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3 Unusual Examples of God’s Healing Power

God Uses His People to Heal the Hurting

Elisha dies, but his influence lives on. Yes, Elisha continues to teach us today, thousands of years after his death, through the words recorded about him in the Bible. However, he also has a practical effect on someone postmortem. It’s one example of God’s amazing healing power through his people.

1. The Healing Power of Elisha’s Bones

A man dies, and his friends are burying him when a gang of bandits come into view. Not wanting to end up like their buddy, the pallbearers dump the body in the nearest tomb.

It happens to be Elisha’s final resting place. When the body touches the bones of Elisha, the dead man becomes undead and jumps to his feet (2 Kings 13:21).

This is an amazing example of God’s power to heal. It’s the ultimate healing: resurrection. But that’s not all. Here are two more stories.

2. The Healing Power of Peter’s Shadow

The Bible also tells about people bringing their infirmed friends and placing them on the street where they expect Peter to travel. They hope Peter’s shadow might fall on the sick as he passes by.

Though the Bible doesn’t explicitly say that people received healing this way, why would they go to this trouble if Peter’s shadow hadn’t healed others in the past? (Acts 5:15).

3. The Healing Power of Paul’s Handkerchief

Later in the book of Acts, we read about God doing astonishing miracles through Paul. This supernatural power is so extraordinary that even handkerchiefs and aprons that Paul touches have the power to heal people.

They bring these garments to people who need healing. The people who receive them are cured and evil spirits are cast out, even though Paul isn’t physically present (Acts 19:11-12).

Is God still in the business of healing people? Click To Tweet

God’s Power to Heal Is in Us

God’s healing power occurs through a dead man’s bones, a shadow, and articles of clothing. Is God still in the business of healing people? How can these examples inform our view of miracles and how we act today?

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is 2 Kings 11-13, and today’s post is on 2 Kings 13:21.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Elisha Goes All in to Follow Elijah

Elisha’s Total Commitment to Follow Elijah Leaves No Option to Go Back

After Elijah has a meltdown of sorts, God reassures him that he is not alone and gives him several things to do. One of those tasks is to anoint his successor, Elisha.

Elijah finds Elisha plowing in a field. It’s a group effort, with twelve teams of oxen each pulling a plow. As the twelfth team, Elisha takes up the rear. This suggests he and his team are the least capable. Perhaps Elisha lacks experience, or his oxen aren’t that strong.

If he had other teams behind him and he went slow, that would slow them down too. That’s why he’s last.

Just as King David was the youngest of his brothers (1 Samuel 16:10-13), Elisha is the least of the teams plowing. Yet in both cases God picks the least.

Can I Say Goodbye First?

When Elijah taps Elisha, Elisha expresses interest, but he asks permission to say “Goodbye” first. Although Jesus will later criticize this type of response (Luke 9:61-62), Elijah does not.

But Elisha does more than just say goodbye. He throws himself a celebration party of sorts. How does he do this?

Elisha kills his team of oxen. Then he breaks up their yoke and his plowing equipment to build a fire. He roasts the meat and feeds the people. Once everyone has eaten, Elisha leaves to follow Elijah.

No Turning Back

When Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James, and John, they leave their boats and follow him. But they don’t destroy their boats. In fact, they still use their boats after becoming Jesus’s disciples. And after Jesus dies, these disciples return for a time to fishing.

Since their boats are still available, they have a backup plan. But Elisha doesn’t have a fallback option. When he decides to follow Elijah, he kills his oxen and destroys his equipment.

He has no work to return to if things don’t work out with Elijah and the call to become a prophet. He has no opportunity to go back. He’s committed. He’s all in.

Jesus wants us committed to him, to go all in, and with no option to return to what we left behind. Click To Tweet

And isn’t that what God wants of us? He wants us committed to him, to go all in, and with no option to return to what we left behind.

With Jesus, there should be no turning back.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is 1 Kings 17-19 and today’s post is on 1 Kings 19:19-21.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Women in the Bible: The Shuammite Woman

Elisha travels to the city of Shunem, and a wealthy woman urges him to stay for a meal. From then on, whenever he’s in the area, he stops by. Realizing he’s a man of God, she makes a room for him to stay when he’s in town.

Grateful, Elisha wants to do something nice for her. She has no son, and with an older husband, she has no expectation of ever having a son. Elisha prophesies that within a year, she will have a boy.

As promised, a year later she gives birth to a son.

When the boy grows older, one day his head hurts, and he later dies in her arms. She puts him in Elisha’s room. Without telling her husband what happened, she searches for Elisha. With great intention, she finds him but then blames him for raising her hopes in the first place, when she didn’t ask for a son.

