- Created on Friday, 09 May 2014 10:53
The Greatest Story in the Old Testament
What words or impressions come to your mind when you think of “The God of the Old Testament”?
Do words such as gentleness, humility or forgiveness immediately come to mind? Do we associate the Christ-like ideal of “love for enemies” with the Old Testament?
No doubt, there are some unique and difficult challenges in the Old Testament, but there are numerous Old Testament stories where the Christ-like ideal shines through. One of these stories occurred during the time of Elisha. Whether or not this is the "greatest" story or not is up for debate (I suppose that it is difficult to compete with the Creation week, for example). But this is still one of the most radically unusual stories to be found in the entire Bible.
The setting for this story is a dark and rebellious time during which virtually no one in Israel cared about God.
For example, the King of Israel fell off his roof. He was seriously injured. Desperate to find out whether he would recover, he didn’t ask God or his prophets for advice but sought out Beelzebub, the god of the Philistines.
It was a dark time.
Elijah had just been translated by chariots of fire. But even this did not impress.
Some youths who witnessed this spectacular event taunted Elisha (who apparently didn’t have much hair), saying ‘You go up too baldhead! You go up too!’ (2 Kings 2:23, 24).
So, the nation of Israel had turned against their God.
Their national enemies during this time were the powerful Assyrians – a people notorious for their cruelty. The Assyrians were known as “the Lords of the Massacres.” In order to humiliate their enemies, the Assyrians were known to cut off their feet and hands, noses, ears and lips. The Assyrians would make heaps of these after a battle to intimidate their enemies.
During the time of Elisha, the Israelites were engaged in battle against the Assyrians. Our story describes one of these conflicts and is found in 2nd Kings, chapter 8:
- Created on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 07:09