Metropolitan United Methodist Church, Indian Head, MD
He is not here
February 14, 2021

He is not here

February 14, 2021

2 Kings 2:1-12

When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”

But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

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, “so be quiet.”

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 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, “so be quiet.”

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.

Fifty men from 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.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”

“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.

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, it will not.”

11 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. 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 garment and tore it in two.

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Background

Elijah had been subjected to the threat of death. He had carried on a life or death struggle in the name of Jehovah against Baal-worship. Prophets of Jehovah as well as prophets of Baal had gone to their death as a result. Kings had come under divine judgment. Both Ahab and Ahaziah had died, as the word of the Lord through Elijah had declared.

The day finally came when Elijah must reckon with the future. However, instead of being given a burial, he was taken upward by a whirlwind (v. 11).

Not only Elijah but also Elisha and the bands of prophets in Bethel and Jericho were conscious of the momentous occasion (cf. vv. 1–3, 5, 7, 9). There is no reason given for Elijah’s request that Elisha return from accompanying him. However, that request highlights Elisha’s determination to go with Elijah (v. 2). Elisha had become a devoted and loyal friend of Elijah. Other conspicuous examples of such friendship are: Ruth to Naomi, Jonathan to David, Timothy to Paul.[1]

Point 1 

Notes from Point 1

Point 2 

Notes from Point 2

Point 3

Notes from Point 3

Summary

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[1] Charles R. Wilson, Joshua-Esther, vol. 1:2, The Wesleyan Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), 297.

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