The grace, mercy, and peace of Christ Jesus rest upon each and every one of you this day.
“Where is Yahweh, the God of Elijah?” Filled with grief after just witnessing his pastoral father taken from him in a powerful display of heavenly fire and wind, Elisha asks this question as he strikes the face of the Jordan River with Elijah’s stole/mantle. The words no sooner leave his lips and the waters part. He walks across to pick up the ministry where Elijah had left off, walking across on dry land, just like he and Elijah had done minutes earlier. “Where is Yahweh?” God’s answer to Elisha: Right there with Elisha. Right there with the faithful.
And this is good for us to ponder. Elijah may have been no more, but Yahweh remains. Yahweh is still at work. “I am with you always.” Just because Elijah was no more, doesn’t mean that God and His protection and providence was no more. And let’s be very clear: The power of God didn’t reside in that stole. It’s not like Elisha now had the power of Yahweh because he now possessed the stole. This isn’t Lord of the Rings! By means of that stole God Himself was letting Elisha know that He was with him no different than He had been with Elijah. By means of that stole God Himself was letting all the others know that He was with Elisha and them no different than He had been with Elijah and them. That parting of the river was for Elisha and all the other faithful men with him. “I am with you always.”
The reason I say all this is because nothing has changed. In all these centuries, nothing has changed. Our God and Lord continues to make good on His Word. He continues to keep His promise. “I am with you always.” He still sends to us those who wear a stole/mantle, not because they or the stole they wear has magical power, but because the stole points us to and reminds us of the power of God, who is with us by means of His Word; the same Word that spoke all of creation into existence; the same Word that was made flesh, hung on a cross to die, declared victoriously from that cross that “it is finished,” the same Word that rose again, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father; the same Word who continues to dwell with us and bless us and absolve us with His holy peace; His holy Baptism; His holy Body and Blood.
Through the eyes and ears of saving faith, Elisha’s question seems so utterly foolish, doesn’t it? Where is Yahweh? He’s right here! He’s right where He promises to be. He’s right where He tells us to look. And through the eyes of saving faith, which He so freely and graciously gives to us through the working of His Holy Spirit in these, His means of grace, we are able to see and recognize the glory of the Lord dwelling in our midst. And just like those faithful who were with Elisha on that momentous day, we recognize and rejoice over the fact that Yahweh lives and reigns…with us. Like them, we come and bow in humble thanksgiving and reverence, not to mere men or mere elements, but to our almighty God and Lord, who is with us…just like He’s always promised. To Him alone be all glory, praise, and honor. AMEN
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