Elijah Ascends to Heaven
2 Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent.”
Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be silent.”
Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.
From Death to Life
You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Men are sometimes (often rightfully) accused of having one-track minds. It is not that we only think about one thing. It is that we focus on one object at a time. There is something very intuitive about the work/play dichotomy in a man’s life, although the erosion of a cultural sabbath has played havok on this instinct. Today, we are taught to always be on the hunt for the next best thing. Our work never ends, and we are taught that the thrill of work is life.
Women, on the other hand, have always played multiple roles and move freely among them all. Just look to Proverbs 31 to compare the many roles a wife of noble character has in comparison with her husband. Women do not stop working, they just change their clothes into different uniforms. They too, perhaps even more than men have suffered from a lack of Sabbath rest, often to the point that many do not know how to rest without alcohol, pills, or simply having a breakdown.
Here is the lowdown On why Sabbath is important to our covenant relationship with God: Without endings, there can be no new beginnings.
We cannot serve two different masters. We are not Batman or Superman – mild- mannered businesspeople by day and crime fighters by night. Those two never sleep and would be fired or dead of exhaustion after three days in the real world. We cannot chase our careers and money for six days and expect to catch up with God on Sunday. The problem is not that God sees through our split motivations (which He does!). the problem is that we do not see our own split motivations. We become lovers having affairs and children under joint custody of many “parents’‘, none of which we can truly claim as our own. Both of these roads lead to emptiness and isolation and it all comes back to that same point: Without endings, there can be no new beginnings.
Elisha needed to grow up into the man God created him to be, but he was not able to do that while he continued to rely upon Elijah as his mediator between God and himself. Elijah had to go so Elisha could grow. Paul explained to the Ephesians that they (and we) cannot hold onto our old life and take hold of eternal life with both hands. One or the other will get away from us Or we will be torn apart and lose it all. God gives us all the same choice He gave Israel, through Joshua: Choose this day whom you will serve.
What do you need to let go of today?
What former way of life doy you need to put to death?
How can you live for Christ more fully today?