Summary: Through the journey of Elijah, we see our journey into heaven.
Sermon: 2Kings 2 :1-12a When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. … So the two of them walked on.
7Fifty men of the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. 8Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
9When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.
10“You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise not.”
11As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more.
Theme: The Certainty of Life
1. Here On Earth
2. There In Heaven
Dear Christian Friends,
It is said that nothing is sure but death and taxes. From all the advertisements I hear and see today, I would have to question that statement. The brokerage firms seem to imply that there is a way to save money for retirement or for your children’s college tuition, without actually paying taxes. I don’t really know about that, so my advice on avoiding taxes would be to consult with a financial advisor or a tax attorney.
However, as to the certainty of death, there is no way to avoid it. It doesn’t take many trips to the cemetery or to the funeral home to realize that we are all in danger. Sooner or later the penalty on sin will be exacted. “The wages of sin is death.” All have sinned, so all will die. However, I do know something about that. From scripture we learn that not everyone has died, and not everyone will die. From our text we learn of the certainty of life, here on earth, and there in heaven.
Elijah was one of two men i n the Old Testament who did not go through physical death in order to into heaven. The other man was Enoch. We are told of him, “Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” God blessed him in a very special way because he “walked with God.” Elijah was granted the same blessing. From a history of his life we can see what it means to walk with God.
Elijah should be considered a great prophet of God. He brought God’s word to the people of Israel at a very difficult time. We know that he spoke to wicked King and Ahab, and that idolatrous Queen Jezebel. On Mt, Carmel, he even challenged 450 prophets of Baal to show that their God had any power. He made fun of them, and proved beyond a doubt who the true God was. But instead of turning to him in faith, the royal pair decided to kill his messenger Elijah. Elijah was forced to flee.
After that, we see the human side of Elijah. Even though he had just experienced a miracle of God, he began to despair. We are told that he actually wanted to die. The Lord sent an angel to strengthen him, and give him something to eat, but Elijah still did not rely totally on God. God fed him with ravens, but Elijah had other plans for God. God had to show his power to Elijah before he appeared to him in a Gentle whisper.
Like Elijah, we doubt. God tells us that all things will work for the good of those who love him, yet when we go through trials, we question. “Does God really know what he is doing?” Sometimes we may even despair and wonder if God can really help us. God comes to us time and time again. He provided us with all we need by natural and supernatural means, yet we often wonder, “Where is God?” How often have we thought that we knew what was best for our lives, and since that is not the way God was working it out, he must be wrong. Those thoughts are sins and prove that we deserve the wages of sin. But that doesn’t keep God away from us.
“But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” (Isa 43:2-3a)