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Miracles of Elisha
Second Kings 4.1–6.7
Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 8, In the year of our Lord, 2016
- Second Kings 4.1–7 | The Lord Helps with a Debt
1 A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.” 2 So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. 4 And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.” 5 So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. 6 Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”
- What do you think of Elisha’s readiness to help?
- Also notice that he did not merely say, “If you need anything…”
- If you truly want to help someone, I advise that you use Elisha’s language:
- “What shall I do for you?”
- Think of a way like he did.
- Someone in distress will not be thinking as clearly you could.
- They have a problem that has them not knowing what to do.
- However, you stand outside that problem and can think of solutions.
- What do you think of Elisha’s readiness to help?
- Second Kings 4.8–11 | A Woman Honors a Prophet
8 Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. 9 And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. 10 Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.” 11 And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there.
- Evidently this woman had been blessed by Elisha.
- It may have just been by his preaching to sinful Israel.
- She wanted to honor him.
- She wanted to bless someone had been a blessing.
- Evidently this woman had been blessed by Elisha.
- Second Kings 4.12–18a | Bless Those Who Have Blessed You
12 Then he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite woman.” When he had called her, she stood before him. 13 And he said to him, “Say now to her, Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?” She answered, “I dwell among my own people.” 14 So he said, “What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.” 15 So he said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16 Then he said, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!” 17 But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her. 18a And the child grew.
- Who was Gehazi?
- Even as Elisha served Elijah, so Gehazi served Elisha.
- Therefore, Gehazi should have been the next prophet.
- Elisha’s ministry blessed the Shunammite woman.
- The Shunammite woman blessed Elisha.
- Then Elisha wanted to bless the Shunammite woman.
- Is this not how it should happen?
- How often do those you have blessed, blessed you?
- How often have you blessed those who blessed you?
- Who was Gehazi?
- Second Kings 4.18b–26 | It Is Well
18b Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. 19 And he said to his father, “My head, my head!” So he said to a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. 21 And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. 22 Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.” 23 So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “It is well.” 24 Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” 25 And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman! 26 Please run now to meet her, and say to her, “Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ ” And she answered, “It is well.”
- Why did she keep it secret from her husband?
- Why did she say, “It is well”?
- Second Kings 4.27–37 | A Resurrection
27 Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, “Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the LORD has hidden it from me, and has not told me.” 28 So she said, “Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, Do not deceive me?” 29 Then he said to Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.” 30 And the mother of the child said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. 31 Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, “The child has not awakened.” 32 When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. 33 He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the LORD. 34 And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” 37 So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out.
- Why did the Lord not reveal it to Elisha?
- Why did she not come out and tell Elisha?
- This miracle came in stages.
- Can you think of any other miracles in the Bible that came in stages?
- Mark 8.22–26
- Elisha prayed, laid on the child twice.
- The boy’s flesh became warm, he sneezed seven times, then opened his eyes.
- Could this reveal some insight into how our bodies work, as Mark 8 does?
- Second Kings 4.38–41 | Eating Unknown Food
38 And Elisha returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land. Now the sons of the prophets were sitting before him; and he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” 39 So one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered from it a lapful of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, though they did not know what they were. 40 Then they served it to the men to eat. Now it happened, as they were eating the stew, that they cried out and said, “Man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it. 41 So he said, “Then bring some flour.” And he put it into the pot, and said, “Serve it to the people, that they may eat.” And there was nothing harmful in the pot.
- I have often wondered about past generations before civilizations grew up, how people discovered what was good or bad.
- Sometimes they just had to try something and discover the hard way.
- Why did Elisha have flour put into the stew?
- Second Kings 4.42–44 | The Food Multiplies
42 Then a man came from Baal Shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley bread, and newly ripened grain in his knapsack. And he said, “Give it to the people, that they may eat.” 43 But his servant said, “What? Shall I set this before one hundred men?” He said again, “Give it to the people, that they may eat; for thus says the LORD: They shall eat and have some left over.” 44 So he set it before them; and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD.
- Someone else in the Bible multiplied food, but we know him better than this incident. Who was it?
- Even as the disciples of Jesus and even as Moses could not see how it was possible to feed a large group of people, so Elisha’s servant could not see it either.
- Second Kings 5.1 | A Leper
1 Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.
- A most dreaded disease.
- Even the powerful get sick.
- See Psalm 49.
- Second Kings 5.2–3 | Love Your Enemies
2 And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. 3 Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.”
- What was this Israelite girl’s status?
- What was Naaman, his wife, and the Syrians to this girl?
- Yet, she desired something good for her master.
- Second Kings 5.4–8 | Only God Can Perform a Miraculous Healing
4 And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus said the girl who is from the land of Israel.” 5 Then the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So he departed and took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 Then he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which said, Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy. 7 And it happened, when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.” 8 So it was, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”
- The girl had mentioned a prophet, but of whom did the Syrian king think?
- Why did the king of Israel think that the king of Syria sought a quarrel with him?
- Elisha requested that the Syrian go to him.
- When Naaman goes to Elisha, watch what happens.
- Going to him did not necessarily mean going right to him.
- Second Kings 5.9–14 | The Complex versus the Simple
9 Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy. 12 Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, Wash, and be clean?” 14 So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
- What made Naaman furious?
- He had preconceived ideas.
- He went to the prophet, so Naaman expected the prophet to come out.
- He expected the prophet to call on the name of God.
- He expected the prophet to wave his hand over the place.
- He believed the rivers of Damascus were better than the Jordan.
- While we understand his desperation, you do not go to the doctor and tell him how to do his job, nor do you go the mechanic and tell him how to do his job.
- What was the wise reasoning of his servants?
- Why do we like to complicate the simple, and make complex the easy?
- Do we get caught up in the methods?
- What made Naaman furious?
- Second Kings 5.15–19 | A Show of Gratitude
15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.” 16 But he said, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. 17 So Naaman said, “Then, if not, please let your servant be given two mule-loads of earth; for your servant will no longer offer either burnt offering or sacrifice to other gods, but to the LORD. 18 Yet in this thing may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD please pardon your servant in this thing.” 19 Then he said to him, “Go in peace.” So he departed from him a short distance.
- What did Naaman come to know?
- Why did Elisha refuse to take a gift from Naaman?
- When Naaman went into the temple of Rimmon would he go sincerely?
- Second Kings 5.20–24 | Covetousness
20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “Look, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but as the LORD lives, I will run after him and take something from him.” 21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw him running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him, and said, “Is all well?” 22 And he said, “All is well. My master has sent me, saying, Indeed, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the mountains of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of garments.” 23 So Naaman said, “Please, take two talents.” And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and handed them to two of his servants; and they carried them on ahead of him. 24 When he came to the citadel, he took them from their hand, and stored them away in the house; then he let the men go, and they departed.
- Covetousness destroyed Judas, and covetousness destroyed Gehazi.
- Did Gehazi lie?
- How many times did he lie?
- Second Kings 5.25–27 | Lies to Cover Lies
25 Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, “Where did you go, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant did not go anywhere.” 26 Then he said to him, “Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? 27 Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever.” And he went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow.
- Did Gehazi lie again?
- Is there a time not to receive gifts?
- Is there a time to receive gifts?
- Second Kings 6.1–7 | Defying Gravity
1 And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us. 2 Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell.” So he answered, “Go.” 3 Then one said, “Please consent to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” 4 So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5 But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Alas, master! For it was borrowed.” 6 So the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float. 7 Therefore he said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out his hand and took it.
- Is this the only time that someone defied gravity?
- How or when did Jesus defy gravity?
- Was the potentially lost ax head worse because it was borrowed?