by Christopher Harbin

Facing the Inevitable
Christopher B. Harbin
2nd Kings 2:1-8

There are realities of life we would rather ignore. They make us uncomfortable. They make us doubt some of the truths we take for granted. They force us to evaluate our actions, reactions, habits, and attitudes in ways that may question our character or importance. Certain realities raise uncertainty and force us to step out into uncharted waters. We would rather not think about them. We would rather ignore some things, even if we know we are simply closing our eyes to the inevitable. It doesn't make them go away; it only allows us to postpone the pain. At heart, however, it solves absolutely nothing.

Elisha was a disciple to Elijah. Elijah had confronted Ahab and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Then he had fled for his life as the queen sought to kill him. He had met Yahweh on Mount Horeb and been sent back into God's service, taking Elisha as a prophet to succeed him. Now, however, Elijah's life and ministry were ending. It was no secret that Elijah was soon to be taken out of Israel by God. Elisha still was not ready to accept that reality, or to really think about its implications.

There were other prophets in Israel at the time. These were often called bands of prophets. They relied on music and dance to enter into a trance in which they hoped to hear a message from God. There were prophets in other nations that added hallucinogenic plants into the mix, but such was not the practice in Israel. These prophets would often travel around Israel. Others would join them on occasion and they would seek a word from Yahweh regarding the future or God's will.

Elijah and Elisha were prophets in a very different class. They did not join in with these others seeking ecstatic experiences through which to gain audience with and communication from God. Elijah had a wholly other relationship with Yahweh. Yahweh spoke to him without the use of music and dance, Yahweh taking the ...

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