In Today's Scripture Reading:
Death of Ahaziah King of Israel; Elijah taken up by a whirlwind; Elisha purifies Jericho's water; Elisha ridiculed
Elisha appears to have been a successful farmer (I Kings 19:19-21). But he had far greater spiritual goals in life and when the opportunity was given him to serve the Lord , he sacrificed his oxen as well as his plows and accepted the position of a mere slave to a poor itinerant prophet. On the farm he had financial security. But, his spiritual insight led him to see the importance of being a servant to Elijah. It is said of Elisha that he ministered unto him (Elijah) (19:21) and he poured water on the (his) hands (II Kings 3:11). Without reservation, he chose to serve the Lord and to live in poverty as a servant to the prophet who was proclaiming the Word of God. But the day came when his master's ministry was finished.
Elijah tested Elisha's depth of devotion. Elijah urged him to tarry at two schools of the prophets — first at Gilgal, next at Bethel, and then at the Jordan River. Three times Elijah suggested that Elisha tarry behind. These were tests to Elisha to give him the opportunity of staying with the majority at the school of the prophets remaining at the River Jordan. But, on all three occasions Elisha responded: As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee (2:2,4,6). Elijah knew he was soon to leave this earth. Elisha also knew. Even, the sons of the prophets asked Elisha if he knew that God would soon take away his master from his head (leadership) that day (2:1-3). Elisha had discovered the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:46) and, having found it, he was willing to sell all opportunities for material securities in order to fulfill God's highest will for his life.
It was not until after Elisha crossed Jordan with Elijah — broke all ties with world securities — that Elijah put him to the final test. Both locations had schools of the prophets (comparable to our Bible Institutes), and it is not coincidental that God led them to both schools. But, Elisha's determination was to remain faithful to the man of God.
The sons of of the prophets in both Gilgal and Bethel knew the right theological answers and were satisfied with their future positions as one of the prophets. They had the same privileges and opportunities to follow Elijah since his departure was also revealed to the sons of the prophets; and yet, their lack of faith became evident after the translation of Elijah when they insisted on Elisha sending fifty strong men (II Kings 2:16) to seek for Elijah. Actually, they assumed he had been taken up in a whirlwind and then dropped in some remote area. This illustrates how some will enthusiastically seize the opportunity for Religious Activities but are reluctant to fully submit to the will of God.
Elijah's translation took place on the eastern side of Jordan. All the students of the school of the prophets could have joined Elisha and Elijah, but they were content to view what they could at a distance. They were only willing to stand afar off (2:7) and they missed the translation and the position conferred upon Elisha. It was not until Elisha had passed the three tests and they had gone over Jordan that Elijah asked: What I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee (2:9). His one desire was: Let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. This meant that the oldest would receive the double portion of the inheritance and spiritual responsibility — a reminder of Jacob who wrestled all night with the angel of God (Genesis 32:24). When asked to cease his struggle, he replied: I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me (32:26).
The spirit and vision of Elijah and Elisha was needed then, and it is still needed today. They had the same concerns and temptations that exist today. Love not the world. . . . For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father. . . . but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (I John 2:15-17). We need also to remember that Jesus said: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things (material necessities) shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).
In the taking up of Elijah in the whirlwind and the dropping of the mantle — a symbol of the presence of God and power that remains with His faithful servants (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. He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven (Luke 24:51-53; also Acts 1 — 2).
1:8 girt =b> bound; girdle of leather =b> leather belt or band around his waist; 2:19 naught =olluted, bad; 2:24 tare =b> mauled or mangled them; 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 The Arabic International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts for the month of May sponsored by Mary Hoffmeyer The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Mr & Mrs V.R. Stuebing, Jr. Bible Pathway Media Producer: Rick Hash Country: Peru (26 million) on the western coast of South America Major languages: Spanish and Quechua Open to evangelism and Bible distribution 90% Christian; 8% Nonreligious/other; 1.2% Traditional ethnic; .3% Buddhist; .09% Baha'i; .02% Jewish Prayer Suggestion: Ask according to the will of God and you will receive (John 16:24).
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: I John 2:5