2 Kings 2:14

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:14 – “Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him 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.”

It is most interesting that he calls the LORD “the God of Elijah”.  Is the LORD not his God?

I guess this also marks a turning point for Elisha.  Now, with Elijah gone, he must work out his own faith and relationship with God.  He must see where he stands, what sort of person he will be in relation to God – and, I suppose, the world – without Elijah’s helpful presence.  He might know what he is – a prophet of the LORD – but not necessarily who he is in all of this, or even what sort of prophet he will be.

I feel like this, too, sometimes.  I know I’m a daughter of God, but I don’t necessarily know how (or when) that will manifest itself.  I know I’m a writer, but I don’t know when – or, even really, what – my books (will be) when they are published.  I know that I’m supposed to lower myself and serve the poor, the less fortunate, and although I hope Teach For America is part of that, I don’t necessarily know where all of these will go or how they’ll end up.  When a great moment happens – no, when I have to leave friends behind – I often feel like this, like, “Where has God gone?  Are You even still here?” even though I know better.

And here’s the thing – that God is there with me, with us, anyway.  He appears with small miracles in this moment.  I mean, this is the first of the miracles He does through Elisha, and it seems to me to be one more of reassurance and encouragement.  He hasn’t left Elisha.  He’s still right there, just as He is with us, and that’s that indication of yes, I want a relationship with you, too, not just your mentor.  Elisha does mean something – and God answers his question – “Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” – with a very powerful and reassuring answer – With you.

But how will Elisha respond to that?  Will he begin to call the LORD his God?  We will see how their relationship runs in the next (few?) upcoming chapters.

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2 Kings 2:13

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:13 – “He picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.”

This next part, to be honest, feels like something that someone else saw because I can almost see it more from far away than up close.

And this is interesting – that we don’t even know Elijah’s cloak has fallen until Elisha picks it up.  And it’s even more wonderful to me because it means Elisha has something material of Elijah’s to remember him by.  I know I like having things from people by which to remember them – necklaces and jewelry, mainly – so this just reminds me of, well, me.

I’d like to know what cloaks meant in terms of Judaic dress, too….

And the end of this verse – Elisha just standing “on the bank of the Jordan”, watching, thinking, waiting, unsure.  Just standing there, emotional, probably waiting on the waters to part, forcing himself to think rationally and not emotionally.  It’s a powerful picture.

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2 Kings 2:12

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:12 – “Elisha saw this and cried out, ‘My father!  My father!  The chariots and horsemen of Israel!’  And Elisha saw him no more.  Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart.”

I imagine Elisha sobbing and crying at the end of this scene.  Tearing the clothes apart was generally a sign of mourning.  Also – his cry – “My father!  My father!  The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” – was he calling Elijah his father, or was that part of the standard cry?

And then there’s that next sentence – “And Elisha saw him no more.”  With the focus on seeing in the past couple of days, this becomes even more important.  He saw until he could see no more.  Was he worried that he didn’t see him and his leaving enough?

And, again, a return to the mourning.  Elijah and Elisha must have been very close.  I don’t know how many years they spent together or how often it was just the two of them alone with God and each other, but I suspect it was a lot or even often.  So losing Elijah – it’s a big deal in general but especially to Elisha.

And, really, shouldn’t he have been the most excited since Elijah was going to be with God?  But he wasn’t.
So that means it’s ok for us not to be ok as well.  We have the freedom to mourn when things change or we lose the ones we love most.  Mourning is ok.  Just don’t stay in it forever.

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2 Kings 2:11-12a

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:11-12a – “As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.  Elisha saw this….”

Obviously I want to focus on that last bit – that’s why I’m doing it today instead of just doing that piece tomorrow (although I do plan on doing all of verse 12 later – probably tomorrow, Lord willing) – but first I want – no, need – to focus on this scene here – the, well, what’s happening.

First – “As they were walking and talking together”.  Either this happened immediately as Elijah finished the previous verse or they were still carrying on conversation, talking and walking just like I assume they had during their entire time together, even though this was the end of their current time together on earth (there’s still heaven, so it was more like a pause in all of their time together, but you know what I mean).  Elisha and Elijah were still talking.  They didn’t put their conversation on hold just for this, just because Elijah was going to be taken up.  They kept going.

There’s a lot to learn just from that – the idea that you should never give up, never stop having fellowship, even if you sense the end drawing near.  You keep on going.  But then – there’s this “suddenly” and a marvelous thing happens!  But, again, that’s not my focus.  Still – there’s “a chariot of fire and horses of fire”!  That’s pretty magnificent!  And for the longest time I thought that Elijah was taken up in the chariot, but he’s not.  Those are there to separate Elijah from Elisha.  Whereas Elisha has been told to stay back three times just this chapter, he doesn’t.  It finally takes this chariot to separate the two of them.  And that’s a big deal.  See – Elijah gets taken up in the whirlwind, but is separated from Elisha by the chariot and horses of fire.

And, finally, the beginning of verse 12 – “Elisha saw this….”

Elisha saw it.  As far as we know, no one else was around to see it, so this story had to have come from him personally (unless God told someone else or there’s someone else around we don’t know about).  But this is so important, that “Elisha saw this” because his getting what he asked for was dependent on him seeing what took place.  And he did.  And there’s this focus on seeing in this passage, and we, the readers, know that Elisha received (in that moment?) because he saw and he never left Elijah in this time for a moment.

Do you think Elijah was scared?

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2 Kings 2:10

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:10 – “‘You have asked a difficult thing,’ Elijah said, ‘yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise not.'”

Interesting concept that the fulfillment of Elisha’s request is hinged upon his staying with Elijah and watching him to the very end.  Given how he’s stuck with him so far, we can expect that he will be persistent in his staying and seeing.  Yet we do not always control what we can see.

Also – the idea that what Elisha has asked for is “a difficult thing” – previously I’ve taken that as a sign that it was difficult to fulfill, but perhaps that is not entirely the case.  Perhaps it is just as much that having a double portion of Elijah’s spirit will, in of itself, be difficult.  We’ve seen how hard it is for Elijah.  To have a double portion would make it doubly hard for Elisha (possibly).  If he gets it, his life will be difficult.

Perhaps, then, this is a warning and reminder to Elisha to count the cost.  Don’t forget how difficult this has been for Elijah.  Do you really want this?

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2 Kings 2:9b

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:9b – “‘Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,’ Elisha replied.”

Wow.  Out of all the things he asks for, all the things he could ask for, this is what Elisha wants?  Why this?  He’s been with Elijah.  Hasn’t he seen the flaws?  Why would he want that?  And yet, this is what he asks for.  Why?

Because even though he’s seen the flaws, he’s also seen what God has done through Elijah.  He’s seen the patient, enduring, obedient spirit that Elijah has been given.  We saw him run once out of fear, but even though he was afraid in the last chapter, we saw him stay and endure.  He was obedient despite the fear, even when God called him to return, to go back to the place where and of which he was afraid.  We saw him listen, and we saw that he knew God.

Why wouldn’t Elisha want not just one but a double portion of that?

Who wouldn’t want that?

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2 Kings 2:9a

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:9a – “When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?'”

There’s no more avoiding it any longer.  Even Elijah has said it – he’s being taken.  He’s not dying; he’s being taken.  And that’s an interesting thing in and of itself.

And there’s this question – “what can I do for you” – does Elijah have any idea what Elisha’s going to answer?  Do I have any idea how I would answer?

Security.  Or peace of mind.  Confidence.  Courage.  Blessings beyond imagining.  What all could people ask for?  What all would they want?  And Elisha isn’t assured that he’ll get any of it.

So what does he ask for?

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