Let’s turn in our Bibles now to II Kings, chapter three. After King Ahab, that extremely wicked king had died, his son Ahaziah began to reign in his stead. Ahaziah was as wicked as his father, and so he had a short lived reign. Only a couple of years, and he died. Because he had no children, no sons, his brother, the second son of Ahab began to reign, his name was Jehoram.
He began to reign over Israel in the eighteenth year of the reign of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, and he reigned for twelve years. He did evil in the sight of the Lord; [As did all of the kings of Israel.] but he was not as bad as his father, or his mother: and he did put away the idol and the worship of Baal that had been instituted by his father. Nevertheless he continued after the worship that was established by the first king of Judah, [The worship by, that was created,] through Jeroboam (3:1-3).
When he put the altars in Bethel, and in Dan, and made the calves there, and told the people that they were the gods that brought them out of Israel, out of Egypt. So during the period then, that Jehoram began to reign…
Mesha the king of Moab who was a sheepmaster, who paid tribute to the king of Israel: and the tribute was a hundred thousand lambs, and a hundred thousand rams, with the wool. [Every year. Got tired of paying the tribute.] He rebelled against Jehoram [And in his rebellion, he attacked some of the cities of Israel. He took some of the cities of Israel.] But it came to pass, that the king Jehoram decided that he would go to battle against Mesha. And he came down to Jehoshaphat. [He sent a message actually to him.] And he said, The king of Moab has rebelled against me: will you go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: For as you are, my people are as my people, and my horses as your horses (3:4-7).
Now Jehoshaphat, you remember earlier, in the reign of Ahab, when he came to visit Ahab, Ahab said, “You know Syria is still holding Rabah and that should be ours. Would you go help me take Rabah?”. And Jehoshaphat said the same thing to Ahab, “You know my men are as your men, my horses are as your horses. Let’s go.” And they went to, but they, let’s inquire of the Lord, he said. So they brought in all the prophets that said, “Go, you know you’re gonna prosper, you’re gonna defeat them”. And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there a prophet of Jehovah that we can inquire?”, and Ahab said, “Oh there’s one, but man he always gives me bad news. Micaiah. I can’t stand the guy. Never prophesies anything good about me”. He said, “Well don’t say that. Let’s call him in and let him prophecy”. And, Micaiah came in and said, “Go. God will bless you”. He said, “How many times have I told you not to lie to me in the name of the Lord?” Micaiah said, “Okay, you want to know the truth? I saw Israel without a shepherd, and they were just you know, their shepherd was smitten. Ahab, you’ve had it. You know when you go to battle.”, and Ahab said, “Didn’t I tell you this guy always prophesies evil against me?”, and so forth.
Well, Ahab went to battle with Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat went with Ahab into battle. As they got near the battlefield, Ahab said, “I’d like to get in and fight. You, you, take and put on my robes, and stay here in my chariot. But I’m gonna get into the battle”. And Ahab went into the battle. Well, the king of Syria said, “Don’t worry about the troops. Let’s get the king, if we can wipe out their king, then they’ll be demoralized, and they won’t have any leadership, and they’ll flee”.
So some of the captains saw Jehoshaphat in the king’s chariot, with the king’s robe, and they thought, “Aha there he is”, and they began to pursue after Jehoshaphat. And, he began to flee, and he began to cry out you know, and these guys realized that, “Hey, he’s not the king of Israel”. Now, you’d think that Jehoshaphat would’ve learned, but now the son of Ahab is inviting him to go to battle. “Will you with me against Moab? King Mesha has rebelled against us, and will you go?” And, he says, “Hey you know, my men are like your men, my horse like yours, let’s go for it”.
And they said, Which way shall we go? And they said, Let’s go by the way of the wilderness of Edom (3:8).
