The Faith of Elisha
Starting with 2 Kings 2, the book is pretty much about Elisha the prophet and his ministry until chapter 8 when it returns to the kings of Israel and Judah. That is not to say that isn’t mentioned in 2 Kings after chapter 8 because he is. Elisha is active prophesying and performing miracles until the book records his death in chapter 13. Below is a list of the miracles that Elisha performed and are listed in chapters four through seven of 2 Kings:
- Miracle of the Increase of the Widows Oil (2 Kings 4:1-7)
- Miracle of the Shunamite’s Son (2 Kings 4:8-37)
- Miracle of the Deadly Stew (2 Kings 4:38 – 41)
- Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves (2 Kings 4:42 – 44)
- Miracle of the healing of Naaman (2 Kings 5:1 – 27)
- Miracle of the Floating Axe Head (2 Kings 6:1 – 7)
- Miracles During the First Aramean Attack (2 Kings 6:8 – 23)
- Miracles During the Second Aramean Attack (2 Kings 6:24 – 7:20)
God‘s faithful know that in reality Elisha did not perform any miracles: God performed the miracles through Elisha. It was Elisha’s faith in the LORD his God that allowed God to work His wonders through Elisha. Elisha was available and trusted that God would work through him. The Christian today is taught to make himself available, but God does not seem to work through us as He did through Elisha and the prophets of old. Could it be that we lack the faith and/or the availability? We do after all live in a self centered culture!
In my reading today, I found the Miracle of the Shunamite’s Son to be particularly interesting. When Elisha first found out that the boy had died, he sent his servant with his staff to revive the boy by laying his staff across the boys face. This did not work! The boy still lay cold and dead. Not to be undone, Elisha went personally to revive the boy. He prayed to the LORD and lay on the boy and placed his mouth on the boy’s mouth, his eyes on the boys eyes and his hands on the boys hands. The child became warm but still was not revived.
This was serious! Was God not listening to Elisha’s prayer? Was Elisha’s faith faltering or was God simply testing Elisha’s faith. We know that the author of life would have no trouble restoring life to a dead boy. The text says that Elisha returned to the main room in the house and walked in the house back and forth. Was he praying? Was he casting out evil spirits? Was he gathering his faith? We don’t know!
He then returned to the boy and stretched himself on him again and this time the lad was revived. The questions about this story just don’t stop coming. Did he really expect his servant to revive the boy? Did his faith start start to falter when that did not happen? How did he know that it was God’s will that he restore the lad? The final question, How would I have reacted in that situation? Would my faith have held? Would yours?