After Elisha’s initial encounter with the people of Jericho and then some youths of Bethel, the scene changes somewhat in 2 Kings 3:1-27 where we meet Elisha in the company of the Kings of Israel, Judah and Edom. The situation facing these kings and their armies was nothing short of desparate. Having taking the desert route to attack the kingdom of Moab, they soon ran out of water and were facing the prospect of death. How Elisha came to be among these kings and their armies is not told to us, but he was, and when approached, the miracle he performed not only guaranteed the survival of the kings and their armies, but also the defeat of Moab and brought glory to God who can do ‘more than we ask or think’ (Ephesians 3:20).
Critics of the Bible might use the text of 2 Kings 2:23-25 to point out how evil the God of the Old Testament is or how uncaring his servants (in this case, Elisha) really are. At first glance of this text, it might appear that they have a point. But with some extra examination and information and perspective, there might be more to this incident than first meets the eye – and it might just turn out to be the exact opposite – something that critics of the Bible (and all of us, for that matter) should take notice of and be warned by! God’s judgement is not something that anyone can take lightly!
There’s no doubt that there are many, many lovely places to live. Whether it’s in the miountains or by a river or near to the ocean, there are some beautiful places to be. But while all may look good on the outside of these places, not all is always well within. While at Jericho in 2 Kings 2:19-22, the prophet Elisha was told that it was a pleasant place to live, but there was a problem with the water supply. The problem was that it caused death. Elisha’s miracle cure for Jericho was simple and it points us to something worth noting. Man’s greatest problem is not outside on him, but on the inside. Sin (which also causes death) lives within and the gospel of Jesus (like Elisha’s bowl of salt) is the only cure.
After Elisha rexperienced a rather compelling and forthright call to succeed Elijah as the Lord’s prophet in Israel, 2 Kings 2:1-18 explores their initial, but temporrary team ministry together which ended when Elijah was swepat away into heaven bu a whirlwind accompanying a chariot and horses made of fire. It must have been a sight to behold! But it wasn’t simply for show. In the process, Elisha gained posession of Elijah’s cloak and was able to repeat the miracle Elijah had just performed before his translation. This reminds us that Jesus also left a succession plan where God’s Spirit came upon all His disciples, equipping them to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8) wherever they went.