2 Kings 2:7-8

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:7-8 – “Fifty men of the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan: Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it.  The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.”

I really should look at my map again – I’ll probably edit this post later – so look back for that part!

Anyway – what are those fifty men thinking?  Why are they standing around apparently watching the two of them?  Because it seems to me that’s what they’re doing.  Are they hoping to see Elijah get taken up?  If so, why are there only fifty of them?  Wouldn’t everyone want to see that?  And how many prophets are there, that fifty is only one part of them?

Now we see God performing a miracle through Elijah that He did similarly through Moses – though on a more gran scale then – parting a body of water so that people may go across on dry ground.  And I’m sure it was no less amazing to see.  Perhaps this is what those fifty were waiting for – some visible display of the Lord’s power?  And if so, this is comforting to me – that even prophets who heard the voice of God wanted to see Him work and move – whatever their reasoning.

And also that God would perform such a miracle for only two people – He’s not forgetting anyone.  There are miracles in the day-to-day for each of us, and sometimes only meant for a small minority.

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2 Kings 2:6

Friends – I must apologize.  I have fallen behind.  I’m…I’m falling.  I need your prayers.  My priorities are not what they should be, and I apologize.  Hopefully I can get back into the habit of posting every day.  Hopefully you can trust me to do that again.  Or – don’t trust me.  God will strengthen me.  If I post consistently – then He’s helping me!  If I don’t – then that’s my failing (and He’s still helping me).

If there is any good, that’s God.  If there’s any bad, that’s me.

Anyway!  Today’s passage!

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:6 – “Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.’
“And he replied, ‘As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’  So the two of them walked on.”

There are just a couple of things I want to point out there: one, the “rule” of three, and two, that last sentence.

It’s interesting to me how three times Elijah tells Elisha to “Stay here” – whether before going to Bethel, Jericho, or the Jordan.  And yet they go together, everytime; he doesn’t leave.  It reminds me of Jesus’ discussion with Peter – the three “Do you love Me”s and, now that I think about it, the three denials.  The number three is a huge thing here.

Second, that last sentence.  In the other two times, it was “they went” to either Bethel or Jericho, but this time it’s “the two of them walked on.”  I love that description of this scene – of the two of them just continuing to walk.  And it makes me think of our walks with God and how those continue on, even when or as we walk together.

That’s encouraging to me.  No matter how many times I screw up, God doesn’t leave.  Elisha refused to leave, and God doesn’t leave me.  I’m never alone.  That is perhaps the most encouraging thing.

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2 Kings 2:5

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:5 – “The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, ‘Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?’
“‘Yes, I know,’ he replied, ‘but do not speak of it.'”

When I reached this in my study in March, this was my response:

This just feels weighty today.  Like – Elisha doesn’t want to think about what’s about to happen.  He knows, and that knowing is enough.  That knowing is always enough.  He doesn’t have to – he doesn’t want to – dwell on it.

It’s like me and graduation – I know it’s coming.  I don’t know what I’m going to do afterwards and I don’t really want to think about it.  I know (my roommate) and I won’t be living together anymore, and I don’t want to think about that either.  There are a lot of things coming up that I don’t want to think about because they are too overwhelming to me.  But that doesn’t mean I stay behind and just wait for them to happen.  I need to engage with them – now, today.

And – looking back on it – there wasn’t really much need to worry.  A lot of things happen.  But there are still things I don’t want to think about.  My current roommate (a different one than the one I had when I wrote that) is planning on moving to another city next year.  If I want to stay here, I’ll need to find another roommate or a cheaper place to stay.  Or maybe I’ll move, too.

But that’s in the future and I tend to not think about it.

And – you know, I had the earlier post about making plans even if God ends up wanting you to change them.  I’m not redacting that.  I still very much believe that is true.  But I think, at the same time, it’s good to take advantage of the present.

Like – Elisha knows that Elijah is going to be taken up, but he doesn’t want to dwell on that.  Yes, this is an event that will probably change his entire life, but he doesn’t want to think about it.  He wants to spend what little time he has left with Elijah actually with Elijah.

