2 Kings 13:25  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
We have now gone through the actions of Elisha, whose name signifies “Salvation of God.” It has given us many an expression of the marvelous power and abounding grace of Jesus—some faint, but true, traces of the Son of God, in that divine mystery of strength, and divine tenderness of goodness, which manifested Him in the days of His flesh.
All of Jesus, it is true, is not seen in Elisha. Where should we find that? As a suffering witness against the world, Elijah, as I have said before, rather reflects Him. But in His ways of power and grace we see Him in Elisha.
There was no suffering for Elisha, I may say, after his master left him. It was not with him, as it had been with his master, the wrath of the throne prevailing to exile and harass him. But chief captains wait at his gates, and kings send presents to him. He discloses the secrets of one of them, disappoints the purposes of another, gives pledges of victory to a third, and grants supplies to the combined armies of them. Every path he treads wears after him some trace of the greatness of him who had been traveling there. Chariots of salvation fill the mountain, attending on the prophet. Famine, disease, and death own him. Nature again and again changes its course at his bidding. He goes onward in the Lord from strength to strength, and even his dead body puts forth strange and surprising virtue.
All this is seen in the ways of Elisha. And the goodness and power that was in him of God was well-known among the people, as the words of the little captive in the house of Naaman may easily assure us (see 2 Kings 5:3). And, yet, all the while he was personally nothing in the world. The more like Jesus. Elisha received bounty and care in the ordinary needs of life from those in whose behalf he was opening resources which were altogether beyond the reach or range of man’s ability. How like to Him, who, though He Himself was “an hungered,” again and again fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes; who asked for a cup of cold water from a woman at a well, and took the loan of an ass’s colt from its owner, though the cattle on a thousand hills are His!
Remarkable it is, that in the dark realms of the kingdom of Israel, the place of the revolted tribes, the Lord should have raised up such prophets as Elisha and his master. Lights they were truly in dark places. Judah, which had still the sanctuary and the priesthood, was never so visited. A rich unction of prophetic spirit was known in the waning hours of that kingdom, or after its sun was set, as in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and others also in earlier days. But none of these were, in their scene of action, working miracles, executing judgments, ministering mercies, as Elijah and Elisha were.
We have no book of either the prophet Elijah or of Elisha, as we have of Isaiah; yet he was in no way important in the history of his day, as they were in theirs. In no sense was he a type of the Lord, though His prophet. But Jesus stands foreshadowed in them, in the most distinguishing features of His history. They tell of Him as the suffering witness who ends His course in heaven, and as the gracious, powerful, but self-emptied Friend of Israel, who went about dispensing the virtues of life and salvation through their cities and villages, giving a pledge, through His death, of their quickening in the last days.
These are “the great things” which cast a strong and bright light over the whole path of our prophet—every little spot in which bears the trace, as we have seen, of grace to Israel. May our souls rejoice in the prospect of their final joy! Then, “Praise ye the Lord from the heavens—praise the Lord from the earth,” shall be the burthen and chorus of universal gladness. For in the dispensation of the fullness of times, God will “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.” And “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Blessed anticipation!
Joy to His ancient people!
Your bonds He comes to sever;
And now ‘tis done,
The Lord has won,
And ye are free forever!
Joy to the ransom’ed nations!
The foe, the rav’ning lion,
Is bound in chains,
While Jesus reigns
King of the earth in Zion.
Our meditations began with Elijah, whose translation to heaven, after a life of suffering testimony on earth, tells us of that elect body, who, having continued with Jesus in His temptations, are to share His throne in the days of the kingdom; and, as their representative, in company with Moses, we see him glorified on the distant heavenly hill (Matt. 17:3). Then, in Elisha, after a ministry of grace and power, we see a quickening from the dead state of Israel, and bringing back the covenanted mercies of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to their seed in the land of their inheritance. As in a mystery, the tale of the heavens and the earth is told, and their divers glories are pledged. And the coming millennial days will verify this wondrous tale, and redeem these precious pledges.
“Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counselor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.”