Author: Ron Graham
—And his taking up of Elijah’s mantle
Time: 6. Kingdom Divided
Span" 200 years
Books: 2Kings, 2Chronicles, Isaiah, Amos, Jonah, Hosea, Micah
Figures: Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah
Begins with: Rebellion of the ten tribes
Ascendant empire: Assyria
After Elijah left this world, his disciple Elisha took up Elijah's mantle and ministry. This lesson is about Elisha.
1 The Cry of Elisha
As Elijah was taken up into heaven, Elisha cried out, " My father, my father! The chariot of Israel and its horsemen!" (2Kings 2:11-12).
When Elisha was dying, king Joash repeated these same words (2Kings 13:14). Elisha and Joash saw things differently to most people. We can appreciate that Elisha had special insight when we consider his statement quoted above.
Elisha perceived and respected the godliness in a holy person, as a good son respects a good father —not like the foolish youths who mocked Elisha calling him "Baldy!".
Elisha Recognized the presence of God and his hosts —not like the servant of Elisha who failed to perceive the chariots of fire till Elisha prayed, "LORD open his eyes that he may see".
Elisha understood the glory of God's kingdom —not like the many wicked kings who walked in darkness.
2 The Main Point
Behind this story is the faith and faithfulness of a man devoted to God and to the spirit and power of his "father".
Unless we are fortunate, we may not be much of ourselves, and perhaps our own father might not have been much either, yet we can look to Jesus as a father figure or elder brother.
He is not the Heavenly Father, of course. He is the Son. Yet, he is a "Father" to us (Isaiah 9:6) in much the same sense that Elisha called Elijah "My father", and Joash in turn called Elisha the same.
As disciples of Christ, we can be imbued with the spirit and power of Christ who has gone into heaven before us, just as Elisha was imbued with the spirit and power of Elijah after he was taken up.
3 Bible Summary (2Kings 2-13)
- Elisha heals the bad water (2)
- Youths jeer Elisha and are punished (2)
- The kings of Judah, Israel, and Edom unite against Moab (3)
- Elisha makes a valley fill with water (3)
- Elisha makes a little oil fill many jars (4)
- Miracles regarding the Shunammite's son (4)
- Elisha takes the poison out of a stew (4)
- Twenty loaves to feed a hundred men (4)
- The healing of Naaman the leper (5)
- Gehazi (Elisha's servant) sins, and is punished with leprosy (5)
- Elisha makes an axe head float (6)
- Elisha tips off Israel's king about the king of Syria (6)
- Chariots of fire surround Elisha (6)
- Syrians of Aramea are struck blind (6)
- Samaria under siege, famine, and horror (6)
- Elisha predicts an immediate end to the tribulation (7)
- Desperate lepers find the Syrian camp empty (7)
- The king's officer trampled at the city gate (7)
- The Shunammite woman's land is restored to her (8)
- Chronicle of certain kings including Jehu (8, 9, 10)
- Jezebel is eaten by dogs as prophesied (9)
- Slaughter of the seventy princes of Ahab's line (10)
- Slaughter of the ministers of Baal (10)
- Ahaziah's mother Athalia makes herself queen of Judah (11)
- Joash becomes king of Judah (11)
- Note: Joash was Ahaziah's son. The name Joash is also spelled Jehoash, and there was a king in Israel also with this name.
- Joash is a good king in Judah. He repairs the temple (12)
- Chronicle of certain kings including Jehu (13)
- Elisha's last acts and his death (13)
- [Some similar information is given in 2nd Chronicles 21-24]
4 A Few Facts About Elisha
- A prophet in Israel after the kingdom divided
- A devoted companion and disciple of Elijah
- He carried on Elijah's work in the same spirit and power
- Contemporary with the kings/queen of Judah named Jehoram, Ahaziah, Athalia, Joash
- Contemporary with the kings of Israel named Ahaziah, Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash
- Gave Jehoash, king of Israel, the arrow of victory
- Dealt with the armies of Syria who attacked Israel
- Demonstrated amazing powers. For example...
- Brought the Shunammite woman's son back to life
- Made small amounts of loaves and oil feed many people
- Healed Naaman of leprosy
- A dead man came to life when thrown on Elisha's bones