The Miracles of Elisha (Week 28, Part 3/6) 2 Kings 2-7 | July 4- July 10 – powered by Happy Scribe
I’m Lynn Hilton Wilson part of this week’s Come Follow Me.
In the Old Testament, we’re looking at 2 Kings, chapters two through seven.
And I’m thrilled to be able to jump in and talk about Elisha and some of his wonderful miracles. But before we do, just to set the stage, we are already learned that our wonderful prophet Elijah has passed his mantle on to Elisha. And now that Elisha is watching this all happen, I want to address when Elijah came in the Restoration, because I feel like the Old Testament becomes so much more meaningful when we see the fulfillment in the Restoration. All four books of our Standard Works report that Elishjah will return right before the Second Coming. And this prophecy that is given in Malachi, chapter four, was exactly restored in the Kirkland temple.
It was the second day of the week of unleavened bread. So you have your Passover feast at night, and the second day, the Jews are celebrating this festival, and they’ve already had their door opened for Elijah to come in. In Kirtland, Ohio, we have a record in section 110 of our Doctrine Covenants that Elijah did come to the prophet Joseph Smith and he did restore the ceiling keys. It’s significant to me that these keys were restored on the anniversary when our Savior is in the spirit world. Shortly remember, he’s killed on the cross, as the Pascal Lambs are being prepared to be killed for their Passover meal.
And then he goes to the spirit world to organize the missionary work. And on this April 3 day in 1836, when Elijah comes back on that anniversary, when the Lord is preparing vicarious mission work, I mean, missionary work to be done in the spirit world, joseph now is receiving the keys for vicarious ordinances to be done through the prophet Elijah. It all ties together so beautifully. But now let’s jump into the miracles of Elisha. You recall that Elisha asks for a double portion.
I think this all relates back to the law of Moses dealing with the law of inheritances. Following around the prophet Elijah and the prophet Elijah are the sons of the prophets. I look at them as the 70 or the Twelve under the Lord Jesus Christ, and under our prophets nowadays, where they are called to serve. And yet they each have their own assignments and they’re busy doing good things, but they’ve committed themselves to be disciples of Jehovah or of Jesus Christ. And the sons of the prophets will receive the inheritance of Elijah as he leaves, but Elisha, as he follows him from Gilgal to Bethel to clear down to Jordan, and across the Jordan into the same area where Elijah where Moses was translated, is the same place where Elijah was translated.
And then Elijah opens the River Jordan again and becomes a second Joshua as he enters into the Promised Land in the same spot, this area of Betheborough, the place of the crossing, elisha begins his ministry just as Joshua did, and we see this beautiful parallel between our Savior and our prophets, as the Lord also is baptized in that same area. But the sons of the prophets are asking for our second portion, and Elisha says, May I be like the firstborn? So if a father has four sons, the father has to divide all his property into five, and two of the first portions go to the eldest, because it is his responsibility to take care of his dying parents or his elderly parents, take care of everyone else, provide protection, make sure everyone is fed and taken care of so he gets a double portion. So when Elisha is asking for that double portion, I think this is what he had in mind. But the authors remember the Book of Samuels and the Book of Kings were all one long book until the Septuagent.
And at the time of the Septuagent is when they were changed into different books because of the length of the scrolls. But at that time, when they’re changed into this second Book of Kings, elisha is given this double portion, and he now has the responsibility to take care of the sons of the prophets. And the writers of this book have included a double number of miracles that Elisha did. Now, I’ve written down 14 because I didn’t know if the 15th was a miracle, but there are at least seven prophecies that also can be considered miraculous as well. So you can count them up however you want.
But today I want to look at five of them in chapters four and five. We begin with one of the sons of the prophets had been killed, probably under the hand of Ahab. Possibly some commentaries suggest that this may have been the widow of Obadiah, who was feeding and taking care of 100 of the sons of the prophets that Jezebel was trying to kill Ahab’s Queen, daughter of the Phoenician King. But there’s nothing in the text that tells us which widow she was. But she was one of the sons of the prophets wife, and he is now killed.
