The Fiery Chariot
Today we’ll consider the end of Elijah’s earthly life. As far as we know, no one in the history of the world experienced what Elijah did at the end of his life. In perhaps what was one of the most spectacular events ever recorded in Scripture, a fiery chariot driven by fiery horses descends out of heaven to accompany Elijah to heaven. I think this special event shows that Elijah really was a unique person. No one else in the Bible receives this kind of supernatural exit from this world.
Earlier in the text (1 Kings 19:19-21), we find that God had instructed Elijah to select Elisha to be his successor. Elijah found Elisha and threw his mantle on him. Elisha accepted the challenge and began traveling with Elijah. From that point, Elijah began a mentoring relationship that would result in Elisha stepping into Elijah’s prophetic office.
Today’s text shows us how the transition of power from Elijah to Elisha happened. And it also shows us some important things about qualities we should look for in leaders. Elisha took over as the main prophet of God to the northern kingdom. He was also apparently involved in preparing the “sons of the prophets,” perhaps something like a seminary for those pursuing prophetic ministry. So Elisha is taking on a fairly heavy set of responsibilities, and it was important for him to have the spiritual qualities necessary to fulfill that task.
What kind of person is qualified for spiritual leadership? What qualities should we look for in our spiritual leaders? Today’s text reveals some qualities that we see in Elisha that all spiritual leaders should possess. These are qualities that all sincere believers should possess.
Today I’ll be talking mostly about the qualities we see in Elisha, and these qualities are found in a description of the end of Elijah’s ministry and earthly life. We’ll be learning about the final days of Elijah and the transition to Elisha’s ministry. So we’re looking at both the end of Elijah’s ministry and the character qualities necessary for spiritual leaders that we see in Elisha. All of us should aspire to them.
Let’s consider then the leadership qualities we see in Elisha as we read about the end of Elijah’s earthly ministry.