Although I have planned on doing week-long looks at a given subject, I’d like to deviate for the time being and look at one subject, the life and calling of Elisha, for however long it seems fitting. I am not committing to a specific length for the posts— some will be longer and others shorter—only to continue posting every weekday. Some posts will be straight teaching, while others will have some personal anecdotes relating to my successes and failures as has been my custom to share. I’m excited to take this journey with you to see what we can discover together.
Before we can jump in to the story of Elisha, we must look briefly at his mentor and predecessor, Elijah.
We are given a brief background on Ahab, the reigning king of Israel, in 1 Kings 16, and all of the wickedness he walked in, including his worship of Baal which came about when he married a heathen princess named Jezebel. Scripture records that he did more to anger God than any of the kings before him (1 Kings 16:33).
Then, in chapter 17, Elijah comes on the Biblical scene abruptly. There was no announcement of “the word of the Lord came to….” There was just Elijah, face-to-face with Ahab, prophesying a drought. We are not privy to Elijah’s call, nor God’s directing him to confront Ahab. He seemingly starts his ministry by “poking the bear.” Then God directs him to go and hide, promising to care for him.
And God does care for him for roughly three years of drought. Then he sends Elijah to confront Ahab again. And Elijah does so in a most convincing manner: a showdown with 450 prophets of Baal. We’re all familiar with the story (if not, check it out in 1 Kings 18:20-40). God shows up with fire and all 450 prophets of Baal are put to death. Elijah prays for rain and it comes.
Ahab goes crying back to his wife, and she issues a death threat to Elijah. He wasn’t afraid to confront Ahab. He trusted that God would provide for him during the drought. He wasn’t at all intimidated by the 450. But when Jezebel promises to kill him he tucks his tail and runs! Elijah throws a huge pity party in his own honor, even on the heels of a great victory.
To be honest, I can identify a little bit with Elijah. I understand how a mind can go dark, even when things have gone right. And I know that I am not alone when I admit that, despite many wonderful blessings of God, despite the amount of times He has protected me, I still have moments of doubt. I still question His motives. I still feel, sometimes, as though my prayers just bounce off the ceiling.
I’m reminded of the disciples when the Lord cautioned them to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees” (Mark 8:15, ESV). The disciples thought He was rebuking them for forgetting to bringing bread with them in the boat. This, after He had just fed the 5000 and the 4000 with next to nothing!
Back to Elijah. Even in his doubt and fear, God whispered His love to him. And he was able to discern God’s voice. Good news for us; there’s always hope!
Then God tells him to get his things in order. He is directed to anoint two kings, over Syria and Israel. And he’s told to anoints Elish as his prophetic successor.
Elisha knew of the great ways that God had used Elijah. He knew about the prophesied drought. No doubt he had heard of the battle with the priests of Baal, and of the dangers that he faced as a result. But as we’ll look at a bit tomorrow, He didn’t hesitate to align himself with Elijah.
Blessings on your day!
Image from Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1489939