After Elijah is taken up and Elisha succeeds him as God’s anointed prophet in Israel, we see a strange incident involving Bethel boys and the prophet. Though there was a larger group whom Elisha cursed only 42 were killed by the bears who came out of the woods (2:23-24). Then Elisha went to Mount Carmel before finally returning to Samaria (25). My first thought thought at v.25 was, Why Mt. Carmel.” Then an answer came to me quickly. Though I may be interpreting this in light of my own experience, I think it has some merit for us today.
On my recent sabbatical I had the privilege and very moving opportunity to visit several places where some of my heroes of the faith ministered and were buried—George Whitfield in Newburyport, MA; Jonathan Edwards in Stockbridge and Northampton, MA; David Brainerd in Northampton, MA. Each of these men was used of God in mighty ways far beyond what I will ever come close to doing. Learning of there lives and visiting where they were used was a reminder and a challenge for me as I seek to serve the Lord in the ministry of the Word.
Perhaps Elisha, upon taking the reigns of prophecy from Elijah, simply wanted to revisit the site of Elijah’s greatest triumph to be reminded of how God had greatly used this man of God and be encouraged as he embarked on his ministry. The lesson is strong for us that we should never forget those who have gone before us. We should never be so caught up in the here and now that we don’t learn from the there and then. Godly folks who have gone before us were greatly used of God often in very difficult circumstances. May God help us to be faithful as they were.
Prayer: Father, thank you for men like Whitfield, Edwards and Brainerd. Thank you for the grace and power that was evidenced in their lives for you. Lord, help me to trust you and minister in your grace and power as they did. Use me in this place as you used them in those places.