Week 27: The Start of Elisha’s Ministry
Weekly memory verse:
Romans 10:9 – “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
“My Faith Looks Up to Thee” (free download)
How are you made a partaker of the redemption purchased by Christ?
I am made a partaker of the redemption purchased by Christ through repentant faith in him and his substitutionary atoning death.
Day 131: Trust and Penitence
Reading: Psalm 31–32
Psalm 31, Verse 5. Into your hand. Jesus later quotes this verse during his crucifixion (Luke 23:46).
Psalm 32. This is one of seven penitential psalms, expression confession of sin and forgiveness from God.
God hears the prayers of those who trust him, confession their sins, and find forgiveness through the means that he has provided. David presents the standard for these expressions of trust and confession to God.
- Why can we trust God?
- When we sin, what should we do?
- How can we find forgiveness from God?
Day 132: Elisha Succeeds Elijah
Reading: 2 Kings 2:1–25; Psalm 33
2 Kings 2, Verse 3. Take away. This same expression was used to describe how Enoch was taken into heaven without dying (Gen 5:24).
Verse 23. Small boys. These are more likely young men in their early twenties (the same phrase is used to describe Solomon in 1 Kgs 3:7). Their jeering at him was not innocent; it was an expression of contempt for the prophet of the Lord.
The transition of ministry from Elijah to Elisha comes to completion when God takes Elijah to heaven miraculously without dying. Elisha takes up the mantle of Elijah’s prophetic ministry. He is accepted by the other prophets, but rejected by others. Yet God confirms his ministry through miracle and judgment upon those who rejected him.
- Why do you think God took Elijah to heaven the way that he did?
- What did Elijah’s miracle at Jericho signify?
- Why did God punish the young men so severely?
Day 133: Prayers of Lament and Praise
Reading: Psalm 35–36
Psalm 35, Verse 21. Aha, Aha. This is a common way to taunt.
Psalm 36, Verse 1. No fear. Paul uses applies this phrase in Romans 3 to the whole human race.
Verse 11. Foot of arrogance. This likely alludes to a victorious military victor placing his foot upon the neck of the defeated general.
These psalms once again model appropriate ways to express lament and praise to the Lord. God will help us in time of trouble; therefore, we can trust in him, bring our burdens before him, and praise him for his always good answers to our needs.
- How should we view strong prayers in the psalms requesting that God destroy the psalmist’s enemies?
- Is it right to question God?
- What is God’s response toward sin?
Day 134: Elisha’s Miracles
Reading: 2 Kings 4; Psalm 38
2 Kings 4, Verse 14. No son, and her husband is old. This implied that there would be no heir and was a disgrace to her personally since she could not bear children.
Verse 23. New moon nor Sabbath. Both the first day of the month and the Sabbath would be typical days to visit a prophet.
Verse 42. Firstfruits. The firstfruits were supposed to be kept apart for God and the Levites. Even though Israel had forsaken the Law, this act demonstrates that there were still some righteous, God fearing people in Israel.
God confirmed Elisha’s ministry through miracles, many of which resembled the miracles of Elijah. While Elijah’s ministry was often public and confrontational, Elisha’s work was more local and met the needs of common folk. Nevertheless, it is clearly the same God at work in both, confirming his power and calling the people to worship him alone.
- Why do you think God chose to meet the needs of these otherwise seemingly insignificant people?
- In what ways did Elisha’s miracles resemble Elijah’s?
- How did God make clear that he was the one accomplishing the miracles and not Elisha himself?
Day 135: Naaman
Reading: 2 Kings 5; Psalm 39
2 Kings 5, Verse 5. King. The king of Israel at this time was Jehoram.
Verse 14. Flesh. While modern leprosy attacks the nerves, this leprosy was a disease of the skin.
Verse 17. Earth. Ancient people believed that gods were bound to certain territories and could be worshiped only on ground in that land. Therefore, Naaman wanted to take some of the ground of Israel with him so that he could continue to worship the God of Israel.
The story of Naaman contrasts the apostacy and unbelief of most of the people of Israel with this pagan commander who, upon being healed by God, confesses Yahweh to be the one true and living God. Even Elisha’s own servant, Gehazi, was more interested in material gain than the true worship of the Lord.
- In what ways did Naaman’s view of Israel change after he was healed?
- Why do you think God healed Naaman?
- How were Gehazi’s attitude and acts representative of the nation of Israel as a whole?