Elijah’s earthly ministry is now complete and Elisha will be carrying on the work. Notice the conversation that took place between Elijah and Elisha every time Elijah was planning to leave and move on.
In 2 Kings 2:2a, 4a, 6a, Elisha kept saying, “Stay here Elisha.” It sounds like Elijah is saying, “Don’t come with me, Elisha. I want you to stay here.” But Elijah is saying, “It’s OK if you stay here. You don’t have to keep going. This is my journey, not yours.”
But, every time, Elisha keeps responding, “Are we there yet?” (Where?) “Is this as far as you’re going?” (No, the Lord is sending me farther.)
2 Kings 2:2b, 4b, and 6b – “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you,.”
Well, if you’re going farther, so am I. I’ll go as far as you’ll let me go. I want to go as far as you’re going. I don’t even care where we’re going as long as we get there together.
After we decide to walk with Jesus and live for Jesus, we have to decide how far we’re willing to go with Jesus. How much of our time; how much of our money and our talent are we willing to let Him have? How much of ourselves are we willing to give Him? How much of ourselves are we willing to lose? How much of me is willing to die for Him?
Elijah is saying, “The Lord is sending me to Bethel. He’s sending me to Jericho. He’s sending me to the Jordan River. I have an ultimate goal. I have a specific purpose. I have a final destination. If you keep walking with me, Elisha, eventually you’ll come to the place where there’s no turning back. You’ll completely lose your own identity. My purpose will become your purpose and my goal will become your goal. Are you sure that’s what you want?
Leaving here means moving on to a deeper commitment, a deeper level of service that will require more of your life. Wouldn’t you rather just stay here in Gilgal?”
Gilgal was the starting place. Elijah and Elisha started walking from Gilgal. Elijah’s final journey began in Gilgal. Gilgal was the gateway to the Promise Land. It was the gateway to a second chance, a new life. Gilgal was the first place the Israelites came to when they finally walked out of the wilderness. One of the first things the Israelites did when they arrived in the new land was celebrate the Passover together. They remembered and gave thanks to the Lord for saving them and setting them free from their bondage in Egypt.
Wouldn’t you be content to stay in Gilgal, Elijah? Spend your days being thankful for your salvation and doing the best you can to live a Christian life until the Lord finally calls you home? “Stay here,” Elijah. (“Are we there yet? Is this as far as you’re going?”) No, “the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”
Bethel is the blessing and promise place. When Jacob was running from his brother, Esau, the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said:
“ I am the Lord, the God of your father, Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth…All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised.” (Genesis. 28:13-15)
Bethel is the place of visions and dreams. Stay in Bethel enjoying the blessings and claiming promises of God in your life. Others have chosen to stay here and they offer some pretty persuasive and tempting reasons for doing it.
In 2 Kings 2:3 and 5, The company of the prophets who HAD decided to stay in one place, kept telling Elisha, “Don’t you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?’ Your life will become much harder. There’s a lot of pain and suffering ahead. There will be much heartache and disappointment in your life if you keep walking. It’s easier and much safer here.
Elisha kept saying, “Yes I know, but do not speak of it.” He had to keep asking himself, “Do I listen to them or keep walking with him?”
Are you staying here, Elijah? 2:4b – No, “the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” Well, if you’re not staying here, neither am I. So the two of them walked on to Jericho together. Why don’t you stay here in Jericho, Elisha?
Jericho is the battle place. Joshua and the children of Israel marched around the city of Jericho for six days. On the seventh day, they marched around it seven times. When they blew the trumpets and shouted, the walls of the city collapsed and they marched right in and conquered it. Why don’t you stay here and keep marching and shouting, Elisha?
Devote the remainder of your life engaging in spiritual warfare. Put on the armor. Take authority over the devil. Keep rebuking him. Experience the thrill of spiritual victory and the agony of emotional defeat.
If I do that, will I win?” (Yes, you will, every time. I guarantee it. You’ll be more than a conqueror. You’ll be an overcomer. The battle is not yours, it’s mine.”)
Once again, those prophets who’ve chosen to stay here present some pretty compelling arguments. (2 Kings 2:5) “The Lord is going to take your master away from you today,” If you keep going, you’ll end up alone.
Once again, Elisha has to ask himself, “Do I listen to them or keep walking with him? Have I gone far enough? Am I getting too old to be going any farther? How much more of myself am I willing to lose? How much more of myself am I willing to give him? Are we there yet?”
“Is this your last stop, Elijah?” (No, we aren’t there yet.) “The Lord has sent me to the Jordan” (River.)
Lord willing, we’ll cross that river when we get to it next Tuesday. Thanks for being in God’s word with Pastor Buj.