#DailyDevotion Who Do You Want To Be Praised?

#DailyDevotion Who Do You Want To Be Praised?

Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21 [1[Jesus said:] “Be careful not to do your good works before people to be seen by them. If you do, your Father in heaven will not reward you. 2So when you give to the poor, don’t blow your horn, as hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets to be praised by people. I tell you, that’s really all the reward they’ll get. 3When you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4that your giving may be secret. Then your Father, Who sees what is secret, will reward you.” 5“When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites, who like to stand praying in synagogues and on street corners in order to be seen by people. I tell you, that’s really all the reward they’ll get. 6But when you pray, go into your own room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, Who is with you when you’re alone, and your Father, Who sees what is secret, will reward you…16“When you fast, don’t look sad like hypocrites. They disfigure their faces to show people they are fasting. I tell you, that’s really all the reward they’ll get. 17But when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face 18so that no one will see you fasting except your Father, Who is with you when you’re alone. And your Father, Who sees what is secret, will reward you.” 19“Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy them and thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where no moth or rust destroys them and no thieves break in and steal. 21Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.

Between this text and the text from Joel, sometimes we may wonder about the practice of putting ashes on our foreheads. For some people, perhaps it is appropriate. They want everyone to know they are a good “X” and went to church and did their thing. So for them, they may to hear these words of Jesus and repent. For those who receive them to remind themselves they are mortal and need to repent and are reminded throughout the day, as they wipe their forehead and then ashes on whatever they are touching, they need to be repentant, it can be a good spiritual practice.

What do I mean? The one key to this text are these words, “to be seen by them” and its variants in this lesson. Jesus does not condemn people who do good works openly. He actually commends it here in chapter 5, 16“So let your light shine before people that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven.” So we see it is the motivation of why we do things publicly whether good works, giving to the poor, praying or fasting. Are we doing them to be praised by people? We need to repent. Are we doing them so our Father in heaven is praised?

Finally, Jesus makes a direct attack upon one our major deities in our pantheon of gods we turn to for every good, strength and hope…worldly wealth, mammon. Jesus calls us to repent of serving and sacrificing to this false god. Instead, we should be sacrificing this false god every chance we can. So Jesus says don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth but in heaven. Every time we are worried about money, how will we make it in this world, how will we be provided for in the future, take some of your worldly wealth and give it to one of Jesus’ representatives, the widow, the orphan, the poor, foreigners and his pastors. In doing so, you will store it for yourselves in heaven and be praised by them in eternity.

Jesus came to serve you and still does at the right hand of the Father.

Heavenly Father, may we do good works so you are praised and not ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

#DailyDevotion Be Reconciled To God, Now, Right Now, Today!

#DailyDevotion Be Reconciled To God, Now, Right Now, Today!

2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10 20b We ask you for Christ, “Be reunited with God.” 21God made Him Who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we would have the righteousness of God. 6 As men who are working with God we plead with you: Don’t let God’s grace be wasted on you. 2He says: At a favorable time I have heard you; On the day of salvation I have helped you. Look, now is the favorable time. Look, now is the day of salvation.

Kind of a strange place for this lectionary reading to begin. I think I would have started with, 19“In Christ God restored the relationship of the world to Himself by not counting their sins against them,…” Before we do anything God must take the first step. In verse nineteen we see the Father takes the first step in restoring the relationship we have with him in Christ. He restores us to himself by not counting our sins against us.

On this basis then Paul says, “Be reunited with God.” I’m thinking the translation “be reconciled” is probably better here. Most often this is interpreted as meaning our part in reconciliation is accepting and believing what God has done for on his part in Christ Jesus. I think for some of us that is a start. It opens the door for something else on our part. You see, a lot of people are angry, upset and disappointed at God. There’s been illness, disease, death, loss of loved ones. People have experienced horrific things in their lives. If God is Almighty why did he let this stuff happen or worse why did he send it upon us? Grant it, who are we to talk back to our make and question what he has allowed or done? Yet, we still have these resentments against God. People don’t change, much. I’m certain the people in Paul’s day often had these thoughts and feelings. So based on God the Father being reconciled to us and no longer counting our sins against us in Christ Jesus, we too should take our resentments towards God and place them on Christ Jesus on the Christ and be reconciled to God.

