Have you ever had one of those weeks where “all the things” kept piling up one on top of one another? Like that time that you dropped the casserole on the floor and after cleaning it up, your son takes out the trash bag and then when the door locks behind him on the way out he pounds on the screen door window and breaks it? And then the next day when you go to the hardware store to get a replacement panel, you drive a bit too fast and get pulled over for speeding? And then once you finally get home, you cut yourself on the pane of glass while trying to install it? Yeah, we’ve all been there.
And so it was for this particular Israelite family. Dad had an accident out on the farm while trying to fix the fence after the cows got loose. The village doctors had been called in, and had done their best. But it had not been enough, and Dad was gone. Soon after, the mourners arrived and set up outside the house in the late spring heat, their loud cries echoing around the neighborhood.
Within hours, the funeral words were said, and the body readied for burial.. Carefully and with respect, the selected few took their place at the corners of the litter and began the slow walk to the final resting place. The family trailed behind, wondering how they were going to carry on.
Arriving at the burial grounds, the men prepared to lower their burden. And suddenly, things went from bad to worse.
2 Kings 13 puts it very simply: “Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring.” If you remember your Bible history, the Moabites and Israelites were cousins, descended from Abraham and his family. But kissin’ cousins they were not! In fact, relations between the two nations had been rocky from the start.
And as this story tells us, the raiders and the family standing in the graveyard were not on the best of terms! When the Moabites came charging down the road, the Israelites panicked. The family ran this way. The mourners ran that way. And the men carrying the body realized that they were not going to win any relay races carrying an extra load.
And this is where the story takes an interesting turn. By pure luck, the tomb of the beloved prophet Elisha was standing nearby. And without a second thought, the men “threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb” and took to their heels.
But wait, there’s more! The Bible says that when the body touched Elisha’s bones, “the man came to life and stood up on his feet!” I’m sure that the Moabite raiders took one look at this walking “dead” man and headed back to Moab in a positive fright.
What the resurrected dad thought we are never told, but can you imagine the reaction of his family and friends as they returned to the cemetery and met him walking home? Their joy and disbelief were just about equal and the celebrations must have gone on long into the night.
And like all good Bible stories, this one has a lesson for us. The world we live in can be rough and tough at times. Crime and COVID are in the news every day. Money is tight and gas prices keep going up. We lose a job or a friendship, or even a football game. But in the end, none of those are things that really matter.
It is our connection with God and the people of His church that will bring us to heaven and make us fit for that final resurrection. We may not have the bones of Elisha, but we have the words of His prophets and the present truth of His church in these last days. So use that strength. Remember those words. And I promise that He will “turn your mourning into joyful dancing, and take away your clothes of mourning and clothe you with joy.” (Psalm 30:11) - Dave Fairchild