Posts Tagged ‘Elisha’

From Famine to Feasting (2 Kings 7)

January 5th, 2010

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In 2 Kings 7, Elisha promised that circumstances in the besieged city would be transformed by the next day. What seemed impossible became possible when four lepers who were already exiled outside the city realised that they had nothing to lose. They were already as good as dead. Why not throw yourself on the enemy’s mercy? Why not risk everything?

Having reached the enemy camp they were amazed to discover that the enemy had gone. Defeat was turned to victory. Not only was the enemy rendered ineffective, spoil was there for the taking. Silver, gold, food, clothing – they marvelled at it, ate it, drank it, tried on the clothes, gathered it, hid it and entered another tent to do it all over again! They had a total blast and it was all free and theirs for the taking.

Spoil is a strange word to the 21st century urbanite. Isaiah 9 promises that the coming kingdom of the new born baby will be like light breaking into the darkness. It will make men rejoice as they do when gathering a harvest or when they divide the spoil (Isaiah 9:2-3).

What on earth is ‘spoil’?
Modern city-dwellers don’t know much about ‘harvest’ and are not very familiar with ‘spoil’. ‘Spoil’ was what you gathered when you defeated an enemy army. Jehoshaphat’s army took three days to gather theirs (2 Chronicles 20:25). In Isaiah 53:12 we are told that God’s triumphant Servant will share the spoils of his victory with his people. Ephesians 4 tells us that he led captivity captive and gave gifts to men.

He’s a powerful conqueror and he freely shares the spoils of his victory so that Peter, who so recently swore and cursed and said that he never knew Jesus, was invited to take the spoils of Christ victory. This hopeless failure got to preach on the Day of Pentecost! A few days later he announced to the cripple at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, ‘Such as I have, I give to you. Get up and walk!’

‘Such as I have.’ Where did you get that Peter? ‘Oh, that was one of the spoils of Jesus’ victory that I took.’ Jesus won a great victory. The spoils are breathtaking and you don’t have to be very special to pick them up. Anyone can come, like the lepers did, and put on fresh clothing, pick up phenomenal spoils and go in the strength of that victory.

We enjoyed looking at this story on Sunday at CCK. Maybe you would like to download and listen to it and enter into something of the freedom of God’s grace and the wonders of His free gifts to His people celebrating the defeat of your enemy.

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Elijah’s Preparation and Release of Elisha

December 15th, 2009

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Transition is a popular theme at the moment as certain people reach a certain stage of maturity! So it was fascinating on Sunday to speak on the theme of Elijah’s preparation and release of Elisha as the one who would take on his mantle.

I have been occasionally speaking at CCK on the life of Elijah over a two-year period, and began on Sunday by pointing out that, though individual life stories can be fascinating, in reality they are not the whole story. Though one life or ministry comes to its conclusion, God’s story, the one that really matters, continues.

As a nation, Israel gave high priority to passing on its heritage to the next generation. Honouring your parents and being wise sons who obey parental counsel was hugely significant. Their world view was shaped by the rehearsing of their history and anticipating their future inheritance.

So Elijah’s disciple needed to be equipped for a ministry that would be wholly consistent with what went before while also developing new dimensions.

Elijah responded to God’s command and initiated what proved to be a loving, open-handed and respectful relationship. Elisha was wholehearted in his response, ‘burning his bridges’, saying goodbye to his past and throwing himself unreservedly into his God-appointed training programme, which proved magnificently fruitful as he ultimately entered into his own particular God-given role, similar yet different, discipled but not cloned.

Jesus told his disciples, ‘go and make disciples’. The apostles obeyed by starting churches, not for mere ‘church-goers’ but where individuals could be ‘apprenticed’ by others who lovingly accept them because Christ has, yet also take responsibility in ‘one-anothering’, mutual discipling, encouraging, admonishing, restoring and equipping.

Maturity and fruitfulness are the goals of a discipling relationship. We need to emulate Elijah’s and Elisha’s great example by embracing life-imparting friendships in local church life that develop us into our full potential in God.

Elisha’s final request, namely a passionate appeal for a double portion of the Spirit that was resting on Elijah, is a great reminder to us that we will never fulfil our Master’s ambitions for us without the same promised outpouring of the Spirit on our lives.

How can we continue the work that our Master started without the power that He enjoyed? Praise God that the promise of the Holy Spirit is for us and for as many as the Lord calls to be his disciples (Acts 2:39).