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Salt Water

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God can heal all spiritual wounds, end all curses, and bring about spiritual renewal in the lives of believers.

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Introduction

Good evening and welcome back!
This evening we are going to be continuing on in , turning our focus tonight on verses 19-22.
Elijah is now gone and Elisha has realized that God has in fact anointed him to be the next prophet after Elijah.
The first miracle or confirmation was Elisha parting the river and crossing over on dry ground that we talked about this morning.
And tonight we are going to talk about the second miracle and confirmation of Elisha’s anointing.
To bring us up to speed though, there are some verses between where we left off this morning and where we are going to pick up tonight.
It seems that Elisha wasn’t all alone when Elijah disappeared and Elisha parted the Jordan river.
Starting in verse 15, the Bible records that . . .
2 Kings 2:15 NIV - Anglicised
15 The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.
2 Kings 2:15-
So, these guys had seen everything that had taken place and they were probably just as shocked about Elijah’s disappearance as Elisha was.
And if that wasn’t enough they now had witnessed Elisha performing his first miracle and acknowledged Elisha as a great man of God.
And Elisha also wasn’t used to people bowing down to him, so he still really probably doesn’t even know how to act.
Which goes back to what we were talking about this morning about time and our circumstances changing so quickly and the importance of being prepared for the changes that are inevitably going to eventually come.
So, these men are now bowing down to Elisha looking to him to lead them and they tell him . . .
2 Kings 2:16 NIV - Anglicised
16 “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.” “No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.”
And on the surface we may say, “really, did you guys actually see what happened?”
Elijah is gone and he ain’t coming back.
But, it’s not an unreasonable request because we have an example of God doing just what they are describing.
And it’s not in the Old Testament, but in the New.
Philip had been sent by God to witness to (and convert) an Ethiopian Eunuch and after the Eunuch was baptized . . .
Acts 8:39–40 NIV - Anglicised
39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and travelled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
So, it was not unheard of for someone to hitch a ride with the Holy Spirit to get from place to place.
It must have been pretty common for the prophets in those days because this was immediately what the men went to as the reason that Elijah disappeared.
But Elisha knows the truth so he tells them not to bother looking.
However, . . .
2 Kings 2:17–18 NIV - Anglicised
17 But they persisted until he was too ashamed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. 18 When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”
2 Kings 2:18–19 NIV - Anglicised
18 When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?” 19 The men of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.”
So, now it is confirmed to everybody that Elijah is gone and now Elisha is the prophet.
And I will tell you that from a leadership perspective this is a scary thing.
He may have knew what he was doing but he is like every single leader in history on their first day of the job.
They did not have a clue.
It doesn’t matter what they tell you.
They may have known how to lead but they had no idea on how to lead that organization.
That comes with time and Elisha was brand new and still learning.
None the less, Elisha was now in charge and he is about to face his first problem, which brings us to our Scripture for tonight.
Again we are reading in , starting in verse 19 . . .

Scripture Focus

2 Kings 2:19–22 NIV - Anglicised
19 The men of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.” 20 “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’ ” 22 And the water has remained wholesome to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.
2 Kings 2:19-

Bad Water

So, Elisha’s first issue that he is called to deal with is a practical issue, the town of Jericho had bad water.
It was poisonous and useless.
They couldn’t drink it and couldn’t use it to grow their crops.
Their water problems though was not something that just started.
It had actually been going on for centuries.
If we go all the way back to , we find this . . .
Joshua 6:26 NIV - Anglicised
26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: “Cursed before the Lord is the man who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: “At the cost of his firstborn son will he lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest will he set up its gates.”
Joshua 6:26
So, the entire town of Jericho had been under a curse ever since the time of Joshua even to the point that it had an impact on the water supply.
And it’s not recorded anywhere in the Bible, but I am convinced that Elisha was not the first prophet that they brought this before, hoping to end the curse.
However, the timing wasn’t right.
Things were not the way they needed to be for God to lift the curse.
Something, or someone was missing.
And that someone was Elisha.
This was a job that God was going to use Elisha to take care of and in doing so, God is confirming not only for Elisha but also for the people that Elisha is their prophet and is sent by God.
We see it again, the appropriate timing is everything!
Things have to be done in God’s time and not in ours.
And I really wish that we could grasp on to that point tonight.
Because there are so many times when we try to rush God into doing things in our own time.
For instance we want the church to grow, but we want to do it in our timing and not God’s.
We want our family and friends saved, but we want it in our time and not God’s.
We are always seeking and wanting, but we are seeking and wanting in our time and not God’s.
Sometimes we need to slow down and listen for God and wait on God.
reminds us to . . .
Psalm 27:14 NIV - Anglicised
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
And waiting is sometimes harder than moving, but yet sometimes we have to wait.
But, there will come a time when the wait is over.

