Key Lesson: We learn how to prepare to meet the Lord.
God Decided the Day of Elijah’s Home Going
§ In the opening verse (v.1) we learn that the Lord was about to take Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind. Though Elijah knew that he would go to be with the Lord on that day (v.9), it seems that he did not know the exact timing. Elisha also knew it and so did the sons of the prophets (v.3, 5). We do not know whether Elijah told this to Elisha or if the Lord revealed it to him; however, he knew it would happen.
§ When a person dies, it is not a surprise to God. God is in control of life and death. Even when a person commits suicide, God must allow that death to take place.
God Decided the Manner of Elijah’s Home Going
§ It appears that Elijah knew that the Lord would take him to heaven without dying (v.1, 9). Prior to this, only one other person had entered the Lord’s presence without dying and that was Enoch (Gen 5:21-24). Why did God choose to rapture Elijah? We do not know.
§ Every Christian alive today will one day join the Lord in heaven either by death or by the Rapture. Because we do not know the timing of our meeting the Lord, we must pray for the Lord to come today, liv e as if He may come today, but press on as if He may not come for years.
Elijah Presses On
§ Elijah leaves us a great example of how to prepare to meet the Lord. He continued to follow the Lord’s leading for his life just as he had for many years. The Lord sent him to Bethel (v.2), so he went from Gilgal to Bethel. The Lord sent him to Jericho (v.4), so he went to Jericho. The Lord sent him to Jordon (v.6), so he went to Jordon. He continued to prepare Elisha to serve the Lord (v.9).
§ When our day comes to meet the Lord, may He find us busy serving Him and doing His will! If we are lying on a sickbed when the Lord calls us home, may He find us praying, reading (or listening to) the Bible, meditating on His Word and speaking for Christ whenever possible. As long as we have the mental ability, we can pray.
§ If the Lord comes and takes us up in the Rapture, may He find us actively involved in our local church, faithfully studying the Bible and praying, frequently witnessing to the lost and seeking to glorify His name by our appearance and conduct.
Elijah Tested Elisha
§ Repeatedly, Elijah told Elisha to remain behind while he travelled on. He was testing Elisha. It seems that his one concern before going to heaven was that Elisha was prepared to fill his shoes. He had been mentoring Elisha for some time and he wanted him to be prepared and remain faithful.
§ Mentoring others ought to be a task that each of us takes seriously. If you are a parent, your primary pupils are your children. Parents, I can tell you from experience that once your children leave home, you will begin to see areas in which your mentoring came up short. If you still have children at home, I urge you to study all that the Bible has to say about parenting. Read as many godly books on parenting as you can. Two good books are “Growing Up God’s Way” by John Stormer and “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Tedd Tripp. Seek counsel from older parents who love the Lord. Make a list of the things your children will need to know in order to walk with God and be victorious in their service for Him when they leave home. Then begin now to instil those traits in their lives.
§ If your children are grown, seek to encourage your grandchildren or find someone else whom you can mentor. Take them under your wing and teach them all you can about living for the Lord. If you do not know whom, ask the Lord to provide someone. Seek to win someone to the Lord and then mentor that person.
§ One of the main reasons that young people are falling away and leaving Christianity today is because their parents and other mentors are failing to pass on their faith. Let’s get involved!
§ Each time that Elijah told Elisha to stay behind, he refused to leave his respected mentor. He knew that God was going to take him to heaven and he was determined to be there when it took place.
§ May we have that kind of persistent character! Are you passionate to know God’s will for your life? Are you actively seeking to learn all you can from godly leaders in your life?