Highlights In Today's Reading:
History records one important fact of life for each king: Did he do the will of God in keeping His Commandments, or did he do evil in the sight of God? We must all face one test: Do our actions indicate there is not a God (whom we desire to control our life) (1:3)?
Ten years before Elijah's departure in a chariot of fire, God spoke to him, saying: Elisha . . . shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. . . . So he departed thence, and found Elisha . . . plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him . . . and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him (I Kin. 19:16,19). Elijah did not say a word, but Elisha realized that he was being called as an assistant, then as successor of Elijah. Elisha's farm was in the Northern Kingdom and, doubtless, he was deeply disturbed by the growing influence of Baal worship. When Elijah invited Elisha to join him, Elisha was a prosperous young farmer (19:19), but: No man can serve two masters. . . . ye cannot serve God and mammon (the deceitfulness of riches, possessions, or personal satisfactions) (Matt. 6:24).
His call meant forsaking all his securities to follow an unpopular prophet of the desert who offered no future security. But Elisha was genuinely concerned about obeying the Word of God and seeing his nation return in repentance to worship the One True God. He immediately used his plows for firewood and offered up his oxen in sacrifice to God. Then, from his ashes, he became known as Elisha . . . which poured water (as his servant) on the hands of Elijah (II Kin. 3:11). A similar story is seen in the lives of most men and women whom God uses today. The key to our usefulness in the Kingdom of God is a sincere desire to forsake all to follow Christ. Is anything more important?
When Elijah announced his earthly departure, he tested Elisha's dedication and spiritual discernment, saying: Tarry here . . . for the Lord hath sent me to Bethel (2:2). But Elisha would not leave Elijah on his journey from Gilgal to Bethel, Jericho, and across the Jordan. The Lord always tests His servants for the reality of their devotion to Him — just as He did with the rich young ruler who decided he had too much to give up to follow Jesus (Mark 10:17-22).
Crossing the Jordan symbolized death to all that may seem worth grasping in the world. Jesus said: If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Luke 9:23). We must die not only to evil but, as Elisha, to the "good" that we may possess.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36).
Thought for Today:
Elisha burned the equipment of his past life for a higher calling. Are we as dedicated to God, and will we leave our past life to do His Will (I Kings 19:21)?
In the taking up of Elijah in the whirlwind and the dropping of his mantle — a symbol of the presence and power of God that remains with His faithful servant (II Kin. 2:8-15). This is a type of the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and His sending the Holy Spirit to indwell and empower believers to evangelize the world. He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven (Luke 24:51-53; also Acts 1 — 2).
1:8 girt =b> wearing; girdle of leather =b> garment around his waist; 2:19 naught =olluted, bad; 2:24 tare =b> mauled or mangled; 3:9 fetched a compass =b> circled around; made a roundabout march; 3:27 offered him =b> burned him alive as a sacrifice to a god of Moab.
Pray for our Military worldwide • Arabic International Shortwave Broadcasts for the month of May sponsored by Mary Hoffmeyer • Arabic International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Bonnie Wilhite • International Shortwave Broadcasts to all of Africa for the month of March sponsored by Thomas & Marrianne Beaghen • Bible Pathway Media Producer: Rick Hash • Government Official: Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO) • Country: Kyrgyzstan (4.7 million) eastern central Asia • Major languages: Kirghiz and Russian • Religious freedom • 75% Muslim; 20% Russian Orthodox; 5% Other (Jewish, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant) • Prayer Suggestion: Children, ask the Lord to enable you to honor your parents (Eph. 6:1-3).
Optional Reading: Romans 4
NOTE: Bible Pathway covers the Old Testament with devotional and commentary insights over a nine-month period, January through September. Each day during these months, an optional reading of one chapter a day from the New Testament will also be listed. The October, November, and December issues will provide a daily commentary on the New Testament readings. Thus, the reader goes through the New Testament twice each year using the Bible Pathway plan.
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:14