Now Moab was pretty much directly across from the area of Jordan, and Jericho, and the Dead sea. From Samaria the most direct route would be right down from Bethel, to Jericho, and across, and you catch them right there. You enter directly into Moab. The route that they have chosen, is a route that goes way around south of the Dead sea, crossing the plain on the southern end of the Dead sea, and coming up through Edom, and attacking Moab then from the south. It is a very circuitous route that they were taking. However, in doing so they picked up also the king of Edom with their troops. So you have three nations, Judah, Israel, and Edom, coming against Moab, and coming against them from the south. However…
The king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass [Or that is they went on around on a seven day journey. Pretty rough journey. It was only a distance of about thirty seven miles, but uh, it uh, it took, it’s pretty tough wilderness area down there.] and there was no water there for the host, [Now there is a little stream that generally has water, down in that southern end, but it apparently was dry, and when they came to it, they found that it was dry, so they were really then, in desperate straits. Having that many men down there with their animals, without water, and uh, they uh,] So the king of Israel said, Alas! [Which is a term of you know, “Yikes!” or “We’ve had it!” or, sort of despair.] that the Lord has called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab (3:9-10)!
Looks like Moab’s gonna take us, rather than us wiping Moab out. Looks like we’re gonna be destroyed.
But Jehoshaphat [Always seeking to inquire of the Lord, and Jehoshaphat walked with the Lord. His only problem, he didn’t keep the best company. He was always running around with these guys from the north. “But Jehoshaphat,”] said, Is there not here a prophet of Jehovah, that we may inquire of Jehovah by him? And one of the kings of Israel’s servants answered and said, Elisha is here, the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah (3:11).
Now we remember that while Elijah was still alive, that Elisha became his servant. Pouring hands upon his water, uh, pouring water upon his hands is just a term that shows his servitude. When Elijah washed his hands, here was Elisha pouring the water for him.
And so Jehoshaphat said, The word of Jehovah is with him. SO the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom came down to Elisha. And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with you? get to the prophets of your father, and the prophets of your mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, No: for Jehovah has called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab. And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, surely were it not that I regarded the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not even look to you. [“I wouldn’t even give you the time of day.”] But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him (3:12-15).
Now, there’s an interesting thing. There seems to be a tie between the music, and the anointing of God upon the prophet. And, uh this was often the case in those days. A prophet would have them play music. This was a part of the school of the prophets was the worship of God, and music, and as they would worship the Lord, the Spirit of God would move upon their hearts. That’s why we have music as an important part of our worship. It sort of opens the door for the working of the Spirit within our hearts. It sort of prepares our hearts to receive the word of God, and that’s why we always begin our services with the time of music. Just that of preparing our hearts, that the Spirit of God might speak to our hearts, that have been opened, through the time of worship and music.
And Elisha said, Thus saith Jehovah, Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the Lord, You will not see the wind, neither will you see rain; and yet this valley will be filled with water, that ye may drink, both you, and your cattle, and your beasts. [The cattle were taken along for food, the beasts were taken along to carry their supplies.] And he said, [But, is, it but,] this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand. And you shall smite every fenced city, every choice city, and you shall cut down every good tree, and stop up all of their wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones. And it came to pass in the morning, when the meal offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by way of Edom, and the country was filled with water (3:16-20).
Now this was a common occurrence down in this particular valley. You are at an area that is around eleven, twelve hundred feet below sea level. It’s this deep, rift called the Syro-African rift. The lowest spot on the face of the earth, outside of the ocean floors. And, many times you can be down there and it will be a sunny day. A beautiful day, down by the Dead Sea. These dry wadies will suddenly just be filled with water. You’ll get a flash flood, and cars and busses, have been washed into these wadies, in these flash floods. Though the sun is shining, you don’t see any clouds or anything down there in this valley, yet up in the area of Jerusalem they could be having a tremendous downpour, in the area of Hebron, and the water then comes racing down these, normally dry wadies, into the Dead sea. So it is not at all an uncommon occurrence. We’ve been down there in the sunshine, a hot day, and yet you would have these flash floods coming through these wadies, on into the Dead sea. So he said, “You’re not gonna hear the wind, or see the wind, you’re not gonna see the rain, but this valley’s gonna be filled with water. So make ditches to catch the water”, actually, when it comes flowing through. And then, God is gonna be good, He’s gonna deliver the Moabites into your hands.
