THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH WINNING ALL (ECWA)
5007 SOUTHSIDE DRIVE
LOUISVILLE, KY 40214
THEME: Elijah; A Man Like Us
TOPIC: Seeing What Cannot Be Seen
TEXT: 1 Kings 17: 1-16
Rev. (Dr.) Stephen K. Awoniyi
In our first sermon about Prophet Elijah also called Elisa, been interpreted as, “Yahweh is my God,” it was narrated that he was from Tishbeh in Gilead. He was a righteous man who prophesied against worshiping of Baal and idols after the death of King Solomon before King Ahab was put on the throne. Prophet Elijah then went to King Ahab and said the land would neither have dew nor rain for a long time until after he (Elijah) prayed for rain again. The Scripture records it thus:
Elijah Proclaims a Drought
And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”
2 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there” (1 Kings 17: 1-4).
17. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit (James 5: 17-18).
In order to protect Prophet Elijah from his attackers, the Lord sent him into the wilderness by a stream of water. According to Wayne Blank and Hate Him, “wilderness” means; “A place of thirst, a place of hunger, a place of disfavor, a wild and uninhabited area, and a place of deprivation.” In this sermon titled “Seeing What Cannot Be Seen,” the following points will be examined:
(1). The Man, Elisha:
Who was the man called Elisha? Elisha was the son of Shaphat of Abel-Meholah, a prophet who was from the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He became very active and devoted to his call during the reign of King Joram, King Jehu, King Jehoahaz, and King Jehoash. He later became the follower or the servant of Prophet Elijah. Before Prophet Elijah was taken to heaven, he asked Elisha this question, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha then responded, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” Prophet Elijah then responded by saying, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” But to God’s glory, after Prophet Elijah was taken up by the whirlwind into heaven, the double portion of Prophet Elijah’s spirit came upon him. Elisha then became the leader of the sons of the prophets in Israel. The Scripture records it thus:
Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” So he answered, “Yes, I know; keep silent!”
6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So the two of them went on. 7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. 8 Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” 10 So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” 11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. 13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. 15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him (2 Kings 2:5-15).
Three times Prophet Elijah tried to turn himself from his servant, Elisha, and three times Elisha refused to turn back. This is because of Elisha’s great love he received from his mentor, Prophet Elijah, and his intension to learn more from his mentor. Elisha went with his master Prophet Elijah, from Gilgal to Bethel, to Jericho, and to the Eastern- side of the Jordan. The water which was touched by the mantle of Prophet Elijah divided and both of them passed over on dry ground. Elisha was separated from Elijah by a fiery chariot, and he saw Prophet Elijah taken up by a whirlwind into heaven. What an amazing thing? Elisha used the same mantle that fell from Prophet Elijah to divide the water/river again. The water or river separated into two and he miraculously crossed over the Jordan by foot. What a marvelous miracle? This means there is nothing impossible for God to do when we faithfully and honestly trust in Him. No-wonder one of the Baptist Hymnal #165, written by Virginia Harmony in 1831, says;
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I saw.
It was grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear, The hour I first believed!
Thro’many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come; it’s grace hath bro’t me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home (etc.).
The above song indicates that Virginia Harmony was once a great sinner. He was so proud in his sins until he accepted the Lord in his heart and turned away from his sins. Brethren, how long will you keep on sinning? Bear in mind that you cannot hide your sins from God. There is a song that says; “You cannot hide it from God/2. You may cover your sins that no-one may know but you cannot hide it from God.” Alleluia! We have people in the church today who act like Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ who betrayed Jesus Christ. When are you going to repent of your sins?
(2) Elisha’s Obedience to His Call
After the departure of Prophet Elijah by the whirlwind to heaven, his servant Elisha, held the “office has a Prophet for sixty years (892-832 BC) in Israel,” says David Roper in his book titled; How an Ordinary Person Can Make an Extraordinary Difference. Elisha’s mission could be viewed in two categories which are; “personal” and “political.” He was very accessible to the Israelites and interceded in their crisis and situations. In other words, since he inherited the wonderful-working power of Elijah, he was able to heal the sick, raise the dead, and meet the needs of the poor. For instance, he relieved the widow importuned by a hard creditor by multiplying a little oil to enable her pay her indebtedness and to provide for her family needs. The Scripture records it thus:
Elisha and the Widow’s Oil
A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.”
