Elisha's Last Sermon Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
How are you doing personally as you wage war with that powerful inward foe, your own flesh?
Are you a person who gossips?
Are you refusing to forgive someone who has wronged you?
We are given the Holy Spirit so that we can daily overcome these things.
When Paul wrote to the Galatians he said, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
To “walk in the Spirit” means to have the habit of continually walking by the power and under the divine direction of the Holy Spirit.
This is the only way to be delivered from selfish lusts.
Friends, you will never gratify the sinful desires that flow from the old nature; it’s impossible.
When God saved us, He did not do away with the old nature, neither did He reform the old life; instead, He gave us an absolutely new life.
The old nature is “not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” according to Romans.
The Christian can conquer the selfish life style and have continual victory by walking by the Holy Spirit.
In verse 16, the trembling hands of the king are touched by the rugged hands of the prophet.
We read, “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.”
Just as the touch of Elisha was on King Joash, so is the Lord’s touch on us as we go forth to fight His battles.
Joash experienced an alliance with the supernatural.
Do you remember that old song, “He touched me! Oh, he touched me!”
Jesus often touched people during His ministry, and His touch on our lives brings us His power as we go onward as Christian soldiers.
Is the touch of Christ on your life?
Offer yourself to Him.
Make Him your Lord, and visualize His hands clasping around your own, just as Elisha’s old, rugged hands fell in blessing over those of the young king, signifying God’s presence with Him.
What an encouragement it was for Joash to know that the Lord of Hosts would accompany him to the field of battle.
Imagine how the disciples felt when the Savior placed before them the responsibility of world evangelization.
Not only did Christ instruct them, but He encouraged them.
He said, “I am with you always ...” (Matt.28:20).
Do you need to be reminded of that?
God is with you in days of blessing and barrenness, of storm and sunshine, of progress and opposition.
The Lord closed His time on earth with the disciples, with the one promise that makes all His teaching effective—the promise of His presence.
Jesus Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews13:5).
The true believer shall have the gracious presence of God with him in life, at death, and forever.
During the Civil War, a delegation came to see Abraham Lincoln.
In their conversation, they expressed the hope that the Lord was on their side.
The President replied, “That is not the thing that I am most concerned about.”
The men were astonished; what could be of greater importance than the question of whether God was on their side?
They waited for an explanation.
“What I am most anxious about,” said Lincoln, “is whether we are on the Lord’s side.”
Just like the prophet’s hand closed over the king’s hand, so would the might of the Lord, through Israel’s king, defeat the forces of Syria.
When His hand is upon us, is there anything that is impossible?
I think often of the verse that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
I believe that through Christ you can be what you ought to be, do what you ought to do, and have what you ought to have, all to the glory of God.
In this verse, Paul is saying, “In all things, I continue to be strong because of the power Jesus infuses into me.”
Paul has this strength as long as Christ keeps pouring the power into him.
A living Christ on the inside of you is more than sufficient to endure the circumstances on the outside.
What Christ wants Paul to do, Christ enables Paul to do.
Where the finger of God points, the hand of God provides the way.
In the story, God’s Purpose is realized through Israel’s king.
God’s purpose for Israel was victory over Syria.
Elisha 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.” (v.17).
The east window faced the direction of Transjordan, where Syria had occupied land belonging to Israel.
The arrow symbolized God’s deliverance from Syria.
The Syrians were to be consumed at Aphek by the army of Israel.
Israel was on the winning side because they were on God’s side.
And if we are engaged in the Lord’s work, we’re on the winning side, too.
Jesus said to Peter, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew.16:18).
Why is it that we fail so often when the power that’s available to us is so unlimited?
Jesus’ point is that death itself cannot destroy the church or keep it from going forward.
Jesus promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.
By church He meant all believers, regardless of denomination.
Some have explained this verse as asserting the inability of hell to overpower the church and they see the church as being on the defensive against Satan.
However, the phrase “shall not prevail” may be understood as meaning, “shall not stand against.”
The idea expressed, would then picture the church as being on the attack against the gates of hell.
It is the church which is on the attack here and hell is on the defensive.
Elisha commanded Joash to shoot his arrows into the ground, but Joash meekly fired three arrows into the dusty earth around the prophet’s bed.
Why didn’t he get excited and shoot six or seven arrows?
This was a mock battle that predicted the outcome of the real thing.
Did he feel silly?
Did he misunderstand?
Joash simply didn’t believe there could be any connection between firing arrows in private and later seeing total victory in public.
Are we not guilty of the same thing?
We often limp in our prayer lives; we struggle to believe that a few words launched from our bedside can achieve anything in the real world.
After two or three attempts, we give up.
We need to be wholehearted, and boldly believe that through us, God will ultimately win the battle against sin in our lives and our world.
Are you willing to follow the Lord faithfully, wholeheartedly, and courageously?
Remember, it is because His hand is on the bow that victory is a sure thing, in the end!
Victory is ours because Jesus won the victory over sin and death at Calvary.
Jesus won the victory, and then He turned around and gave the prize to us.
The prize is eternal life, and John 3:16 tells how we get it.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”