Summary: Some may say, “Yeah but I’m not called to be a prophet or evangelist, or church planter or miracle worker”. And that may be true, but what is also true is that if you are a true believer you have been given this amazing gift of the Holy Spirit, God living
Today we close this brief series on Elisha and I want to focus on the parallels between Elisha being a disciple of Elijah (obviously God) and our being disciples of Jesus. Some may say, “Yeah but I’m not called to be a prophet or evangelist, or church planter or miracle worker”. And that may be true, but what is also true is that if you are a true believer you have been given this amazing gift of the Holy Spirit, God living in you. And the main point I want us to meditate on is the idea that there is really no difference in capability between us, Elisha, or the early disciples of Jesus.
Elisha does miracles with the widow and the Shunemite woman in our text today. Elijah his mentor did basically the exact same miracles in a slightly different way back in 1 Kings, but let’s hear what happens in the first miracle 2 Kings chapter 4… widow’s oil …Very similar to what Elijah did with the flour and oil. We know God has a special place in his heart for widows and children. He wants us all to take care of them, and if that means performing miracles through us, so be it.
But the main thing I want you to see here in all these miracles, is the incredible faith. Let me just ask you, if you and your family were starving to death (I know this is hard for us to even imagine), and there was no one around who had anything to feed you with. You had one can of ravioli in your cupboard and you knew there was no way you would be able to get any more food for a long time, and I told you to go heat up that can of ravioli in a pot, and go out on the sidewalk and sell a couple hundred bowls of it form this one can, to people walking or driving by until you had enough money to buy a months worth of groceries, would you even go do it?
I think you would look at me funny and say why on earth did I go to him for help, that’s one strange benevolence ministry? Maybe if you were so desperate that your kids would be sold off as slaves or you and they would die this week if you didn’t do something, you might give it a try.
But there are three things about a disciple of God that I want to point out from this story.
I. Disciples help those who are truly in need
II. Disciples have to be open to taking strange steps of faith
III. Disciples build faith in others through their faith
Now the next story is even more amazing. Back in 1 Kings 17, Elijah brings a child back from the dead by laying on him, and here in 2 Kings, Elisha brings a child back from the dead by stretching himself over the child (Read/summarize).
If you were trying to raise someone from the dead (something most of us would not even try), is that how you would go about it? I think what we see in both of these raising miracles is the prophet giving his life to the child. Most of us if we were willing to try would probably lay our hands on the person and start praying like crazy right? We would do what we think is the most logical thing to do based on what we’ve seen.
This is how you heal someone. But for some reason God instructed these prophets to do something kind of strange, and by faith they obeyed the odd request. That is a characteristic of all these miracles, the disciples following a strange command in order to perform a miracle for someone in extreme need. The point is:
I. Disciples obey even when it doesn’t make sense
Even before the healing though, simply having the child was a miracle. And this one is very interesting. Elisha doesn’t really do the miracle, but he has great faith that God will, and he makes a promise that would be really scary. Would you be willing to make the promise that Elisha did to this woman. She even kind of rebukes him. “Please don’t get my hopes up by making a promise you can’t deliver.”
Now I am going to tell you right off that if one of the senior couples in our congregation came up to me and desperately wanted a son, I would probably not promise that God would give them one next year. I believe it happened in the Bible a couple times, I believe God could do it, but I’m not sure I believe he would do it for me if I asked. And I would be very afraid that if I promised it, it might not happen, and my faith and the faith of those around me would be diminished. So I would probably not even try, of course in most cases I doubt it would be God’s will anyway.