Read II Kings 1 -- 3
In Today's Reading:
Death of Ahaziah king of Israel; Elijah taken up by a whirlwind; Elisha purifies Jericho's water; Elisha mocked by the children
Ten years before Elijah's departure in a "chariot of fire," the Lordtold him to anoint Jehu to be king of Israel, and to anoint Elisha to take his place as the Lord's prophet. So Elijah found Elisha, who was plowing a field with a team of oxen.Elijah went over to him and threw his mantle over his shoulders, indicating that Elisha was called to be a future prophet. At the time Elisha was called to join Elijah, Elisha was a prosperous young farmer. To accept Elijah's calling to be his servant would mean that Elisha would have to forsake his family and friends as well as financial securities. His friends probably thought that to be the servant of a prophet would be a lonely, menial occupation. But, Elisha, realizing the true values of life, immediately used his plow for firewood, took his team of oxen and sacrificed them, and had a great feast. He then went with Elijah, submitting himself as his servant. Elisha's actions demonstrate that the key to our usefulness in the Kingdom of God is to immediately respond to our opportunities to serve the Lord, regardless of how insignificant the task may appear.
Just prior to Elijah's translation into heaven, Elisha again revealed his spiritual discernment and loyalty to God, which qualified him to be Elijah's successor. Elijah told Elisha to remain at Gilgal since the Lord had told Elijah to go to Bethel. But Elisha would not leave him. So they went together first from Gilgal to Bethel, then on to Jericho, and finally across the Jordan River.
Like Elisha, circumstances have placed each of us where we are today to determine the sincerity of our commitment to the Lord. The Apostle Paul challenges us to remain faithful and enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for we know that everything we do for the Lord is eternally profitable.
Devotional commentary also refers to: I Kings 19:15-20; I Corinthians 15:58.
In the taking up of Elijah in a chariot by a whirlwind and Elisha picking up the mantle — a symbol of the presence of God and power that remains with His faithful servants (see II Kings 2:8-15). This is a type of the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ and the sending of the Holy Spirit to indwell the believers, giving us power to evangelize the world (see Luke 24:51-53; also Acts 1 — 2).
1:8 girt = bound; girdle of leather = leather apron around his waist; 2:24 tare = mauled or mangled them; 3:9 fetched a compass = made a roundabout march; 3:27 offered him = as a sacrifice to the god of Moab.
Staff: Barbara Bivens · the 2003 National Bible Reading Movement · the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by a family that loves Jesus · Country: Barbados (259,000) on the island farthest east in the West Indies · Major language: English · Religious freedom · 79% Protestant; 8% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Humble yourself and reverence the Word of God; He will look upon you with affection (see Isaiah 66:2).
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: Jeremiah 15:16