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8 Elisha(2)

At first hearing it

UKings 2:1-7
Romans 10:13-17
T Through for a while training

 Last time, we have seen the appearance of successor Elisha from TKings Chapter 19. It is an encounter of Elijah and Elisha, and training to Elisha begins before they exchange words each other. And that training will be the necessary for us of the present age.

 Elijah was going to pass by Elisha doing farming in a field. I have told it resembled a event that Jesus was going to pass over on foot by a boat of disciples troubled rowing it for a headwind in the midnight Sea of Galilee last time. It seems like the training of establishment of faith so that disciples must learn Jesus is near them anywhere and anytime, as a person conveying the Gospel. In the busy times of such a present age, we always feel Jesus slightly far-off and not near, though we want to believe Jesus, but He is not the One passed by us. If it is seen so, it will be the reason we do not recognize Jesus and are not going to hear a voice of Jesus. Matthew did not write it that "He intended to pass by them" here, but he rather added it, "Come to me on foot over the sea.". Jesus is our Lord, and He stares at us in any kind of difficult situation and encourages us, and He is the One who is near us, and continues supporting us. As same as to Elisha and disciples, we are taking the same training to be able to continue such faith confession. There is it in Hebrews, "It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?"(12:7).

 It is the second of Elisha, it seems 4-5 years passed, but, Elijah and Elisha does not appear anywhere hiding their figures after Chapter 19 of TKings. Surely training as a prophet of Elisha would continue. And Ahab was wasted, whether the training would be over, their name appears again after the child Ahaziah succeeded to the throne to King.

U To live with God

 I took up this point at the place of Elijah, but, this time, I want to think several about it mainly on Elisha. There is it, "And it came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal."(1). Gilgal was in the central part of Samaria in the mountain, it seems that there was a prophet training school which Elijah taught. Elisha seemed to have been the best disciple of that prophet group which was equal to 100 people, and Elijah took out this disciple for the last training. From Verse 2 to Verse 6, conversation of Elijah and Elisha, and conversation of prophets are repeated as a similar form.

 At first, it is conversation with Elijah and Elisha, and there is it, "And Elijah said to Elisha, 'Stay here please, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.' But Elisha said, 'As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.' So they went down to Bethel."(2) As for this conversation, Bethel changed to Jericho in Verse 4 and in Verse 6 it became Jordan, because there was a delicate difference, such conversation would be repeated among two people many times. I want to think about it, but, why Elijah would say to Elisha, "Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me ..."? It seems that he refused to take Elisha there, but why? It was God oneself who began to catch Elisha, and therefore Elijah trained Elisha strictly. However, this is my imagination, but, while they were living together, deep love grew up among them, and now, Elisha was going to be left one. As the prophet group served Elijah, but this time, they will serve Elisha. However, Elijah had tasted loneliness of a prophet thoroughly. He was regarded as hostility by Ahab and Jezebel, and he escaped to Mt. Sinai because there was no place to stay in Israel. I feel such thought of Elijah who does not want to charge his disciple with such a hardship here.

 He was made to stand in a forked road many times, and, however, Elisha refused to leave Elijah decidedly. "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." Elisha refused to be separated from Elijah and God, so Elijah entrusted Elisha to the hand of God, and took him to the ground Jordan that he would be raised to heaven at last.

V At first hearing it

 And one more, it is from conversation of Elisha with other prophets. It is Verse 1, there is it thus, "And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.". This is witness testimony. Perhaps this record seems not a thing of Elisha but testimony of prophets accompanied halfway. It is there, "Fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite them at a distance," (7), they would see the state that a tornado took Elijah quietly to a distance of the sky, from opposite side of the Jordan. They seem to have been prophets of the prophet groups which there were in Bethel (3) and Jericho (5), not a prophet group under Elijah's guidance of Gilgal.

 When Elijah and Elisha went to Bethel, "then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, 'Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over today?' And he said, 'Yes, I know; be still.'"(3). There is the same conversation in Verse 5 at Jericho, too. Several years ago, many prophets were killed by frenzied Jezebel, and the prophets who survived were dissolved in a group and hid themselves behind various countries, but, after death of Ahab they were gathered again, and began activity of the prophet. There were such prophet groups in various places, and especially, Elijah of Gilgal seems to have been well known. Perhaps the state that Elijah confronted by Ahab, Jezebel and prophets of Baal which Jezebel brought from Phoenicia was conveyed widely, and it was known Elijah was given to the sky on that day, too. Because they have known Elijah came to their town, they came out from the town, or possibly, Elijah may have visited them. But as for successor Elisha, they did not know how much ability he had as a prophet, so they asked "Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?", and their feeling seems to appear in there. Of course Elisha knew it, but, he avoided to become a fuss before Elijah touched it. And a figure of Elisha which waits still for it to be said from Elijah floats there.

 This article would be to testify that Elisha would be a successor of Elijah of whole area in the Israel, not only of a group of Gilgal. The prophets of Bethel and Jericho checked such nature of Elisha. When he must keep silent, he kept silent, it was a posture of faith of the scholar who asks to God. Like the disciples who heard still while surrounding Jesus, we want to prize that posture.