The Goodness and Severity of God
In 1 Kings 19:19-21, we find that God had instructed Elijah to select Elisha to be his successor. Elijah found Elisha and threw his mantle on him, symbolizing the transfer of leadership from one man to the other. Elisha accepted the challenge and began traveling with Elijah. From that point, Elijah began a mentoring relationship that would result in Elisha stepping into Elijah’s prophetic office.
After the fiery chariot took Elijah to heaven, Elisha took over as the main prophet of God to the northern kingdom of Israel.
A little background on Elisha: His family appears to have been wealthy. He owned property in Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. He was well-known and influential. He proved to be a trusted adviser during the reigns of four Israelite kings. Elisha followed in the footsteps of Elijah, doubling the number of miracles his mentor had done. His primary task was to call Israel to repent and to turn from idolatry back to the true God of Israel.
We left off last summer in 2 Kings 2, with the story of Elisha taking up the mantle of Elijah. When the fiery chariot came to pick up Elijah, his mantle fell to the ground. Elisha then picked up the mantle and immediately performed his first miracle.
Today we’ll look at the first three miracles Elisha did. We should recognize that the prophetic era of Elijah and Elisha were unusually full of miraculous activity. These two prophets did a lot of miracles. But if we look at biblical history, we find that miracles were not common most of the time. Miracles are rare and special occasions when God’s power is clearly displayed.
In these first three miracles associated with Elisha, we see God’s power, his goodness, and his severity.
Romans 11:22 says, “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God.” God is good, loving, and kind, but that’s not all he is. He is also holy, and those who treat God and his representatives with disrespect or irreverence will experience the severity of God.