Image courtesy of Suat Eman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Lisa Nordell-Detres
The Old Testament book of II Kings opens with the prophet Elijah being taken to heaven in a chariot of fire while his apprentice, Elisha looks on in amazement. Elijah had asked Elisha what he wanted and he asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. That was the first indicator of Elisha’s humility and the amazing miracles that Elisha would perform during his ministry as recorded in the next few chapters.
Besides his bald headedness, which should appeal to many men out there, what stands out about Elisha’s story is his humility as he predicts future events, performs miracles and brings the dead back to life. How many of us, if gifted with such great spiritual abilities would refuse to profit from the miracles, even when sent by assertive military commanders? We live in a time that these activities would surely be exploited by the media, even if one tried to avoid the exposure. Consider some of the things Elisha did:
• Made bad water good in Jericho by throwing salt into the spring (II Kings 2:19-22)
• Filled a barren valley with water for Israel’s army (II Kings 3:9-20)
• Provided an abundance of oil for a widow and her children to pay off her debts and survive (II Kings 4:1-7)
• Raised a boy from the dead (II Kings 4:18-37)
• Made poison stew edible (II Kings 4:38-41)
• Fed over 100 people with 20 loaves of bread (II Kings 4:42-44)
• Healed a Syrian commander from leprosy (II Kings 5:1-14)
• Made an iron axe head float on the water (II Kings 6:1-7)
• Blinded and took the Syrian army captive (II Kings 6:18-23)
I often marvel at the miracles I read about in the Bible and know that we serve the same God and have the same Spirit that these men and women had, and yet we don’t hear about miracles of this magnitude. I believe that miracles do still happen but not like this. Why is that? For one thing, now that God has delivered His Word to humanity, we have the information we need to have a saving relationship with Him.
Another reason for the absence of great miracles is the lack of focus on God by the spiritual leaders of our day. It seems that even humble pastors become obsessed with the number of people that come to their churches. I once heard another pastor’s wife refer to this as “chenis envy.” As their churches grow, they seem to become more focused on selling their books and DVDs. Over time, something happens and the ministry to lost sheep becomes an opportunity for gain as the seduction of fame and fortune overcomes so many of the well-meaning church leaders.
Whatever the reason, the thing we need to remember that we do serve the same loving and awesome God who sanctioned the prophets of old. If His Holy Spirit lives in you, the possibilities are endless! Keep your focus on God and have the faith to know that His Spirit will be with you to empower you in every situation life hands you.
Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.
Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.