2 Kings 2:1-14
Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over (2:13-14 NIV).
Let us think on the hope of the believer. Elijah’s exit from earth is a reminder that there is life beyond the present world of our experience. How much of our lives is involved in the struggle to provide ourselves with food, clothing, shelter and security! How easy it is to become caught up in the pursuit of these things! So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them (Matthew 6:31-32 CSB).
Elijah’s visible transfer to glory by a whirlwind is a call for us to set our minds on things above. This life is not all. There is a heaven to gain and a hell to avoid! Let us then become heavenly-minded. Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4 NIV).
Elijah’s exit from earth is a reminder that not all believers will die. We should be looking for the Lord Christ to return. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed (Titus 2:12-13 NLT). Though many saints have died already, some will be alive when Jesus comes again. The dead in Christ will rise to life and those still alive will be changed without dying. Both groups will enjoy the glory of the Lord together. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54.
Yet, at the same time, we must remember the continuing power of the living God. When people are facing cataract surgery, their surgeon might give them the option of correcting one eye for distance, and one eye for closeup. This avoids, at least for a time, the need to wear “drug store glasses” for reading. It is common as we age to think more about eternity than we did when we were young. Few can keep one eye on the future and another on the present. We all need to be heavenly-minded, as well as continuing to think about serving the Lord in our generation.
Elisha had made a request of Elijah before he was taken away. He asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Observe that Elisha asked before Elijah went to heaven. The Bible never once tells us to pray to departed saints. If you would ask the saints for anything, ask them while they set in worship and fellowship with you now. His request signified his desire for inheritance. The oldest son was to receive a double portion (Deuteronomy 21:17). The son in the ministry (Elisha) asked his father in the ministry (Elijah) for this inheritance. Elisha’s concern was to be equipped for ongoing usefulness. God answered this prayer.
Then came the great moment. Was God still able to act in human history? Too many people focus on God’s servant instead of God. They think that there is something special in the man. How they will become excited about a famous pastor or well-known Bible teacher! There is too much of a lust for superstars in our time. But what happens when the big man is gone? Elisha directed his attention in the right direction. There was no prayer for Elijah to help him. No, he called upon the LORD, the God of Elijah.
I have good news for you today. The LORD, the God of Elijah, is still in charge of all things today. Many good men have come and gone since the time of Elijah and Elisha: Peter and Paul, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Owen, Flavel, Bunyan, Whitefield, Edwards, Spurgeon and Lloyd-Jones to name only a few. But the living God still has all his power today.
You do not need to roll up your coats to strike a river, sons and daughters of God, but you should lift up holy hands in prayer. The Spirit of God lives within us, Christ our mediator sits at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us, and the Father loves us with an everlasting love. Up, up, let us rise and call upon the name of the living God. Let us trust him to work in our time, and let us praise his name!
Grace and peace, David