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Bible Time Period: Divided Kingdom
Israel split into rival kingdoms and fell into idolatry: help me to choose your kingship over other loves.
2 Kings picks up where 1 Kings left off, with God’s judgment on Ahab’s son Ahaziah through the prophet Elijah. Elijah’s mantle — and a double portion of his spirit — will fall (literally!) on his disciple Elisha when the older prophet is taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. This is where “chariots of fire” imagery comes from in the popular imagination.
Elijah is an important figure in salvation history. He will appear years later with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration, where they speak to Jesus. Together they represent the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah).
How do the miracles Elisha does in Israel (the northern kingdom) show God’s grace and His desire to bless those who follow him?
Join the discussion below!
I wonder if God thought that the northern kingdom was so enmeshed in worshiping false idols that appealing to the ordinary people of that kingdom, little by little, the prophet, Elisha would bring them back to the fold and to God’s commandments.
The miracles that Elisha performed demonstrated God’s love for us all, no matter how many times we have turned our backs to God. He is a just and loving God.
This reminds me of the story of the little boy encountering all the fish on the beach. A man saw him picking them up one by one and throwing them back and he asked why. “You cannot save them all so what difference does it make?” The boy, holding up a fish, responded, “It makes a difference to this one.” And he tossed it in the water and continued his task unabashed.
Thank you for sharing that story, it will work well with one of my lessons in CCD class.
The Lord truly wants to save the northern kingdom. He is trying to show them what Jesus will be doing – 2 Kings 4 – the oil, the healing, raising the dead, feeding the 100. How we all need to have ears that hear and eyes that see!
Lord, open my mind to understand, my lips to proclaim, my heart to believe!
Giving ourselves fully to God means just that. And when we do, God blesses us generously. He shows that in the miracles Elisha did in Israel (the northern kingdoms)…(note: God never left Jerusalem or the southern kingdom, but it is the northern kingdoms, the ones who have rebelled that God sends the prophets)…This is a tremendous comfort for us today…for we live in a world that is possessed, as the northern kingdom was, by many gods…the materialistic gods of plenty are all around us, yet if we remain faithful to God and true to Him, He has promised to bless us…we see that here in the miracles of Elisha…we have many needs today in our country and in our families…let us pray this last day before Lent starts that our Lenten season will be one of great blessing and full of many graces…sort of a pre-Lenten day of prayer…that our 40 days will be fruitful and blessed…Lord, may everything we do this day be offered up to you as our humble offering for a blessed and holy Lenten season…we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Amen! God does always send someone into the darkness to offer light; what mercy and grace! May we never turn from that light; may we be the light when called upon. God bless Pope Francis who is a bright light in a dark, Israel-like (as they are portrayed in this section) world.
The miracles Elisha performs does just that and shows God’s grace and His desire to bless those that follow him. Elisha did indeed perform miracles and showed how God desires us all to allow his light into our lives and be faithful, or there are consequences. Gods is not only a judge, he is a provider of grace. This Lenten season, let us all take up our mantle’s and be faithful servants of God. Let us share the power of our mantle with others so that they may see the Glory of God as well. Let us all use the double portion of our spirit to perform mighty miracles day to day. They may not be the miracles we just read about, but they can be as simple as a kind word to someone else that changes their outlook on their day and helps them through it.
The miracles Elisha performs does just that and shows God’s grace and His desire to bless those that follow him. Elisha did indeed perform miracles and showed how God desires us all to allow his light into our lives and be faithful, or there are consequences. Gods is not only a judge, he is a provider of grace. This Lenten season, let us all take up our mantle’s and be faithful servants of God. Let us share the power of our mantle with others so that they may see the Glory of God as well. Let us all use the double portion of our spirit to perform mighty miracles day to day. They may not be the miracles we just read about, but they can be as simple as a kind word to someone else that changes their outlook on their day and helps them through it…
Hey, Mark! How come your post is repeated as “guest”?
The site was acting very odd this morning. It kept not posting things then it posted that as guest which was very weird. Then it posted 2 photos. Then the site was completely down. Not sure what was going on. I do know that that guest sure has a way with words though 🙂
Yeah – I need to keep checking it because it would not take my posts (3 times) so they may pop up somehow. Odd.
I love your sense of humor!
I often wondered when reading this passage, whether Elisha was greedy asking for a double portion of spirit. Not greedy, but bold because he knew the task ahead wasn’t an easy one and that it would be the last time he would draw on his master’s wisdom. But, let us use this Lenten season to bring forth ‘small miracles’ to the poor, homeless, sick, and people who do not believe in God and are in the dark.
Well said. And I like how you state the miracles here. I often have to step back and think about what may seem like small miracles to some of us may be grand miracles to those that receive it.
I am a great believer in small miracles, I have recieved so many, only a few I have been able to pass on.
I agree. It is so important to recognize them both in what you give and receive. I am blessed with 2 small miracles that I never thought I would have.
Thank you for sharing these works of art!
I have heard somewhere that effective prayer requires openness to God’s will, persistence and the expectation that God will answer. The Shunammite woman, a gentile (!), is a prime example of this. Reminds me of the Roman soldier’s faith when he petitioned Christ on behalf of his servant. All of Elisha’s miracles point back in time and forward to Christ as a call from our ever – faithful God to return to Him. He never abandoned Israel and he desires salvation for ALL people. Parting the water – reminder of Israel crossing the Red Sea and the Jordan; Jesus baptism by John the Baptist. Providing clean water – water provided in the wilderness and the fact the Jordan did not make Jesus clean but rather, Jesus made the water pure for us and is the source of living water.Turning the stew good, feeding the multitudes – manna from heaven and Christ feeding the 5,000. Finally, Elisha declaring 3 times he would not leave Elijah – our call to disciplined and unwavering discipleship in order that our portion of Spirit may abundantly bless those around us. I wonder if Peter ever considered Elisha’s example after the dust settled on his denials? I bet he did. God’s mercy and Grace is abundant; it is for all people in every age; it is ever present in the darkest places and we can be the light if we are dogged in our ministries as Elisha and the other northern prophets were.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELPING ME BE ABLE TO POST AND SHARE ON THIS WEB SITE RAY
King Ahaziah sent his messengers to get advice from a false god/idol, but God intervened by placing Elijah in their path. When the king tried to command Elijah, it seems to me that he was also trying to command God. But is was only when the messengers respectfully begged Elijah that they were spared and Elijah went with them. Having fallen away from God, the message seems to me to be one of approaching God with a humble, fearful and repentant heart, as we do when receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
I noticed that God worked through Elijah on so many different levels e.g. kingly, nationally, locally and with individuals. There is no distinction between the meeting of the needs of the poor woman and the king, the difference appears to be in the reaction of the recipients in either accepting or rejecting the message. I would like to be like the woman with the oil, but sadly due to spiritual deafness I often respond like a king but I am grateful that God is so patient, persistent and gentle.
When reading today’s Scripture, I focused a bit on the captains and their retinues sent to bring Elijah to the king too, Liz. I can only imagine how scared the third captain must have been knowing what the previous two encountered!! How blessed are we that we have so many examples of wrong and right behavior through Scripture to reflect upon when choosing our paths!
If only the kings of Israel would have embraced God’s love just as Elisha, but instead they add more poison to their people than the previous kings.
Elisha is one of the few disciples that stands out by weathering the storm, and putting full trust in the Lord. In comparing the Old Testament with The New Testament it appears to me that some of the miracles in these chapters are similar to the parables of the four Gospels. When they are read and discussed during the liturgy, in mass, I am continually reminded that our work here on Earth should be for the grace of the Lord. Elisha’s work is truly amazing and powerful!
It just does not make sense to me that people in our world cannot see that God is our purpose. And, our God is forgiving, loving, kind and patient.
Elisha told the woman to take what she had. Unfortunately, she has only one jar of oil, and to pour that out in faith into the borrowed vessels. As she did this the oil miraculously kept pouring from the original vessel until all the borrowed vessels filled. This strikes me, that whenever we pray for God’s blessings, our souls should be empty so as the vessels also had to be empty before they could be filled with oil. It did no good to bring the widow full vessels. “A full Christ is for empty
sinners, and for empty sinners only, and as long as there is a really empty soul in a congregation so long will a blessing go forth with the word. It is not our emptiness, but our fullness which can hinder the outgoings of free grace.
Elisha performs miracles for the ordinary people who have faith in the one true God. His miracles are like the miracles of Jesus raising the dead and feeding the hungry. The never empty oil jars are like the wine jars at Cana.