Paul then wraps this thought up with “God made Him Who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we would have the righteousness of God.” What great mystery and wonder is this grace! Jesus who knew no sin became sin for us. Some interpret this as being short hand for sin offering. Well Jesus is most certainly that at well. Yet even more, all our sin, the sin of the world is placed on Christ at his baptism and on the cross. What else can Christ be but sin on the cross. O great mystery! He does this so we become the righteousness of God. Our righteousness is but filthy rags but in Christ our righteousness becomes God’s righteousness. We are made and identified with God’s righteousness.

So Paul begs us to not let God’s grace be wasted on us. Now is the favorable time. Now is the day of salvation. As Joel cried out, “Right now turn to God.” The author of Hebrews quotes Psalm 95, 7“Today, hear if you will, His voice: 8Don’t get stubborn as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the wilderness…” If you have been putting off being reconciled to God don’t wait any longer. You don’t have any more time than Now, Right now, Today to do it. If you pass this world without trusting God has reconciled himself to you in Christ Jesus and letting go of everything you have against God for the sake of Jesus, then God’s grace will most certainly have been wasted on you. Don’t let that happen.

Heavenly Father, even as you have reconciled us to yourself in Christ Jesus on the cross, may we have faith in this reconciliation to reconcile ourselves to you so we may become your righteousness now and on the day of Christ’s revelation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Turn Back To The LORD Jesus Christ Right Now!

#DailyDevotion Turn Back To The LORD Jesus Christ Right Now!

Joel 2:12–19  12“Right now,” says the LORD, “return to Me with all your hearts, with fasting, weeping, and mourning.” 13Tear your hearts and not your clothes, and turn to the LORD your God because He is gracious, merciful, slow to. get angry, full of kindness, and relents from disaster. Who knows – 14He may relent and leave behind Him a blessing -gifts of food and drink for the LORD your. God?… 17Then the LORD was zealous for His country and took pity on His people. 19The LORD answered His people: “Now I’m sending you fresh grain, new wine, and olive oil, until you are, satisfied. And I will no longer let you be a disgrace among the nations.

Joel appears to be a prophet in the southern kingdom of Judah. The verses before these foretell an army coming to devastate the land at the bequest of the LORD God Almighty, Israel’s and Judah’s God. Why would their God threaten them with such destruction? They were not faithful to the LORD their God. They worshipped other gods besides him. They gave credit to these other gods for their good fortune instead of the LORD. To top that off, the people did not offer their sacrifices at the place designated by the LORD. They did not offer the LORD their best when they did offer sacrifices.

Because their hearts were not set on the LORD in their worship their hearts were cold to their fellow man as well. The widow, the orphan, the poor, the foreigner and the Levite were not provided for as the LORD had directed in the Torah, the Law. Worse! They were taken advantage of by the LORD’s people. They murdered for money, prostituted their daughters and sons, sold their fellow Israelites into slavery to make a buck. While our country is not a theocracy nor is it Church, how are we as Church, as God’s people in this place having mercy on those around us, the widow, the orphan, the poor, the foreigner and our pastors? What does James say? 127“Your way of worshiping is pure and stainless before God the Father if you look after orphans and widows in their troubles and keep yourself unspotted by the world.”

To Judah and to us the prophet Joel speaks, 12“’Right now,’ says the LORD, ‘return to Me with all your hearts, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13Tear your hearts and not your clothes, and turn to the LORD your God because He is gracious, merciful, slow to. get angry, full of kindness, and relents from disaster.’” We should examine ourselves daily according to the Word of God. Where have we failed or fallen short? Where have we rebelled? There is a chance, right now to repent. Right now, today! Turn to the LORD Jesus Christ and believe the word of the prophet Joel. He is gracious, merciful, slow to get angry, full of kindness and relents from disaster. This is the name the LORD gave us in Exodus 34. It is the reason we should repent, turn from our selfish, self-centered ways and start looking after those in need in front of us. Maybe we can even search for people needing our help. That is what God in Christ Jesus has done for us, for you. It’s what he’s doing right now as you are reading this. Let him change your hearts of stone into hearts of flesh that love even your enemy and do good to him. You were once God’s enemy and he sacrificed Jesus for you. If you believe this, you will do likewise.

