Summary: Seasoned with the salt of the Word.
THE HEALING OF JERICHO
We may at some time have given up all to follow Jesus, but occasionally we need to reflect upon just what that involves, and where we stand in relationship to our earlier commitments. There are times, and not just times of crisis, when we need to get back to basics. There are also times when we need to do it all again, recommitting our lives to the Lord (Luke 9:23-27).
Elijah, the prophet of the LORD, challenged the worshippers of the false god Baal to a mighty showdown. “The One who consumes the sacrifice with fire, let Him be God” (1 Kings 18:24).
So they pranced and lanced themselves, as their manner was, trying in vain to bring fire from the skies. Meantime Elijah stood by and mocked.
Then, at the time of the evening sacrifice, Elijah had a whole load of water poured over the altar. The prophet prayed a simple prayer, and fire came down from heaven. The sacrifice was accepted and consumed, and even the water in the trenches of the altar was licked up (1 Kings 18:36-38).
What happened next comes as a bit of a surprise. Hearing that Elijah had killed the prophets of the false god Baal, Queen Jezebel had only to say “Boo” and Elijah fled. Anyone who has known the weariness that comes from spiritual warfare may understand this (1 Kings 19:1-3).
Yet Elijah was not just running away: he was getting back to the place of blessing. Back to basics. Back to the mountain. Back to the place where Moses asked to see the glory of the LORD, and was hidden in the cleft of a rock whilst God passed by (Exodus 33:18-23).
In that mountain Elijah met with the LORD anew, as we need to do. The LORD was not discovered in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor even in the fire so recently used to demonstrate His reality to Israel's would-be Baal worshippers. No, but He was found in a still small voice which broke through a chilling silence which could be felt (1 Kings 19:11-13).
It is interesting that it was in a mountain that Jesus was transfigured. There Moses and Elijah appeared with Him, discussing His decease, His exodus, which He was going to accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:28-31).
Back in the mouth of his cave high up in the mountains, Elijah was re-commissioned, and given specific instructions pertaining to the future of Israel (1 Kings 19:15-18).
The last instruction was to anoint Elisha to succeed him as prophet. This Elijah did first, leaving the other two tasks for Elisha to complete in due season. So Elisha gave up his old way of life, making a feast and a sacrifice of his oxen upon the wood of his plough. Just as it is when we commit to Jesus, there was to be no turning back (1 Kings 19:19-21).
When it came to the time when Elijah was to be received into heaven, Elijah and Elisha retraced the footsteps of Israel (2 Kings 2:1-7).
They came to Bethel, where Jacob had twice met with the LORD in his journeys from and to Israel, and where Jeroboam had more recently set up one of his golden calves. Then Jericho, where Joshua had begun the conquest of Canaan (and the walls came tumbling down), and where more recently Hiel of Bethel had brought down the curse by rebuilding the city (Joshua 6:26; 1 Kings 16:34).
Then they miraculously crossed the River Jordan, reflecting as in a mirror the first entrance of Israel into the promised land. Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah's blessing. Elijah was taken up into heaven by a whirlwind, on chariots of fire. Elisha took up Elijah's mantle (2 Kings 2:8-13).
Jesus has paid back the double, the recompense, of our sins. We receive a double portion of His blessing (Zechariah 9:11-12).
The curse which was ours has been fulfilled in Him (Galatians 3:13). The people cried, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). He responded, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Taking up Elijah's mantle, Elisha again retraced their steps. The river was parted once more (2 Kings 2:14). The manifestation of the curse which was upon Jericho was removed with a little salt (2 Kings 2:19-22).
What we need to do today is to retrace our steps and to seek forgiveness and healing. We need to bring the salt of God's Word into all our situations. Then we can go on in our Christian lives renewed, equipped and empowered for the days that lie ahead.