So when the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armor, and they stood at the border. [They’re ready for this clash.] And they rose up early in the morning, as the sun was rising upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood (3:21-22):
You know how it is in the morning, when the sun rises, uh that uh, the reddishness of the sun is reflected off the water, and uh it looked like, instead of a valley full of water, it looked like a valley full of blood. The Moabites immediately assumed, you get three kings together, they had to fight among themselves. They had a big fight last night, all of the armies that had come together, got to squabbling among themselves, and they wiped out each other. You know, “Let’s attack them quickly, and we’ll wipe out the remnants”. So the Moabites saw the sun shining upon the water, that looked as red as blood.
And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: so to the spoil Moab. [And these guys came down expecting to spoil them.] And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country. And they beat down the cities, on every good piece of land they cast a man his stone, and they stopped the wells of water, and they cut down the good trees: only in Kirharaseth left they the stones thereof; howbeit the slingers went about, and smote it (3:23-25).
The one city they were not able to take was this fortress of Kirharaseth. It’s a positioned on a, a hill that makes it extremely difficult to capture. In fact later the crusaders built a powerful fortress in this same location. But what they did, they did not take the city, it would’ve cost too many lives, the king and the people had fled to the city. So these guys, with these slings, went around and tossed these stones on into the city, of course harassing the people on the inside. These stones come flying in. But, they did not try to take the city.
Now when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too much for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, and tried to break through the ranks, even to the king of Edom: but they could not. [They decided that, “Well, at least we’ll get one of them. We’ll try and get the king of Edom”. They could not break through the ranks.] And so they took his oldest son that should have reigned in his place, and offered him for a burnt offering on the wall. [And it was so repulsive, repugnant to the Israelites,] that they departed from him, and returned to their own land (3:26-27).
Now there was a certain woman who was a widow, and she was the wife of one of the sons of the prophets. And she said to Elisha, Thy servant my husband is dead; and you know that he feared the Lord: now the creditors have come to take my two sons to be slaves (4:1).
Now in those days, when you borrowed money, you could pledge yourself as security for the money. So that if you could not pay your debt, then you were sold into slavery. And this son of the prophet, which was a term, “One of the sons of the prophets”, which was a term, he was in the prophet school. He had pledged his life for the debt. He died, and so the two sons then become the security for his debt. Then the men had come, uh the creditor in order to take and make slaves out of the woman’s two sons.
Elisha said, What shall I do for you? tell me, what do you have in the house? And she said, Your handmaid has nothing in the house, except a pot of oil. And so he said, Go, and borrow as many vessels from your neighbors, empty vessels; that you can get, don’t borrow a few. [“Just go out and borrow all the pitchers and the pots, and everything you can get from your neighbors.”] And when you are come in, you shall shut the door upon you and your sons, and you shall pour out into all of those vessels, and you shall set aside that which is full. So she went from him, and shut the door upon her, and upon her sons, and who had brought the vessels to her; and she poured the oil out. [Into these vessels.] And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, Bring me some more vessels. And he said unto her, There’s none left. And so the oil stayed. [That is, that was it.] So she came and told the man of God, and he said, Go and sell the oil, and pay your debt, and live you and your children on the rest of it (4:2-7).
So here was a miracle of God. Now, there is a certain similarity between this miracle, and the one with Elijah. When the woman uh, had taken Elijah in, he said, uh you know, “Make me the cake first”. She said, “I just have enough flour and oil to make a loaf of bread, and then my son and I are gonna eat it, and die”. He says, “Make me one first, and then make one for you and your son”. And the whole period of the famine, the oil never ran out, the flour never ran out. There was always enough for more during the three year period of the famine. Now, again we find God working in a miraculous way to provide for this widow’s need. As Elisha said, “Just go and borrow all of the pans and all of the vessels that you can get hold of from your neighbors, and then take the oil that you have, and just fill all the pots, and all of the vessels. Then sell what you have to, to pay the debt, and just live off the rest of the oil”.
