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Do you want to hear about some of what happened with Elisha after — Phhhhht! — he left the Jordan River that day? As you probably guessed, he did receive a double portion of God’s Spirit. We’ll tell ya some of the things that happened.
One time, Elisha went to stay in a city, and the people there said, “Master, the water around our town is — blech! — so the land doesn’t grow food well!” So Elisha threw some salt into the water and said, “God says He’s healed the water, and the land will grow food now.” And of course, it did. Can adding salt to water make it better? Not usually… but it does when God wants it to.
Another time, a lady cried out to Elisha for help. Her husband had died and now she owed some money to a man. If she didn’t pay him soon, he was going to take her two sons away to be his slaves! But, all she had in her house was a tiny jar of oil. Elisha told her, “Go to all your friends and neighbors and collect all their empty jars.”
So, she went to all her friends and neighbors, and asked, “Please, may I have all your empty jars?”
After she had collected all that she could, she went into her house with her sons and shut the door. One by one — glug, glug, glug, glug, glug — the lady started pouring her teeny, little jar of oil out into the empty jars. That one tiny jar of oil filled every single jar she’d collected! She sold the oil and used the money to pay the man so he wouldn’t take her sons away. She also had plenty of money leftover for anything else they needed. Can a tiny jar of oil fill to the top many big jars of oil? Not usually… but it does when God wants it to.
Another time, someone was making a big pot of yummy soup for some men who served God. Into the soup — plop, plop, plop — they put a bunch of squash they had found growing nearby… even though it wasn’t exactly like any squash they’d seen before. Oh, no! The squash was poisonous! And as soon as the men started eating the soup, they had to spit it out onto the ground! “Help, Elisha, help!” they cried. “There is death in our pot! It’s poisonous!” Elisha put a little flour in the pot — sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle — and said, “Go ahead and feed the soup to everyone.” Slurp! Slurp! Slurp! The soup wasn’t poisonous anymore. It was totally safe to eat! Can adding flour to soup make it not poisonous? Not usually… but it does when God wants it to.
Another time, Elisha told his servant to feed 100 men with just 20 little loaves of bread they had. The servant didn’t see how that was going to work. “How can I feed 100 men with this?!” he asked. “Just give it to them,” Elisha said. “God says they will eat and even have some left over!” And of course, they did. Can 20 little loaves of bread feed 100 men? Not usually… but it does when God wants it to.
And another time one of the men who served God was chopping down a tree — whack, whack, whack — and the heavy metal part of his axe flew off and — splash! — sank to the bottom of the river nearby.
“Oh no!” he called out to Elisha. “It’s not my axe! I borrowed it from someone. I don’t want to lose their tool.” Elisha threw a stick into the river at that spot and — bloop! — that heavy metal axehead came up, up, up from the bottom of the river and floated on the top of the water so the man could just grab it out! Can a heavy metal axehead float on water? Not usually… but it does when God wants it to.
Try getting even a small metal penny to float on water. Try sharing one buttery roll with five of your friends and see how much you have left over. Try filling up a big, empty pitcher with a little, bitty cup of water. These things usually don’t work like that, do they?
God created this earth and designed how it works. He created it where only an exact amount of oil can fit in a small jar. He created certain plants to be poisonous. He created some metal so heavy that it doesn’t float. Those are just a few of the laws of nature under His authority in this world. But God can change His created things like that whenever He wants.
So Elisha, with God’s Spirit’s help, could See the universe as it really was. He could see what our Creator God was changing or shifting for a minute in order to serve His purposes and help people. And Elisha just needed to work together with God in that moment!
So just remember: People with God’s Spirit are not boxed-in or ruled-in by “how things work” or what is “normal” or “usual” or even “scientific.” God is the one in charge and we just cooperate with Him in whatever He wants to happen.
Those are just a few of the ways Elisha’s double helping of God’s Spirit showed up as he served God and people. In fact, the Bible mentions Elisha doing exactly twice as many miracles as Elijah. Of course we don’t know for sure what the exact number was for either of them — and I’m not sure it really matters — but I still think that’s pretty cool that when God promised Elisha a double helping of His Spirit that energized Elijah, it wasn’t just nice words, words, words. It was powerful and measurable. You’ll hear even more about Elisha in the stories ahead.