Heavenly Father, give us repentant hearts that turn away from our selfish ways and turn to you for mercy, kindness, love and forgiveness so as we receive these things from the hand of Jesus we may give them freely to those we meet along the way. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Living At The Bottom Of The Mountain

#DailyDevotion Living At The Bottom Of The Mountain

Mark 98Suddenly, as they looked around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus with them. 9On their way down the mountain Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Yesterday we heard from Peter’s second epistle chapter 2, 2”18We heard that voice speak to Him from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19And we have, as something more sure, the prophetic Word. Please look to it as to a light shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts.” Mark, which is Peter’s gospel, tells us after the vision there was no one there anymore but Jesus. Experiences and the like are fun, can be uplifting at times and reassuring at other times. The LORD knows when we need them. We should be chasing after them. Instead, we should be focused on Jesus and his Word. Jesus is the Word of God as John tells us. When you hear the word of God from the Bible you are experiencing Jesus in a way that is more certain and sure than being on the mount of Transfiguration, seeing Jesus transfigured talking with Moses and Elijah and hearing the voice of the Father. It is certain and sure because it is there always for us in this form.

As Jesus went down the mountain he told the disciples to not tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. Every fact is to be established upon the witness of two or three witnesses. Peter, James and John would be his witnesses of what happened there on the mountaintop, but not yet. Why not yet? Because like the crowd who would try to make Jesus king after he fed them, his disciples may perhaps try to keep Jesus from fulfilling his mission to go to the cross. Indeed, Peter who had witnessed this not even a chapter later will be rebuking Jesus when Jesus tells him he must be betrayed, killed by the Gentiles and rise again. While Jesus is God he is also still human also. He did not want to deal with all his disciples trying to keep him from his purpose of why he came. He would be their King and their God soon enough but first he must accomplish their salvation.

Which brings us to the last phrase, “until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.” Now this is pretty strange for Jesus to say. We know from Daniel chapter 7, 13“In the visions during the night I saw One coming with the clouds of the heavens like the Son of Man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. 14And He was given glory, power to rule, and a kingdom, so that all peoples, nations, and those of every language should serve Him. His authority is everlasting and will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.” How can the Son of Man rise from the dead? If he rises then that means he dies. How can he die? His death, Jesus’ death is the means by which the world, you, are reconciled to God the Father. His death is your atonement and propitiation for you sins. But death cannot hold him. Jesus is innocent and holy. He has overcome death and indeed has risen from the dead. He has ascended to the right hand of the Father from whence he will indeed come again as Daniel has foreseen in his vision. His kingdom will have no end. As his people, you inherit the kingdom with him and rule with him eternally when he comes again in glory. You can be sure and certain of it. His Word is sure and certain.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ into the world to reconcile us to you so we may be your people. Grant us faith always in your Word and Jesus Christ so we may indeed be heirs of your kingdom and co-heirs with Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Manifest His Glory & Our Hope

#DailyDevotion Jesus Manifest His Glory & Our Hope

Mark 92After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him and led them up a high mountain to be alone with them. He was transfigured before them, 3and His clothes became dazzling white — no one on earth could bleach them so white. 4Elijah and Moses appeared to them and were talking with Jesus. 5“Master,” Peter said to Jesus, “it’s good for us to be here. Let’s put up three shelters, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He didn’t know what he was saying; they were so terrified. 7A cloud came and overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud: “This is My Son Whom I love. Listen to Him.”

After six days, so this would be the seventh day. Is Mark insinuating this is the Sabbath day? Even if it is not ‘the’ Sabbath day, i.e. Saturday, it most certainly is ‘a’ Sabbath day. What do I mean? I mean Jesus taking these three up the mountain to pray with him is certainly time away from the crowds to rest and spend time with God in prayer. We may even see this as a foretaste of that eternal Sabbath we enter into when Jesus comes again and we see face to face in all his glory and are transformed to be like him.

Yes, Peter, James and John see Jesus transfigured before them. He reveals his glory to them, that which he had before creation with the Father. It is this glory which we hope to share in when Christ comes with all his angels and we are resurrected from the dead. As the Hymn “Oh, Wondrous Type! Oh Vision Fair” says, “Of glory that the Church may share,” and “Christ deigns to manifest today what glory shall be theirs above” Jesus on the mount makes manifest what he shall transfigure our lowly bodies into when we receive spiritual bodies and life overtakes the death of our flesh.

