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13 Elisha(7)

The training of faith that there is love

UKings 6:1-7
TJohn 4:7-11
T On another stage

 When we think about the first image of Elisha, it will be a figure of a soldier of faith that challenged royal families by a fight daringly and wanted to return the people who fell into religion / Baal faith of Canaanite to Yahweh faith, as a successor of Elijah. A figure of Elisha appears in anointing Jehu and assuming him King of the Northern Kingdom (Chapter 9), and having put an end to strong Omri dynasty who lasted 4 generations. It seems to have become wish to help them more as a consultant of King. Royal families and prophet, it would be his special features. And the second image will be a figure of a prophet working through contact with the people represented by a woman of Shunem. But it seems Kings' editors wished to tell about another figure of him on the other stage. I want to hear such a message from 6:1-7 this morning.

 It begins from here; "'Behold now, the place before you where we are living is too limited for us. Please let us go to the Jordan, and each of us take from there a beam, and let us make a place there for ourselves where we may live.' So he said, 'Go.'."(1-2). From here, I want to try to think about another stage of Elisha. The place where they lived in was called Gilgal in the mountain of Samaria. However, there is it in Joshua; "Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern edge of Jericho,"(4:19), and it is called Gilgal that Israel who invaded Cannan did a billet of first; and there is a person thinking prophet school was there, too. I image whether it was the circumstances; perhaps, because, 100 or a lot of more prophets increased from the times of Elijah, and a training school in the mountain of Samaria became small, then, they moved to Gilgal close to the Jordan. This morning, I want to hear the message which prophets of Gilgal and editors of Kings wanted to convey it by all means on the background of the stage of move.

U In a bond of love

 There were a lot of prophets (including a family) led by him, in a prophet group of Gilgal, and it seems that he trained them and worried about their life in various ways and took care. The articles in this group are four, 4:1-7, 4:38-41, 4:42-44, 6:1-7, and each of them tells about a miracle concerned with their life. At Verse 4:43, there is an article that he let 100 people whom there was in the middle of famine eat by 20 breads and one bag of barley (If the family also counted, it would be likely to become twice or more.), and it reminds us an event of 5,000 lunch of Jesus (Matthew 14:13-21). And those 100 people would seem to be the people of prophet groups in Gilgal. Those 100 people gradually swelled, and Elisha's name came to be known all over Israel and many people would increase from each other prophet groups of each place.

 Their house became small and they thought about a move to near the Jordan, would he leave this move to self-government of a group? It seems they had demanded a report of decision and the last approval from Elisha. He agreed it plainly, and, when he said "Go.", it sounds that he had really accepted their independence. However, they wanted Elisha to go together. "Please be willing to go with your servants." "I shall go." Elisha had his house at Mt. Carmel and Samaria, too, and it seems that he still used his own room which was made in a house of a woman of Shunem. Therefore they began to talk "together" fearfully. The reason why the Jordan was nominated would be that there had many trees which are comfortable to cut and bring it down. In Palestine, there is not much rich forest, then, when Solomon built a shrine, he had to import wood expressly from Lebanon. However, the Jordan is a first-rate river with much quantity of water in Israel, and the rich forest still opened there. It may be said that was the best land for a new address.

 However, it does not seem that life to run about busily in his whole country changed after he moved, because Elisha already was not a leader only for a prophet group of Gilgal. Disciples worried about such his state of health running around, therefore they wanted to live together by all means. There was his hometown slightly upstream from there of the Jordan, but, probably he did not return there once since he was called. However now, prophets of Gilgal would be his families. This first half conversation looks like a foreshadowing of miracle story of the latter half, but, it lets us feel further more showing the intimacy of them with Elisha.

V The training of faith that there is love

 What is an important connection with a human being and a human being? It seems to be said that "love is a best bond", from close relations of Elisha and prophets of Gilgal. However, in this story, we must not forget that there is another message.

 "But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, 'Alas, my master! For it was borrowed.' Then the man of God said, 'Where did it fall?' And when he showed him the place, he cut off a stick, and threw it in there, and made the iron float."(5-6) In those days, perhaps, including not only an ax but also a weapon, the most edged tools were copper, and there would be things made by a stone, too. However, this ax is words showing iron. Philistines of the maritime people who had already settled in Cannan in the times of Judges had this iron edged tool, and it was a very strong weapon, so, therefore, the Israeli people had to be subordinate to them between long period. Words such as Palestine are meanings such as a country of Philistia. Such axes of iron made by Philistia are not readily available things. For such suggestion to accelerate the work and to "Cut and bring down wood by one of them respectively."; would he think a share of other people as well as his own share and borrow it? In other words, he was a person who could borrow such a large thing. By words such as a prophet group, most people did not come out to a name either, but we are reminded that this prophet group led first class people in those days, perhaps, they would be individually superior existence. I derail a little, but, when we replace it with a church of the present age and try to think, while being a meeting of nameless people, we are taught the need to be asked whether we are Christians passing as a first class person when appeared outside from the church. However, such a person got flustered; "For it was borrowed.". Because the neighborhood of the Jordan was deep, and a flow was sudden. For him who was discouraged, Elisha let the axehead rise from a deep flow and regained it.

 There are many things in the miracles of Elisha, but, small tools are used here, too. It is "a stick", and his conduct as if he "threw" it as a performance. In fact, above all, the reason why it was just left for as a record, was to confirm that God worked there. And that confirmation was the most important training in a prophet school. The way of life accepted training of faith, it will be our way of life in the present age, I wish. Such ideal method of the faith could be wrapped up by the warm personality of Elisha, and it would attract persons. I wish to be trained by Jesus to have such faith there is love, as it is said "Behold, let us love one another."(TJohn 4:7).