It gives one hope to see that there are ordinary people who are faithful to the true God even when the rulers are not
I sometimes wonder if Elisha knew what he was getting into when he asked to be Elijah’s spiritual heir.
In chapter 2 the Lord is going to take up Elijah to heaven by whirlwind. So he gave his last exhortation to various schools of prophets blessing them. His ascension was a type and figure of the ascension of Christ, and the opening of the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Let not those who follow Christ come short by tiring at last just like Elisha never get tired of following his master Elijah for a long time.
Of course, we need not go any further than our parish church and find the Holy Eucharist and the Real Presence of Jesus. So many good and “holy places.” And yet, we should consider our own homes as “holy places” for God, Person, and Family–for our children if we are married with children, no matter what vocation, single, religious, or married.
It is good to have a special place in your own home dedicated especially to a “holy prayer sanctuary with holy saints, a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. A lot of people have these things in their homes. I have secular pictures in my home, nature scenes that remind me of God but throughout my entire house, I have many religious pictures and saint statues, a Divine Mercy picture, and just ordered two more canvas pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to place them somewhere else in my home. I have a large crucifix hanging on the wall in the kitchen. On the porch while I am washing dishes, I can look out of the window at my Sacred Heart of Jesus statue with a lighthouse by it (“Jesus is the Light of the World” and pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus I also have many religious DVDs and religious books and never would I be without EWTN on my computer and that I can get on two other television sets.
I had my home blessed with the parish priest and we walked through every room including the basement and prayed the special prayers that the priest brought to the house as he sprinkled holy water and blessed each room of my house. I have a wall dedicated to my family (my mother and father, (maternal and paternal), my grandparents, (maternal and paternal), and other relatives that I have got perpetual mass enrollments for from the Carmelites, St. Therese the Little Flower of Jesus. I have got Gregorian Masses for family members (yet I am single and never married) which are a series of 30 consecutive masses for a single deceased loved one from the Franciscan Associates in New York (one of the less expensive places in the United States and very reliable). All of these “holy reminders” to keep me thinking and praying while I am home during the day about God. Yet, I enjoy so much more and all these holy objects remind me to keep my focus upon God during the day.
I also listen in the car to EWTN which is a local station that carries EWTN programming, Covenant Radio with now over 300 affiliate stations nationwide. I am a Secular Franciscan, a member of the Franciscan Third Order OFS. And there are many wonderful people in our fraternity, going to Mass monthly or Benediction the other half of the year. We have our socials as well as our meetings in other places in the United States.
Elisha is given a double portion, and it’s a good thing…he was a very busy prophet! The many miracles he performed, mirroring the many miracles of Jesus, showed that God wanted to bestow blessings and grace upon those loyal to Him…He still does. Despite so many in Israel who turned their backs on Him, God was and is always merciful to those who repent of their sins and turn back to Him and His ways.
I don’t get the point of bears devouring 42 small boys for calling Elisha names (not even vulgar names as might be used in today’s world). It seems so unjust.
That one made my jaw drop too… All I could find on it was the footnote for it. * [2:23–24] This story was probably told to warn children of the importance of respect for prophets.
God’s Mercy gave Elisha the power of working mighty miracles, in order to induce the people to do penance and escape the coming judgment. God allows miracle’s in order that people might be converted, and that the name of God should be glorified even among the heathen.
God was so merciful, it was easy to use a person with goodness in their heart to provide miracles for the people who had so much doubt in their belief in God. I’m sure there were many people who didn’t know any better because they never learned the true meaning of God. The trust and faith that their parents or loved one lacked just got passed on to the children of innocence who taught their children. When Elisha began to teach them to have a new way of thinking, many times it was the working of miracles that turned their thinking towards believing in God.
As Elisha continually aligned with God touching one life after another miraculously people start believing, light is a part of their lives, and goodness moves in. As he is serving God there is so much resistance, evil trials, trying to move in such as the wild vine,, but even then Elisha’s withitness is so powerful he weathers the storm..
Sections like this are so good to reflect on and reminds me how great life is when God is in the lead and we are open to his ongoing guidance of direction. Amazing!
Elisha had faith and trust in God and was open to let God work in him. He is a great example of trusting in the goodness and love of the Lord. He was a faithful instrument of the Lord.