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2 Kings 2:1-10 - Homiletics

Preparation for our departure from earth.

Abnormal as was the mode of Elijah's departure from the earth, his conduct in prospect of departure may be to some extent a lesson to Christians. Note—

I. HIS RESIGNATION . No murmur escapes him; he shows no unwillingness to depart, no clinging to earth, no fear of removal, no shrinking from entrance on the unseen world. When God determines that the objects with which he has been placed upon the earth are accomplished, and that the Divine purposes will now be best carried out by other agents, he is quite ready to go, satisfied to depart, content that God should do with him as seemeth him good. Occupied with listening intently to the Divine voice which speaks within him, and executing its mandates, he moves from place to place, as ordered, indifferent where he is or what toils he undergoes, so that to the last he may faithfully perform the Divine will.

II. HIS ABSORPTION IN DIVINE CONTEMPLATION AND MEDITATION . The things of earth concern him no more. He moves on in a holy calm, wrapt in pious thought, not even speaking, except in rare snatches, to his attached follower. The unseen world, the coming change, the things of heaven, occupy him. He does not address, perhaps he scarcely sees, the " sons of the prophets," who come forth to take their last look on the great teacher of the day. The time is too solemn a one for greetings, or conversations, or even exhortations. He does not seek to "improve the occasion," as shallower spirits might have done. In silence he goes his way, his mind fixed on God and the things of God—things ineffable, inexpressible—which " eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man" to conceive, but which are revealed in flashes to the soul about to depart, and give it a foretaste of the final " joy of the Lord."

III. HIS CONSIDERATION , DESPITE HIS ABSORPTION , FOR HIS ATTACHED FOLLOWER . Nothing is more common than for persons, in the near prospect of death, to be wholly occupied with themselves, and to have no consideration at all for others—to lose them out of sight, to forget them. Elijah, though wrapt in holy contemplation, is constantly mindful of his follower. Three times he suggests that his attendance is not necessary, and that he should spare himself the toil and trouble of tedious journeys ( 2 Kings 2:2 , 2 Kings 2:4 , 2 Kings 2:6 ). Finally, he invites him to ask whatever boon he pleases, with a replied pledge that, if it be within his power, he will grant it. The boon asked is one not directly in his power to grant; but he does not refuse it on that account. He consults God secretly as to the Divine will with respect to it, and obtains an answer which sustains the spirit of his follower, and makes the moment of his bereavement one also of comfort and triumph to him.

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