His work: Elisha was Elijah's successor. A prophet and miracle worker active in the northern kingdom from 850-800 BC, his ministry involved rebuking Israel's unfaithful kings, inaugurating a new royal line, and helping to sustain the faith of all those in Israel who believed in God.
His character: Elisha renounced the life he could have had as the son of a wealthy man to live as a prophet. His single-hearted devotion to the Lord made him a spiritual leader whose integrity, vision, and courage helped sustain the people's faith in God.
His sorrow: He wept when given a vision of how much Israel would suffer at the hands of the king of Syria.
His triumph: Elisha asked to inherit a double portion of Elijah's spirit, the portion reserved for the eldest son, and received it.
Key Scriptures:1 Kings 19:19-21; 2 Kings 2:1-14; 4:1-7; 6:8-23; 13:21
A Look at the Man
Elisha was a man who was never deceived by appearances. Perhaps this is what it means to be a prophet—to have a vision that extends beyond what is merely apparent, to be able to penetrate a set of circumstances to perceive what is really going on. Because of his relationship with God, Elisha was able to live with a keen awareness of both the natural and supernatural aspects of life. He understood that what happens in heaven affects life on earth and that what we do on earth has ramifications in heaven.
When Elisha learned that his city was surrounded, he showed no sign of terror as an ordinary man might have. Instead, he looked up and saw the hills covered with horses and chariots of fire; the army of heaven stood ready to protect him. In the midst of what looked like certain defeat, his ability to perceive reality enabled him to remain calm and confident. Rather than cowering or despairing, he was able to encourage his servant with the truth, saying, "Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
Elisha's enemies, on the other hand, were at a keen disadvantage. Blinded by an act of God, they became fools—prisoners of the man they had meant to take captive. The truth about their ridiculous predicament only became apparent once Elisha asked God to open their eyes again.
Seeing and not seeing—believing and not believing—these are the connections that determine our understanding of the world around us. As we wait for understanding concerning our own difficulties or for the grace to endure without fully understanding them, we can recall Elisha's words: "Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
Reflect On:2 Kings 2:5–15Praise God: For speaking to us through his prophets.
Offer Thanks: For the ways God has challenged you through others.
Confess: Any failure to respond to God’s corrective word.
Ask God: For a greater sense of what it means to live every day for his kingdom.