And I want to spend my time with my roommate…with my roommate.  Not worrying about moving or not moving or what’s going to happen however many months down the road.  I mean, I don’t want to be thinking about how the time I spend with my friend is going to be the last time I might ever see them.  That makes the moment bitter and…it takes away from it.

One of my friends died my freshman year.  If I had known ahead of time, would I have changed the way I acted around him?  Sure, I would have.  But I don’t think I would have spent the time focusing on how he was going to die in a few minutes or a few hours or a few days.

So, I guess what I’m saying is – enjoy your friends while they’re around and don’t…don’t think about how you might not be friends in a few years or a few months or a few days or even a few hours.  Focus on what God has given you now and take stock in that.

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2 Kings 2:4

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:4 – “Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here Elisha; the LORD has sent me to Jericho.’
“And he replied, ‘As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’  So they went to Jericho.”

The wording in this dialogue is almost identical to what the two said in the first conversation, with the main exception being that they’re going to Jericho now instead of Bethel.  Secondly, the narration is slightly different, more simplified.

But there is one other change – in this middle one, Elijah says Elisha’s name.

Now, names are an important thing Biblically.  There are people such as Peter and Jacob who have their names changed.  Names have direct meanings – like Samuel’s name – and God Himself is given many names throughout the course of the Bible.  As we saw in 1 Kings when looking at Ahab – he was called different things determined by the situation and context – sometimes by name, sometimes “the king of Israel”, etc.

This time Elijah says Elisha’s name.  He’s not just some impersonal person Elijah is trying to leave behind; he is thinking enough about him to use his name.  And keeping in mind that Elisha was Elijah’s companion to keep him from being lonely – that adds a lot more to Elijah trying to leave him behind and Elisha refusing to leave.

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2 Kings 2:3

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:3 – “The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, ‘Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?’
“‘Yes, I know,’ Elisha replied, ‘but do not speak of it.'”

They knew.  They knew Elijah was going to be taken up.  Did God tell them?  Either way – they knew.  They knew and they thought Elisha didn’t – and maybe to some people, like me, that would be offending – that they thought they knew something and I didn’t when he was my master – but Elisha doesn’t seem offended by it.

And, of course, Elisha knows, too.  He knows, and that’s probably why he goes with Elijah even when he’s told to stay behind, because he doesn’t want to lose him either, and he wants to stay with him as far as he can get.  And he doesn’t want to be reminded about it either.  He knows Elijah’s being taken up and will be gone, but he doesn’t want to dwell on it.  He wants to spend these last moments with Elijah, not with anyone else, and certainly not being reminded of what he’s about to lose.

This chapter with Elisha makes him very real to me.

It also makes me wonder how the disciples felt during the Last Supper and right before Jesus died.

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2 Kings 2:2

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:2 – “Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel.’  But Elisha said, ‘As surely as the LORD lives and you live, I will not leave you.’  So they went down to Bethel.”

Now, as we have seen, Elijah has been called to go multiple places and has gone without Elisha.  In fact, we’ve rarely heard of Elisha since Elijah called him as his successor.  So the idea that Elijah has been telling Elisha to stay put somewhere while he goes and does whatever the LORD has called him to do – that makes sense.

But this time is different.  This time, Elisha says no and is dedicated to following Elijah wherever he goes.  But why?  Does he know what has been/was revealed to us in the previous verse – that Elijah will be taken up soon by a whirlwind?  Or is there something else going on that we don’t yet know about?

Addendum: Elisha could have been going with Elijah earlier on, but if so, it’s not something that is mentioned.

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2 Kings 2:1

First off, guys, I want to apologize for being so off, schedule-wise.  It’s…complicated.  I’m so sorry.  Please forgive me!

But onto today’s Scripture passage!

(NIV1984) 2 Kings 2:1 – “When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.”

If that is not a phenomenal way to open a chapter, I don’t know what is.

It’s from the very beginning of this story, this chapter’s story, that we know what’s going to happen – and we will see that it’s true of the prophets themselves, too.  We know, and so there’s this sense of foreboding, awe, and excitement.  Elijah’s about to be taken up to heaven in a whirlwind!  That’s so exciting!  But that same knowledge also must color everything else that happens in this chapter – because we’re not going to be the only ones who know.

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