“From the rising of the sun to where it sets,
God, the Lord God, speaks,
calling out to the earth.”
—Psalm 50:1 [CEB]
God has never stopped calling out to the earth. Even after humanity’s exile from Eden, God has continually sought humanity.
There are unique stories in the Scriptures for certain unique people. Elijah was one of them. He had done many miraculous things under God’s auspices. Even his exit from this mortal coil was a miraculous event.
While we often get “caught up” with Elijah’s being whisked away, it is all that is happening with Elisha that should, perhaps, catch our attention. If you read the story well, you can see that God had let Elijah and Elisha know that “today” was the day.
Then to make it undeniable, some other prophets were also told (based upon the phrasing, separately from Elijah and Elisha), and they told Elisha. This story may really be less about Elijah than about Elisha. Despite the miraculous, Elijah seems more of the forefather character, rather than the main character.
When Elisha asks for a double portion of the spirit, he is requesting to become Elijah’s inheritor. As Elijah’s “inheritance” is God-imbued and not that of man, it’s hard for Elijah to make that decision. As the story progresses, it becomes abundantly clear that this story is about Elisha’s inheritance from Elijah.
It may seem that God is not calling out or seeking, yet there is plenty of God moving both from telling Elijah and Elisha that the day is here, to a number of other prophets who also hear the same thing. We are often blind to God moving because we have expectations of how God is to move. We can see this in our Sunday Services with the varying traditions from church to church, from Pentecostal to Eastern Orthodox. We box-in the movement of God…God will break out.
Much of Jesus’ ministry was God breaking out of the box that Jewish worship had turned into. The trip up the mountain turned into another “break out” moment.
For the 3 disciples, they had their own “Moses” moment. Instead of a burning bush, they were next to a cloud filled with God’s glory. It might have even reminded them of the story of God’s glory filling the Tent of Meeting in the time between leaving Egypt and entering the Promised Land. It might have reminded them of the story of God’s glory filling the (at the time, newly consecrated) Temple after Solomon’s opening prayer.
The 3 disciples had plenty that they could associate with this experience. While we might consider them naive in their response, at the same time, they understood that this was not the “same old” experience. They were blessed to “pierce through” the veil, as Paul calls the “gap” between God and humanity’s perception of God.
“…He is the same one who shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.” — 2 Corinthians 4:6 [CEB]
- When are you guilty of “putting God in a box”?
- What is (or would be) your response were someone to say to you, “God does not move that way”? Have you ever said something similar to someone else?
Lord, may we be ready and willing to meet you where you choose to meet us. Amen.