2 Kings 2:19-25 by Pastor Don
I have to apologize for not posting for a few days, this has been a tough week for me, with a few out of the ordinary challenges – sort of living out the 2 Kings 2 experience in my life. I covet your prayers as I walk this out. Talking with Pastor Don on Friday helped me to put some things into perspective. The kids are asleep, it is Saturday, so perhaps I will get a block of time on the computer.
I am going to put Friday’s study up before Wednesday’s because Pastor Don spent more time on 2 Kings 2 yesterday. Wednesday’s study was 2 Kings 3.
To recap a bit, Elijah’s mantle has passed to Elisha who was his mentee. Elisha asked in verse 14, “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?” and struck the waters with Elijah’s mantle, parting them just like Elijah did previously. This is the only time that Elisha will ask where God is because he needed confirmation that the glory of God had passed to him.
The 50 watching prophets then question Elisha, not believing that Elijah has been taken up to heaven. They insist on sending out a search party in case God lifted Elijah up and cast him somewhere else. They search for three days and conclude that he is nowhere to be found. Elisha stayed in Jericho (the place of victory) and when the men returned, said, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?”
Pastor Don pointed out something important here. He said that sometimes the prophet will permit the people to do something he has an answer for. Sometimes people come to a prophet to hear what they want to hear, and are not listening to the advice of the prophet, so he permits them to go through something, for he knows they are not ready to receive the truth. Pastor Don said that sometimes in counseling he sees that situation. That people have to make the mistake before they are ready to listen.
2 Kings 2:19 Then the men of the city said to Elisha, “Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the ground barren.
God uses a miracle to confirm and affirm Elisha in the eyes of the people.
2 Kings 2:20 And he said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him.
God gave Elisha a Word of Wisdom and a Word of Knowledge, in the form of a simple solution. Sometimes God has a solution that doesn’t look like a solution, or that you don’t think will work. God is looking for obedience. To do something stupid to prove you believe, and then God heals you.
Pastor Don talked about a time where he pulled out his Achilles’ tendon, and was facing impending surgery. He was on a church camping trip, hurting and saying to himself, “By His stripes I am healed.” over and over again. God told Pastor Don to run and he would heal him. Pastor Don knew that those first few steps would be excruciating, and he would end up on his face if it wasn’t the Word of God. But Pastor Don did what did not seem logical, he ran, and was healed. This was later confirmed by his doctor, and gave Pastor Don a chance to tell the puzzled doctor who decided that surgery wasn’t needed about the healing power of God. The surgeon still suggested Pastor Don wear a support boot, but Pastor Don did not wear the boot which is hanging in his garage as a testimony of God’s healing. In the logical mind, running with a torn Achilles’ tendon does not make sense.
God doesn’t always make sense, he wants us to step out into the air and find something there.
2 Kings 2:21-22 Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.'” So the water remains healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke.
The prophet Elisha spoke a word of prophecy over the water.
Pastor Don asked us, “What if Elisha said that the waters were not healed.” The waters would not have been healed. If Elisha did not obey God’s command and say what God told him to say, God would raise up another prophet who would be obedient to Him. God looks for obedience in His servants.
When, in verse 14 Elisha struck the water and God confirmed that the manifest glory of God had passed from Elijah to Elisha, God gave Elisha the power to act. It meant that God was using and trusting Elisha.
Pastor Don pointed out that politically we are AMBASSADORS for God on the earth. We are not citizens of the world, but Ambassadors from Heaven. We speak for our King (God). If the Ambassador speaks in His authority as ambassador, God backs him up, even if God did not give the person the exact words to say. A king appoints an ambassador who is qualified for the job, and the king puts his trust in the ambassador to handle the situation in a manner that the king would want it handled. But the king does not micromanage all that the ambassador says or does, he trusts the ambassador.
The only time that the king does not have to back up the ambassador is when the ambassador’s words are contrary to the words of the king, in our case the Word of God.
When we speak a word over our children, God will back us up. Will we speak blessings or cursings over them? That is why the Bible tells us to watch what words our unruly tongue speaks.
God will withdraw His hand from us if we speak against God. A good example of this is Balaam, who was used as a prophet for God, and chose to give the enemy ideas of how to defeat the Israelites. He was tempted by the riches of the enemy, and God could not honor that. Balaam’s motive for prophesy was the wrong reason.
Pastor Don used an example of a local church who invited a prophet in to speak, a prophet who claimed to speak from God. He offered to prophesy for the people for $29.95 and people could use MasterCard to pay. Some people in the church went to the “prophet” for prophecy, paying the money. The pastor was horrified, but let it go on. Afterwards he spoke strongly to the “prophet” and told him that he would NEVER speak in his church again and that he would warn other churches about him. The pastor had let the “prophet” do his thing and those who were fooled by the “prophet” pay for their “prophecy”, and then spent a month of sermons instructing and correcting his congregation about the error of what those who paid did. He told them that he had taught them better, and they should have not paid, but if they were stupid enough to pay, it was a costly lesson they would not soon forget. Someone asked what happened to that “prophet” and Pastor Don assured us that God would deal with Him.
So many people come to church looking for signs and wonders. You cannot grow from signs and wonders. Some pastors fall into the trap of making sure that there are always signs and wonders and a show for the congregation, to keep them returning. When the pastor wants to teach something of substance, or wants to correct the congregation using the Word of God, the people move to the next church which promises signs and wonders.
2 Kings 2:23-24 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up you baldhead!”. So he(Elisha) turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.
