The Great Omission

Recently, I was reading in II Kings.  The prophet, Elijah, was appointed not to die, but rather to be taken up to God in a whirlwind.

Wow.  The God of all that was, all that is, and all that will ever be chose to bring a man to His glory without his having to pass through the threshold of death.  Such an honor.  Such an endorsement.  Such a thing to ponder.

I began to contemplate the implications of the account, wondering what possible applications might be gleaned for today’s believers.  I mean, this is a pretty significant thing.  Not to physically die.

We know that, as children of God, we are given eternal life.  So, although dying may be unpleasant, the aftermath of death is not.  So why not simply allow Elijah to pass into eternity in his sleep?  Like many old men before him, and like countless old men since?  Why make such a production of it?

I do not count myself a theologian, but I do consider myself a student of the Word.  Every disciple of the living God—every joint heir with Christ—should be such.  And even though I may not have the most well-rounded and polished answers, I do have some thoughts I’d like to share.  Keep in mind as you read them, that I am, like you, a finite being.

That said, I think that God may have done things as He did for several reasons.

I believe God wanted to honor Elijah.  I think that God wanted to lift up Elijah’s steadfastness among a contrary nation, and before a watching Elisha.

I imagine that, although Elisha’s heart was heavy at the impending departure of his mentor, the victory proclaimed in the nature of the departure would infuse Elisha with a resolve which may otherwise have been lessened.  It wasn’t until the final moments before Elijah was taken up in the whirlwind that Elisha made his request—to be endowed with a double portion of his master’s spirit.  That request would be granted, but only if Elisha was able to witness the translation.  Which, as we know, he did.  So, Elisha’s witnessing of the event was of importance.  And his faithfulness, both to God and to Elijah, was rewarded.

Thirdly, and I believe that this both encompasses and surpasses the other two possible reasons, it simply pleased God to do so.  That’s it.  God is in charge, and His way is the best way.

But all this brings me to what, really, became the most soul-pricking notion of all.

Why would God take Elijah—a willing, faithful, constant voice of reason to the Israelites—out of the scenario?  I mean, when it all comes down to it, why remove one of the few Truth speakers—the prophet—from the picture?  At such a time in history?  Right then?  As I already conceded, it pleased God to do so, but why?

At first, I concluded that it was because God had given the Israelites over to their sins for a season, and so it was a good time to transition to Elisha’s inauguration as the next prophet.  And, while this may hold water, I soon decided that there might be more to it than that.  After all, this ebbing and flowing of faithfulness by Israel as a nation had been going on long before this time, and would continue for a long time after.

So, what was it?

And then it hit me.  What if I was asking the wrong question?

Here I am, wondering why God would bring away a man so dedicated to the accomplishing of His perfect will, when instead I should consider the reason for our time on this earth to begin with.  What if the better question were this:  What is our real purpose?  Why are we here?

My gut response is to say that we are here to bring glory to God.  Okay.  But let’s go deeper.

I let the new question float for some time, until the answer fell like a thud against my soul.  Such a simple, obvious answer, and yet I’d missed the significance of it for so very long.

Elijah’s translation to Heaven was more than merely a reward.  It was more than God bringing Himself glory.  It was, rather, a beautiful relationship—a connection beyond mere friendship or even lordship.  It was a God-spoken declaration of the kind of intimacy with Himself that is available to every one of His children.  It was and is a picture of all He wants to fulfill in and through us, if we will only allow Him full reign of our lives.  Of our souls.

So as my thoughts continue along this vein, I’m convicted.  Here I’ve always believed that The Great Commission was our number one calling.  I still do.  For that, obviously, would bring glory to our Triune God.  But what if that’s more of a side-effect of our main purpose?  What if that, in its truest and most pure sense, is only possible if a greater truth is embraced by His children?

What if our number one purpose is to be living in ever-closer communion with the God of our salvation?  What if, in all our finite striving to evangelize a lost and dying world, our witness has been devoid of the level of intimacy our Heavenly Father desires from His creation?  What if we’ve omitted the most important part of communion with our Creator?

I just think it’s something to think about.




2 Responses to The Great Omission

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Recent Comments
Kelly L. Ward's books on Goodreads
The Crimson Purpose: The Calling of Casey Evand The Crimson Purpose: The Calling of Casey Evand
reviews: 1
ratings: 4 (avg rating 5.00)