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Elisha & the Widow Woman’s Oil

This morning we continue looking at the Exploits of Elisha. If you remember from last week, we learned that Elisha was just an ordinary guy – a farmer in fact, but he was used by God to do some extraordinary things. And the reason that God was able to use Him in such amazing ways was because Elisha was FAT. He was Faithful, Available, and Teachable. He was FAT. And I trust that over this past week you’ve been practicing being FAT. Because God uses FAT people (people who are faithful, available, and teachable) to do amazing things.

Now, this morning, we are going to fast forward a few years in time. The story that we are going to look at today happens roughly about 10 years after Elisha left the family farm to follow in the steps of Elijah. Since that time, Elisha has been training under Elijah. He has spent about 8 years with Elijah, learning and apprenticing under Him. And by the time of our story this morning, he has also spent about 2 years on his own, since Elijah was earlier taken up to Heaven in a chariot of fire. And that, by the way, is another great story that you should look up sometime. You can find that in 2 Kings chapter 2.

But our story today happens in 2 Kings chapter 4. 

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God’s Looking for F.A.T. People

This morning I am excited to begin a new series. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I always enjoy the stories of some of these fantastic Old Testament Bible characters. Guys like Ehud – the left-handed man who saved his country by driving a dagger deep into the belly of the fat King Eglon. Or guys like Benaiah – one of David’s mighty men – who climbed down into a snowy pit to fight a lion. Or guys like Jehu who was known for driving his chariot like a madman.

These fascinating stories. I love ‘em! And so for the next few weeks we want to spend some time looking at another fascinating character of the Old Testament – We’re going to be looking at the Exploits of Elisha. Now Elisha is one of those guys whose name you probably recognize, but you might have a hard time named exactly what it was that he did. Probably part of the reason for that is that we often confused Elisha with Elijah. These are two different prophets who lived at the same time at the same place – and sometimes they’re in the same story – so it’s easy to get confused. God did some amazing things through both of them.

And while Elijah certainly had his share of amazing stories, (and I don’t know if you know this or not) but God used Elisha to perform more miracles than anyone else in the Bible – except for Jesus. Did you know that? The Bible records that Elisha was involved in 14 different miracles. And they include things like raising people from the dead, healing people from incurable diseases, feeding large groups of people with just a small bit of food… And of course, this is all God doing these things, but He used Elisha carry them out.

And sometimes I wonder, why did God choose Elisha to be used in such an fantastic way? Why not his neighbor Larry? Why does God choose the people He does to do His work?

I mean, think about Billy Graham, for example. Why did God choose to use Him in such a powerful way? He grew up on a dairy farmer in North Carolina. He didn’t come from a long line of evangelists or pastors. He didn’t have a doctorate in evangelism. But God chose Him to bring the Gospel to millions.

Or think about John Newton, the guy who wrote the song “Amazing Grace.” He was slave trader, He was the captain of a ship, buying and selling human cargo in the 1700s. Why on earth would God pick Him to write a song that has impacted the lives of millions of people all over the world. His song is probably the most well-known Christian song ever. What made God choose to use that slave trader in such a powerful way?

How does God choose people like that? And maybe more to the heart of the issue – is it possible that God could choose you or me to be used in fantastic way like that? To impact the lives of millions – or at least hundreds? What kind of people does God choose to use?

Well, that’s the question that I want us to think about as we begin looking at the Exploits of Elisha.

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King Ahab – A Lesson in Grace

This morning we’re going to take a look at one of Israel’s most notorious kings. Just like King David was known for his goodness – King Ahab was known for his badness. In fact, let me just read for you how the Bible introduces him. This is 1 Kings 16:29-33.

“Ahab son of Omri began to rule over Israel in the thirty-eighth year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 But Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. 31 And as though it were not enough to follow the example of Jeroboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal. 32 First Ahab built a temple and an altar for Baal in Samaria. 33 Then he set up an Asherah pole. He did more to provoke the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than any of the other kings of Israel before him.” 1 Kings 16:29-33

So basically, what the Bible is telling us, is that Ahab was the most evil king Israel had ever seen. He was the Adolf Hitler, the Joseph Stalin, the Osama Bin Laden of his time.

So what lessons could we possible learn from this guy? Well, I think the answer might surprise you. 

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Elijah & the Stand-Off at Mount Carmel

Today we are going to conclude our Great Battles of the Bible series. You might remember that we started this series with the Sunday School Classic – Joshua & the Walls of Jericho. From there we went to the not-so-familiar story of Jonathan & his armor-bearer. Then we talked about our most memorable character of this series – King Snack-of-ribs (that is, King Sennacherib) and his attack on King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. Then finally last week, we talked about Elisha and his practical joke on the Arameans. And through all that, we’ve learned (or at least have been reminded of) many different things about the character of God. We’ve learned that God is sovereign and that He is the one who directs all the affairs of man. We’ve learned that God cares about individuals as well as nations and He intervenes on our behalf. We’ve even learned that God has a sense of humor and He does things that are totally unexpected.

Well, today we’ve got one more story to look at and I trust that we can learn one more thing from this Great Battle of the Bible.

Now before we get started this morning, I have to make a clarification.

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