By Michael Julian
Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church, Kenton
Focal Passage: I Kings 19:19-21; II Kings 2:6-14
Our journey has come to an end, a most hopeful end. Living outside the comfort zone should be feeling a lot more comfortable. What we find in life is that the end of one thing marks the beginning of a new thing. And God delights in doing a new thing!
Our Scripture this week brings Elijah’s ministry to a close and Elisha’s ministry to the start line. That’s one facet of the splendid beauty of God. Servants will come and go, but the Lord’s purpose remains steadfast and consistent.
Before we launch into our focal passage, let’s not forget where we left Elijah. He had cowardly fled from Jezebel, asked God to end his life, and complained that he alone was left to battle these enemies of God. But God. One more time we see that reality, even if it is not written in the text. But God instructed Elijah that he still had work to do and men to anoint. He is being pushed out of his comfort zone once again.
I Kings 19:19-21
In obedience to God’s Word, Elijah tracked down Elisha. By throwing his mantle over him, Elijah was signifying that Elisha would take up the prophetic ministry. God was calling Elisha. How would he respond?
At first glance when we read Elisha’s response, our minds immediately turn to the man who came to Jesus seeking to follow him, but sought permission to go and say goodbye to those at home. So, what’s the difference?
The man who came to Jesus actually put those at home before Christ as an excuse to delay following Him. Elisha fully intended to leave everything and follow Elijah. We see this in that he slaughtered the oxen and used the yoke and plow to cook the meat. His livelihood was gone. And since he was plowing with twelve teams, we understand that to represent that Elisha and his family had wealth. But, one of the great lessons of life is to learn that the wealth of this world counts as nothing in comparison to the wealth of knowing and following the Lord. Elisha’s life now knew just one direction: following the Lord. Can we say the same?
II Kings 2:6-11
For any who read the Old Testament, this story of Elijah being taken up in the whirlwind captivates the imagination and stirs the soul. But, let’s not miss an important point before we reach the whirlwind.
As the title of this lesson indicates, leading others to serve God is vital for all followers of the living God. If no one comes behind us to “take up the mantle,” then we slip back to the time of the judges when a generation arose that did not know the Lord. When the book of Judges ends, we are struck by the reality that everyone did right in his own sight. How tragic! We must be leading others to serve God.
II Kings 2:12-14
Elisha’s time had come. He saw the chariots. He sought for God to display His power. He picked up the mantle. And God doesn’t disappoint. The Jordan parts again. God’s power is recognized. There is much to celebrate. We must serve the Lord.