So Peter will write later, 1 Peter 5:1 “ saw Christ suffer, and I share in the glory that is to be revealed.” Paul says in Romans 5:2, “We boast in the hope of God’s glory.” In chapter 8 of the same he says, 18“I think what we suffer now isn’t important when I compare it with the glory to be revealed to us.” Jesus tells us in John 17:22, “I gave them the glory You gave Me to make them one as We are one.” Finally, Paul says 2 Cor. 4:17, “The light trouble of this moment is preparing for us an everlasting weight of glory, greater than anything we can imagine.” As we go through suffering in this world, we are encouraged to look to the crucified and transfigured Christ and there see our reward for being faithful to him and bearing our suffering without falling away.

Now before Jesus returns to normal the Father speaks from heaven and says, “This is My Son Whom I love. Listen to Him.” You would think that seeing Jesus transfigured, seeing Moses and Elijah and hearing the Father speak these word would be the end all of things. Yet Peter later writes in his second epistle, 2”18We heard that voice speak to Him from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19And we have, as something more sure, the prophetic Word. Please look to it as to a light shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts.” We like the spectacular. The one who has seen the spectacular says the Bible which we read daily is more sure and certain and we should engage ourselves in it until Christ is revealed and we are transformed bodily by his life and light.

Heavenly Father, you have given us a foretaste of what we will be when our LORD Jesus Christ manifested his glory to his disciples. Grant us a steadfast faith even in the midst of suffering so we remain steadfast and receive the gift of your glory when he returns. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The True Light & Life Of The World Is Christ

#DailyDevotion The True Light & Life Of The World Is Christ

1 Cor. 4 And so we who by God’s mercy have this service don’t get discouraged. 2But we have renounced the secret ways that anyone should be ashamed of. We don’t use trickery or falsify God’s Word. But by clearly telling the truth we recommend ourselves to everyone’s conscience before God. 3If the good news we tell is veiled, it is veiled to those who perish, 4whose minds the god of this world has blinded — they don’t believe — to keep them from seeing the light of the good news of the glory of Christ, Who is God’s image. 5You see, we don’t preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as the Lord, and we are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6God, Who said: “Let light shine out of the dark,” has shone in our hearts to bring you the light of knowing God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

Paul, who by God’s mercy has this service of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ doesn’t get discouraged. And why is that? Because of how he ended chapter three,  “all of us, reflecting the Lord’s glory in our unveiled faces, are changed from glory to glory to be like Him, as we expect it from the Lord, Who is the Spirit.” He has a hope he latches onto in the midst of discouragement so that he doesn’t get discouraged. He knows where he is going and what he is expecting once he gets there. Similarly, you too keep these promises before your face, in you eyes and in your ears. Your life doesn’t consists of the things of this world but of the next.

Now Paul again picks up the theme of the veil though slightly changed. As he and his companions preach the good news, they don’t use trickery or falsify God’s Word. I guess perhaps some were doing fake miracles to get a following. And it seems some changed the good news to make it more palatable to gain a following. While the Gospel is a mystery it is no longer hidden but openly proclaimed. There are no secrets in Christianity. But it appears the good news is veiled to those who perish. They have been blinded by the god of this world, Satan. He is not a god, but rules over the people of this world since in Adam we turned it over to him with his rebellion against God. He blinds the people of this world so they do not see the light of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Satan poses as an angel of light. He and his disciples among men make it seem as if Christianity is perverse, twisted and darkness. To a twisted mind, it would appear so. For them, down is up and up and down. For them, men can be women and women, men. All the things of this world that people think is freedom is actually bondage and is what bring all the troubles of the world into being. Satan posits our God and Jesus as wrathful, controlling and well mean. I guess if you do what you want to do and damn the results in your life and the lives around you, that may be the case.

Yet in the face of Jesus Christ we see the light and glory of God. Jesus is the image of God. In Christ we see God’s true nature, love, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, patience yet he disciplines the children of men when they stray calling them to repentance, not wanting any to perish. The veil has been lifted from you when the Holy Spirit when he made you born from above with the good news of the promise of the glory of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Hearing the promise of glory through faith in Jesus you saw the true light and oriented your life around him instead of the god of this world. Jesus and all he is is our hope for the world to come.

