2 Kings 3:1-27; Acts 14:21-28; Psalms 140:9-13; Proverbs 29:21-22
OT: “Then the king of Israel said, “Oh no, the Lord has summoned these three kings, only to hand them over to Moab.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Isn’t there a prophet of the Lord here? Let’s inquire of the Lord through him.” One of the servants of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat, who used to pour water on Elijah’s hands, is here.” Jehoshaphat affirmed, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went to him. However, Elisha said to King Joram of Israel, “What do we have in common? Go to the prophets of your father and your mother!” But the king of Israel replied, “No, because it is the Lord who has summoned these three kings to hand them over to Moab.” Elisha responded, “By the life of the Lord of Armies, before whom I stand: If I did not have respect for King Jehoshaphat of Judah, I wouldn’t look at you; I would not take notice of you. Now, bring me a musician.” While the musician played, the Lord’s hand came on Elisha. Then he said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Dig ditch after ditch in this wadi.’ For the Lord says, ‘You will not see wind or rain, but the wadi will be filled with water, and you will drink — you and your cattle and your animals.’ This is easy in the Lord’s sight. He will also hand Moab over to you.” (2 Kings 3:10-18 CSB)
My thoughts, as I read this passage today, were not primarily about a spiritual truth that I gleaned from the text, but a Biblical precedent. Elijah was no longer present, as he had been taken (quite literally) to be with the Lord. Elijah’s successor was Elisha. The differences between Elijah and Elisha were quite stark. Elijah was the fiery prophet. Several times, he called down the fire of the Lord and was then swept up into heaven by a whirlwind and a chariot of fire. Elisha, on the other hand, became known as a prophet who helped people through practical, albeit miraculous means. Once again, King Jehoshaphat found himself in a pickle by keeping company with the wrong people. Earlier, he agreed to join King Ahab in battle and found himself in a precarious position on the battle field. This time, King Jehoshaphat had agreed to go to battle with Ahab’s second son King Joram. On the eve of battle, the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom found themselves in the parched wilderness with no water, and no idea of what to do. So Jehoshaphat suggested they seek the Lord and sent for Elisha. Elisha wanted nothing to do with Baal-worshipper Joram… but he did have respect for King Jehoshaphat and the Davidic line that he represented, so he reluctantly agreed to help. Here is the Biblical precedent: Elisha called for a musician. The story doesn’t explain why Elisha called for a musician. Perhaps he was so perturbed over King Joram that he needed to quiet his thoughts in order to hear the Lord. Regardless the reason, as the music played, Elisha was able to clearly hear the Lord and communicate His directions. Music has a unique way of impacting our soul. When our emotions are unsettled and our thoughts are scattered and confused, soothing music can help to bring our soul, spirit, and body into alignment… but on the other hand, agitative music can bring anger and angst to an otherwise settled person. When you pair settling and/or inspiring music with words that proclaim spiritual truths… what a powerful tool. This may make me sound like an old man – but it is important to be selective and intentional with the kinds of music you listen to… and it is equally important to examine the words that go along with the music. Music can be a powerful influence on your heart, your mind, and your overall well-being. Best to make sure that the influence is a good one that leads to life.