Summary: It describes how the life of Elisha is applicable to us
Below is the outline of the sermon, I preached on 24 April 2013 at West Ewell Evangelical Church, Surrey
It seems to be God’s timing that comes to this passage at this time – as part of our consecutive preaching (i.e. following scripture in succession) - as we come to a crossroads as a church and as individuals.
In verse 24, the author uses the word ‘afterwards.’ The passage moves from comedy (when enemy soldiers looking for Elisha but ended up being led into Dothan as they were blinded) to tragedy. The Arameans had not learned their lesson in dealing with God.
We shall look at:
1. Concrete heart
2. Committed to evangelism
3. Committed to move
1. Concrete heart
The king, Jehoram, showed that he was not walking in the way of the Lord for we are told in 2 Chronicles 21: 20 ‘he passed away to no-one’s regret.’
He was certainly not in tune with what God saying.
In the midst of the great famine (as we are reminded in 8:1), people resorted to cannibalism, but the king had nothing to say but to rend his clothes and to blame the prophet Elisha.
His attitude very much like modern society, which has nothing to say to the issues of today because excluded God from the equation, as we discover that the evolutionists have the problem of morality being absent. All they can do is rant at God or His people.
What we cannot avoid is that God is true to His word. In 7: 1, the prophecy fulfilled that price of basic commodities would fall well below normal price. Such a prophecy was more effective as crops could not grow in time to restore supplies.
I was reminded of a recent news item that food prices will rise next year as ground too waterlogged to get winter wheat in so the farmers may have to put in less effective spring wheat, so prices in the shops will increase by 12 per cent. It is only a minuscule picture of what the besieged experienced.
The king did not like the news that Elisha had faith that God would deliver the city. The King was also angry that Elisha, who had the power to warn of the new attack of the Arameans or to thwart it, had failed to do so. He also hated the fact that Elisha had demonstrated in the past that he could multiply oil and bread, had not done so for the people of Samaria.
There had clearly been a transfer of power as all the elders in the land had gathered around the king during the last siege of Samaria (1 Kings 20: 7), but now they were gathered in the house of Elisha. The king was clearly upset that true leadership had been demonstrated – not in the royal palace but with the heavenly King and with those who represent Him on earth.
It is the same today with people being upset that God has not gone away but has clearly demonstrated His power on earth. How have we shown the power of God to the people around us?
There is great responsibility on the people of God as people are looking at us as we are the ambassadors for the Heavenly King on earth.
Gandhi stated that he would have followed Christ but for the Christians. Marcus Mumford, lead singer of Mumford and Sons, has stated that he would like Christ but he is put off by religion.
The attitude of the king permeated society, especially those who were better off. The officer in the passage was the third man who acted as armour-bearer to throw the shield around the driver and the archer, aide de camp and so, more possibly, (in administrative terms) adjutant to the king.
Those who have most to lose in this life (power, prestige, money) are the hardest to reach for the Gospel – so we should be searchlights for God in this neighbourhood: shining His light into people’s lives.
We are to pray for the fallow ground in our neighbourhood – people whose houses are full but their hearts are empty.
2. Committed to evangelism
We are to be reaching out to those with concrete hearts
Dr D T Niles wrote that ‘Evangelism is one beggar telling another where to find bread.’
There are so many in our neighbourhood who have not heard the good news of Jesus, so we need to be prepared to tell them, which may mean that we are to move out of our comfort zones.
To put into our situation into perspective, Jesus came from highest heaven and all that He was, to rescue us – which we remember at Good Friday and Easter. As He gave His all for us, we should give our all for Him.