Summary: It describes how the life of Elisha is applicable to us
This is the final reference to Elisha's ministry of 50 to 60 years, after 10-15 years of his apprenticeship to Elijah. He could be about 80 years old at the time of this passage.
It has been calculated that 42 miracles were recorded by these two prophets– Elijah performed 14 miracles and Elisha performed 28 – in nation that wandered from God.
It has been considered that there was a period of silence of 43 years from the last reference to Elisha to this point.
Month of August has been designated ‘What will be your legacy?’ month, and the 2012 Olympics emphasis was on legacy.
Illustration: A father was at the beach with his children when the four-year old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore where a seagull lay dead in the sand. ‘Daddy, what happened to him?’ the son asked. ‘He died and went to heaven,’ the Dad replied. The boy thought for a moment and then said, ‘Did God throw him back down?’
1. Legacy whilst alive
There is a glimpse of close relationship between king and prophet – with the king's reference to ‘my father’ – for he was anxious at the loss of the true prophet.
Jehoash, grandson of Jehu ( who had instigated the uprising against Ahab's house), was evil in God’s sight (verse 11); but he recognised the impact of God upon the nation. We are reminded that Elisha called out after Elijah when the latter was departing on a chariot to heaven:‘My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!’ (2 Kings 2: 12). Coming from the king, it was ironic as Israel only had 50 horsemen and 10 chariots, but the Lord had a host (cf. siege of Dothan when servant’s eyes opened).
The king also recognised Elisha as the defence of Israel, physical as well as spiritual and moral.
Elisha put his hand on Jehoram’s hands as a sign of godly guidance – ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts.’ (Zechariah 4: 6)
The extent of victory was limited by man’s failure to persevere. The three arrows was probably half a quiver. It could also signify that, in the expeditions against Arameans, Israel was to look to God for direction and strength. The nation defeated because one man failed to do things God’s way.
We could be like Jehoash in starting to do it God’s way but not completing the task. The result can a lost way leading to community and our nation as it is.
Many people are like Jehoash – attending church, regular reading God’s Word, regular praying, serving God in many ways – stopped but these activities need to done 24/7.
If we want to be blessed and see victory for the kingdom of God, we need to do things God’s way.