And she has her creditors coming to her and say, we’re going to take your two sons into slavery in order to pay off your debt. That was part of the law in those days. And so she pleads before the prophet, Help. Help me. And the prophet says, what can I do to help you?
This is in verse two. Tell me, what do you have in your house? He wants to start with what she has. She says, I’ve got one vessel with a little bit of oil. And he says, Let’s work with that.
And I see the Lord working in our lives as well. He wants to magnify whatever we have when we take our tiny little widow’s mites in our lives, whatever time and talents and energy we have when we take it all and we consecrate it to the Lord. He will magnify us just as he did this widow, and he tells her to go to all of our neighbors and borrow a whole bunch of pots and her sons and bring in all these different vessels, and she begins pouring out the oil. First of all, they have to shut the door. I think this is significant that our private time with the Lord is done behind closed doors.
Let’s read verse four. She shut the door behind you and your sons and you pour out the oil. And so it’s just the woman, the widow and her two sons that are experiencing this great and holy miracle. There is sacred space now in their house as this oil, which of course is the representative of the anointing. And I believe it’s supposed to trigger in our minds that the word Messiah means the Anointed One or the Christ, because he is the Anointed One who will share his anointing with those that follow Him.
And his anointing is abundant. And as we see this being carried out in this life, I hope we not only can see that her sustenance is going to be maintained, she’s going to provide the means to keep her sons and to provide money for her. But we also can see it as a miracle of our Savior that his anointing, the great promise that eternal life can be given to all who are worthy, is somewhat simulated in this miracle that Elisha continues to speak of in chapter four, verse seven. Now go and sell the oil and pay your debt, and then you and your sons can live on the remainder. The next miracle in chapter four is just a short way down.
I have a map here, if you can see. Halfway between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean is a small little hill, and there’s a town called Schumann. There and we find a wealthy family that are not referred to by name, just the Schumannite Wisdom woman and her husband who house the prophet. When the prophet is going on his tours along the Jezreal Valley, she encourages him. It says in verse eight, a prominent woman who lived there persuaded him to have a meal.
And the woman then said to her husband, this is verse ten. Please let us make a small room upstairs. And so when Elisha comes, he can stay with us. Now, King James talks about a table and chairs and some lights. This is modern, a little different English from the 17th century.
But the truth is, they provided these extra rooms up on the rooftops and they would put a little shade there, bring up some branches, make some shade, and then you could sleep there out of the elements and provide a place in light for him to have some privacy. And this thoughtful woman is able to prepare this place because she accepts him, Elisha, as a prophet of God. She honors him, and she wants to serve him. We’re told, though, that Elisha is really moved, and we see this human side of him. He says, what can I do for her?
How can we help this family? And his Elisha’s servant says, she has everything she needs. There’s just one problem she’s barren, and her husband is old, and the real desire of her heart, I’m sure, is to have a child. And so when Elisha suggests to this woman that you will have a child, she chides him, and she says, don’t joke about this. I have been trying for years and years and years.
I don’t want you telling me I can have this unless you really mean it. And so in one Kings chapter 16, we read that Elijah says to her, at this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms. And that’s exactly what happens. This beautiful woman conceives. She’s able to have a child.
He grows up. And in verse 18, we’re told that as a grown child, one day he goes out with his father, who’s working with the reapers out in the field. But in the middle of the work, he starts complaining about a horrific headache. He says to his father, My head, my head. His father tells a servant, take him back to his mother.
He carries him back in, and the poor mother can do nothing. We’re told in verse 20, when he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat upon her knees till noon, and then he died. But the servant is still there. And through her sorrow, the mother rallies around all of her faith, and she knows that there will be help in this prophet of God. And she asks the servant to saddle the donkeys and to get them ready and to ride as fast as he can and don’t stop for her sake.