Now it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem. And there was a great woman; [And, that doesn’t men uh, size. It’s means wealthy. She was a rich lady. A wealthy woman.] and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, as often as he passed by, that he would turn in there to eat bread (4:8).
Now Elisha is an interesting person. He’s not like Elijah. Elijah wasn’t very sociable. Elijah was rough. A hairy guy with a leather girdle, and he was just uh, a rugged individualist, and not sociable at all. Where Elisha’s a very sociable person. You find him mixing with the people. He’s not sort of uh, as was Elijah, just you know, off to himself. So the woman invited him in for bread, so every time he passed by that way, he’d go and eat the bread. But also, with Elisha, he didn’t care for material things. He wasn’t interested in money or material things at all. He was willing to just go in and eat bread, uh you know, that the woman would provide. Uh, well we’ll see in a little bit, his disinterest in material things. Fellow very satisfied, very content to just serve the Lord, and live on what God provided, and not after material gain.
So [she] this woman said to her husband, I perceive that this is a holy man of God, which is passing by here continually. So let’s make a little room, I pray thee, on the wall; [Of our house. Just add a bedroom actually.] and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, that whenever he comes to us, that he can spend some time there (4:9-10).
“You know, just make a chamber for the prophet. Put a bed in there, table and all, and whenever he’s by it’s just his room, and it’s there available for him.”
And so it fell on a day, that he came there, and he turned into the chamber, and he laid down there. And so he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he called her, she stood before him. And he said to her, Say now unto her, Behold you have been very careful for us with all of this care; what do you want us to do for you? you want us to speak to the king or the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among my own people (4:11-13).
“I don’t need any favors, I’m satisfied.”
And he said, Well then what’s to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, She doesn’t have any children, and her husband is old. And so he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door. And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, you’re going to be embracing a son. [“Next year about this time, you’re gonna be holding a child, your son.”] And she said, Oh no, my Lord, thou man of God, don’t lie to your handmaid (4:14-16).
You know, impossible!
But the woman conceived, and bore a son and at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life. And so when the child was grown, a certain day, he went out with his father to a field to reap. [The crops.] And he said unto his father, My head, my head. [He probably had a sun stroke.] And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. And when he had taken him, and brought him to [the] his mother, he sat on her knees until noon, and then he died. And she went up, and laid him on the bed [Of Elisha, the bed,] of the man of God, and she shut the door upon him, and she went out. And she called to her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God, and come again. And he said, Why will you go to him today? it’s not a new moon, or a sabbath. And she said, It shall be well (4:17-23).
A woman of faith. Now she didn’t really say to her husband, “You know your son is dead, he’s lying on the prophet’s bed”, she said, “Just send me a donkey and a young man. I’ve gotta get to the prophet”. Of course, Elisha was in the area of mount Carmel, and he had sort of a place there where people would come, and they would offer sacrifices unto the Lord. But, uh she, she is, she’s heading off, and she said, “It shall be well”. A statement of faith.
And so she saddled the donkey, and said to her servant, Now drive, and go forward; don’t slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee. [In other words, “Don’t slow down unless I tell ya, but let’s get moving!”] And so when she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, here comes that Shunammite: Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with your husband? is it well with your child? And she answered, It is well (4:24-26).
Now he could tell by the way that she was driving that little donkey, that there was something wrong. There was a problem. So he sent his Gehazi out, to find out what the problem was. You know, “What’s your problem? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with you? Is it well with your child?”. She said, “It is well”.
And so when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: and Gehazi the servant came near to thrust her away. But the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told me (4:27).
Now Elisha to me is a very interesting fellow, because he is surprised when God didn’t speak to him. I’m always surprised when God does speak to me! It’s always just, it’s a pleasant surprise, a joyful surprise when God speaks to me, but, it’s always to me a surprise. I’m just delighted when God speaks to me! He was surprised when God didn’t speak to him. He was so tuned in, and we’ll come to that a little more, as we look at this man Elisha. So tuned in that he was shocked here, that the woman was obviously in trouble, and God did not show him what the problem was.
