S (Scripture): 2 Kings 2:9 When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “What can I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of the prophetic spirit that energizes you.” 10 Elijah replied, “That’s a difficult request! If you see me taken from you, may it be so, but if you don’t, it will not happen.”
11 As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a fiery chariot pulled by fiery horses appeared. They went between Elijah and Elisha, and Elijah went up to heaven in a windstorm. 12 While Elisha was watching, he was crying out, “My father, my father! The chariot and horsemen of Israel!” Then he could no longer see him. He grabbed his clothes and tore them in two. 13 He picked up Elijah’s cloak, which had fallen off him, and went back and stood on the shore of the Jordan. 14 He took the cloak that had fallen off Elijah, hit the water with it, and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” When he hit the water, it divided and Elisha crossed over.
15 When the members of the prophetic guild in Jericho, who were standing at a distance, saw him do this, they said, “The spirit that energized Elijah rests upon Elisha.” They went to meet him and bowed down to the ground before him. 16 They said to him, “Look, there are fifty capable men with your servants. Let them go and look for your master, for the wind sent from the Lord may have carried him away and dropped him on one of the hills or in one of the valleys.” But Elisha replied, “Don’t send them out.” 17 But they were so insistent, he became embarrassed. So he said, “Send them out.” They sent the fifty men out and they looked for three days, but could not find Elijah. 18 When they came back, Elisha was staying in Jericho. He said to them, “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t go’?”
O (Observation): God passes the mantle from Elijah to Elisha. And Elisha wishes for double the prophetic spirit given to Elijah. The power of prophecy is important for God’s people to experience, so that they can hear from God.
Elisha will now be the mouthpiece for God.
The fellow prophets in training lack the understanding that God literally took Elijah to heaven. They think some strong wind must have carried him off, and eventually dropped him. That’s about the only logical conclusion they can conjure up.
Elisha, however, knows what happened. God sent a chariot of fire to carry Elijah away to be in heaven. A powerful demonstration by God, for sure.
A (Application): God carrying away a person to be in heaven – while alive – is a pretty big deal. Enoch (Gen 5:24) and Elijah (our text for today) are two of the few examples of God taking a live person to heaven. We are not sure of the reason, but we could be safe in saying that these are special people in salvation history.
Elijah took on Elisha as the one to follow him, though he gave Elisha several chances to leave. Elisha relied on God to give him the gift of prophecy. And he did receive it, indeed.
How many folks are you taking on to mentor or train? How many have you mentored over the years? Formally and informally?
Who have you followed? Who has had an impact on your life? What was their journey like?
The way we pass on ministry matters. Let us hope that we can continue to see the gifts in ourselves and in others…gifts bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit.
P (Prayer): Lord, you gift us in many and various ways. Help us now to see those gifts in ourselves and others. Amen.