Get Me Some Salt

And that time was now for Jericho . . .
2 Kings 2:
2 Kings 2:20 NIV - Anglicised
20 “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him.
Now, prophets are a strange breed.
The Bible is full of examples of them doing some strange things and here is just another example.
Elisha tells them to get him a new bowl and put salt in in and bring it to him.
Why in the world would he need a bowl full of salt to fix the water problem?
I can see maybe a bowl of salt removing some sort of bacteria from a bowl of water, but the entire water supply for Jericho. Commentaries say that this is a huge spring.
And that’s what we are talking about here.
We are not talking about him purifying a little bowl of water.
He is going to use this bowl of salt to purify the the whole thing.
The salt itself really doesn’t matter that much.
What matters is everything that is going on behind the scenes and what everything represents.
Notice here, Elisha, who has never done this before by the way, is asking for two things:
A NEW bowl
Salt
The bowl had to be NEW because it was representing God doing something brand new.
It also is representing being made new.
Remember, God don’t just clean up our old junky self.
When Jesus Christ saves us . . .
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV - Anglicised
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
New, not cleaned up version of the old self.
Brand spanking new.
So, God is not just going to clean up the water a bit.
God is REPLACING that old poisonous water with new, clean and pure water.
So, that’s why the bowl had to be new, but what about the salt?
Well, what do we know about the purpose of salt?
It purifies and it preserves.
God is going to use this salt to do both those things to the water.
It is going to be purified and it is going to be preserved for future generations as well.
In fact, verse 21-22 tells us that . . .
2 Kings 2:21–22 NIV - Anglicised
21 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’ ” 22 And the water has remained wholesome to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.
2 Kings 2:21 NIV - Anglicised
21 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’ ”
And the message was that when God make’s something new, it is new and when God fixes it, it’s fixed.

What’s the Point?

And that is a nice story and nice example of God confirming Elisha’s status for the people, but what meaning does this passage have for us today, in 2017.
After all, our water is in pretty good shape most of the time.
The message is not about water or salt or even Elisha.
The message is about newness, purity, and preservation.
We’ve already read God making all things new in Christ.
And that is the first thing that we have to realize.
When we are made new in Christ, that means that God has granted us victory over all the things that have had a hold of us.
All we have to to do is step into the power of the Holy Spirit that God is offering us, which is where the salt is coming in.
The salt represents the Holy Spirit being poured into the water, which is us, renewing it and purifying it.
Making it useful again.
And I say useful again, because before Joshua put a curse on Jericho, the water was fine, but the curse ruined it.
And before sin got into the mix of things, we were fine, but sin ruined us and we have to be renewed by the purifying work of the Holy Spirit.
It is a must.
But there is one more thing about the salt as well. Something that comes a little later.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew that . . .
Matthew 5:13 NIV - Anglicised
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
Matthew 5:13-
He calls his disciples salt because they are meant to spread the Gospel and through their work purify the world of sin and preserve it for each generation until He comes again.
The Holy Spirit that is poured into us like salt must become the essence of who we are and must flow out of us to the world.
We have to release what God has blessed us with to others.
But Jesus also warns us that there is a chance that we can lose our saltiness, which makes us worthless.
We can lose the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
We lose this when we reject God, when we turn away from God, when we refuse His calling.

Altar Call

We need to be very careful because this spiritual journey is not a game.
The decisions we make in this life, impact our entire eternity.
And tonight I want us to take a minute and reflect on our relationship with God.
This morning we talked about stepping into the calling that God has given us.
Are we doing that?
Has God made us a new creature tonight?
Do we have victory over all the things in our life that we have struggled with?
Are we walking in the light as he is in the light?
Are we the salt that Jesus wants us to be?
If the answer to any of those questions is no, then are we prepared to do something about it?
Nothing is going to change unless we take the necessary steps to change.
Otherwise things are going to be the same as they have always been.
Are you fine with that tonight or do you want something different?
Right now you have the opportunity to grab hold of something different.
To take a firm grip on the Holy Spirit. The choice is yours to make tonight.
What will that choice be? Only you and the Holy Spirit can answer that question.
The altar is open, will you come?
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