Elisha sends his servant to resurrect the boy, but she refuses to leave Elisha. So the two of them head for her home. It’s a good thing they do, because despite doing what Elisha instructs, his servant can’t restore life to the boy. Though it takes a couple of tries, Elisha brings the boy back to life.

Later, Elisha warns the woman of a seven-year famine and sends her away. When she returns, the king restores her land to her, along with the profits it generated while she was gone.

The Shuammite woman honored God by caring for his prophet. As a result, God cared for her, through both good times and bad.

[2 Kings 4:8-37 and 2 Kings 8:1-6]

Get your copy of Women of the Bible, available in e-book, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Women in the Bible: The Widow’s Oil

The widow of one of Elisha’s followers comes to him for help. Her husband left her with an outstanding debt, Since she has no means to pay off the debt, the creditor demands her two sons become his slaves.

Elisha asks what resources she has. “Nothing,” she replies, “except for a small jar of olive oil.”

Elisha has a plan. He tells her to borrow empty jars from her neighbors, lots of them. Then she is to go home, close the doors, and begin pouring olive oil from her small jar into all the other jars. She does and the oil continues flowing until every jar is full. Then it is gone.

She sells the oil. With the proceeds, she pays off her debt and has extra to live on.

What if she had borrowed more jars? What if she only borrowed a few? When God tells us to do something, do we do it half way (and possibly miss his bounty) or go all out?

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 2 Kings 1-4 and today’s post is on 2 Kings 4:1-7.]

Get your copy of Women of the Bible, available in e-book, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Women in the Bible: Naaman’s Servant Girl

An unnamed Israelite girl is captured in a raid. Then they force her to work as a slave in the household of the enemy commander, Naaman. Although Naaman is an accomplished military leader, he suffers from a limiting physical ailment.

He has leprosy, a contagious skin disease that can cause a loss of feeling, decay, and even deformation.

Though she could have been bitter over her forced servitude, the young girl instead desires the best for her master. She tells him of the prophet Elisha who can heal Naaman of his terrible disease.

May we be willing to help others, regardless of the situation. Click To Tweet

He proceeds at once and is healed—as soon as he overcomes his pride, humbles himself, and follows Elisha’s instructions. Naaman then affirms the power of God and pledges to worship only him.

Though she had every reason to remain quiet, the girl’s confidence in God’s power and her willingness to speak up, led to a man’s healing and God praised.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 2 Kings 5-7, and today’s post is on 2 Kings 5:1-19.]

Get your copy of Women of the Bible, available in e-book, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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When Given a Faith Ultimatum is Martyrdom Required?

Elisha seems to allow an alternative to taking a life-threatening stand for God

I love the story of Naaman in the Bible. He commands the enemy army, conducts raids into Israel, and even has a Hebrew girl as a slave. It’s this girl, full of faith and void of resentment, who suggests Naaman go to the prophet Elisha for healing of his leprosy.

Despite Naaman’s complete unworthiness (sound familiar?), God has compassion and wants to remove this disease. Though there are some twists along the way, God does heal him. However it’s easy to miss a small detail in the middle of the story.

After he is healed, Naaman seeks forgiveness for something he knows he will do in the future, something he now comprehends as wrong. In the course of his service to his king, Naaman will have to go into the temple of Rimmon and bow down in worship.

Naaman’s life will be on the line if he doesn’t. If he fails to kneel to this foreign god, he will be summarily executed.

Today we hear stories of those fully committed to their faith in Jesus; they refuse to bow in worship to anyone but him. They stand firm and are summarily executed. They take a stand for Jesus and are martyred.

I expect Elisha to tell Naaman to do just that, to affirm God as the only true god, to refuse to bend his knee, and to die for his convictions.

But Elisha doesn’t. Instead he gives approval for Naaman to not take a stand and permits him to bow in worship to another god. Elisha says, “Go in peace.”

This gives me pause.

God knows Naaman’s heart and that his bowing to Rimmon is merely a life-preserving tactic. Through Elisha, God gives Naaman permission to pretend to worship another god and live, instead of refusing to and die.

God permits Naaman to pretend to worship another god and live, instead of refusing to and die. Click To Tweet

Most martyrs have no control over their fate and are helpless victims of hate and opposition, but some have an option: affirm your faith and die or equivocate and live.

While we shouldn’t take this passage as permission to avoid taking a stand for Jesus if our life is at stake, we also shouldn’t conclude that God doesn’t allow for exceptions. Our response, if faced with such a situation, is for us to discern.

May God grant us the wisdom to do so.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 2 Kings 5-7, and today’s post is on 2 Kings 5:18-19.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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