10 And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” 11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13 And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over. 15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16 And they said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men. Please let them go and seek your master. It may be that the Spirit of the Lord has caught him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.” 17 But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, “Send.” They sent therefore fifty men. And for three days they sought him but did not find him. 2 Kings 2:10-17
I recall many times in life where my confusion catalyzed growth. Despite sounding strange, it’s true. When someone said something not sounding right, I’d tilt my head like a confused puppy, and either write it down or make a mental note for further research. In my spiritual walk with the Lord, this happens frequently. In school, my professor might say something edgy, so I’d research it, and sometimes realize I had to reformulate my theology, worldview, or both. Even today, as I listen to Ryan and others preach, new perspectives come. When they do, I do my research, and sometimes adjust how I ‘see’ things.
Elisha knew what he experienced: he saw it with his own eyes, maybe feeling the heat and wind from the fiery chariot and whirlwind. Perhaps we see the first inkling of his own doubt as he struck the water with Elijah’s cloak and asked “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” The sons of the prophets saw a change in Elisha, but they, too, seemed a little confused. Confusion could be the reason they pestered Elisha to go looking for Elijah. All of this seemed to deepen Elisha’s own confusion until, after much badgering, he yielded to their desire to search for Elijah.
Having questions and feeling confused can be unsettling, but remember, it can also be a launching point for growth. Once the sons of the prophets returned without finding Elijah, they realized their first impression of seeing Elisha was correct. The same spirit that Elijah had now rested on Elijah There was more to it than just wearing Elijah’s cloak.
I know that during this series, I’ve had questions that prompted me to dig in and study God’s word on my own, as well as with others. Perhaps you’ve had questions, too. If you have, maybe write them out. Then, either on your own or with a fellow believer (or both), seek answers to the questions from the Bible. We’d love to hear about your questions and how you arrived at answers; email us at [email protected].
By Rich Obrecht