Monday, September 30, 2013

Using Dead Men

It’s almost an afterthought. It is like the editor told the writer, “I need 50 or so more words.” A most amazing story is sandwiched between a couple of otherwise mundane events in the history of Israel.

That’s not completely fair either. The story I’m referring to is found in 2 Kings 13:20-21. It involves the prophet Elisha, who was anything but mundane. If you know anything at all about this Old Testament prophet, you know his stories are crazy and wild. In fact, beyond crazy and wild.

In fact, it’s difficult to find a stand-out story of Elisha, the guy who saw iron ax-heads float, raised dead people to life, miraculously multiplied a widow’s oil and my personal favorite; calling down bears on unruly teenagers. Teens, you’re on notice!

But the best example of how life is all about God and not about us can be told in Elisha’s death.

Elisha died and was buried.
Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet. ~2 Kings 13:20-21
I'd have loved to be a reporter asking questions of the guy who woke up in Elisha's tomb. 
Well, I remember being very sick. Then I don't remember much, except I woke up and it was dark all around and it smelled. Plus I had a bump on my head, like I had just been tossed aside rather quickly. So I turned on my flashlight app and about had a heart attack when I saw the bones of that old prophet. So I accessed Google maps and got outta there!

Elisha had shown himself to be faithful to God. One might assume that once a servant of God died, it meant God was done using that servant. But this clearly shows otherwise. In fact, one may even suggest that God likes it best when we die and are not in the way to muddle up the story and the focus.

Isn't this part of what the Apostle Paul is after when he commands us, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3)? I think yes. It’s insider language and it sounds weird to people who haven’t read the Bible or accepted Jesus’ awesome gift, but we speak of death like it’s easy or makes sense.

It’s neither.

We need to understand that as the Bible talks about death; it signifies us getting rid of anything that looks like the us we were before Jesus and becoming people who look and act like Jesus. We need to be so willing to let God use us as He sees fit. Who knows, God may even use our actual deaths to bring Himself more glory.

This is what Elisha did, in life and in death. Maybe it’s time we die and let God really use us.

No comments: