Script for the May 8th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast.
Welcome to the May 8th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast. I’m Matt Ellis and I’m the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida.
Today’s reading is in 2 Kings 4-6 and Luke 24. Hopefully, you’ve already spent time in God’s Word so let’s get started.
2 Kings 4
Now that Elijah is gone, Elisha’s ministry kicks into full swing. He is the man of God who speaks God’s Words to the people. As a prophet with the ability to work miracles, he is also sent to assist the needs of people.
But, on a side note, before we get to Elisha, I want to point out something about the nature of Jesus when He walked the earth. So many people believe, rightfully, that He was fully God and fully man. Yet, they believe that His humanity wasn’t really important; they believe that He lived His life out as fully God with skin on. After all, they reason, how was He able to do so many miracles if He wasn’t God?
Yet, I want you to observe as we read about the ministries of the Old Testament prophets that they did the same kind of miracles as Jesus, including raising people from the dead. Elijah raised the son of the widow from Zarephath in 1 Kings 17.
This truth in no way marginalizes the ministry of Jesus. It merely, but essentially, informs us that Jesus, who has always been fully God, lived His life on early not as fully God but as fully man. This is so important in understanding what Jesus was really doing as He lived on earth for 33 years.
So, let’s get to the story by reading the first verse of the chapter before us.
2 Kings 4:1 (CSB): “One of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, ‘Your servant, my husband, has died. You know that your servant feared the Lord. Now the creditor is coming to take my two children as his slaves.’”
We are introduced to an unnamed widow. Her husband had been someone the Lord had chosen to speak on His behalf. He was a godly man but even godly people die. Apparently, they had accumulated debt or they may have been living so financially tight that his death threw them headlong into debt. Now, she has no source of income and the debtors are coming to take her two children away as slaves. There was probably terror in her eyes and she had no reason to believe the inevitable could be stopped. But she told Elisha about it.
Elisha, like Elijah, was a man of action. Sure, Elijah grew discouraged after the Mt. Carmel victory but they were generally men who didn’t want to fret; instead, they wanted to work the problem.
Elisha inquires and the widow says that she had nothing in the house but a jar of oil. Elisha instructs her to borrow empty vessels and pour oil into them.
2 Kings 4:5-6 (CSB): “… After she had shut the door behind her and her sons, they kept bringing her containers, and she kept pouring. 6 When they were full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another container.’ But he replied, ‘There aren’t any more.’ Then the oil stopped.”
Essentially, this story teaches us about faith. If they had trusted the Lord for more, they would have gotten a houseful of jars. But the miracle was according to their faith.
So, we are left to wonder: “How much do I really trust the Lord? And what am I actually trusting the Lord for?” It’s one thing to pray that God would move in a situation but it’s quite another to have the quiet confidence and faith that He’s going to move.
In verses 8-10, we read about the Shunammite woman. She provided a meal for Elisha every time he passed by. She also got her husband to build a small room with only a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. Honestly, a room like that sounds incredible(!), at least for the people who love to study God‘s word so that they can share it with others. The only thing I would add to that was a laptop computer and Wi-Fi.
In verses 11-17, we read that Elisha wanted to do something kind in return for the Shunammite woman’s kindness toward him. He asked what she wanted. Between Elisha and Gehazi, his servant, it was determined that she would love to have a son. So Elijah promised her that she would have a son in 12 months.
In verses 18-37, we read about a medical incident with the Shunammite woman’s son. As he complains, “my head, my head” and as it requires the father’s servant to take him to his mother, we wonder if it was an aneurysm or something of the sort. We’re told that the child lay in the lap of his mother until noon and then he died. We can only imagine the unspeakable grief of his mom as she began to wail.
The mom takes off the Mt. Carmel to meet Elisha. He sends his servant, Gehazi, to ask her if everything is alright. She said that it was because she wasn’t interested in talking to him. She wanted to speak with Elisha.
Elisha sent his servant, Gehazi, to lay his staff on the dead boy’s face. The woman was so convinced that Elisha could do something about it so she refused to leave him. So he headed to her home with her.
Gehazi came back and said that it didn’t work. The child didn’t respond. So Elisha went into the room and bent down over the boy. He prayed and then did it again and the child sneezed. Elisha, like Elijah and Jesus, raised someone from the dead in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Then, we observe in verses 38-41 that Elisha cures a pot of stew when a poisonous plant was put in it. Then, in verses 42-44, we read of how Elisha made a sack of 20 loaves of barley bread to satisfy the hunger of an apparently very large crowd. You cannot help but read this and reflect on the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 and then the 4,000.
2 Kings 5
2 Kings 5:1 (CSB): “Naaman, commander of the army for the king of Aram, was a man important to his master and highly regarded because through him, the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man was a valiant warrior, but he had a skin disease.”
