Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Introducing Elisha - 1 Kings 19

We're starting to look at Elisha over the next number of weeks in church. Here's the outline of where we went in the introduction.

Context – It is possible to serve God in Difficult times
Time: 850-800 BC After David and Solomon.

Place: Israel is split in two. The Northern kingdom is a godless place
Elisha & Elijah serve God in the Northern kingdom

Situation: Several generations of idol worship
Sexual immorality widespread
False teachers in the church
A coldness among the people of God

Often we think that no time is as bad as our own. Yet Elisha's world was much like 21st century Ireland

But God still had his people and still had his messengers
Even when God is angry with a nation, God is still tender towards his people

Contrast – God has shaped each of his people the way he wants them to be
Elijah – Possibly a poor background
Elisha – Well off family

Elijah – A lonely life mostly in the countryside
Elisha – Lived with the prophets and with people in cities

Elijah – A Prophet of Judgement
Elisha – A Prophet of Grace

Elijah – Extremes of temperament
Elisha – Even tempered and self controlled.

Elijah’s Message – God is Holy
Elisha’s Message – God is tender

Elijah's miracles - mostly judgment
Elisha's miracles - mostly healing and restoration

Both godly, both the men God made them.
God has different men for different times, different people for different situations.
Elisha doesn’t try to be Elijah. We need to be content with who God has made us, while yet striving to grow in godliness.

Calling – The Marks of the Servant of God
God’s call is an authoritative call that he expects to be obeyed. He calls all men and women to follow Christ.

Four characteristics of the man or woman who follows God
  • Diligent at whatever work God has given them – v19
  • Immediate obedience to God’s word – v20a
  • Willingness to sacrifice – v20b
  • Humble service – v21 (see 2Kings 3:11)

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