(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?