1. ELISHA’S PROPHETIC MINISTRY
a. What happened to Elijah after his reformatory work in Judah and Israel? 2 Kings 2:11, 12.
b. In summary, how did Elisha benefit from the time spent with Elijah? 2 Kings 2:2. What was the basic difference between the work assigned them? 1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings 2:20–22.
“As Elijah’s successor, Elisha, by careful, patient instruction, must endeavor to guide Israel in safe paths. His association with Elijah, the greatest prophet since the days of Moses, prepared him for the work that he was soon to take up alone.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 224.
“The work of Elisha as a prophet was in some respects very different from that of Elijah. To Elijah had been committed messages of condemnation and judgment; his was the voice of fearless reproof, calling king and people to turn from their evil ways. Elisha’s was a more peaceful mission; his it was to build up and strengthen the work that Elijah had begun; to teach the people the way of the Lord. Inspiration pictures him as coming into personal touch with the people, surrounded by the sons of the prophets, bringing by his miracles and his ministry healing and rejoicing.”—Ibid., p. 235.
2. EVEN THE SYRIANS KNEW!
a. When the king of Syria suspected treason in his government, how did he try to figure out where it was coming from? 2 Kings 6:8–11. Who was the actual source of the information that was given to the king of Israel? 2 Kings 6:12.
b. What order did the Syrian king issue to solve the difficulty that was bothering him? When the spy (or spies) found out the whereabouts of the prophet, what did the king do? 2 Kings 6:13, 14.
“In continued wars with the Syrians, Jehoahaz, Jehu’s successor, had lost some of the cities lying east of the Jordan. For a time it had seemed as if the Syrians might gain control of the entire kingdom.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 254.
“On one occasion, during a Syrian invasion, the king of Syria sought to destroy Elisha because of his activity in apprising the king of Israel of the plans of the enemy. The Syrian king had taken counsel with his servants, saying, ‘In such and such a place shall be my camp’ (2 Kings 6:8). This plan was revealed by the Lord to Elisha.”—Ibid., pp. 255, 256.
c. What promise should the servants of God claim when they are in a very serious difficulty or when their life is threatened? Psalm 34:7.
“When the people of God are brought into strait places, and apparently there is no escape for them, the Lord alone must be their dependence.”—Ibid., p. 257.
“Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet. . . .
“In the darkest days, when appearances seem most forbidding, have faith in God.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 481, 482.
3. STRUCK WITH BLINDNESS
a. What message did Elisha’s terrified servant bring to his master? 2 Kings 6:15. What answer did Elisha give his servant to calm him down? 2 Kings 6:16.
“Between the servant of God and the hosts of armed foemen was an encircling band of heavenly angels. They had come down in mighty power, not to destroy, not to exact homage, but to encamp round about and minister to the Lord’s weak and helpless ones.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 257.
b. What incontrovertible truth does Elisha’s answer teach? Romans 8:31.
“In comparison with the millions of the world, God’s people will be, as they have ever been, a little flock; but if they stand for the truth as revealed in His word, God will be their refuge. They stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence. God is always a majority.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 590.
c. What should we thoughtfully ponder from the way Elisha treated the Syrian army? 2 Kings 6:17–20.
“A single unrighteous act of will, or bitterness, envy, jealousy, or evil surmising will quench the Spirit of God and banish from your heart true happiness. . . .
“Even hatred to an evil worker will place you in a position where your judgment will be warped and you will not be a doer of the work of Christ to render good for evil. While you despise the sin, you should love the souls of those for whom Christ has paid the price of His own blood.
“The desire for revenge, or any emotion but that of tender, pitying love as Jesus exercises toward us, fallen sinful humanity, injures the soul and is registered against us in heaven.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, pp. 164, 165.
4. WISE PEOPLE TRY TO MAKE PEACE; FOOLS MAKE WAR
a. What should we learn from the advice Elisha gave the king of Israel? 2 Kings 6:21–23. What is the best way to disarm an enemy? Romans 12:20.
“We do not cultivate a disposition to kindness; we want everything to come in an easy way to ourselves. But the question of greatest importance to each one of us should be not how we can carry our own plans against the plans of others, but how we can have the power to live for Christ every day. Christ came to earth and gave His life that we might have eternal salvation. He wants to encircle each of us with the atmosphere of heaven, that we may give to the world an example that will honor the religion of Christ.”—Loma Linda Messages, p. 602.
b. What happened to the Israelites after they turned further from the Lord? How did the judgments predicted in Deuteronomy 5:9 fall upon them in the time of the kings of Syria? 2 Kings 6:24, 25.
c. What happened when the famine in Samaria drove the king and the people to desperate measures? 2 Kings 7:1–9, 16, 20.
“It was because of His love for erring Israel that God permitted the Syrians to scourge them. It was because of His compassion for those whose moral power was weak that He raised up Jehu to slay wicked Jezebel and all the house of Ahab. Once more, through a merciful providence, the priests of Baal and of Ashtoreth were set aside and their heathen altars thrown down. God in His wisdom foresaw that if temptation were removed, some would forsake heathenism and turn their faces heavenward, and this is why He permitted calamity after calamity to befall them. His judgments were tempered with mercy; and when His purpose was accomplished, He turned the tide in favor of those who had learned to inquire after Him.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 254, 255.
5. AN IMPORTANT LESSON FOR US
a. What lesson did Elisha, during his last days, try to teach the king of Israel? 2 Kings 13:14–17.
b. How did the prophet expect the young king to show that he had understood the lesson? 2 Kings 13:18, 19.
“The lesson is for all in positions of trust. When God opens the way for the accomplishment of a certain work and gives assurance of success, the chosen instrumentality must do all in his power to bring about the promised result. In proportion to the enthusiasm and perseverance with which the work is carried forward will be the success given. God can work miracles for His people only as they act their part with untiring energy. He calls for men of devotion to His work, men of moral courage, with ardent love for souls, and with a zeal that never flags. Such workers will find no task too arduous, no prospect too hopeless; they will labor on, undaunted, until apparent defeat is turned into glorious victory. Not even prison walls nor the martyr's stake beyond will cause them to swerve from their purpose of laboring together with God for the upbuilding of His kingdom.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 263.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Is God calling me to be more of an Elijah-type witness for Him right now or an Elisha-type?
2. Explain how God is willing to give divine insight to us today, just as He did in the days of Elisha.
3. Contrary to the king’s own hostile intention, what advice did Elisha give him—and why?
4. Name some examples by which we—in our circumstances today—can reflect Elisha’s approach toward the Syrian army.
5. Explain the formula for spiritual success as it was taught to Joash.