And she said to him, Did I desire a son of my Lord? did not I say, Don’t deceive me (4:28)?
So, with this, he realizes that the problem is with the son. She said, “Look I didn’t ask for a son, and I said don’t deceive me”. And so he realized that the son was in bad shape.
So he said to his servant Gehazi, Gird up your loins, [Now they usually wore robes and when they needed to run, they would take the sash that they wore, and they would pull their robe up, and tie the sash up high. So then you have a short skirt, and you can run with a short skirt. So you read in the scripture, “Gird up thy loins”, and that’s what it’s talking about. It’s taking these long ropes, pulling them up, tying it with a sash, so that it becomes a short skirt, so you could fight, or so you could run. So, he said, “Gird up your loins”,] and take my staff in your hand, and go your way: and if you meet any man, don’t even greet him; and if he greets you, don’t answer him: and lay my staff upon the face of the child. And the mother of the child said, As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I’m not gonna leave you. [I mean here’s a mother who is desperate. Desperate for her child. She’s not going to just allow a servant to run and place the staff. She said, “I’m not leaving you. You’re coming with me”.] And so, he arose, and followed her. And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and he told him, saying, The child is not awakened. And when Elisha had come to the house, behold, the child was dead, and was lying upon his bed. And he went in therefore, and shut the door on the two of them, and he prayed unto Jehovah. And he went up, and he lay upon the child, he put his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. And then he returned, and walked in the house back and forth; and he went up, and stretched himself upon the child: and the child sneezed seven times, and opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in to him, he said, Take up your son. And then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out (4:29-37).
So here, God’s miraculous power working through Elisha. Now, you remember when Elijah said, “What do you want? What is your request?”, and he said, “I want a double portion of the Spirit that you have”. Here we find Elisha, now exercising this ministry, and the power of the Spirit. The next, and actually we have, I think about seventeen miracles recorded in the life of Elisha. The miracles didn’t even end with his life! We’re gonna have an interesting case, where later on, after Elisha was buried, there was a battle, and some guy was killed in battle, and they threw his body into this pit, where Elisha had been buried, where his bones were; and, when this guy’s body hit the bones of Elisha, he revived! So the power went on even after Elisha’s death. The next miracle is an interesting one.
Elisha came to Gilgal: [And we told you that in Bethel, in Jericho, and Gilgal, there were schools, for these prophets. So he came to Gilgal.] there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on a great pot, and make some pottage for the sons of the prophets. And so one of the fellows went out into the field to gather some vegetables, and he found a wild vine, and he gathered from it some wild gourds his lap full, and he came and he shred them into the pot of pottage: for they didn’t realize what they were. And so they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there’s death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof (4:38-40).
These wild gourds were bitter, obnoxious, and, and as they tried to eat it, they just said, “Ah, horrible! Can’t eat that! Death in the pot!”
And so the prophet said, Bring some meal. [Probably some corn meal.] He cast it into the pot; and he said, Now pour it out for the people, that they may eat. And they were able to eat it, there was no harm (4:41).
I see in this a spiritual kind of a sequel. There is in our hearts, a tremendous hunger to see the power of God demonstrated in the church, in the body of Christ. A week ago we spoke on the subject, “Where is the God of Elijah?” We shared the burden and the concern of our hearts. To really see God’s power manifested amongst these people. There are those of our congregation that are suffering physical maladies. How I would love to see the power of God, touching, and healing them from these physical maladies.
There is, within the heart of many people, the desire to see God work. Unfortunately there are men who take advantage of this desire. They have these meetings where the people are all whipped up into an emotional frenzy, and sometimes have sort of hyped, or faked kind of miracles. And, get the people all excited. Then they raise big offerings, and skip town. So that in the Pentecostal churches, there is sort of the promise of the power of God, and the demonstration of the power of God. Many people are attracted because of the promises that are held out. But as you go, and as you see the things that are happening, there is wild fire. Someone has shred in the wild gourds. You see what’s going on, you see