2 Kings 1:1-2:25; Acts 13:42-14:7;
Psalm 139:1-24; Proverbs 17:19-21
Swing low, sweet chariot
Comin' for to carry me home.
Swing low, sweet chariot.
Comin' for to carry me home.
~ Spiritual hymn
2 Kings 1:1-2:25
As our reading begins, King Ahab has died and his son, Ahaziah, is now on the throne. This man is also the child of wicked Queen Jezebel. He has fallen through the latticework of a roof and is critically injured. He sends messengers to the temple of Baal to see if he will recover. Jesus, in a pre-incarnate state as the angel of the Lord, appears to the prophet Elijah and tells him to confront Ahaziah's messengers about going to Baal for information. He is to ask, "Is there no God in Israel?" Do you see how irritated God gets when we do not come to Him for advice and counsel? Elijah tells Ahaziah's messengers that because he has consulted Baal, he will never get out of the bed, but will die there.
The messengers tell Ahaziah the story and he asks what the man looked like. We get a nice description of Elijah and find that he is a hairy man who wears a leather belt. Several captains come to get Elijah and bring him to be killed. They fail because Elijah calls down fire from heaven to kill these captains and their men. On the third try, after two groups of the captain and their men have been destroyed by fire, this captain begs for mercy. Preincarnate Jesus tells Elijah to go with the man. Elijah personally delivers God's message to Ahaziah and sure enough, Ahaziah dies in his bed.
- Both men miraculously part the water of the Jordan River. This is reminiscent of Joshua parting the Jordan River at the start of his leading Israel. This is a miracle sign of God that He is leading the person's mission.
- Elisha never leaves Elijah's side, as he is aware that God will be taking Elijah away that day.
- Elisha declares his loyalty to Elijah and his belief that God is alive. He also believes that even though Elijah is going to be taken away today, he will still be alive. (Ch. 2 vs. 2) His loyalty is reminiscent of Ruth and Naomi.
- Elijah is described as hairy and Elisha is described as bald.
- Elisha asks for Elijah's blessing to become his successor.
- Elijah says that witnessing his being taken away will be the blessing and confirmation.
- As they walk, Elijah is translated to heaven in a whirlwind accompanied by a chariot of fire.
- Elisha tears his robe in mourning for the loss of his mentor.
Lessons: Spiritual mentors are important. Elijah was a mentor to Elisha. God uses these types of relationships. The voice of His prophets will be important until the end of all time. Elijah's message that there is a God in Israel is the same message to us. There is the One True God. Turn to Him for your needs.
Do you follow the God of Israel, who provided Jesus Christ to the world? Do you go to Him to seek truth?
Are you loyal like Elisha to those who are your spiritual mentors? Are you a witness to truth like Elisha was?
After Paul's successful preaching in the synagogue at Antioch Pisiidia in Turkey, the whole town turns out to hear him speak. The Jewish leaders in town get jealous and begin to back stab Paul and Barnabas. At this, Paul declares that he is going to focus on the Gentiles since the Jews are rejecting the message.
Persecution continues and this drives Paul and Barnabas to other cities to continue to spread the Good News. Are you surprised that even though they are speaking truth and are filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul and Barnabas are experiencing so much difficulty and trials? What does this tell you about the Christian life? What do you learn about our situation in this fallen world?
Lessons: Even though God is with us, we will have trials in this world. Part of our journey is to learn to rely on God in our trials. The Good News is about forgiveness of sin and eternal life, not about living a trouble free life on this earth.
Can you accept trials in this life? How have you suffered when you have tried to give out God's Good News?
This is perhaps my favorite psalm in the Bible. Pray this psalm back to God in wonder and amazement!
This proverb says that if you love to quarrel, you love sin. Are you a trouble maker?
What did you notice today?