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Elisha and the Day in the Life of a Prophet

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7/ 8

Elisha and the Mantle

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7/ 1

Elisha Steps Up

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After fours weeks looking at the life of Elijah in 1 Kings we transition to Elijah’s successor, Elisha.  We read about Elisha’s calling in 1 Kings 19:19-21 and then Elijah’s unique and amazing transition from earth to heaven in 2 Kings 2.  From these two passages we see Elisha’s all out commitment to the Lord through his commitment to Elijah as he and the other prophets following Elijah struggle to deal with the reality of Elijah’s last day with them.  Following Elijah’s miraculous ascent to heaven, Elisha continues right where Elijah left off, literally following in his predecessor’s footsteps as a covenant enforcing prophet.  We observed some of the similarities between Joshua, Elisha, and Jesus, who’s names all mean “God saves.”  Jesus, like Elisha,  came as a prophet, representing and speaking for God, to draw His people back to Himself.  Jesus not only enforced the covenant, but He also fulfilled the covenant and established a new and final covenant that enables us to walk as Spirit-filled servants (like Elijah and Elisha) in a renewed relationship with God.


God's Care When We Despair

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The great value of the Book of Kings in the Old Testament is that it presents us with a short history of what it was like for godly people to live in a time when many of their national leaders and their neighbors had rejected God. We see that God remains in control of the course of history even during the reigns of the worst political leaders and darkest realities. He confronts humanity’s sinfulness, keeps his promises. and stands ready to forgive those who turn back to him. In 1 Kings 19 we see one of God’s great Old Testament stars, Elijah, coming off victory after victory yet struggling with feelings of despair and defeat. He has come to the end of himself, burned out emotionally and spiritually, feeling his ministry has failed because the people haven’t turned back to God despite seeing the power of God. He begins to wonder whether God is really working for the good of the world. In his despair, though, Elijah experiences God’s tender care and we see that God has tender care for all his people who feel their hope is in jeopardy. God strengthens us, speaks to us, and assures us that he does not fail. Ultimately we know this because God’s sovereign plan culminates in Jesus, who brings justice against evil and gives mercy to the broken.

Other Scriptures Referenced: 1 Kings 18:21, 36-37, 39, 41-45, 46; John 4:10-11; 6:33, 35, 48, 51; 7:3819:28, 30; Romans 11:1-7; Isaiah 30:18.


Elijah and the Mountain

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1 Kings 18 is the amazing story of Elijah on Mount Carmel. After 3 years of no rain and famine due to the disobedience, evil, and idolatry of the Israelites, God sends Elijah to King Ahab to arrange a showdown between God and Baal. There is a lot packed into this chapter, but in it we see God’s work, promises, power, and grace in various forms. Sometimes God upends evil in a powerful, dramatic fire bombs like what happened through Elijah on Mount Carmel, and sometimes subversively through these unnoticed ‘insiders’ like Obadiah, Ahab’s chief administrator who hid 100 prophets from the evil queen. He answers prayer, sometimes immediately (like the prayer for fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice) and sometimes incrementally (like the seven-part prayer for rain). He works His justice (the killing of the prophets of Baal because of their idolatry and evil) and extends His grace (the acceptance of the atoning sacrifice and even a ‘road to repentance’ for Ahab. In the displays of justice and grace we see how it all points to Jesus and, specifically, the cross - the intersection of justice and mercy. 


Elijah and the Widow

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6/ 3

Elijah The Prophet

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This week we launched into our summer sermon series, using 1 & 2 Kings as a backdrop to the lives, words, and work of two prophets (Elijah and Elisha); work which actually highlights the patience, power, and promises of God and how everything in the Old Testament points towards Christ. The whole of the book of Kings is one tragedy after another; from the demise of the splendor of Solomon to the split of the kingdom to multi-generational idol worship and, eventually, the destruction of Jerusalem and exile. Elijah enters the scene in chapter 17 during the reign of the especially evil Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. Elijah’s sudden appearance reminds the people of God that, even though evil is prevalent and disheartening, we don’t need to despair or, in Peter’s and Isaiah’s words, ‘fear what they fear…’ God’s counter-culture work is already in motion. The thread of Scripture is God’s tenacious pursuit of His people. Elijah proclaims the word of God; specifically that there would be no rain, a direct assault on the empty promises of Ahab and Jezebel’s god, Baal. During the famine, we see God’s creative provision through the daily delivery of (unclean) ravens and the care of an (unlikely) Gentile widow.  Through it all we see (and will continue to see) God’s unshakable promises being kept throughout the tragic and inconsistent storyline of the Israelites; all paving the way for the King of Kings to redeem, restore, and enact His eternal Kingdom. 


1 Kings 17

Deut 11:16-17

Amos 8:11-12

2 Peter 3:9


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