Thoughts from II Kings 2: verses 1-2 & 6-14 and Luke 9: 51-62
Elisha was a disciple of Elijah. Elijah oversaw a school for prophets as we note in the context of these Scriptures; there were actually about 51 of them with Elijah as he was making his trip to the assigned place from which he would be "taken up."
Elijah knew where he was going and he knew the reason for his going to that place. In fact, Elisha and the other prophet trainees, were also knowledgeable of the fact that Elijah was soon to be leaving them and that he was to be "taken up."
"God does nothing unless He informs His prophets of it." However, the other 50 prophets decided to stay at a distance and observe from afar.
Elisha determined to stay close to Elijah. Even when Elijah gave him permission to stay behind, Elisha refused, "As your soul lives," Elisha said, "I will not leave you."
Can't you hear Elijah as he asked Elisha, "Son, what do you want from me?" Elisha did not have to think about it, he knew what he wanted and he was thinking big! "When you are taken away, I want to be just like you times two; I want a double portion of your spirit!"
Elijah gave a condition to Elisha and it was this: "IF you see me when I am taken up, THEN it will be so; but if you don't see me, then it will not be so."
Don't take your eyes off the prize!
When Elijah and Elisha came to the Jordon River, Elijah took his mantle, a shawl of sorts, and folded it striking the water of the Jordon and it parted and they walked across it on dry land.
As they were doing nothing more interesting than merely walking along the road, suddenly a "chariot of fire and horses of fire" descended upon Elijah and swooped him up and away. As Elijah left he dropped his mantle.
Unless we understand the symbolism of Elisha's next action it seems a strange thing to do. Elisha took his two hands and tore his clothing into two pieces; it was a way of showing that he abdicated his power, and he picked up the mantle of Elijah and walked back to the Jordon River. (This is also required of us in the following of Jesus, we must abdicate our own power.)
Now that the River was flowing again Elisha did what he had seen Elijah do, he folded the garment, but then in what seems to be a time to test the truth, he called out, "Where is the God of Elijah?" He struck the water with the mantle, the water parted and he walked back across the River bed on dry land. Now he knows that the God of Elijah is also the God of Elisha.
In Luke Chapter 9: verses 51-62 we find that Jesus, walking with His disciples is headed to the place that He will be lifted up, and His face is set toward Jerusalem. He too knows where He is going and why He is going there. Although He had told His disciples many times what was to happen to Him, they were not perceptive of His words; they were unwilling to perceive because they had another plan for Him.
Jesus wished to spend some time in Samaria but the Towns people would not permit Him to do so because the Samaritans were not admired by the Jews, and that was because the Samaritans were half breed Jews; consequently the Samaritans were reciprocally unfriendly to the Jews.
Jesus had no problem with the Samaritans, and when His disciples wanted to call fire from Heaven to kill them, just as Elijah had done with the prophets of Baal, Jesus rebuked His disciples telling them that He had come to kill no one, but instead had come to give life to everyone. Jesus and His disciples went to another town.
It is in that next location that we have recorded the conversations of, "would be disciples" with Jesus.
One man came to Jesus and told Him, "Master, I will follow You wherever You go!"
Jesus' return remark does not seem inviting; "Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head."
What did Jesus tell the man? Did he say, "Alright, but count the cost?" "The road is not paved with gold and luxury?" "It's hard sometimes?"
Another gentleman said, "Lord I will follow You, but first allow me to go and bury my father." It is unclear if the father was already dead or if the man was requesting to stay with his father until he died. Whatever the case, Jesus' comment seems unkind. "Let the dead bury their dead: but you go and preach the Kingdom of God." Did Jesus say, "There is a more, even more important thing that you need to do?"
A third person came to Jesus asking to first go to say goodbye to his family members at home: Jesus makes a statement that we must consider: "No man, having put his hand to the plow and then looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of Heaven." Did Jesus say that we must be of a single vision? Did He say that we, like He, must set our faces toward the goal and allow nothing to block our view of it? Did He say, "God is first; and if not first then we fool ourselves and are of those who holdback to observe from a distance?"
