74 Chariot of fire

Make this be Obadiah’s POV. He follows like a stranger, respectful, curious.


Gilgal, Samaria, Israel, 7?? BC

2 Kings 2

“How many years since I tossed my cloak over your shoulders at Dancing Meadows?”

“Hmm! Ahab was still king. You were hiding from Jezebel. Seems like you and Nathan were returning from the desert.”

“Maybe twenty years or more, eh? So why don’t you stay here in Gilgal today, Elisha, since the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”

“Today, Elijah ─ as long as the Lord and I are both alive ─ today I’m not leaving your side.”

As they approached Bethel, a few friends came out to meet Elisha. “Did you know today the Lord will take…?”

“Hush. I know.”

Elijah ignored the others. “God wants me to go to Jericho. But you can stay with these friends here in Bethel.”

“I’m not leaving you, Elijah.”

This side of Jericho another group came out, and again one sidled up to Elisha. “Do you…?”

Elisha cut him off. “Let’s not talk about it.”

As they strolled through Jericho, Elijah paused. “Look. Here’s a sidewalk cafe. You can relax right here, Elisha, while the Lord sends me on to the River.”

“Forget it, Elijah. I’m not leaving your side.”

As the two approached the Jordan, a crowd stood back and watched. When Elijah took off his cloak and rolled it up, they shot quick glances at each other. He stroked the cloak down to the water, and they inhaled in unison. And when the water parted, they released. “Ahh!”

The two walked across the riverbed on dry ground, and on the East Bank, Elijah turned. He glanced up at their friends standing over in Jericho and then settled his eyes on Elisha. “It seems I’m not the only one in on God’s plan for today,” he smiled. “So tell me. Before He takes me away, what can I do for you?”

Elisha cocked his head to one side and grinned big. “Do. For me. Ha.”

He looked off at their friends on the other bank. It started to feel like a long time, but then he turned his head. “I would like to be the humble little brother everybody sees when they get up close to you. But I’m so far from that …” He turned his back to the crowd and looked full at Elijah. “Tell me, do you think we could ask God to make me twice as humble, twice as little, twice as soft inside as you are?”

“Hmm. Not an easy thing you ask.” It was Elijah’s turn to look around — over at the friends, down at the ground, and then back at Elisha. “Tell you what. If you’re watching when I’m leaving, the Lord’s going to give you that humbleness, make you that little. But if you’re looking away, He’ll be looking away, too.”

And right then a chariot of fire and horses of fire drove between Elijah and Elisha. “Father! Father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!”

The chariot took Elijah went up in a whirlwind, and his cloak fell. When the horses and chariot and Elijah disappeared, Elisha walked over to Elijah’s cloak. “Well, here goes.”

He tore his own cloak in two and tossed the pieces to one side. Then he picked up Elijah’s and walked back to the river, rolling it up as he went. He raised Elijah’s rolled-up cloak over his head and yelled to his friends watching from Jericho. “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?”

He brought it down, the water parted left and right, and he walked back to the West Bank. His friends crowded around. “Pure Elijah! That was pure Elijah!”

And then came a new idea. “Look, we’ve got a whole gang of guys here in good shape, and we want to go look for Elijah. That chariot might have dropped him off nearby.”

“Forget that!” Elisha declared. But the hikers kept bugging him. “Okay. Go! Knock yourself out. Just go!”

Late that night they straggled back into Jericho. “Nowhere!” they reported. “We looked in every canyon, on every peak half way to Amman. He’s just not out there.”

“Hey, guys! Wha’d I tell ya?”

In Tishbe the next day, Elijah’s the family gathered around his mother, “Yes, Dear. I knew he was leaving us. Elijah told me in the morning.” – what about Milcah and their kids?

“So you knew a chariot of fire was going to grab Elijah away?” Nathan asked.

“No, no. Our boy didn’t seem to know how it would happen. He just knew he was going. I’m sorry now that I couldn’t tell you all.” She reached for Milcah’s hand. “I just couldn’t find the words.”

“I wish … ” Howd said.

“Wish what?” ask Elisheva. The others stared.

“I wish ‘Lijah … I wish it hadn’t been a chariot in the sky! He’s my little brother. We had this … this joke. About him having two feet and … and couldn’t keep his sandals tied, see? And … and I see the way people look when they talk about him going up in the sky like that and … “

“They think he had magical powers?” Elisheva supplied.

Yes. Um … no. No. Not magic. It’s more like the way people seem to think he was … different or something.”

“Different!” Nathan exclaimed. “I’ve heard people say how there was never anything normal about ‘Lijah, and …”

Elisheva stamped her foot. “Normal?! But there’s so much normal about my brother! Lots and lots of normal. He did some powerful deeds, but he … he’s just as normal as …”

This story in the Bible – 2 Kings 2

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