How did Elijah and Elisha work to bring Israel back to God?

The prophets Elijah and Elisha ministered to bring people to God in the northern kingdom of Israel. Because of the apostasy of the nation, the prophet Elijah predicted a three-year drought in the land as a judgment from God (1 Kings 17).

Elijah’s ministry

After the confrontation of the Baal priests and their destruction at mount Carmel, finally, the people acknowledged the true God. So, the Lord ended the drought and sent the rains. But Queen Jezebel instead of repenting, sentenced Elijah to death (1 Kings 19). Later, Elijah Condemned King Ahab and his wife Jezebel for stealing from Naboth his vineyard then murdering him and his sons (1 Kings 21:17–24).

Because of Jezebel’s threats, Elijah ran away to Mount Horeb. There, he heard God’s voice that asked him to anoint two kings and Elisha as a prophet. For the Lord said, “Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu” (1 Kings 19:17).

Elisha appointed for ministry

So, in obedience to God’s command, Elijah went to Elisha, who was plowing the field with a pair of oxen. And he threw his cloak upon Elisha designating that Elijah’s prophetic office would be given to the younger prophet. Immediately, Elisha left his oxen, said goodbye to his family, slaughtered his oxen, gave the meat to the people and burnt his plow. And he became Elijah’s attendant serving him as a son (1 Kings 19:21).

Elijah taken to heaven

Elisha knew that his dear master would be taken away from him, so he requested a double portion of Elijah’s spirit as his son. So, Elijah told Elisha that, if he saw him when he was taken, then the double portion would be his. And sure enough, Elisha saw the chariot of fire and horses of fire taking Elijah to heaven. So, Elisha picked up Elijah’s cloak that fell from him and went to the Jordan River. There, he struck the water with the cloak and called on the name of the Lord, the waters were divided, and he re-crossed to the other side. And when the sons of the prophets witnessed the miracle, they knew that the Lord has filled Elisha with His spirit (2 Kings 2:1–18).

Before he was taken to heaven, Elijah left a message of judgement for King Jehoram of Judah. He said, “The LORD will bring a great plague on your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions, and you yourself will have a severe sickness with a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the disease, day by day” (2 Chronicles 21:14–15). This prophecy was fulfilled (v. 18–20). And Elisha continued to counsel the kings of Israel to walk in the path of the Lord as did Elijah. Thus, during the life of the prophet, organized Baal worship was abolished (2 Kings 10:28).

God’s miracles

The Lord did many miracles through the prophet Elisha as he did with Elijah. Remarkably, the Bible records 28 miracles done by Elisha and 14 done by Elijah.

Elisha purified the waters of Jericho (2 Kings 2:19–21) and he judged the youths that mocked him (2 Kings 2:23–25). He increased a widow’s oil (2 Kings 4:1–7) and he prayed that the Shumammite family would have a son. And when that son was stricken with death, the prophet resurrected him (2 Kings 4:8–37). Elisha healed the poison from a pot of stew (2 Kings 4:38–41) and increased twenty barley loaves to feed one hundred men (2 Kings 4:42–44). Finally, he healed Naaman of leprosy (2 Kings 5) and made a borrowed ax head that fell into the water to float (2 Kings 6:1–7).

While the Bible records that Elijah was taken to heaven, “Elisha died and was buried” (2 Kings 13:20). Both prophets ministered specifically to the “school of prophets” (2 Kings 2; 4:38–41) and generally to God’s chosen people. The result was that many came back again to faith and obedience to God. These holy prophets were living out before their fellows the life and love of God, and as a consequence a new spirit and hope came back to the hearts and lives of men. Thus, once more the peace and righteousness of heaven was revealed among the people.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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