2 So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. 4 And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.”
5 So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. 6 Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest” (2 Kings 4:1-7).
This is not the only miracle that Elisha performed in Israel, but he did more wonderful and marvelous miracles also. For example, a woman and her husband who had neither a son nor a daughter, the Lord used Elisha for a great miracle in this family for the birth of a son. This is recorded thus:
Elisha Raises the Shunammite’s Son
Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food.
9 And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. 10 Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.”
11 And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there. 12 Then he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite woman.” When he had called her, she stood before him. 13 And he said to him, “Say now to her, ‘Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’” She answered, “I dwell among my own people.” 14 So he said, “What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.”
15 So he said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16 Then he said, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!” 17 But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her. 18 And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. 19 And he said to his father, “My head, my head!”
So he said to a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. 21 And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. 22 Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.” 23 So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “It is well.” 24 Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” 25 And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman! 26 Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’” And she answered, “It is well.” 27 Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, “Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me, and has not told me.”
28 So she said, “Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?” 29 Then he said to Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.” 30 And the mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. 31 Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, “The child has not awakened.” 32 When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. 33 He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. 34 And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” 37 So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out (2 Kings 4: 8-37).
Elisha did not only work these marvelous and wonderful miracles, but he did more. For example, he nourished the sons of the prophets pressed by famine. How did he do it? It is by changing into wholesome food the pottage made from poisonous gourds. The Scripture records it thus:
Elisha Purifies the Pot of Stew
And Elisha returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land. Now the sons of the prophets were sitting before him; and he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.”
39 So one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered from it a lapful of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, though they did not know what they were. 40 Then they served it to the men to eat. Now it happened, as they were eating the stew, that they cried out and said, “Man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it. 41 So he said, “Then bring some flour.” And he put it into the pot, and said, “Serve it to the people, that they may eat.” And there was nothing harmful in the pot (2 Kings 4: 38-41).
Again, not only these wonderful and mighty healing were done by Elisha, he healed Naaman the leper also. This is written in 2 Kings Chapter 5 verses 1-19. I wish you read it, please! Although Naaman at first reluctantly disobeyed, but he later obeyed and he finally found his flesh been restored like the flesh of a little child. This is an evidence of God’s power of healing when we trust in Him. What a great miracle our Lord will do if we truly trust and believe in Him. No-wonder the Scripture says; "And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet: and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian" (Luke 4:27).
In conclusion, Elisha went to Damascus and prophesied that Hazael would be king over Syria. Read this in 2 Kings 8:7–15). Due to that vision the Lord showed to him, he instructed one of the sons of the prophets to anoint Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Israel, instead of Ahab. Before Elisha died to meet the Lord in heaven like his master Elijah, he was laid on his bed in his own house, the Scripture records it thus:
The Death of Elisha and the Resurrection of Shallum
Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die. Then Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over his face, and said, “O my father, my father, the chariots of Israel and their horsemen!”
15 And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and some arrows.” So he took himself a bow and some arrows. 16 Then he said to the king of Israel, “Put your hand on the bow.” So he put his hand on it, and Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands. 17 And he said, “Open the east window”; and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot”; and he shot. And he said, “The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria; for you must strike the Syrians at Aphek till you have destroyed them.” 18 Then he said, “Take the arrows”; so he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground”; so he struck three times, and stopped. 19 And the man of God was angry with him, and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike Syria only three times.”
20 Then Elisha died, and they buried him. And the raiding bands from Moab invaded the land in the spring of the year. 21 So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet (2 Kings 13: 14-21).
The Scripture records that the man that was raised from death was Shallum, the husband of Huldah the Prophetess. He was the son of Tikvah, the keeper of the temple-wardrobe during the reign of Josiah (2 Kings 22:14).
Dearly beloved, is this not a wonderful story? That a man called Shallum, the husband of a woman called Huldah a prophetess, died. When he was let down in to the tomb of Prophet Elisha, the servant of Elijah, his body touched the bones of Elisha, and he resurrected and stood on his feet. What a wonderful healing miracle? This means, there is nothing impossible for God to do when we trust in Him. Do you truly trust the Lord, depend on Him, and believe that no-matter what the enemies either in the church or in the community can say about you, the Lord will give you the victory? The Lord that delivered Daniel is on your side and He will deliver you in Jesus’ name. Amen!