When things have been tough for a while, following the Lord can start to feel like we’re just trudging through life. It’s tempting to take matters into our own hands in these moments. If we’re set on being faithful and obedient, we might feel like God has only our duty––and not our delight ––in mind. The beautiful thing about God is his best plans for us, although not always easy, always result in joy for his children. As we wrap up our journey alongside Elijah, we’ll see God’s unique and inspiring conclusion to Elijah’s story.
1. Get raised up
2 Kings 2:1-7
- We have the ability in any given moment to make choices. God has given us free will. The mistakes of yesterday don’t have to be the future we live tomorrow. Jesus gives us the ability to turn and repent and follow him into the abundant life at any time.
The Bible gives us the real deal on what happens in real life: even Elijah had moments where he felt like even God couldn’t do anything to alter his suffering or the impossibility of his circumstances.
- In this story, the time had come for Elijah to finish his ministry, and Elisha was being raised up by Elijah and the Lord himself to be the successor as the prophet of Israel.
- For each one of us, God has a plan for our lives, and the circumstances of our lives cannot derail it. That’s why we need good mentors to help us understand that following God’s perfect plan for our lives is not always easy –– but it is worth it.
- Discipleship happens when somebody joins another person on their journey of faith and points them to Jesus along the way. Often, the work God wants to do in our lives occurs through the unique people and circumstances he puts in our lives and speaks to us through. We have to be proactive with the knobs on our side of the wall, to be raised up.
What is God’s calling on your life? How is he raising you up? If you don’t have a mentor in your life, what would it look like to seek out someone to disciple you?
2. Ask for God’s best
2 Kings 2:8-11
- Elijah and Elisha both sought God’s best. Even though both of them knew that their circumstances were difficult, they kept their focus on the Lord.
- Prayer is a funny thing. Jesus teaches us in Matthew 7:7-11 that when we ask God for good gifts, he will give them to us…and he doesn’t trick us and give us something bad for us! That’s not his character and heart. This doesn’t mean God is a vending machine, but when we ask God for his best and his will and his desires for our life, he is happy to deliver.
- When we seek God’s will for our lives, it’s important we ask, “God, what is your best for my life?” We all have an idea of what is best and how our lives play out. Sometimes, our expectations blind us to the good that God has for us. Elijah didn’t even taste death because he consistently sought God’s best for his life. That proves the legitimacy of Elijah’s ministry and demonstrates God’s stamp of approval upon him.
Have you asked for God’s best for your life in your desires and plans? How do you need to persist in prayer? How is God revealing his best will to you? Is there any area of your life in which you have settled for less than God’s best? What are you going to do about it?
3. Pick up the mantle
2 Kings 2:12-15
- Elisha tore his clothes –– a sign of immense grief, especially since people didn’t have multiple sets of clothes at that time. But in his grief, Elisha “picked up the mantle” and stepped into the opportunity God put in front of him.
- Rather than letting his circumstances stifle his faith, Elisha let his grief lead him into his calling. He got back up, and did what God was asking him to do.
- God doesn’t “need” any of us to accomplish anything, but he wants his children to pick up the mantle of ministry and join him in his mission in the middle of all the crises we encounter in this life.
Where do you need to pick up the mantle? What are the opportunities God has put in front of you that you need to step into?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?