Long story short, the king of Aram sent “750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing” (v. 5) and a letter.
No doubt the king of Israel saw all of this wealth and wondered what wonderful thing he had done to deserve this. He was feeling wonderful until he read the letter.
2 Kings 5:6 (CSB): “He brought the letter to the king of Israel, and it read: When this letter comes to you, note that I have sent you my servant Naaman for you to cure him of his skin disease.”
When the letter was read to the king of Israel, he panicked! He believed that this was a set-up. He thought the king of Aram was putting him into a no-win situation which would require that he tell the king of Aram that he could not do as was requested. It may even lead to war.
Elisha heard about this situation and told the king of Israel to send Namaan to him. When Namaan arrived, Elisha did not even come out to meet him. He simply told him, through his servant, to go and dip in the Jordan River seven times.
Realize that Elisha didn’t have river-front property. Namaan couldn’t simply go into Elisha’s front yard and dip in the Jordan. He would have to travel a great distance. So Namaan felt disrespected and inconvenienced. And it angered him.
I have noticed this in my own spiritual experience. Oftentimes, the Lord takes opportunities in various circumstances that I have been through to humble me. Every single one of us has a pride problem. And since the Lord hates pride, He uses circumstances to kill it in us. A mature Christian observes that as God has worked on them, they realize that they can do nothing apart from Christ. They have been humbled and realize that they desperately need the Lord.
So, Namaan was coming into an encounter where the Lord was going to work a miracle in his body. We should expect that the Lord was going to strike a death blow at Namaan’s pride. But Namaan eventually went, dipped in the Jordan, and was healed.
Filled with exuberance and gratitude, Namaan wanted to go back to give something to Elisha. But Elisha refused to receive anything from him. Unfortunately for Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, he went secretly to Naaman, lied, received some gifts, and then was made a leper as a result.
2 Kings 6
In verses 1-7, Elisha made an iron ax head float on water so that it could be located and retrieved.
Next, we read that Elisha was able even to know where Israel’s enemy would camp and when they would try to attack. The king of Aram came to believe that he had a traitor in his midst who was funneling secrets to Israel’s king. The king of Aram was told that Elisha was a prophet who knew “even the words you speak in your bedroom” (v. 12). So, the king of Aram gave orders to capture Elisha.
When it was discovered that Elisha was in Dothan, the army of Aram went and surrounded the city. When Elisha’s servant woke up and saw the army surrounding the city, he panicked. But Elisha’s words still speak comfort to us today…
2 Kings 6:16-17 (CSB): “16 Elisha said, ‘Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.’ 17 Then Elisha prayed, ‘Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.’ So the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
Friends, I believe this is still true. Not only are those who are for us (God’s angelic army) are greater than those who are against us, I suspect we would be shocked out of our minds if we could be given the ability to see the angelic hosts all around us at any given moment. We would wonder why we EVER need to be scared.
In verses 18-23, we read that Elisha engaged in deception, an accepted practice, especially in a time of war. God had blinded the army so he took them into Samaria, essentially Israel’s capital city. Israel’s army was ready to kill them but Elisha pointed out that those captured in war shouldn’t be killed. They were fed and sent on their way.
The CSB translation and some other translations of 2 Kings 6:23 are unfortunate.
2 Kings 6:23 (CSB): “… The Aramean raiders did not come into Israel’s land again.”
Why is it unfortunate? Because the Hebrew language doesn’t necessarily say that they never came into Israel’s land again. Further, we read in the very next verse that Aram invaded the land of Israel.
The English Standard Version translates it better…
2 Kings 6:23 (ESV): “… And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.”
The Arameans didn’t come on pesky raids. But they would come as a battle that is ready for war again.
Sure enough, verses 24-33 tell us of an instance where the Aramean army came against Samaria.
Laying siege was a practice of military forces at that time. An army would surround a city and refuse to let any people or resources in and would certainly not let anyone out. Eventually, the water and food within the city would be consumed and the people would either die or resort to cannibalism and then die. Of course, they could always surrender to the opposing army but there was no telling what would happen to them when they did that.
The king of Israel apparently held Elisha responsible for the Aramean attack because we read…
2 Kings 6:31 (CSB): “He announced, ‘May God punish me and do so severely if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.’”
The king of Israel sent a messenger to decapitate Elisha. But Elisha was ready for him. We’ll read what happens … tomorrow.
Luke 24:1 (CSB): “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared.”
So we read that some ladies came to Jesus’ tomb early on Sunday morning. And we may wonder what they were thinking. After all, didn’t they know that the tomb had been sealed and that guards were protecting it?
