Summary: It describes how the life of Elisha is applicable to us
2 Kings 3: 11 - 20 - the fourth sermon on the life of Elisha
Below is the outline of the sermon, I preached on 20 November 2011 at West Ewell Evangelical Church, Surrey:
Continuation of occasional sermon series on Elisha, a man whose fifty year ministry is often overlooked
The name means ‘God is salvation’ and his life exhibits this truth
· In first sermon – how he was called
· In second sermon- his ministry began
· Last time – how God’s mercy and judgement were shown on the people
· Joram was king of Israel (northern kingdom), having taken over from Ahab
· Moab was paying tribute to Israel but rebelled
· Joram waged war against Moab, taking Edom (which was under Israel’s control) with him and having the support of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah (southern kingdom)
· A severe shortage of water forced the kings to consult Elisha
We are not looking specifically at the events or the other people, but the words and actions of this specific prophet
We shall see:
1. Speaking religious language
2. Speaking God’s truth
3. Seeing God fulfil His words
1. 1. Speaking religious language
In this narrative, Joram used religious language, including the justification to go to war: see verse 13, ‘it was the Lord who called us three kings together to hand over to Moab.’ However, read nothing previously of him guidance from God on this or any other matter – Elisha saw through him.
It sounds familiar: we will encounter it as we step out into this week, might even experience it today.
There will be people who have no thought of God, except for the 30 minutes of ‘Songs of Praise’- for, in the rest of the week, people will live as though there is no God.
There are people who may want to ascribe to religion as an insurance policy, but then speak out as though God’s laws do not matter.
They might be nice people, certainly compared to other people – but a sin is a sin is a sin, especially as all sin is rebellion against God (verses 1 – 2).
We might even encounter it in the church – an evangelical church is not exempted – so we have to ensure that our motives are pure.
The reaction of Elisha was: ‘As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat King of Judah [the godly king]. I would not look at you or even notice you.’
2. 2. Speaking God’s truth
Sometimes, the situations that we face seem illogical – after all, how far down could you get than a valley without having to dig ditches.
The people of Israel must have felt like wishing the enemy was overthrown without any need for divine intervention.
The first thing they had to do was seek God – so we have seek through God’s will and way through His Word, Holy Spirit, conscience, circumstances or (as in this instance) people who will give godly counsel see 2 John verse 3: ‘Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.’ We find this joint theme running throughout John’s letters and also that of Paul.
We observe that Joram was respected as king with Elisha as his servant – but, as the prophet, Elisha caused him to know his sin.
Sometimes, we are called on speak God’s words into a situation (e.g. where there has been blasphemy, unsocial behaviour) with truth and love. If we do not speak out in balance, we will find that truth only will sound harsh; whereas if we only speak in love, we will water down the message.
But the people had to step out in faith. Likewise when we feel as though we have gone as low as possible, God wants us to go lower.
God did not want the people to rely on the natural contours of the landscape but He wanted them to work.
3. 3. Seeing God fulfil His words
It was interesting to note that when the armies had reached the nadir, the only way to go was up. In their case, they were to look up to God.
In the morning, at the time of sacrifice, the promise of God was fulfilled.
It is in the time of talking with God that we will see answers to our prayers, which will be one of three possibilities: stop, wait or go
We should want, desire, plead for God to be active in our lives and see His kingdom grow as Malla Moe said: ‘What are we here for, to have a good time with Christians or to save sinners?’