Someone pointed out that mauling was not killing, but it sure taught those youths a lesson. Pastor Don patted his head which has some thinning hair and said, keep that in mind. In seriousness though, the youths were putting down a Prophet of God. They should have been honoring him. Touch not the Lord’s anointed.
Someone asked, that sometimes people use these Biblical examples to question the goodness of God, for why would a good God let bears maul youth?
Pastor Don said that some pastors only want to preach about a good God, a gospel of love, and ignore the aspects of God mentioned in the Bible that are sterner and tougher. They do not want to mention the correction of God.
Pastor Don said that he does not want to worship a God who does not have teeth and is declawed. An impotent Lion of Judah. And yet at the same time we want the armies of Saul, the Jerichos, the Goliaths won. If God was declawed, Goliath might not be taken down because he might get hurt.
We want God who tells the Truth. A good God who blesses goodness and punishes evil. God, who justly judges. At times that means that you may die young, die a horrible death if you are doing evil. Our Good God sees to it that good prophets are honored.
We want God to do the ultimate good for us, even when it doesn’t seem to our senses to be so good.
Pastor Don asked us how the masterminds of evil, the Hitlers, etc. are able to get away with doing such evil things. He said that good people, by their inaction or refusal to speak the truth, give evil people tacit permission to do what they do.
It is evil to let evil go uncorrected and to give evil permission to do what it wants. You have to have courage to identify evil and correct evil. We need to know the simple truth – God is good, the devil is bad. Don’t forget correction begins at the house of God, and we are the temples of God.
Culture collapses if we do not punish evil, if we don’t tell the truth. Ananias and Sapphira died and were dragged out for lying to the body of Christ.
Love in action protects the weak, and prevents the strong from hurting the weak.
Then Pastor Don repeated this twice, “The Master’s plan is to give you the ability to make your plan.”
Pastor Don, in answer to another question regarding why people who have died, if Heaven is so wonderful, would choose, given the choice to return to earth. Pastor Don told the person that some people choose to return for various reasons, others choose not to return. He pointed out that at times we want to hold onto our earthly life. From our limited vision, the earthly life seems to be the best place to be. But eternal life is far better than the best that life on earth can offer us.
Yet, he has talked to people who have chosen to come back to their bodies, when in that twinkling of an eye they found themselves in heaven. He has also read stories of some who have gone through this. Sometimes the Lord comes to the people and asks them what they want to do. Some choose to return because the Lord shows them the good that can happen if they return and share what they know with others, and they choose to make that sacrifice even when there is pain involved in the recovery process on earth. Choices between staying in heaven or returning to earth is beyond our comprehension. But some parents choose to return so that their children’s salvations can be attained, one woman chose to return to continue her work on housing for Israelites, EB came back and shared his experience with people so that they would know God and be saved. We love the earth so much that we want to stay here, but Psalm 90 lets us know that it “ain’t all that.”
Another person pointed out that Deuteronomy 30 talks in detail about the blessings for obedience to God and cursings for disobedience
God is with the people. When people want to do what they want to do they pretty much tell God not to bother them. When something bad happens as a consequence of their actions or disobedience, then they want to blame God. Even Adam blamed God for the wrong choice he made to eat the forbidden fruit.
God gave us the authority to rule the earth, and we make bad choices.
Another question brought out the fact that the Passover is a marriage betrothal ceremony. And he pointed out that when a Hebrew family was to give their daughter in marriage, they would break bread with the prospective husband. The girl, who would have already investigated through family and friends the credentials of the prospective husband, at the betrothal ceremony she has the final say about whether or not wedding plans would go forward. She would either drink the cup of betrothal, or she would turn the cup upside down and refuse to drink. Judas ate the bread at the table, but did not drink the cup of wine at the last supper. He refused the offer of the groom. Jesus’ last words were that he would not drink the next cup of wine until he shares it with us in heaven. And He told the group the same words that the groom would tell the bride. That He was going to prepare a place for her, and would come back to take her to the place He prepared. Weddings in that day happened in the dark, where the groom would come for the bride shouting loudly and making lots of noise to take her to her new home. The bride was expected to be ready for his coming. Just as we are to be ready – just like the 12 virgins in Matthew 25, six were ready, six were not. The groom came at midnight. The rapture will be when Jesus comes back to take His bride home.
We know that there will be terrible times after the rapture, and we are to try and bring in as many to Christ as possible, so that they do not have to live through these tough times.
2 Kings 2:25 Then he (Elisha) went from there to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.
Mount Carmel means fruitful field. Samaria means hedge with thorns, watch station, about to take heed. Elisha went to where God’s protection was. Pastor Don mentioned that we want all to get to this place of protection under God, to not give up on family and friends even if they continually reject your words to them. Keep speaking the truth and praying for them. Keep planting the seeds for God’s word does not come back void. Pastor Don said that it takes far more faith to be an atheist.
Mount Carmel was where Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal. So God took Elisha to a place of great victory. We are the watchmen on the wall. A Christian life is a better life than any life we can choose as a non-Christian. The Church may fail us, people may let us down, but Jesus will never fail us.
Pastor Don pointed out to the gardeners in our group that the beginnings of a garden are not pretty. Plants are torn out by the roots to prepare a field. To start a good garden you have to kill stuff.
Then we went to a few verses of 2 Kings 3, but I will combine those few verses that we read with the lesson from Wednesday.
Hoping your Saturday is blessed!
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