Tag Archives: Elisha

The Virtue of Elisha’s Bones

And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.  And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet. —2 Kings 13:20-21

This is one of the most bizarre events in the Bible.  Elisha was one of Israel’s greatest prophets. Nevertheless, he was human and humans die and are put in a grave.  But, just because a person has died and been laid in a grave does not mean their ministry is over. The death of the man of God did not mean the death of the God of man!

The living God could still work through the death of His prophet.  Like Abel, who being dead, yet speaketh (Heb. 11:4), Elisha, though he was dead, still exuded God’s power!  God used the bare bones of Elisha to speak through. It was a symbol of what God wanted to say to the “dead” nation of Israel. If they would again make contact with God and they would live!

There are some wonderful lessons for us today from this fascinating account of the virtue of Elisha’s bones.  As Elisha’s faithfulness lived on in power after his death, and so can ours.  The Bible teaches the influence of a godly life can help bring life to others, even after we are gone!  We should so live that our life continues to minister even after death…our ministry can last longer than we can!

If the Lord took you home today, would your life still impact lives long after you’re gone?  A “bare bones” ministry can only happen after we have fleshed out a life of faith now!  Give God something to work with after you are dead by how you live for Him today.

Another important lesson from this fascinating account of a dead man who comes life by contact with another dead man—It is a picture of how we must “die to self” before God can produce life in those we come in contact with who are dead in trespasses and sin. God uses death to bring life to others who are dead.  To be effective in ministering to the lost, even as Elisha was dead, you must die to self (Mt. 10:39; 16:24; John 12:24-25; 1 Cor. 15:31).

When you die to self, life will spring forth.  People will be touched. Lives will be changed.

Great, But with Whom?

Naaman… was a great man with his master…” —2 Kings 5:1

“…he [John the Baptist] shall be great in the sight of the Lord…” —Luke 1:15

Naaman was “a great man WITH HIS MASTER…”  A person’s so-called “greatness” depends on the company he keeps.  For example: There are those who are “great” with the world, but don’t amount to anything with the Lord—in reality they are “a leper.”    It is one thing to be “great” with your peers, and another thing to be great with the Lord.

If you only keep company with one particular crowd, you will only hear what that crowd says about you.  Birds of a feather flock together.  If you only surround yourself with people who think you’re special, how will you know if you may not be as great as people think you are?  The danger in only hearing people’s accolades is you may actually start to believe it!

Beware of the praises of people. Be content with rejoicing in yourself alone, and not in another (Gal. 6:4). It doesn’t matter how great people think you are. All that really counts is the praise that comes from God (1 Cor. 4:5). Jesus asked, “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” (John 5:44).  Read Romans 2:29.

I heard someone offer this advice:  Spend some time in the company of people who don’t particularly like you.  It will be good for you and will help you to have a balanced view of yourself.  It will keep you from having illusions of grandeur (Rom. 12:3; Gal. 6:3).


A Pattern for Soul Winning

When Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD.  And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. —2 Kings 4:32-37

Elisha’s miracle of raising this dead boy back to life teaches us several lessons about our job as soul winners. The unsaved are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). Every time a person is won to Christ, he has been raised from the dead. We are in the business of raising the dead.

It was God who restored the son’s life, but He used Elisha as the means to do it.  So it is with raising sinners from spiritual death—God uses human instrumentality to accomplish the winning of souls (James 5:20; 1 Cor. 9:22).

Notice the same procedure Elisha performed is how we are to raise those who are dead in trespasses and sins.

I. Elisha was empowered by God’s Spirit.  Salvation is a spiritual work, and spiritual work requires spiritual power (Zech. 4:6)

II. Elisha had to learn from the example of Elijah (vs. 29-31). Elisha’s first attempt to raise the child by sending his assistant with his staff failed because he didn’t follow Elijah’s example (cf. 1 Kings 17:17-24). Most people learn to win souls by watching how someone else does it.

III. Elisha did not quit when he failed the first time (v. 32). The lesson of non-success is not to quit the work, but change the method.Elisha went himself, instead of sending his representative.

IV. Elisha prayed (v. 33). We must pray for that lost loved one, neighbor, classmate, friend on the job, etc.

V. Elisha began to act (vs. 34-36). After prayer, he went to work!  Elisha made personal contact.  He stretched himself fully upon the child. He threw himself entirely upon the task. He was earnest. You cannot pull branches from the burning without getting close to the fire!

  • Eye to eye—mouth to mouth—hands to hands. If we are going to win souls we must meet the sinner on his level…

(1) EYES—Try to see things from his perspective.

(2) MOUTH—Speak in terms he understands.

(3) HANDS—Enter into his work and interests.

  • The flesh waxed warm (v. 34). But he didn’t stop until life was fully restored.  We must look for more when we see a sinner warming up to the gospel.
  • Upon seeing a sign of life he paced the floor (v. 35). He was praying intensely.  We must first make personal contact with the lost soul. Then we must pray for them fervently and faithfully.
  • Elisha’s perseverance as he again stretches himself upon the child. What was good once is good enough to attempt twice.

CONCLUSION: The eyes opened (v. 35)! This is our job (2 Cor. 4:4; Acts 26:16-18). We are dealing with souls who are dead… blind.

How earnest are you about winning a soul to Christ and raising them to walk in newness of life?

The Preacher Knows Best

“And he said, Ye shall not send.” —2 Kings 2:16

One of television’s better shows was “Father Knows Best.” It ran from 1954-1960.  Each episode usually depicted strong family values and the wisdom of Jim Anderson, the father of three children. Does “father know best?”  I guess it depends on who the father is and what the subject is.

We have a similar situation in 2 Kings 2:16-18. It takes place immediately after the prophet Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind.  Elisha takes up his mantle, parts the Jordan River, and passes over to the other side (2 Kings 2:11-14). He is greeted by a group of “ministerial students” called “the sons of the prophets.”  These fifty “preacher boys” were skeptical about where God took Elijah.  They think God may have dropped him off on a mountain or a valley. They ask Elisha if they should  go look for him.  Elisha knew better and told them, “Ye shall not send.” But these student prophets think they knew more than Elisha and insist on forming a search party to look for Elijah.  Finally Elisha relents and lets them go to try to find the whereabouts of Elijah.

After three days of searching in vain, they return to Elisha empty handed.  Elisha then tells them, “Did I not say unto you, Go not?” (The modern cliche would be, “I told you so!”).

Like the “sons of the prophets,” some Christians are slow to believe what the preacher tells them.  They think they know better than the preacher and must go out and see for themselves.  Eventually, they come to find out “The preacher knows best.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve counseled people and warned them against something they were planning to do. I tried to tell them not to do it, but they went and did it anyway and found out too late that I was right after all.  Why not save yourself the trouble and just believe the preacher may know what he is talking about (Heb. 13:7, 17)?

“Just sayin’!”