<<the disciple and successor of Elijah the prophet>>
He requested and received twice the prophetic ministry that Elijah had (2 Kgs 2:9-12). His ministry was more focused than Elijah’s – in passionately helping people, putting them in touch with God
The miracles God displayed through his life include: the multiplying of olive oil, the raising to life of a dead child, the healing of Naaman from leprosy, the axe head that floated (2 Kgs 4:1-37, 5:1-27, 6:1-7). His story is told in 1 Kings 19:16 - 2 Kings 13:21. It is believed his ministry of about 55 years began around 848 BC.
Lessons from his life: * He made a definite ‘no turning back’ commitment which he honoured until his death (1 Kgs 19:21). Are we prepared to follow God with complete ongoing devotion? We can make an enthusiastic or emotional response that soon vaporises after the novelty wears off – when our priorities and the pressure of other things crowd out that initial zealous ‘I’ll follow you Jesus’ and we understand the full implications of “Denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily and following Him” (Mk 4:14-19; Lk 9:23,57-62). Regularly review your life to ensure you are on target and your priorities correct. Satan tries to destroy us, distract us from fulfilling the divine assignment, or make us ineffective. Do I have a single-eyed focus to follow Him whatever the cost?
* He stayed close and learned much from his teacher Elijah – he wasn’t in a great hurry to minister on his own but was a faithful helper while being instructed in the ways of God (1 Kgs 19:21). This period of training laid a good foundation for his ministry, which was so effective. Am I developing a solid foundation for the ministry God is calling me to? Without a firm basis and sound character, any subsequent work is in danger when the storms of life come.
* He was persistent in being with Elijah; he knew what he wanted and wouldn’t be put off. Elijah’s comments made him even more determined (2 Kgs 2:1-12). The power of association is such we become like those we relate with (Prov 13:20, 22:24,25). Are we prepared to pay the price to obtain what we desire and dream about?
* He asked for a blessing that would benefit the lives of others and therefore helped many people (2 Kgs 2:9). He brought the power of God into everyday life situations. Our motive when asking for things should be so that we can be a blessing to others, not for personal pleasure (Jas 4:3).
* He endeavoured to guide the nation by his prophetic proclamation of God’s will and is credited with establishing the ‘school of the prophets’ to train others to be spokespersons for God (2 Kgs 2:3,5, 4:38-41, 6:1). Mentoring and teaching others is very important, passing on what we have received as well as warning against making the mistakes we have made. It is a sound practice to prepare others to take on your role – not just a single replacement, rather several to multiply the effectiveness.
* He was a man of integrity, and refused to accept ‘payment’ when he was instrumental in the healing a high-ranking official of leprosy (2Kgs 5:1-16). God’s favour and salvation can’t be bought with money, although there is a place for appreciation and honouring those who have enriched and blessed our lives.