Summary: His final stops along the road before God took him home.
The end of the road II Kings 2:1-11
As I’ve said many times since we began this study of the life of Elijah he is called “a man of like passions” and keep in mind that I repeated many times that this simply means that he is like us in every way. Even though he’s a prophet of God he has all the same worries and insecurities that you and I have. He wrestles with all the same fears and phobias that bother us. And I’m glad that God has given us the opportunity to see his failures as well as his successes.
We began by seeing him coming out of the desert almost from a life of obscurity to preach to the king. After giving his message of the drought that would parallel the spiritual dryness of Israel he went to hide in the desert and there we saw him at Cherith where he was fed by birds and drank from the stream. From Cherith he was sent to Zaraphath where a widow, her son and Elijah were provided for with oil and meal. And since he was at Cherith for about a year we saw how this supernatural provision of God continued until the drought was over which was about another two and a half years. Then we saw how the widow’s son was raised from the dead at the prophets hands. And then at the end of his time he met Obadiah who Elijah instructed to tell Ahab that he wanted to meet with him. You will remember that I referred to Obadiah as a silent witness for God but not in a good sense. He wasn’t quietly testifying of his faith. He was the kind who would hide his light until he was surrounded by light. As I said he was a friend of Ahab’s but not necessarily one of Elijah’s.
From here we saw the challenge on Mt. Carmel as the prophet went head to head with the prophet’s of Baal. The false prophets went first but they couldn’t do anything but hurt themselves while Elijah was able to call down fire from heaven and consume everything on the altar including the altar itself. He led the people down by the creek bed where they killed all the false prophets. Soon after this we saw where he followed the king back into town and there he was threatened by Jezebel and ran for his life. Then he met with God where he was both encouraged and then sent out to do a different kind of ministry. He was annint leaders to replace the king and to call Elisha as his successor and then he spent anywhere from four to six years training and teaching both he and the prophets.
After spending anywhere from four to six years running the prophets school he was called back into service for the final confrontation with Ahab over Naboth’s vineyard. And this was the final straw for Ahab and Jezebel as far as God’s patience was concerned. They were both condemned to death and though it took about twenty years Ahab died in battle while Jehu had Jezebel thrown off the roof of the palace. And then the last day we saw the end of Ahaziah the son of Ahab and Jezebel who was as I said nothing less than the wicked image of his mother and father.
And so we could sum up Elijah’s life by saying he was both a man of faith and a man of failure. He could preach to the king but run from the queen. I like him because he’s was just like the rest of us. He could be as bold as brass in front of a crowd and then cower when intimidated by a loudmouth.
I think he learned the hard way that God’s blessings were to be found in the center of God’s will. His journey lasted many years and covered thousands of miles as he experienced both faith and failure but now he was at the end of the road. He knew his time to leave this world was at hand and the scripture tells us he left on one more journey. And all of the stops he made along the way were very significant. And so his first stop was Gilgal.
a This was the place of beginnings. This was where Israel had their first campsite in the promised land. There was a memorial set up here by Joshua. It was to commemorate the fact that they had just finished their forty-year journey through the wilderness.
B Elijah may have come here to contemplate the origin of the nations faith because here he would have been reminded how God was so faithful in caring for, protecting and providing for Israel after He led them out of Egypt. It would have also been a good place with all that history around him to think about the beginning of his own walk with God.