Evening Devotion for October 9, 2019
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
I will kindle my fire this morning in the presence of the holy angels of heaven; Without malice, without jealousy, without envy, without fear; without terror of any one under the sun, but the Holy Son of God to shield me.
God, kindle thou in my heart within a flame of love to my neighbour, to my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all; To the brave, to the coward, to the man in the street, O Son of the loveliest Mary, from the lowliest thing that lives to the Name that is highest of all. In the name of Christ, I pray.
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the day and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming day, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
For Increase in Wisdom
But also, I pray that my mind might be open and that I may always have an attitude of seeking and learning, for I realize that on many matters I might be wrong and not know it; or there may be wisdom that I do not even realize exists, awaiting discovery, as I live and grow in my walk with you. Give me grace through your Holy Spirit always to seek wisdom, to admit where I have been mistaken, even in attitudes I have held my entire life. Make me fresh every day in your word, Holy God; and let the light of your wisdom shine throughout the world, that we all might grow in our knowledge and love of you, throughout our lives.
God of mercy, swift to help: as my lips pour forth your praise, fill my heart with the peace you give to those who wait for your salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Psalm 71:1-2 (NKJV)
In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.
Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.
2 Kings 2:9-15 (ESV)
The Ascension of Elijah (Part 2)
hen they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.”
And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.
Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.
Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.
Notes on the Scripture
Luke, the only author who recorded Christ’s ascension in any detail (Luke 24:50-53), pointed out several parallels to the ascension of Elijah. And there are a number of other similarities in their lives. In the first place, of course, is the simple fact that they are they two people in the Bible who ascended to heaven, both in the view of their closest followers. This isn’t a trick of translation, as the phrasing and diction of the Greek is similar.
Both passages expect that the work of the ascender will be continued by those who witness the ascension. Luke is very intentional in bringing to our mind the ascension of Elijah, by the way he pictures and words the ascension of Jesus to that of the disciples. This is not the end of either Elijah’s or Christ’s ministry, but rather the beginning of another chapter -- in Elijah’s, actually, a chapter that will end with the coming of the Messiah.
Elisha’s request for a “double portion” of Elijah’s Spirit had a more sensible meaning at the time. A father’s estate would be divided equally among his heirs, except that the eldest son would receive double. So, in effect, Elisha is asking to be treated as the principal heir of Elijah’s ministry.
This is why Elijah calls Elisha’s request “a difficult thing.” It is not difficult to accomplish; rather, it will be a burden to Elisha, because he is essentially offering to devote the entirety of his life to continuing Elijah’s ministry, just as the disciples would live the rest of their lives spreading the Gospel of Christ.