Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Elijah Taken Up to Heaven - Youth Sunday School Lesson on 2 Kings 2:1-18



Historical Context:  We have seen how, in the course of Elijah’s life, God used him to pronounce a drought on the idol-worshipping country of Israel, how he was miraculously fed by ravens and kept a widow and her son from starving, how he raised that son from the dead, how he gloriously triumphed over the false prophets of Baal, how he anointed kings and prophets, and confronted the wicked rulers.  Elijah has walked with God and has had a full life in His service.  Now, the end of Elijah’s natural life has come and it is time for his apprentice, Elisha, to take over his ministry.  This portion of our history takes place in approximately the year 853 B.C.

Authorship:  The Book of the Kings was written mostly by Jeremiah the prophet during Israel’s exile in Babylon.  It was compiled from the writings of various other prophets and books of history.  It was later edited and completed by subsequent prophets and Levitical (Israel’s) priests.

Read 2 Kings 2 1-18

Elijah” – Hebrew for “The Lord is my God”
“Elisha” – Hebrew for “The Lord saves”

Points of Discussion:

1. “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to ____.”  “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” - Why does Elijah keep telling Elisha to stay behind?  Why does Elisha keep disobeying the command?


2. “The water divided…crossed over on dry ground” – Has this ever happened before?


3. “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit” – What does this mean?


4. “Elijah went up to heaven” – Has anyone else ever been taken to heaven directly like this?


5. “My father!  My father!  The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” – What is Elisha referring to in this exclamation?


6. Elisha “struck the water, it divided…he crossed over” – Moses and Elijah divided waters.  Now Elisha does it.  Does any one know who else has performed this miracle?

7. “Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down” – Why would they think that?


Application:
1. As a person of God, I will be _____________________________________________.


2. My __________________ is my __________________________________________.


3. God _______________________________________________.  All I have to do is

_________________.




My Comments:
1. “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to ____.”  “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.”  Why does Elijah keep telling Elisha to stay behind?  Why does Elisha keep disobeying the command?  Elisha knows what is going to happen.  This is a final test for Elisha.  It is a test of his determination and devotion.  He knows that God is about to do something, but Elijah tries to dissuade him.  As Elisha’s earthly authority, Elijah is placing an obstacle in Elisha’s path to see how committed he is.  Will Elisha let the obstacle stop him or not?  If he goes home, if he loses interest, he might not be the man of determination God needs to take over for Elijah.  People of God need to be people of determination.  We need to deeply want to see God working.  We cannot let any obstacle other than God Himself to get in our way.

2. “The water divided…crossed over on dry ground” – Has this ever happened before?  This miracle of Elijah is reminiscent of Moses’ parting of the Red Sea in Exodus 14.

3. “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit” – What does this mean?  Deuteronomy 21:15-17 mentions giving a double portion of inheritance to firstborn sons.  This simply means that when a man died he divided the inheritance among his male children, but gave twice as much to his oldest son.  In asking for this right of Elijah, Elisha is putting himself in the role of Elijah’s firstborn son.  When a man died, his sons would take over their business and take their father’s place in the community.  Now that Elisha has identified himself as Elijah’s son, he is requesting that he be able to take over for Elijah when Elijah is gone.

4. “Elijah went up to heaven” – has anyone else ever been taken to heaven directly like this?  In Genesis 5:18-24, the account of Enoch tells us that God miraculously took Enoch away, the implication being to heaven. 

5. “My father!  My father!  The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” – What is Elisha referring to in this exclamation?  On first glance we may think that Elisha is referring to the heavenly chariot and horses, but a later use of this phrase in 2 Kings 13:14 in reference to Elisha himself points to another explanation.  Most people would normally think of the chariots and horsemen of Israel in reference to military strength.  Used in reference to Elijah and Elisha, the speaker is saying that the true strength of Israel does not lie in their military but in those who are obedient to God.  It is a contrast between physical, worldly strength and true spiritual strength.

6. Elisha “struck the water, it divided…he crossed over” - Moses and Elijah divided waters.  Now Elisha does it.  Does any one know who else has performed this miracle?  In Joshua 3, Joshua divides the waters of the Jordan.  Joshua, “God Saves”, is peculiarly close to Elisha, “The Lord Saves”.  Now we see the parallel between Moses and Joshua and Elijah and Elisha.  As Joshua took over for Moses, so Elisha takes over for Elijah.  The clues to the parallel are the miracles of the waters divided and the phenomenon of both Moses and Elijah being taken to heaven.

7. “Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down” – Why  would they think that?  In 1 Kings 18:10-12, Obadiah refers to this concept of God picking someone up and putting him down somewhere else.  In Acts 8:36-40, Philip actually is picked up somewhere and dropped off somewhere else.


Application:
1.As a person of God, I will be determined to follow God.

2.My strength is my obedience to God.

3.God speaks to man every day.  All I have to do is listen.

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