Heavenly Father, always keep the veil removed from our minds that we may see your glory in the face of Jesus and receive it from your loving hand. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Glory Of The Gospel Of Jesus Is Transforms Us Into His Glory

#DailyDevotion The Glory Of The Gospel Of Jesus Is Transforms Us Into His Glory

2 Corinthians 3:12–18 12 Because we expect this, we are very bold 13and not like Moses, who wore a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from seeing the last rays of the fading glory. 14But their minds have been closed. To this day the same veil is still there on the reading of the old covenant and isn’t taken away, because it is put away only in Christ. 15Yes, to this day, when they read Moses, a veil lies on their hearts. 16but whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18And all of us, reflecting the Lord’s glory in our unveiled faces, are changed from glory to glory to be like Him, as we expect it from the Lord, Who is the Spirit.

Because we expect this, what is this? This is the previous verses, “the service that gives righteousness much more certainly overflows with glory” and “that which is permanent much more certainly has glory.” This service is the preaching of the gospel Jesus which came in grace and truth. This gospel is Jesus Christ has won salvation for us on the cross of death and by his dying and rising to life for us, we who believe this receive the righteousness of Christ for free. The glory of this gospel does not fade away for it is permanent. Jesus’ work does not fade, wear down or be destroyed. This makes us bold to proclaim it and share it with the world around us.

Moses having to wear a veil to keep people from seeing his glory fade became symbol of another reality. There is a veil covering the minds of the Jews when Moses, the Torah is read. As their ancestors whom the LORD Jesus delivered from the Egyptians were a hard headed and stiff-necked people so their descendants are who are with us to this day. They did not listen to Moses in the desert and they don’t listen to Moses today. If they did, they would turn to Jesus Christ their LORD and be healed. As Jesus said in John 5, 46If you really believed Moses, you would believe Me, because he wrote about Me.”

The veil that blinds them and us to Moses is “put only away in Christ” and whenever to “turn to the LORD.” That is to say, faith in Jesus and what he has done for us on the cross and his resurrection opens up the meaning of Scripture both Old and New Testaments. For Jesus has said, 44“I told you that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must come true.” The Spirit opens our minds to understand it when he is given us through the good news of Jesus. This Spirit gives us liberty. He frees us from the bondage of the Law and of sin and death.

Now we who believe this reflect the LORD’s glory. We are being changed from one glory to the next to be like him. 1 John 3 writes, “we’ll be like Him because we’ll see Him.” The LORD who is the Spirit makes us participants in his glory and we will bear that glory when he is revealed from the heavens. The glory we have in Christ is greater that our first in the garden. He is conforming us to his glory in his image and likeness. Now in faith we believe we are being transformed inwardly then our glory will overtake our mortality and we shall shine like the stars above.

Heavenly Father, Jesus gives us the glory you have given him when we have faith in him and his works for us. Grant us always this faith by your Holy Spirit so we may outwardly bear this glory of the day of his revelation to the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Moses’ Glory Fades But Ours Will Not

#DailyDevotion Moses’ Glory Fades But Ours Will Not

Exodus 34:29–35 29Moses came down from Mount Sinai. The tablets with the Word of Testimony were in Moses’ hands as he came down the mountain. Moses didn’t know the skin of his face was shining because God had talked with him. 30But Aaron and all the other Israelites looked at Moses and saw the skin of Moses’ face shining and were afraid to come near him. 31But Moses called to them, and so Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation came back, and Moses talked to them. 32Afterwards all the other Israelites came near him, and he ordered them to do everything the LORD had told him on Mount Sinai. 33When Moses finished talking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to talk with Him, he took off the veil till he came out. And whenever he came out and told the Israelites what the LORD had ordered, 35the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. Then Moses would put the veil back on till he went in to talk again with Him.

I guess that would intimidating, Moses talking with the LORD and his face shining with the glory of the LORD as he spoke to you. Moses’ face was transformed as he talked face to face with the LORD in the tabernacle. He didn’t even realize it until the people said something. Even Aaron was taken aback. You might think Moses put the veil on to not frighten the Israelites but that is not the case. The text says he put it on after he spoke to the people. Moses knew these were stubborn and stiff-necked people. They hardly listened to him even when he wasn’t scary with the glory of the LORD. How much less would they listen to him without the glory? So after speaking to the people he would put a veil over his face so they could not see the glory had faded. He would take it off to speak to the LORD again, for he spoke to the LORD as you would as friend (the meaning of face to face).

