Week 28: Elisha’s Continuing Ministry
Weekly memory verse:
Ephesians 2:8–9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. “
“God, Be Merciful to Me” (free download)
What is faith in Jesus Christ?
Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, by which I receive and rest upon him alone for my salvation.
Day 136: Battle Against Syria
Reading: 2 Kings 6:1–23; Psalm 40–41
2 Kings 6, Verse 1. Dwell. This could mean that the sons of the prophets lived together in a community, or it could simply mean “sit before,” i.e., it could refer to the building where they met to be instructed by Elisha.
Verse 8. King of Syria. This could be either Ben-Hadad I or Ben-Hadad III.
Verse 23. Feast. A fest of this nature in the ancient Near East indicated the formation of a peace treaty.
God continues to confirm his hand of blessing upon Elisha as a true man of God. He uses Elisha to meet small needs as well as deliverance from Israel’s enemies. In each case, it is clearly God who is performing the miraculous deeds, further emphasizing that he is the only true God.
- Why do you think God allowed Elisha to help recover the lost ax head?
- How important are angels in God’s plan?
- Why did Elisha not allow Israel to kill the Syrian army?
Day 137: Siege by Syria
Reading: 2 Kings 6:24–7:20
Chapter 6, Verse 25. Donkey’s head. A donkey was an unclean animal, so the sale of the head of a donkey for an overvalued price illustrates the dire situation of Samaria.
Verse 28. Eat him. Moses had predicted that apostasy would lead to cannibalism (Deut 28:52–57).
Chapter 7, Verse 1. Seah . . . for a shekel. Compared to the earlier sale of a donkey’s head and dove’s dung for outrageous prices, this indicates Elisha’s promise that the famine would end the next day.
Once again, God delivers the people of Samaria, not due to their trust in him, but rather at the hand of his prophet, Elisha. These deliverances despite the people’s apostasy and distrust further condemn them and foreshadow the coming exile.
- Why did the king want Elisha dead?
- What are some indications in this story of the absolute apostacy of Israel?
- Why do you think God delivered Samaria despite their sin and distrust?
Reading: 2 Kings 8
Verses 1–6. This event likely occurred earlier chronologically, before the events of 5:1–7:20 (notice that Gehazi does not yet have leprosy as recorded in 5:27), but is included here by the author to thematically connect it to the theme of famine in 6:24–7:20.
Verse 2. Land of the Philistines. The land along the Mediterranean Sea, southwest of Israel.
Verse 7. Damascus. Elisha traveled here to obey the command God had given him at Horeb (1 Kings 19:15–16).
Verse 20. Edom. Edom had been under the control of the united Israel and of Judah since the division, but now Edom established its own independence. God had promised that the Messiah would control Edom (Num 24:18), so this revealed that none of the future kings of Judah could be the promised Messiah.
This chapter contrasts the faithfulness of the Shunamite woman and Elisha, which brought them blessings, with the evil of Israel, Judah, and Syria, which resulted in turmoil. This continues to reveal the downward spiral of Israel and foreshadows its future demise as fulfillment of God’s promised judgment.
- Why do you think God blessed the Shunamite woman?
- What purpose did Elisha’s trip to Damascus serve?
- Why didn’t God destroy Judah, despite its perpetual rebellion (8:19)?
Day 139: Hope in God
Reading: Psalm 42–44
Psalm 42. Psalms 42 and 43 were likely originally one psalm, indicated by thematic unity and the fact that while all of the psalms in this section have titles, Psalm 43 does not.
Verse 6. Jordan and of Hermon. This location in the north was the source of waters that flowed to the south.
Psalm 43. This psalm is a response to the lament of Psalm 42.
Psalm 44. This psalm is a national lament following an unidentified military defeat.
In the midst of difficult circumstances, small or great, we should express hope in our covenant keeping God. Recognizing that God is the source of all blessing and all trouble, we can trust that his plan is perfect, that he will ultimately punish wrong and reward good, and that he will never forsake his promises.
- Is it wrong to question God during times of trouble?
- What should always be our response when something bad happens?
- What does it mean to hope in God?
Day 140: Cast Your Burden Upon the Lord
Reading: Psalms 50, 53, 55
Psalm 53. This psalm is almost identical to Psalm 14, except for verse 5, which celebrates a specific military victory. Romans 3:10–12 quote these verses extensively.
Psalm 55, Verse 22. Burden. This refers specifically to bad circumstances in which God’s enemies are tormenting you.
Enemies of God are completely sinful; they do not seek him, and they torment God’s people. Yet our response should always be one of trust in God’s perfect will and prayer that he will fulfill his promises to punish evil and reward good. When we cast our burden upon the Lord, he will sustain us.
- How many people are sinners?
- What does it mean to be an enemy of God?
- What are some burdens that you should cast upon the Lord?