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Tag: Exploits

Naaman & the Barrier of Pride

Which is harder to do? To forgive someone who has hurt you deeply? Or to be the one who has to ask for forgiveness?

That’s a tough one, isn’t it? Both I think, are extremely difficult. Confessing our wrongs and asking for forgiveness does not come naturally to us. Nor does offering forgiveness when someone has wronged us. Both are difficult things to do.

And today, as we continue in our series – the Exploits of Elisha – we’re going to see just how difficult – yet also how rewarding it is to do both.

If you have your Bible or your ipad or your smart phone with you, turn with me to 2 Kings chapter 5.

2 Kings – chapter 5 – starting at verse 1.

The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy.
2 At this time Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid. 3 One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.”
2 Kings 5:1-3

So we begin our story with a few introductions.

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The God Who Still Does Miracles

This morning we’re getting back into our series that we started about a month ago – the Exploits of Elisha. Just to jog your memory a little bit (since it’s been two weeks since we talked about Elisha), Elisha was a young man, who when we first met him, was out plowing with a team of oxen in his field. He was a farmer. But along came Elijah – the prophet of God – and invited Elisha to become his apprentice – to train under him so that one day, he could replace Elijah as prophet. Elisha accepted the invitation. He BBQed his oxen and fed them to the townspeople and went and followed Elijah.

The next time we saw Elisha was about ten years later, when a poor widow was in desperate financial need. She was over her head in debt and creditors were coming to take away her sons as slaves. Elisha instructed her to gather up a whole pile of empty jars from her friends and neighbors and God miraculously multiplied the little bit of oil she had, so that she could fill every jar with oil – enough to sell and pay off her debts, and live happily ever after.

And today we are going to pick it up right where we left off – still in 2 Kings chapter 4, but this time starting in verse 8.

One day Elisha went to the town of Shunem. A wealthy woman lived there, and she urged him to come to her home for a meal. After that, whenever he passed that way, he would stop there for something to eat.
9 She said to her husband, I am sure this man who stops in from time to time is a holy man of God. 10 Lets build a small room for him on the roof and furnish it with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. Then he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by.
2 Kings 4:8-10

Now this is significant. It’s no small thing to build a room onto your house so that a traveling prophet has a place to stay whenever he comes by! There must have been some special connection between this couple and Elisha. Now that Elijah is no longer around to be Elisha’s mentor, perhaps this couple has taken up that task. As we’ll see as we keep reading, they seem to be a little older than he is, so perhaps the’ve taken on the role of his adopted parents. Probably some of you have a couple like that in your life – some older, wiser folks who have taken a special interest in your life. Someone who prays for you regularly and offers you wise advice and timely encouragement. I wonder if that’s the kind of relationship that Elisha had with this couple from Shunem.

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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. 


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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