Today’s Readings: Psalm 93; 2nd Kings 2; Zechariah 6; James 5:13-20
Today’s first reading begins, “The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty” and ends with “Your decrees are very trustworthy.” Another psalm celebrating the Lord’s divine kingship reminds me how mighty and awesome is the God I serve; more powerful than any other force or influence that I will face today.
Our second reading describes the transfer of leadership from Elijah to Elisha to serve as Israel’s prophet. We often speak of handing off the “mantle of leadership” and here we have a quite literal manifestation of that as Elisha picks up Eliah’s cloak as he is taken, by a whirlwind, into heaven.
As I reflect upon this reading, it occurs to me that it would be interesting to do a study of the lives of these two individuals. One question I have is, “Why are some of the prophets given a written platform in which to express and document the events of their lives whereas these two prominent prophets are not afforded that vehicle?” If you are reading these reflections and would like to leave your comments, I would be happy to consider them.
Frank Mead writes an interesting summary of the lives of these two prophets. He says of Elijah, “… Casting his mantle to Elisha, he ascended into heaven in a chariot of flame. He left as he had come, as he had lived, in a whirlwind of heavenly fire. He came back, at the transfiguration of the our Lord. He stood alone. He outwitted Jezebel and her priests. He destroyed Baal-worship, punished the apostate kings who introduced it, made Israel cry again, ‘Jehovah, He is God.’” He says of Elisha, “Miracles without number are credited to him…. But the miracles were the least of his spiritual works. He anticipated more than Elijah, the spirit of Jesus Christ. Elijah was wrapped in tempest, Elisha in an aura of profoundest spiritual truth. He was God’s lighthouse, steady and bright against a gray, carefree Court. In the darkest days, when doom was certain, he was still witness for truth and righteousness.” (Who’s Who in the Bible, pp. 122-123).
Our third reading recounts Zechariah’s final vision. He saw four chariots pulled by four horses of different colors. Chariots were symbolic of military power in ancient times and represent God’s power ruling over all the earth. Following this vision, Zechariah is told to have a crown made and to set it on the head of Joshua the high priest. He is also instructed to tell Joshua about “the Branch.” The prophecy’s message is that the Davidic monarchy and the Levitical priesthood will continue intertwined the one with the other.
Our fourth reading contains instructions of how to handle suffering, cheerfulness, and sickness. Prayer, singing of praises, and going to the elders of the church as a resource are all recommended. We are also urged to confess our sins to one another, to pray for one another and to do what we can to “bring back” a brother who has “wandered from the truth.”
All of today’s readings can help me formulate a strategy as I begin my day. Help me, O Lord, to appreciate how your inspired word, open before me this morning, can be a “schoolmaster” to teach me. I can learn from it how to deal with the uncertainties and brevity of life. I can learn from it how to deal with people I love when they let me down. I can learn from it how to deal with Satan when he throws his fiery darts at me from every imaginable angle. I can learn from it how to safeguard my kids before I send them out into the world. I can learn from it how to keep my relationship with my wife strong and how to be the husband and father you want me to be.
Thanks for reading with me and have a blessed day, dear friend! –Randy Sexton