We exist in a world wherein our faith and relationship with God is tried and tested. Peter reminds us that we will surely face “fiery trials” in 1 Peter 1:3-9. Our “common sense” and self-reliance will distract us if we allow it. For example, when God leads us through His Word and Holy Spirit, we tend to make excuses and rationalize why or how that we can’t do as He leads. We worry, doubt, and fear instead of trusting. Elisha was farming when the prophet Elijah came to him and threw his mantle over him. Elisha immediately responded to the call! He asked to say good-bye to his family. This wasn’t him being hesitant to follow. He was showing respect to his family. Elisha sacrificed his oxen and blessed his neighbors/family with a final meal that proclaimed his entry into service and ministry. Elisha had known farming but would now be learning to be a prophet. Common sense would have instructed Elisha to keep farming.
Later in 2 Kings Chapter 2, God comes to take Elijah to heaven via fiery chariot. Elisha was left with Elijah’s mantle and job as prophet. The real test is beginning and we see that God’s power is with Elisha too as he strikes the Jordan River with the mantle and the waters separate. As you read through 2 Kings you will notice that God works through Elisha in similar ways to Elijah in order to protect His chosen people and confront false worship.
As I wrote yesterday, our difficulties or conflicts can lead us to a deeper, richer life with Christ. What counts is our confidence in Jesus. Life is about Him not about us. Our faith becomes apparent in the way we respond to what happens to us in life–how we react and live. True life isn’t found in good health, good careers, nice house and family, etc. True life comes from and through a relationship with Christ! Because Christ conquered death and promises us a resurrection we can face all of our trials–even our own deaths with confidence. As the song says, “because He lives I can face tomorrow,” we can live with hope and joy in the midst of trial, grief, and sorrow.
The above quote definitely relates James 1:2-4 where God’s Word teaches that testing produces endurance so that our faith becomes “complete” and “lacking in nothing.” In other words, trials mature and enrich our faith. We learn to depend on Christ, leaning on His Mighty Grace instead of our prideful self. God is in the process of making saints! Take courage knowing that He is working in your life to make you more like Him! Elijah and Elisha daily trusted God. God made Himself known and miracles happened!
What was it like for Elijah when God put him on that chariot and took him home in a whirlwind? God graciously removed Elijah from the world and took him to heaven. This is evidence that Elijah had finished his ministry. He had endured to the end! It is possible that Elijah will return in Revelations during the Great Tribulation as one of the witnesses. We know that Elijah was present when Jesus was transfigured. Jesus promises us in Hebrews 13:5-6: He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
As you face the challenges, trials, and sorrows of life, may you find rest in Jesus. Take His yoke upon yourself and learn from Him! Take the narrow road that leads to heaven. Walk by faith not by sight knowing that our Good, Sovereign God reigns in heaven. He is in charge even when the terrorists attack, floods, and hurricanes storm against us. Build yourself upon the Rock of Ages! May God grant you hope, courage, and strength to press ahead in your journey of faith!
A fellow pilgrim who longs for a better place with Christ,