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July 1, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: Psalm 90-95
Audio: Psalm 90-95

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

2 Kings 2 (ESV)

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”

Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” 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. 18 And they came back to him while he was staying at Jericho, and he said to them, “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not go’?”

19 Now the men of the city said to Elisha, “Behold, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.” 20 He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, “Thus says the Lord, I have healed this water; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” 22 So the water has been healed to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke.

23 He went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” 24 And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. 25 From there he went on to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.

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Next: 2 Kings 3

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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. 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 (2 Kings 2:11).

    Whirlwind

    Sometimes Scripture offers us a lot of detailed information such as specifications for the ark and the temple and then there are the genealogies! Other times, like Elijah being caught up in a whirlwind and ascending into heaven, we are left wanting more. Alexander MacLaren said of this amazing miracle captured in a single verse, "Surely never was such a miracle told so quietly." 

    As fire from heaven proved God was more powerful than Baal (1 Kings 18:20-39) and protected Elijah from King Ahaziah (2 Kings 1:9-12), fire from heaven in the form of chariots and horses separated Elijah from Elisha and he was caught up in a whirlwind into heaven.

    Elijah's name appears in the ESV 95 times (the majority in 1 and 2 Kings). But in Malachi 4:5-6 we read an amazing statement, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

    Then in Matthew 11:11-15, Jesus says, "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, 14 and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

    Jesus is not saying he literally John the Baptist in person but is the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5-6. 

    John MacArthur writes, The Jews were aware that Elijah had not died (2 Kin. 2:11). This does not suggest that John was Elijah returned. In fact, John himself denied that he was Elijah (John 1:21); yet he came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17)."

    In Matthew 17, we read, "And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him" (Matthew 17:1-3). 

    It's interesting that it is Moses and Elijah with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. The reason could we that Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the prophets. 

    Another interesting note is both Moses and Elijah came close to seeing God face to face. 

    Exodus 33:18-23 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

    1 Kings 19:9-13 There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. 

    Now we know that Elijah did not die and now he is here with Jesus, but what about Moses? He died so how is he with Jesus and Elijah on the mountain?

    God has the power to give eternal life. God can raise the dead. Jesus exhibited this power while on earth as did Elijah in 1 Kings 17:17-24. Jesus said in Revelation 1:17-18, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades."

    Now if we go back to and read the account of the death of Moses, we learn that the Lord himself buried Moses. 

    Deuteronomy 34:1-6 says, "Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, 2 all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, 3 the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. 4 And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” 5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, 6 and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day."

    In a devotional from Ligonier Ministries says, "Our Lord’s disciples are confused after Jesus mentions His death, especially since they have just seen Elijah. Based on Malachi 4:5–6, first-century Jews looked for Elijah’s return to restore righteousness in Israel and bring reconciliation between God’s people prior to the messianic age. The disciples cannot see how Christ’s death can follow this renewal, for how can the Messiah be killed if He comes during the age of justice inaugurated in Elijah? Jesus explains that they rightly expect Elijah to restore all things (Matt. 17:11). However, the disciples must also understand that Elijah’s restoration will not include all the physical sons of Abraham and therefore not create an environment of universal holiness. An 'utter destruction' in Malachi 4:6 falls on the impenitent, implying that some will fail to repent and live accordingly when Elijah comes. As Malachi predicted, the new Elijah was rejected, even executed by the authorities (Matt. 14:1–12). This will set the stage for the Messiah to be likewise killed (Matthew 17:12–13).

    An important footnote to today's chapter is the beginning of Elisha's ministry who has been endowed with the same prophetic gift as Elijah. 

  2. Two things in this chapter struck me: that God gave Elijah and Elisha the power to part the waters, as I thought God had only used Moses to do this. And then, Elijah and Moses are together with Jesus on the mountain. 

    Also, the part about Elisha cursing the boys who taunted him in the name of the Lord, and then bears "tore" 42 of them? Yikes! 

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