2 Kings 4:1-37
This passage contains a series of miracles that Elisha performed. The stories belong together because of how closely they parallel things that we have already seen in the life of Elijah. In recreating some of Elijah’s best known deeds, we see God’s blessing now coming through Elisha just as it has through his predecessor.
The first story is one of miraculous provision for a widow. Elijah had asked the widow of Zarephath to use the last of her flour and oil to make him a meal and then spoke God’s blessing over the flour and oil that they would not run out. Here, likewise we have a widow who has nothing but a small amount of oil to provide for her household. Elisha instructs her to get as many jars as she can from her neighbours and then supernaturally multiplies the little she has, giving her an asset that she can sell to pay off her debts and still have enough to live on.
The second story does not have a direct parallel in Elijah’s story, though there are echoes with numbers of other part of the Bible (e.g. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary). There is a Shunammite woman who has no children, whose husband is old and who is not able to naturally conceive. Elisha spoke the word of God that she would have a son, and this is exactly what happened.
The third story again echoes an incident from Elijah’s life. Some time had passed and the son who had been miraculously given died whilst out working in the field. The parents were obviously devastated at the news and sent for Elisha, and just as Elijah had done in a similar case, he stretched himself out over the boy and raised him to life again.
Some Key Points:
- God is the God of blessing – supernatural provision, life and healing.
- This blessing was not limited to just Elijah, but also came through Elisha.
- They were people ‘just like us’ and we have God’s spirit on us and so can pray for his blessing to come powerfully.
- Trust God’s Blessing – In this passage we see God intervene in three desperate situations and bring blessing. Whilst the Bible does not promise that this will happen every time, it does show something of God’s heart to bless.
- Recognise the Source of the Power – Seeing Elisha doing similar miracles to Elijah shows us that the source of these miracles was not something in Elijah himself (James tells us that he was a man ‘just like us’) but the power of the Spirit who had anointed both prophets, and who now fills us.
- Prayer for Provision and Healing – It would be appropriate to respond by offering prayer for those who want to see God’s blessing through provision, healing or any other circumstance of life.