This is a theme taught to us throughout the Scriptures. We must follow closely to Jesus, we must watch His every move, hear His every word, and obey all His commands. If we not follow closely then our faith experiences are not what the Word tells us to expect from the Kingdom of God, and we grow frustrated and doubtful. But then, if we do not follow closely, we are merely "observers at a distance," and we should not expect to experience the Kingdom of God, nor to experience His miracles.
How do we "see" Jesus today?
He reveals Himself to us in the Word, The Holy Bible. If we will devote ourselves to the reading and study of His written Word, then we will see the things He does and says therein, and then as the Word, the seed, takes its roots in us, we will be able to see into the spirit realm. The Holy Spirit of God will then have our opened ears into which to speak, and to be heard, telling us even greater things from the Scriptures that are otherwise hidden from our view.
Jesus does sometimes appear to people in physical person. Mostly, He walks with us in the Spirit/spirit, which is no less real than in the physical. He communes with us because we walk with Him, even as did Elisha with Elijah, and it is "Here," as we walk along in our daily devoted, single-eyed commitment to Him, that we will see the miracles of God whenever He decides to do them. Further, we will begin to see the common miracles that God does every day, and we appreciate Him for His glory and faithfulness.
It is an invitation to each of us to, "Come follow Me." How about you? Will you walk close to Him being a Server, or do you chose be only an Observer?
In my search for the Power that is God's, I have in times past been frustrated; however, here is a poem that expresses this sometimes monotonous walk, filled with drudgery and trials, but sometimes with experiences with God that defy definition. I have not "arrived" but I will, because I make the conscious commitment to walk close to Jesus.
Learning to be faithful
I’ve been thinking about it
and I really must say that my life
is monotonous from day to day.
Everyday doing the very same things,
waiting and wishing for spiritual gains
within my heart to grow,
and in my life to show.
After all, God is miraculous and
powerful, He’s a mountain moving
God, things just ought to happen
when He is involved. So why am I here
just doing the plod of a day to day
“Where are You God?”
Yet, I think of the things that God
does as He holds all things together,
and I understand there are many things
that I take as fact of matter, such as
my heart that beats, and the breaths
that I breathe, and grass that is there,
and also the trees,
the sun that rises and sets
at a scheduled time,
ending the night and beginning the day,
and it has always happened
exactly that way.
The stars are hanging there in the sky
exactly in their place,
never moving at all, not by a trace.
The wind and water, God controls,
while being aware of every prayer
that ascends to Him from every soul.
He’s been doing all that He does
since before to the earth I came,
and long, long after I’m gone,
He’ll continue to do the same
things. I suppose that I have to
consider the indisputable
truth that I see, routine is not dull
to God, it just seems dull to me.
There is a deeper truth that we
realize while living out our routine
day to day lives, Routine is acceptable
and right, in God’s eyes.
“So whatever your hand finds to do,
do it with all your might!” “For what does
God require of you but to walk humbly
with Him, to love mercy,
and to do justly in His sight?”
These are the things that I can do, as I live
day to day, knowing that my faithful plod
is very acceptable to my Seeing God.
And while in the life of every one
occasional wonders occur when
we can say emphatically,
“Oh yes, God was here!” Most of our life
is blandly routine, but that in itself is
miraculous, although it’s not the main thing.
The primary thing required of our life
is to actively worship our God, and always
to be careful to not engage in strife;
to do our work and to be applied,
to be merciful to those who are at our side,
to do justly in all that we do and say
and then, when to Heaven we come
we will joyfully hear Jesus say,
“Welcome home, faithful one.”
Oh yes, there are miracles to be done
and messages to be told!
There are healings that will come
and salvation to many souls;
and still, these are the things that are done
by our God, through the ones who
with Him walk faithfully
in the times we call “Routine”
or perhaps, “Monotony.”