Thursday after the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Kings 2:1-18 (NKJV)
And it came to pass, when the LORD was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they went down to Bethel. 3 Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent!” 4 Then Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to Jericho.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they came to Jericho.
5 Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” So he answered, “Yes, I know; keep silent!” 6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So the two of them went on. 7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan.
8 Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” 10 So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” 11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. 13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over.
15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him. 16 Then they said to him, “Look now, there are fifty strong men with your servants. Please let them go and search for your master, lest perhaps the Spirit of the LORD has taken him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send anyone.” 17 But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, “Send them!” Therefore they sent fifty men, and they searched for three days but did not find him. 18 And when they came back to him, for he had stayed in Jericho, he said to them, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?”
God is faithful to His Word as Elijah is rescued from the unbelieving world and its threats, and the Lord’s message continues through the Prophet Elisha.
There is always someone who doubts the ways of the Lord. Here it is the sons of the prophets of Bethel and Jericho, seeking to downplay Elisha being God’s chosen prophet replacing Elijah. Elisha is strengthened in his faith as Elijah keeps his word and passes on a double portion of his spirit to Elisha. Elisha takes Elijah’s mantle and begins fulfilling the Lord’s will as he is acknowledged by the sons of the prophets as having the spirit of Elijah.
Still, Elisha is not completely trusted as the sons of prophets are determined to seek for the body of Elijah rather than believing he was taken up in a whirlwind and chariot. Elisha discourages them, but they refused; no body is found. This produces one of the first “I told you so” statements in the words: “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?”
May we in these last days not doubt what the Lord ordains, the ongoing Office of the Holy Ministry, as His messengers are to speak His Word in all its truth and purity and administer the means of grace according to Christ’s institution.
We pray: Hallelujah! Let praises ring! Unto our Triune God we sing; blest be His Name forever! With angel hosts let us adore and sing His praises more and more for all His grace and favor! Singing, ringing: Holy, holy, God is holy; spread the story of our God, the Lord of Glory! Amen. (TLH 23:4)