The Living God Delivers

2 Kings 13:14-23

The series finishes with the death of Elisha and a few incidents around it where God promises and then gives deliverance for his people.

The first such instance happens when it is clear that Elisha is unwell, and the king went before him weeping.  It appears that the king’s concern was for the military situation more than for Elisha himself. How could they continue to win victories in battle without the supernatural help of the man of God? Elisha instructed the king to take his bow and to fire an arrow eastwards through the window, and then declared it to be the arrow of victory over Syria. The arrow symbolised a promise from God to give his people victory over the Syrians.

Second is an instruction from Elisha to take the arrows and to strike the ground with them. The king did so, but then quickly stopped after just three strikes. This displeased God (probably because it symbolised halfhearted compliance rather than wholehearted eager obedience) and so the king would have only three victories rather than completely striking down Syria.

Third is a man delivered from death. By this time Elisha himself has died, and this man was in the process of being buried when a marauding band came from Moab, so he was instead thrown into Elisha’s grave. As soon as his bones touched Elisha’s he came back to life.

The king of Syria had made life hard for Israel, but God had protected them. When this king had died and his son took the throne, king Joash won the three victories promised and regained the territory that had been lost.

This story nicely wraps up the series. It shows God’s hand through everything, from military victory on a national scale to a very personal resurrection. God is sovereign, powerful and alive. He is at work in the affairs of nations and of people. Prayer is powerful, and we see it is the prophets even more than the kings that drive the arc of history. The Lord is the living God, and he works through people just like us.

Some Key Points:

  • God is sovereign over nations. He can promise and deliver victory in the big things.
  • God is sovereign over people and even has the power to restore life to a corpse.
  • God responds to our engagement with him. He loves to bless our wholehearted response to his gracious promise.

Potential Applications:

  • Look to God – In this passage we see God at work in both the nation and an individual. Whatever our circumstance might be we can bring it to God.
  • Wholeheartedly Go After the Blessing – The king only halfheartedly went with the instruction to hit the ground with the arrows and so only received a partial blessing. There is a call to wholeheartedly go after the blessing of God and to refuse to settle for less that all that he has for us.
  • Prayer Response – This whole series has been full of examples of the living God at work. Offer to pray for any who have needs and also pray that the power of the Holy Spirit would be at work to see similar impact through us.