Bible Study on the Prophet Elisha
Good Old Fashioned Faith!
by I Gordon
 ↩ All Christians need to learn that God is good, He is faithful. But He isn't necessarily safe. What do I mean by that? Well, consider the following from 'the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' where Lucy starts enquiring about Aslan (a type of Jesus).
"Is -- is he a man?" asked Lucy. "Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion -- THE Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh!" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he -- quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion." "That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly." "Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy."Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
The one who holds our lives in his hand is not safe. By that I mean He allows things to come into our lives that we would not choose for ourselves. If you have never doubted the love, faithfulness and intention of God, you will. That is not a strange thing - even John the Baptist had doubts when things were going contrary to what he would have liked and imagined (Matt 11:2-3) It is a part of Christian growth. 'Aslan safe? Of course he's not safe' said Mr Beaver. 'But he's good. He's the King I tell you.'
 ↩ I think it is important to realize that sometimes God allows pretty intense suffering without answers. We shouldn't kid ourselves that everything turns out rosy in this life. It may be the sudden loss of a loved one. It may be an accident or health condition that has serious long term or permanent effects. People that have experienced such things tend to express a different level to faith. One such quote comes from Oswald Chambers in 'My Utmost for His Highest' when he wrote:
'Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, that I will stick to my belief that God is love.'
In 1895 Andrew Murray was in England suffering from a terribly
painful back, the result of an injury incurred years before. One
morning while eating breakfast in his room, his hostess told him of
a woman downstairs who was in great trouble and wanted to know if
he had any advice for her. He handed her a paper he had been
writing on and said, 'Give her this advice I am writing down for
myself. It may be that she'll find it helpful.' This is what he
'In time of trouble, say, 'First he brought me here. If it is by
his will I am in this strait place, in that place I will rest.'
Next, say, 'He will keep me here in his love, and give me grace in
this trial to behave as his child.' Then, say, 'He will make the
trial a blessing, teaching me lessons he intends me to learn, and
working in me the grace he means to bestow.' And last, say, 'In his
good time he can bring me out again. How and when, he knows."
Therefore, say "I am here
(1) by God's appointment,
(2) in his keeping,
(3) under his training,
(4) for his time."
 ↩ In a sense it seems that her faith was like Abraham's who, when faced with the command to sacrifice his promised son Isaac, was willing to obey because he ' reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. ' (Heb 11:19)
 ↩ While I'm giving quotes from great Christian's from the past, here is another. Ever heard of Horatio Spafford? If you haven't maybe you have heard of a hymn he wrote called 'It is well with my soul'? The first verse says
'When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.'
It is a great hymn. But the story behind the hymn makes it all the more remarkable when you find out he wrote this after learning that his four daughters had died. Please read about the great faith of this man in the midst of overwhelming tragedy - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Is_Well_With_My_Soul
 ↩ Why talk to Gehazi when you could talk to Elisha? Or, for a modern day equivalent, why talk or confess your sins to a 'Priest' when instead you can talk straight to God? A 'Priest' has as much authority to forgive you of your sins as Gehazi had authority to raise the dead... not at all! God wants to hear from you personally. Go to Him!
 ↩ The note in my study Bible says that 'Elisha's instructions to Gehazi were designed to teach the people that the power to work miracles was not magically inherent in his staff.' Personally, I don't see it that way. I don't think Elisha knew what to do as God had hidden both the problem and the solution from him at this stage. I think that is why Elisha had to shut the door of the room once he arrived and pray... God is trying to teach us a principle here as we shall hopefully soon see!
 ↩ Vance Havner expressed it well when he wrote: 'Where are the marks of the cross in your life? Are there any points of identification with your Lord? Alas, too many Christians wear medals but carry no scars. '
 ↩ While it is outside the scope of this study, it should also be noted that when it comes to evangelism we are faced with the same need of Elisha here - how do the dead receive life? And like Elisha found, I would suggest you pray for everyone is at a different point in their search and the only thing that is sure is that God knows exactly where they are at and what they need! At the end of the day only God can restore life but He asks for our participation. And he may just be asking you to identify and spend time with someone that needs your help.
 ↩ I once heard a speaker say that our problem, when faced with a trial, is that we faint. Fainting means that we are trying to deal with it ourselves. He said don't faint, die. Die to your ability to handle the situation and bring God into the equation.