2 Kings 2:1-25; 2 Kings 4:1-44
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Today in 2 Kings 2 we read about Elijah going up to heaven in the whirlwind! Elijah was taken to heaven without dying. He is the 2nd person in scripture to do so - Enoch was the first (see Genesis 5:21-24). Jesus of course was also taken to heaven in bodily form after His resurrection from the dead (see Acts 1:9). Below is Italian artist Giovanni Battista's (1683-1754) painting of Elijah's whirlwind scene:
Okay, so 2 Kings 2 verses 23 & 24 are some of the most unique verses in the Bible no doubt... "Elisha left Jericho and went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, a group of boys from the town began mocking and making fun of him. "Go away, you baldhead!" they chanted. "Go away, you baldhead!" Elisha turned around and looked at them, and he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of them." Zondervan's NIV Study Bible has some good commentary on these verses as follows: "The youths from Bethel no doubt assumed that Elisha was going up to Samaria to continue Elijah's struggle against royal apostasy. Some believe that the youths, in their mocking, were telling Elisha to ascend to heaven as Elijah had done. By calling Elisah "baldhead" the youths from Bethel expressed that city's utter disdain for the Lord's representative, who, they felt, had no power. Elisha pronounced a curse that gave warning of the judgment that would come on the entire nation of Israel should it persist in disobedience and apostasy."
2 Kings 4 verse 8 definitely demonstrates that in addition to being a prophet, Elisha was a very wise man! "One day Elisha went to the town of Shunem. A wealthy woman lived there, and she invited him to eat some food. From then on, whenever he passed that way, he would stop there to eat." :)
Interesting readings in 2 Kings 4 about the Shumanite woman, her son and the prophet Elisha today! You'll note that in verse 20 her son dies, and in verse 21 she places her son on Elisha's bed - in part so that no one will know that her son died. As she gets to verse 22-24 she is saddling up on a donkey to go straight to Elisha without anyone in her family knowing her son had died! Below is a painting by Rembrandt from 1640 titled "The Departure of the Shumanite Woman":
As the Shumanite woman nears Mount Carmel Gehazi, Elisha's servant, comes out to greet her and still she won't even tell him that her son has died! She says everything is fine. She wants to deliver the news first and directly to Elisha! I like this woman's focused faith. She knew that Elisha delivered the Word that she would have a son in previous day's readings, and now that her son had died, I think she had faith that Elisha, being a prophet in relationship with God, would be able to revive her son. Do you have a focused faith like this when it comes to your relationship with God and Jesus? Do you always take your problems directly to the One who can truly revive you? Below is an image of Elisha and the Shumanite woman by artist C.F. Vos:
Did anyone else notice that at the end of chapter 4 today Elisha busted out with a miracle that seemed to foreshadow Jesus' loaves and fishes miracles?? Very cool to consider the parallels between Jesus' feeding of the 5,000 and Elisha feeding 100 here in chapter 4 verses 42-44: "One day a man from Baal-shalishah brought the man of God a sack of fresh grain and twenty loaves of barley bread made from the first grain of his harvest. Elisha said, "Give it to the group of prophets so they can eat." "What?" his servant exclaimed. "Feed one hundred people with only this?" But Elisha repeated, "Give it to the group of prophets so they can eat, for the LORD says there will be plenty for all. There will even be some left over!" And sure enough, there was plenty for all and some left over, just as the LORD had promised." (That's Jesus below, not Elisha :)
YouTube: Today's readings remind me of the song "Lord, I need you" by Matt Maher:
Do you need the Lord? Click here for your need to be fulfilled!
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