It has been quite a journey with Elijah. We have gone with him from the heights of Mt. Carmel to the depths of despair in the desert under a broom tree. Learned some valuable LESSONS….
Today we bid Elijah farewell. His work on earth is finished (John 17:4; 19:30). Ultimately, an end comes to everything. But Elijah’s end is hardly an end – more like a beginning, as he is taken into God’s presence by a whirlwind (Heb. – “gust”). He disappears as quickly as he appeared. Unsurprisingly, this fiery man of God doesn’t age gracefully and quietly die – he doesn’t even die at all. In 2:1 God reveals to Elijah that today is your last day on earth. Also rich fool (Lk. 12). “What would you do if you knew today was your last day on earth?”
HE PONDERED THE PAST
Memory can be a great thing. Elijah reviews the past by returning to places and events that had DEFINING MOMENTS. He journeys to four: MAP. . .
- (v.1) GILGAL was the place of beginnings.
- Historically, it was at Gilgal that the infant nation Israel took its first steps into the Promised Land (Josh. 4:19ff).
- Personally, Gilgal is the place of our beginnings with our walk with Christ. It is the place of our spiritual roots. It is important to know you’ve had a Gilgal before you leave this earth. 2 Cor. 5:17.
- (vv.2-3) BETHEL was the place of surrender.
- Historically, Remember Jacob, Father of nation Israel? He deceived his brother and he met God in a dream there (Gen. 28:10-22). Later, he’d return to Bethel (Gen. 35:1-7). What was so special about this place? It was the place of the altar to surrender all to God.
- Personally, Bethel represents the places and times where we come face to face with God and are challenged to surrender the things that come between us and God. Our Bethels usually remind us of sacrifice, hurt, and cost. Bethel is where we resolve to trust God no matter what. Rom. 12:1
- (vv.4-5) JERICHO was a battleground.
- Historically, battle as moved into Promised Land (Josh. 5:13-6:2, 20). No doubt Elijah recalled his own battles with Ahab, Jezebel, Baal’s prophets, etc. Jericho marked those trials and difficult times that God uses most to grow us. It is our battleground.
- Personally, Jerichos are when we have waged our spiritual battles – times of testing, trials – where face attack from world, flesh & demons. 1 Tim. 1:18
- (vv.6-8) RIVER JORDAN was the place of separation. Elijah crossed the Jordan to never return. Often think of Jordan symbolizing physical death, but Elijah, unlike us didn’t die. More aptly crossing Jordan stands for those places when we experience death to self. Here we are willing to become vulnerable and willing to be spent. John 12:24
HE PREPARED FOR THE FUTURE
- This is where Elisha came in. Remember 1 Kings 19:16, 19-21)? Some ten years have gone by. These two men are dear friends.
- ELIJAH’S INVESTMENT – He spent time establishing schools for prophets and time discipling Elisha, who’d replace him. Elijah often struggled with failure. God wanted to show him you only need a successor if started something that needs to continue! Though he was going to leave, God’s work would go on.
- OUR IMPERATIVE – Paul discipled Timothy (2 Tim. 2:2). Jesus had his twelve. Jesus gave us an imperative in Matt. 28:19-20 to make disciples. Who are you investing in? Who is your successor? Where is your disciple? To whom are you passing the baton? Elijah was so glad he had prepared for the future.
- 11-12 Suddenly, the end. No death – what a way to go!
- When a person of God dies, nothing of God dies.
- We all leave a legacy; make it a good one.
CONC— Only one day to live. What would you do? Gratefully, ponder the past, and be glad you left investment in others behind.
- Daily thank God for something different.
- Thanksgiving Reading: Psalms 104, 105, 106, 107, 111
- What would you do if you knew today was your last day on earth?
- If died today, what would be your legacy?
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Thanks for listening. Pastor Jimmy.