Elisha's Question about the Father

Bible Book: 2 Kings  2 : 14
Subject: God, Where is; God, Presence of
Series: Elisha's Questions
[Editor's Note: This is the first (added 6/3/2103) in first sin a six part series. An additional sermon in the series will be added each week till completed.]

I heard a story years ago about a Sunday School teacher who once asked her class of grade school students, “Where does God live?”  One youngster was very universal in his thinking as he responded, “God lives everywhere.”  Another child had a very spiritual response as she said, “God lives in my heart.”  One little boy, though, shocked the teacher with his response: “God lives in my bathroom.”  The teacher quickly inquired further.  “What do you mean God lives in your bathroom?”  “Well, every Sunday morning,” he said, “Daddy is knocking on the bathroom door saying, ‘Good Lord, are you still in there?’”

Elisha would never have drawn that amusingly absurd conclusion, however he did ask this question in 2 Kings 2:14, “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?”  Elisha had been assured that if he saw Elijah when he was taken away, that he would be blessed with “a double portion” of Elijah’s spirit (2 Kings 2:9-10).  So I believe that Elisha, who did see the departure of Elijah and who had picked up his mantle, is simply asking for an affirmation of that double portion from “the LORD God of Elijah.”

I want to commend Elisha because he didn’t make the mistake that the sons of the prophets made.  They insisted on going to search for Elijah in verses 16 and 17.  Unlike these misunderstanding men, Elisha is not saying, “Where is Elijah?”  We cannot bring back the old preachers who have left this life, but we can pray to experience God’s presence and power as they did.  I also want to commend Elisha because he wasn’t ready to build a tabernacle for Elijah as Simon Peter was in Matthew 17:4.  Memorials for the departed are well and good, but we must focus upon the God who yet abides with us!  Elisha asked where God was, but he quickly learned in the initial steps and stages of his ministry that God had not departed when Elijah did.  He realized that God was still “a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1).

I. When Restoration Is Needed, God Is Present

In 2 Kings 2:15-18, Elisha has waited at Jericho while the sons of the prophets have gone out to look for the recently departed Elijah.  In verse 19 he is still at Jericho when the men of the city approach him with a matter of some concern.

A. The Pleasant Situation

The men of Jericho first drew attention to the pleasant situation of their city.  However, as Elisha beheld the beauty of this place, he was further informed of the bitterness of this place

B. The Poisoned Supply

These Jericho residents informed him of the poisoned supply, for, said they, “the water is nought, and the ground barren” (vs. 19).  This was truly a microcosm of all of life in its mixture of blessedness and barrenness.  Amidst all the good, the Jericho inhabitants could find no remedy for their negative circumstances.

C. The Providential Solution

What they needed and what they sought was a providential solution.  Upon the application of salt (which suggests a divinely righteous element), the LORD said through Elisha, “I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land” (vs. 21).

II. When Rebuke Is Needed, God Is Present

A great deliverance is often followed by a great disappointment, and the reality of this is not limited by location.

A. The Geographical Details

As Elisha continues his journey from Jericho in verse 23,the geographical details in this account are significant. He goes to Bethel, which means “the house of God.”

B. The Guilty Delinquents

We would expect this to be a place of friendliness and fellowship for the man of God, but instead we find the guilty delinquents in this account.  These “little children,” whom some believe to have been simply young men as opposed to older men, were saying, “Go up, thou bald head” (vs. 23).  Adam Clarke suggests that they were disdainfully and disrespectfully saying, “Ascend, thou empty skull, to heaven.”

C. The Grave Determination

Whatever the meaning of their mocking, it was no laughing matter as far as God was concerned, for we see the grave determination in this account as “two she bears (came) out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them” (vs. 24).

Just because we are men of God doesn’t mean that we possess the ability to restore, or the authority to rebuke within ourselves.  We must trust in the One who abides, “even He that abideth of old” (Psalms 55:19).  We are further incapable of declaring the arrival of refreshing, but...

III. When Refreshing Is Needed, God Is Present

Elisha had been the premier prophet of Israel for perhaps a year when there arose a confederation of three kings (the king of Israel, the king of Judah, and the king of Edom) who set out to subdue the threat of Mesha, king of Moab.  As these three kings advanced towards Mesha “through the wilderness of Edom” (2 Kings 3:8), they soon realized that “there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them” (2 Kings 3:9).  After a brief dialogue of trying to determine what to do, the kings decided to go see Elisha that they might “inquire of the LORD by him” (2 Kings 3:11).

A. The Part that Music plays in our Refreshing

  Elisha is initially resistant to respond to their need for the refreshing of water and reassurance about the war because of the involvement of Jehoram, the wicked king of Israel.  However, because of his regard for Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, he proceeds by calling for a minstrel to play (vs. 13-15).  This highlights the part that music plays in our refreshing.

B. The Part that a Message plays in our Refreshing

 We then recognize the part that a message plays in our refreshing as twice Elisha said, “Thus saith the LORD” (vs. 16-17).

C. The Part that the Miraculous plays in our Refreshing

He declared that they would have water in a way that was humanly unexplainable, thus emphasizing the part that the miraculous plays in our refreshing.  Because God is on the scene, let us say with the psalmist, “Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob” (Psalms 114:7).


Some time ago I heard a radio preacher share the following story.  He said that there was a couple in his church that had experienced the tragic loss of their infant son.  Naturally, they were both grief stricken and distraught, but the wife had a particularly difficult time dealing with this situation.  She came to her pastor, and with a sense of profound sorrow and frustration she said, “Where was God when my son died?”  With a great deal of wisdom and compassion, the preacher responded like this, “God was right where He has always been.  His address hasn’t changed.”  To that, I would add that God was in the same place that He was when His son died – He was on the throne; and just because sorrow or difficulty has moved into your neighborhood doesn’t mean that God has moved out.  “For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).