2 Kings 6
Elisha demonstrated such great prophetic gifting that the whole nation of Israel was impacted as a result. He was not simply gifted by God but was also intimately connected with God; his life of of faithfulness to God as recorded in 2 Kings demonstrates this. Elisha’s responsiveness to problems that arise provides valuable insights for how all believers in Christ can respond to the contemporary challenges we face.
God responds to active faith
Elisha’s ability to respond to the issue of an axe lost in a river is astounding. He makes iron float! And does so by cooly breaking off a branch and chucking it after the iron axe and….3,2,1 and voila, one floating axe available for collection. Perhaps his next thought was “Phew! Thanks for backing me up on that one Lord, what’s next?” as everyone stares on with mouths agape and speechless. This event almost comes up as an aside in this chapter, but it shows us something important. Even in the mundane and ordinary moments of life Elisha practised such confident expressions of faith that was backed up by God’s power. We’re not told whether Elisha saw a vision or heard a whisper from God about how to rescue the axe or if he simply thought “Lord I believe you can do all things, please seriously magnetise this stick that I’m planning to chuck into the river so we get that axe back” and away he went trusting in God. Regardless, we see that when Elisha used what was in his hands God responded. This is our God. He gives wisdom, faith, and great opportunities to collaborate with him to achieve impossible things. As we do our part in exercising faith, God backs us up with his power, for his glory and sovereign purposes.
Enquiring of God can save us from trouble
We see that Elisha foiled Syria’s war plans and thus saved Israel on several occasions by warning the King of Israel of Syria’s strategies through prophetic insights gleaned from God. Elisha also received saving prophetic knowledge about the King of Israel’s plan to behead him (Loyalty to God’s prophet didn’t figure in the king’s priorities!). How did Elisha receive such important espionage? I suspect that Elisha’s practice of connectedness with God in prayer and alertness to listen to God speak allowed him to decipher the Holy Spirit’s voice when he spoke. What is there that we face that the Lord is not aware of? What trouble can he not overcome? Not the waves, nor the winds, not sickness, not demonic possession, not death, nor sin could subdue the authority of Jesus Christ. In Jesus we have a faithful, compassionate mediator who brings us to God and has set his heart on defending, blessing, and transforming us. You can reach out to him in prayer and know that he listens and responds, according to his good will.
Seeing circumstances with eyes of faith
Unsurprisingly Elisha’s plot foiling antics led him straight to the top of the Syrian King’s most wanted. And soon came the day when he was surrounded on all sides by Syrian armies. Elisha was calm and settled; his servant was not. Both saw completely different views. The servant saw defeat. Elisha saw defeated enemies. And he prayed for the eyes of the servant to be opened and he saw as Elisha did – a mountain covered with God’s mighty angelic forces, which outnumbered the enemy.
Elisha’s presiding words to his servant “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v16) are echoed by the encouragement of Apostle John to the church “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). As believers in Christ we have an incredible inheritance through faith in Christ – God’s unmerited favour. We are called by God to see our circumstances through eyes of faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), knowing that in every circumstance Christ leads us in triumph (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Let’s join with the psalmist and sing “ The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2).