And as they arrive either 15 to 30 miles I know exactly how where Elisha was at this time, but the servant meets her and says, Oh, hello. How are you? She says, I’m fine. I’ve got to talk to the prophet. She goes right up there and she says, I need your help.
This is the child that you promised me, and you promised me just to take him. And Elijah says, Oh, don’t worry. My servant will come and lay the rod on him and my staff, and he will revive. And she said, no. In verse 30, she reads, as surely as the Lord lives, I will not leave you.
And so unless she gets up and follows her but the servant goes ahead with the staff, lays it upon the child. It is not sufficient. And when Elisha finally shows up with the woman, this mother, the Schumannite, it says in verse 32 that when Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch or on his bed, and he went in and shut the door. And the first thing Elisha does is he prays. He wants to know the Lord’s will.
The Lord had not revealed this to him yet, and he wanted to honor this woman who was so kind, and he pleads with the Lord, and then he is inspired to lay upon the child. It sounds as if he’s doing some sort of artificial respiration. And it happens twice before. The boy begins to sneeze. And he sneezes, of course, seven times.
It’s always this complete whole number. I don’t know if it’s literal or just to let us know figuratively that what was done by the prophet was enough. And we’re told in verse 37 that Elisha calls the mother in. And she came in and fell at his feet and bowed to the ground, and she took up her son Oliver. This great miracle reminds us that on the very same mountain there is another small little town just around the hillside where our Savior came, according to Luke, chapter four, verse 27, and raised another widow’s only son, the widow of Mane.
The lives of the prophet testify of our Savior. And I believe in our day and age. The gifts of the Spirit are in abundance. And I believe in a God of miracles. And I have seen miraculous things happen in my life, let alone the Oliver of my family.
And as we look at these stories, I hope it increases our faith so that we, too, can go forward. The third miracle in this chapter is with the sons of the prophet down in Gilgal. I just referred to Gilgal a little while ago where Elijah and Joshua come into the prophet and Elijah come into the Promised land again, and the school of the prophets is gathered there. It’s the southernmost border of the northern tribes where Elisha is serving as the prophet. And something gets in the stew.
They gather some gourds that are poisonous. Sure enough, botanists from the area have found a gourd that causes if you have just a little bit, it’s a laxative, but if you have too much, it causes death. And it appears that the school of the prophets the sons of the prophets, I mean, are poisoned. And Elisha pours in something and it heals it, and they’re healed. While the school, the profits are all gathered there.
Someone comes in with their tithes and offerings and gives 20 barley loaves as their offering of the first fruits. Now, Shiloh is where the tabernacle is. That’s clear up north, north of Jerusalem. And this is quite a ways further east and south. And instead of going all the way, this dear person who’s trying to pay their ties just goes straight to where the profit is living at the time and offers up these first fruits.
Barley is the harvest in the spring, and it’s probably the bread of the poor is what it’s referred to, because it doesn’t have as much sustaining power. But they bring 20 loaves. And so Elijah commands the sons of the prophets to serve them. And he says one of the sons of the prophet says to Elisha in verse 43, how am I to set 20 lows before 100 men? But Elisha says, Give it to the people and eat, for this is what the Lord says they will eat and have some left.
Oliver I’m sure all of you can see immediately that parallel to one of the greatest miracles in the New Testament, the only miracle that’s repeated in all four Gospels is the feeding of the 5000, because it Typifies Moses who fed with the mana. Well, it’s our God who fed them with the mana. But this wonderful story reminds us that we cannot eat from bread alone, but out of every word that comes forth out of our Savior’s mouth through his prophets, and that as we seek our food every day, let us never forget that we also need to feed our bodies and our spirits with spiritual food. And these are but a few of the wonderful prophecies and miracles that come out of Elijah’s stories. And I hope that you are able to find the Spirit to the Lord in your scripture study today.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.