One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Friday, June 21, 2013: II Kings 1:1-2:25
9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” 10 So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” 11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. II Kings 2:9-11 (NKJV)
People speak of "going out in a blaze of glory." This usually refers to a dramatic ending -- such as a final burst of flames before a fire is extinguished -- or the blazing beauty of a fiery sunset. In World War II, Japanese kamikaze pilots screamed to their deaths as they crashed their planes in what they believed was their final glory.
If ever a person exited this world in "a blaze of glory" it was Elijah. There was a rip-roaring tornado, blazing chariots -- even horses on fire! Elijah's departure was God's exclamation point on a dramatic, powerful life.
It causes each of us to ask how you wish your life to be seen or evaluated. I do not mean that we should all literally hope or expect as dramatic an ending as Elijah. Can you imagine your funeral complete with trumpets, tornados, and blazing stallions?! That's not what I mean. Elijah's departure was symbolic of a life lived to the full. He live GOD-WARD, through highs and lows, through power encounters and lonely nights. In the final moment, God simply reached down with a mighty hand and took him!
Jonathan Edwards was one of the greatest Christian leaders in American history. He lived his life by 70 Resolutions. This was a way of life for him. Three speak to this idea of ENDING WELL. Resolution 6 says: Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live. Resolution 7 states: Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life. Then, surprisingly, Resolution 9 tells us: Resolved, To think much, on all occasions, of my dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death. This is not morbid. It is GOD-CENTERED. In our modern "instant gratification" lifestyle, Jonathan Edwards tells us to live for eternity -- live to the full -- live in the power of the Spirit.
Elijah left a legacy. His mantle fell to Elisha. Much is made of the final request Elisha made of Elijah. “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” This was more than just asking to be able to do miracles like Elijah. Elisha wanted to LIVE like Elijah: TO THE FULL. Elijah's legacy is courage and hearing from God. It is bringing the Word of the Lord into a world gone crazy.
Like Elisha, we all do well to pray as he did: Lord, may a double portion of the spirit of Elijah be on us! Just as it was with Elijah, may the the summation of our lives be an exclamation point to the glory of God. That may not mean fireworks in the eyes of man, but it will mean a mighty celebration in the Kingdom of God. And that's worth living for!