II Kings 1-5
We are in the Nation stream today reading from the New American Standard Bible.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Wow, Heavenly Father. It is never a dull day walking with you. Let us be inspired by your mighty deeds and the mighty men who faithfully walked with you. Amen.
1 – Ahab (Jezebel’s ‘sellout’ husband) has recently died and Ahaziah his son began his two-year reign. He was a dark soul like his father Ahab. Incidentally, Moab rebelled against Israel soon into Ahaziah’s reign. He took a fall in his palace and in his distress, he called upon Baal; God of Ekron to learn if he would recover or not. Elijah was irate that Ahaziah called upon Baal – god of Ekron – to tell of his fortune. So Elijah pays him a visit, gives the dirty lowdown, that for his going to Baal for answers, Ahaziah was going to die; he would never leave his bed, and Elijah leaves. The king and messengers send for Elijah to bring him back and straighten him out or to renegotiate a different prophecy – who knows but that the plan to fetch Elijah and remind him how to treat a king is not terribly smart. So a captain with 50 men are burned up by fire from heaven at Elijah’s command. They send another captain with his 50 and it happens again! A third group of identical size approaches Elijah but with a different attitude. So Elijah complies after prompting by an angel prods him to do so. Elijah goes to King Ahaziah [again] and declares what he said prior. Everyone knew not to provoke Elijah, wouldn’t you say so?! So Ahaziah dies. The word here is that Baal was wrong. Elijah spent much of his years denouncing Baal – and those who followed Baal looking to him for life and answers. This was wrong, for Baal was a false idol that merely served to distract people from the God of Abraham. Ahaziah is gone and Jehoram assumes the throne since Ahaziah had no son.
2 – This is the chapter of Elijah’s finale~ and departure Take special note of this man’s life for he is among the most salient men in the Bible and in all history. Among all the characteristics of Elijah, his enduring deed was to mentor Elisha. Elisha asks one thing from him before he departs and that is that Elisha receive a double portion of the Spirit of God to be upon his life. The requirement is that Elisha see, actually SEE Elijah going up to heaven hosted by angels, and horses and chariots as he departs earth. This means that Elisha was not take his eyes off of him. Keep that in mind regarding a mentor in this life – don’t take your eyes off him. And this goes for the Holy Spirit that mentors us in our lives. Don’t take “your eyes” off of Him. We must look to the Spirit of Christ to guide us and we will receive that guidance. Elijah’s departure is a show they would never forget. The spirit then rested upon Elisha. His authority and anointing is verified immediately when he directs fifty men. He heals a water well, and curses a group of smart alecks who ridicule him – they are attacked by bears immediately. This is another prophet that y’don’t want to take lightly, argue with, cross-buck him, or go against him in any way.
He speaks for God so when Elisha is speaking, God is talking to you –> listen up.
3 – this is a tangled chapter with much intrigue and puzzlement and no shortage of gore. It is an interlude in Elisha’s ministry wherein he is simply consulted about battle. The entire chapter does serve to illustrate for us the tumult that Elisha is serving amid. Jehoram; king of Israel implores Jehoshaphat; king of Judah / and the king of Edom to all combine and fight Moab. As they march the seven days to Moab there isn’t water so a panic arises. [Jehoram proves to be a trifle manic in all this, btw.] Thus, Elisha is called upon. He advises, water comes, the advancing Moabites think it’s a ‘valley of blood’ and they interpret that Israel/Judah/ Edom have all turned on each other for a slaughter. So Moab charges -and gets surprised! While being overwhelmed in battle, they retreat and go head on against Edom. Nothing works in Moab’s favor and so in a grossly sadistic and ghoulish move he burns and sacrifices his own son and hangs him from the wall. This scene caused the battle to wane and Israel to retreat and not try to tax Moab anymore. They realized that the King of Moab was willing to kill anyone/anything. It’s fiendish, yes, and yet Moab’s sacrifice worked. Our apologies for talking this through. We’ll stop with this right here. If you are curious to read of a collateral report, do a search on “The Moabite Stone” that King Mesha of Moab made to commemorate this whole very strange battle. The Moabite Stone was discovered by archaeologists in the 1860’s A.D. You can look it up from there is you are so compelled.
4 – Elisha performs a miracle to save a widow and her family. The pots were filled with oil as oil multiplied without stopping while Elisha continued pouring. If they had fetched more pots, those would have been filled too! The oil stopped flowing when the empty-pots-to-fill stopped coming. There’s a faith message in this that I hope is being heard. Then the Shunnamite woman had a son as Elisha had prophesied. Note this was afterthey had provided quarters for Elisha to rest in. Later Elisha raises him from the dead – This is one of theseven resurrections in the Bible – how many?! Elisha continues headlong in a flurry of miracles that we will keep reading about next week. Next there is accidentally poison in their meal that Elisha makes edible. Then loaves and grain grows while being served – enough to feed everyone…
5 – Naaman, the valiant soldier and captain of Aram’s army is healed of leprosy. The Israelite girl that was captured and served Naaman’s wife is the one who ‘opened this door’ for the miracle to take place. Naaman and his family and others want this healing so badly, they carry 750 lbs. of silver and 150 lbs. of gold as a gift for Elisha to prompt him to action. This healing becomes a stunning testimony that even Jesus spoke of 800 years later. Notice how many times Naaman is told to dip in the Jordan. Remember the Holy Spirit is alllways eager and ready and wanting to alight upon an obedient soul. But looking this over, did the Holy Spirit need money to heal Naaman? Did Elisha? God heals for His glory and His testimony and for His name to go forth. Catch the double-edged warning about using blessing for greed. Elisha’s servant, Gehazi hopes to pocket some cash from the miracle … and it costs him his health. John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard Churches asserted that a person with the gift of healing is never to charge money for administering the Holy Spirit and healing people. A word to the wise should be sufficient here. Bless people with God – don’t bill them while saying “it’s for God.”