Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thursday - II Kings 2 - The Departure of Elijah

II Kings 2:1 postulates a strange reality. Elijah and others knew that it was his day to leave this world...  not by common death, but by means of a tornado!?!?!  Elijah tried several times to go off by himself, realizing evidently that he needed to be alone at his translation... or rapture, if you will.  However, Elisha would have nothing to do with that. In fact, it took intervention from God to separate Elisha from his great mentor. God used fiery horses and chariots to separate the 2 before he removed Elijah from our dimension.

The amazing story of Elijah bypassing the door of death is not the only spectacular event recorded in this chapter though. In fact, the chapter is packed with miracles. Both Elijah and Elisha parted the Jordan River... prior to Elijah being caught away and then following the event. Then, Elisha was blessed with Elijah's literal and spiritual mantle. Elisha cured the bitter waters of Jericho with a little salt. And, on a much stranger note, Elisha cursed 42 irreverent young people who were then immediately killed by two bears.

It was a time of an unusual manifestation of God's power and presence in Palestine. Perhaps this was because God was trying to call His wayward people back to Himself. Israel was getting stuck in a fairly deep rut with their wicked kings and wholesale idolatry. Surely our merciful God wanted to do much to give them reasons to return to Him. In both positive and negative ways, he gave them excuses... through Elijah and Elisha... to believe His words and to follow His ways. Sadly, it was largely to no avail.

This chapter ends with a very brief mention of where Elisha went first after it was confirmed that Elijah was gone for good (although Elisha himself already knew that fact). II Kings 2:25 says that Elisha took a trip to Mount Carmel. Carmel was where Elijah had called the nation to repentance and had shown the powerlessness of Baal. Perhaps Elisha went there to meditate, to get perspective, to prepare his self for the continuation of what he knew was a truly great ministry.

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