Moses’ glory in his face dimmed as he was not speaking to the LORD. Believe it or not, you are meant to shine with the glory of the LORD Jesus Christ. You have been made one with our LORD Jesus Christ through baptism and as such you have become co-heirs with his glory.

Paul writes in 2 Cor. 318 “And all of us, reflecting the Lord’s glory in our unveiled faces, are changed from glory to glory to be like Him, as we expect it from the Lord, Who is the Spirit.” We reflect or rather behold his glory when we look upon the work he did for us on the cross. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ which gives us his glory. We do not see it now as the people saw Moses’ when he came out of the tent. We are being changed day by day inwardly, Paul says earlier in chapter 3 of the same.

Paul says in Romans 5 “Now that we have been declared righteous through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2who gave us access to God’s grace, in which we stand. We boast in the hope of God’s glory.” He also says in 2 Tim. 10 “That’s why I can endure anything for the chosen people so that they, too, may receive salvation in Christ Jesus and everlasting glory.” The glory we are to bear will be more glorious than Moses’ and it will be unfading as we see our LORD Jesus Christ on the day of glory.

Heavenly Father, continually put before our eyes the glory of the gospel of your Son Jesus Christ that we may be transformed inwardly now and made manifest when your Son Jesus is revealed to the world on the Last Day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Being Faithful Has Its Rewards

#DailyDevotion Being Faithful Has Its Rewards

2 Kings 27Then 50 of the prophets went and stood at some distance from these two men who stood by the Jordan. 8Elijah took his coat, rolled it up, and struck the water. It divided in two parts, and the two men went over on dry ground. 9“Ask what I should do for you,” Elijah told Elisha when they had crossed over, “before I’m taken away from you.” “May a double share of your spirit be on me,” Elisha answered. 10“You have asked for something difficult,” he said. “If you see me taken away from you, it will be that way, but otherwise not.” 11As they were walking along and talking, there came a fiery chariot with fiery horses, separating the two, and Elijah went up in a whirlwind to heaven. 12“My father, my father!” Elisha cried out when he saw it. “Israel’s chariot and horses!” When he didn’t see him anymore, he took hold of his own garment and tore it into two pieces.

We can only assume the LORD had told Elijah that he was going to be taking him away and to where he was told to go before his departure. It seems the other prophets were in on this knowledge as well as they kept asking Elisha about Elijah’s upcoming departure. Elisha didn’t want to think or talk about it. He had been with Elijah for a while now and he had become as a father unto him.

When they finally got to the spot of Elijah’s departure he asked Elisha what he could do for him. Elisha wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. I can only imagine that he believes with that he would be able to do twice as much of the miracles that Elijah could do, like dividing the Jordan or calling down fire from the LORD to consume the sacrifice. Maybe he knew the Israelites would be twice as bad towards him as they were toward Elijah so he needed more of spirit. Perhaps he wanted to preach twice as boldly the Word of the LORD to his people so he might call some to repentance and they would not perish. We do know after Elijah departure that Elisha would have the same power and authority that Elijah did.

Elijah’s answer seems a bit enigmatic,  “You have asked for something difficult. If you see me taken away from you, it will be that way, but otherwise not.” Why would this be difficult? Why should it matter if Elisha sees him or not when he is taken away? The text does not say nor does the Bible ever really elucidate why this is so. It is though perhaps a hard thing, at least as far as Elijah is concerned because it simply wasn’t up to him. He had no power to grant it. But, if Elisha continued to be faithful to Elijah until his departure then the LORD would reward him with what he requested. We know of course Elisha did remain with Elijah until his departure and he received what he asked for.

Now we too have one who is greater that Elijah or Elisha, Jesus Christ our LORD. We did not see his departure but the Apostles did. Jesus bestowed upon them his Holy Spirit. When we believe their message, Jesus through that Word gives us his Spirit. With this Spirit we are born from above of the Father and become children of God. When we see Jesus return with all his angels, we shall be resurrected and transformed into his glorious image and likeness outwardly even as now he is transforming us inwardly from one degree of glory to the next.  We need just be faithful to him unto death even as Elisha was faithful unto Elijah unto his departure.

Heavenly Father, continually give us your Holy Spirit that we may be faithful unto death to our LORD Jesus Christ so we may be like him when he returns in glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.