Through the Bible in a Year – July 28

The scheme for July and August can be found here

2 Ki 1-3; Acts 12:1- 13:12; Psalm 109

Yesterday we considered how the praying the Psalms not only places us before God in a way that perhaps no other portion of scripture can. What is more we thought of  how they freed us from our obsession with ourselves, most especially if we pray them sequentially as the tradition has taught us these past 200 years.

Today we read of the succession of Elijah by Elisha. The two form an interesting pair and comparing them one can see how Jesus is understood as the one who is preceded by Elijah, in the person of John the Baptist.

Elisha is determined to followed his mentor, but his request is a bold one – ‘a double portion of your spirit’. We pray for many many things, how much do our prayers echo this prayer of Elisha, so powerfully and vividly answered?

Jesus teaches us that without Him we can do nothing. Although we tend to think of this in terms of his presence, alongside, encouraging etc. we should I think think of it more in terms of his Life, his Spirit. In John’s gospel Jesus declares that those who follow him will do greater things (cf the words of the Baptist re Jesus) – perhaps we might learn from Elisha’s hunger for the Spirit?

However, before we do, we would do well to consider that which we ask for. Once more, one will search in vain for paintings of Elijah’s ascent from earlier generations. It is only our modern world which thinks it a small thing to represent those things that angels shield their eyes from.

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