happened at Jericho, the poison stew miracle that we’re about to read happened at Gilgal, which is basically a suburb of Jericho. Now you may recall that when Joshua supernaturally defeated Jericho, the Lord told him to completely destroy it and inspired Joshua to put a curse on Jericho, that if anyone tried to rebuild it they will lose their firstborn son.
Clearly, Jericho was rebuilt, and even expanded now to include Gilgal, and isn’t it interesting that the water was causing miscarriages, and many of the plants growing nearby were poisonous. Apparently the curse was still in effect. But Elisha, representing God’s grace, brings healing amidst the curse. My friends the whole world lives under a curse even now, we see God declare the curse in the book of Genesis, and he sent Jesus to provide healing from the curse. So here we really have a precursor of God’s grace that was to fully come in Jesus, to bring healing in the midst of a curse.
Let’s pick up the story at the end of chapter 4 starting in verse 38…
There’s poison in the stew, it’s an accident, they don’t want to eat it, but they also don’t want to waste it because there’s a famine. Does God want people to die? Where is this loving God? Well, when there are people submitted to God he likes to use them to show His power. Go home and try this.
I’m sure there are some poisonous plants or mushrooms around here. Go cook something up with these poisonous things. Then when you serve it, throw some flour in there and see what happens.
No don’t go do that. The point is that God does not want any to perish. If we go and do dumb things on purpose, he will allow the consequences, but when there is an accident or something bad is happening that we didn’t cause like say even a natural disaster, when there are people of God around who are truly seeking Him and his will, they can ask for miracles and often God does come through even today, when he really has to. But if we aren’t seeking Him and asking Him, why should he be obligated to do something more for us? Is sacrificing his son not more than enough?
There are two main reasons He will come through though. Most people are not saved and He wants them to be, because he doesn’t want anyone to perish. And seeing a miracle in a desperate situation is a great way to get people to believe and submit to God.
Secondly, he loves us, and he wants us to have abundant life, not just for our own sake, but so that we can experience life with Him, which is the only abundant life there is. And so we can pass this on to others. He heals the stew like he healed the water, and then he does something that we see Jesus do twice, he feeds a large group of people with only a tiny bit of food. And there were leftovers. Now this is only 100 people, likely Elisha’s disciples, Jesus feeds many more with even less food.
These are practical miracles that really didn’t need to be done, but God did them anyway because the people were seeking Him (they were all prophets in training) and at least one of them asked. Jesus said feed the hungry, we know this is His will, so it makes sense that when people truly are hungry (which by the way in our culture is often not the case or is the case by choice because a person would rather drink distilled grains than eat real food). But, II. God’s miracles are always practical