Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
2 Kings 2:5-15 describes the shift in Israel from the time of the prophet Elijah to the prophet Elisha. It's easy to focus on some of the more spectacular events around this transition. After all, chariots and horses of fire, a whirlwind to bring Elijah to heaven, it's pretty spectacular.
Before the transition, Elijah has a cloak, which apparently identified him as a prophet, or possibly which was simply associated with him personally in some way. For instance, some people may recognize me by the fact that I often wear a red windbreaker. I've had it for about ten years now. It's almost like it is part of my general appearance.
There seems to be some power of the prophet sound up with the cloak. Elijah rolls it up and strikes the water of the Jordan river. The river parts to let Elijah and Elisha cross. Later, after Elijah has gone, Elisha takes the cloak. He crosses back over the Jordan river just the same way. Is it the cloak? Is it the river obeying the desire of the prophet? Whatever it is, they didn't have to swim.
Possessing this cloak, Elisha is recognized by the other prophets as the one who would naturally come after Elijah. He is the possessor of a double portion of the spirit which was on Elijah.
So often we are intent on getting our way. This often includes a desire for power or glory. Did Elisha have to deal with that? We don't really know. What we do know is that when Elisha had the power of God working in him, he used it for the purpose the Holy Spirit intended. He followed the directions of God. He worked for the good of his neighbor and for the glory of God's kingdom.
When God delivers his powerful means of grace to us, how do we use them? He does this primarily by giving us opportunity to know and understand the Scripture, by giving us practice praying for others, and by helping us give wise and godly counsel. What's his purpose? It's so we can pass along his good news to those around us who need God's words. I can promise anyone that there is help and hope in the power of the Holy Spirit as God's Word is living in them. I can do that with or without my red jacket. The Word of God is our true prophetic mantle.
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