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II Kings – Serving God

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During the period covering the last 130 years of Israel and the last 250 years of Judah, II Kings records the response of the people to these  prophets in the order[1] they spoke and wrote: Elijah [*875-855 BC], Elisha [*855-795], Obadiah [840-825], Joel [825-810], Jonah [*785-770], Amos [*765-755], Hosea [*755-715], Isaiah [740-692], Micah [735-700], Nahum [650-620], Zephaniah [635-623], Jeremiah [625-575], Habakkuk [620-608], Daniel [605-535], Ezekiel [595-560]. The sad truth remains — few listened to God speaking through them.

God’s servants listen to His Words. Second Kings stands as a book about Servants. God has good servants and bad servants. He rewards the good and punishes the bad. Life is all about who we will serve. In this book we see portraits of failed opportunities to serve God as well as beautiful lives of service for Him. Who are you serving today? God or yourself?

We can draw an incredible wealth of lessons on servant-hood from this small book. Here are no less than ten powerful components of those who serve God. 

I.                     A Servant of God is Empowered for Ministry

A.                 There must be Absolute Surrender. Elisha showed this at his calling inI Kings 19:19-21. He patterned it in his daily life:

1.                  He learned how to be a follower 2:1-8.

2.                  He learned by humble service 3:11.

3.                  He learned impartiality 4:1-37.

4.                  He learned to do things God’s way 5:1-27.

5.                  He learned to trust God completely 6:15-17.

6.                  He learned about human nature 8:11.

7.                  He learned compassion for God’s people 8:12.

8.                  He learned to delegate 9:1-4.

B.                 There must be Faith that won’t be dissuaded. [2:2-5, 9-11].

1.                  Elisha wouldn’t let other servants discourage him [2:3,5].

2.                  Elisha had to cross the Jordan, a picture of death to the self life, before the fullness of the Spirit [2:8].

3.                  Elisha always looked at his master Elijah just as we must look unto Jesus [2:10].

4.                  Elisha tore his clothes in half portraying the end of any self-sufficiency [2:12].

5.                  Elisha was clothed with the power of Elijah [2:13-14].

II.                   A Servant of God focuses on the source of problems. [2:19-22]

A.                 The poisoned spring caused a lack of fruit.

B.                 Elisha put salt in a new bowl and poured it into the source of the spring.

C.                God took away the barrenness and death just as the gospel changes lives from the heart, the source of the problem.

D.                We as Christians are to be the salt of the earth Matthew 5:13.

III.                  A Servant of God knows the secret of humility [3:15-25] because the way God sent water to aid Israel in the battle against Moab has a lesson on the way the Spirit of God works.

A.                 God knows the way: He had a specific way He wanted them to deal with this problem [3:15].

B.                 God loves the humble: He uses lowly and humble means to accomplish His purposes [3:16 see also I Corinthians. 1:27-28].

C.                God works in mysterious ways: the waters came without sound or sight as the working of the Spirit usually is done [3:17 see also John 3:8].

D.                God speaks through Christ: The timing of this miracle is amazing. The grain offering portrayed the offering of the perfect body of Christ as a sacrifice. So the blessings of Pentecost follow the sacrifice of Calvary [3:20].

IV.               A Servant of God finds the Sufficiency of the Spirit [4:1-7] as is portrayed in the Widow’s oil miracle.

A.                 IMPOSSIBLE DEBT: She had a humanly impossible situation [4:1] one only God can fix. So we are impossibly indebted to the lost world around us. Romans 1:14-15  I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.  That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. (NIV)

B.                 INEXHAUSTIBLE RESOURCES: Oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit and as she poured into empty vessels the oil never ran out. So the Holy Spirit will flow out of us like rivers of water into empty dry and thirsting lives around us. John 7:38-39 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (NIV)

C.                INCREDIBLE SUPPLY: The provision was for more than just the debt, it covered the daily supply also [4:7]

V.                 A Servant of God has genuine power [4:8-37] as demonstrated in the inability of Gehazi.

A.                 Gehazi had the position but no power [4:31]. The Lord could not use him because of a deceitful and greedy heart [5:25-27].

B.                 Elisha demonstrated true reliance upon God and was clothed with His power as he raised this child from the dead[2].

1.                  He went in with prayer to God alone. v33

2.                  He gave of himself to the ministry v. 34 as Paul said 1 Thessalonians 2:8  We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. (NIV)

VI.               A Servant of God declares the Gospel of a Humble and Contrite approach to God [5:1-27] as demonstrated in Naaman’s healing.

A.                 Naaman was a great, kind, loyal and brave human but was a leper [5:1]. Just like all of us sons and daughters of Adam are in the image of God but hopelessly lost.

B.                 Even a tiny spot of leprosy was enough to have absolute expulsion in God’s people James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. Romans 3:10  As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;  6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

C.                God made Naaman go through the most humbling 9 step path to receive his healing.

D.                Salvation often comes by similar means: an insignificant messenger, no good works or upright living can earn it, no washing in our own rivers of personal reform can take away the guilt of sin, only the 1 John 1:7   . . . and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (NIV)

VII.              A Servant of God must repent and return when the power of the Spirit departs their life [6:1-7] as illustrated in the miracle of the restored ax head.

A.                 BEWARE: Christians can lose the cutting edge for ministry by quenching the Holy Spirit. This is caused by sin and disobedience, lack of separation, neglect of Bible Study, forgotten time in prayer, unexercised faith and so on. Ephesians 4:30-32 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; (NIV)

B.                 STOP: No work can proceed without the axe-head. The self generated service does nothing more than chopping with an ax handle accomplishes in felling trees. John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (NIV)

C.                GO BACK: The prophets went back to where the axe-head was lost [6:6]. We need to go back to where we lost the blessing and get it back!Revelation 2:5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (NIV)

VIII.            A Servant of God is aware of God’s protection [6:8-23] as illustrated by the opening of the servants eyes and the blinding of the Syrian army.

A.                 Elisha lived with an awareness he was surrounded by God’s powerful army.

B.                 When God intervenes He renders our enemies Helpless [6:18], Hopeless [6:21] and Powerless [6:22-23].

IX.               A Servant of God sees God in all of life

A.                 God is the Lord of History — SERVE HIM!

1.                  He shaped Judah and Israel’s future.

2.                  He directed Naaman and Hazeel of Syria [5; 8:7-15].

B.                 God is Lord of the Universe — TRUST HIM!

1.                  His armies are present on earth though invisible [6:15-17].

C.                His resources are inexhaustible– draw upon Him [4:1-7 oil; enemyarmy 19:35; etc.].

[1] * denotes a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. All the rest were in and to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. All dates are taken from the Charts of Kings and Prophets by Dr. John C. Whitcomb.

[2] There are seven miraculous resurrections recorded in the Scriptures other than Christ’s and those at His Resurrection and the unusual story about Elisha’s bones. These seven are: Elijah I Kings 17:22; Elisha II Kings 4:35; Christ Mark 5; Luke 7; John 11; Peter Acts 9 and Paul Acts 20.

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