The answer to those questions would be a resounding “no.” They had no idea. Why? Because we read in Matthew 27:62–66 that the religious folks violated the Sabbath when they did this. The ladies, on the other hand, were observing the Sabbath and thought the tomb would be as they had left it Friday evening. The only problem they had was how to roll the stone away.
The ladies arrived at the tomb and found the stone rolled away. There is no mention that they saw the guards who had become paralyzed with fright. They were almost certainly already gone.
Then, they saw the angels (designated in Luke’s gospel as “two men”) who told them that Jesus had risen just as He said He would. They were to meet him about 100 miles north in the region of Galilee.
The ladies ran to the disciples and told them about what they had seen and heard.
Luke 24:11-12 (CSB): “11 But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. When he stooped to look in, he saw only the linen cloths. So he went away, amazed at what had happened.”
It’s almost certain that the disciples didn’t believe the women because they were, uh, women. They generally didn’t value or believe the testimony of a woman in the first century. So, two men (Luke tells us only of Peter but John also went) went to the tomb to see if what the women said was true. But the Lord didn’t give the men the same experience. The men didn’t see angels. And unlike Mary Magdalene, they wouldn’t see Jesus until later that day.
I love the story that appears in verses 13-35. Two disciples were on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a journey of about 7 miles. At a steady pace, this would’ve taken at least a couple of hours. We’re told that they spent their time “discussing everything that had taken place” (v.14).
Luke 24:15-17 (CSB): “15 And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus himself came near and began to walk along with them. 16 But they were prevented from recognizing him. 17 Then he asked them, ‘What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?’ And they stopped walking and looked discouraged.”
Jesus was simply asking a question that would bring Him into the discussion. They were talking about Jesus’ death, burial, and reports of a resurrection but they just weren’t sure of what they had heard. They were certain that they hadn’t seen Jesus alive since His death. So Jesus, with His identity concealed from them, showed up to instruct and encourage them.
He begins by gently reprimanding them for not believing what the Old Testament prophets said was going to happen. They shouldn’t be surprised that they heard reports that the prophecies had been fulfilled.
Luke 24:25-26 (CSB): “25 He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory?’”
Then we get to a spectacular verse! Jesus took them to the Old Testament and started unpacking what each book said about the Messiah, His life, His death, and His resurrection. Listen to how Luke states this…
Luke 24:27 (CSB): “Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.”
I’m telling you that when I get to Heaven, I plan to ask Jesus to have that Bible study all over again. I would love for Him to teach me from the Old Testament about all of the things that pointed to Him.
When they arrived at Emmaus, they still didn’t recognize Jesus. But even as an apparent stranger, they invited Him inside for a meal. I don’t believe that they couldn’t recognize Him because he looked completely different. I think it was because God simply divinely kept them from recognizing Him.
But there was one thing that Jesus did that caused them to instantly recognize Him. Listen to how Luke describes it. It sounds a whole lot like the account of the last supper, the night that Jesus was betrayed.
Luke 24:30-31 (CSB): “30 It was as he reclined at the table with them that he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight.”
Then, they described what it was like to listen to Jesus teach from the Old Testament…
Luke 24:32 (CSB): “They said to each other, ‘Weren’t our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?’”
Their hearts were burning within them. I’m not exactly sure what that felt like but I suspect it was a really, really good thing as they listened to Jesus teach.
Well, this was too much to keep to themselves so they raced back to Jerusalem and told the Apostles that they had seen Jesus. They also heard that Peter had also seen Him.
As they were all gathered together, Jesus showed up. But they thought they were seeing a ghost. He tried to assure them that it was really Him but they still struggled to believe. So He asked them for something to eat and then ate in front of them, because ghosts don’t eat.
Luke 24:41-42 (CSB): “41 But while they still were amazed and in disbelief because of their joy, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ 42 So they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence.”
Then He told the whole group that everything needed to happen to Him to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament. As a result, “repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed in his name to all the nations” (v. 47).
Then, Luke finishes his book with the same event that he started his next book with, the book of Acts.
Luke 24:50-53 (CSB): “50 Then he led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 And while he was blessing them, he left them and was carried up into heaven. 52 After worshiping him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they were continually in the temple praising God.”
Lord Jesus, thank You for dying and then rising against to pay for sins and the consequences of sins. Thank You for giving me the faith to trust in You so that I could be forgiven by the Father, credited with Your righteousness, and begin being fitted for Heaven. Help me, Holy Spirit, to live a life worthy of what Jesus did for me. I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I hope today’s episode has helped you to understand and enjoy God’s Word so that you can apply it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The “Enjoying the Bible” podcast is a ministry of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida. Check us out at fbcpolkcity.com. See you tomorrow!