“Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal ‘Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel” (2 Kings 2:1-2, ESV).
Yesterday we began our discussion about Elijah and Elisha Leaving Gilgal. We saw that sometimes looking back at where we have come from is a good thing. It’s good to know your roots. But we also saw the danger of just spinning your wheels, and living in your comfort zone.
I mentioned that Gilgal means “a wheel,” and “rolling;” it also means “circle,”and it is the first place that the Israelites made camp after crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land following their 40-year hike in the wilderness. Gilgal represents our salvation, promise, and deliverance.
So many people live their entire lives in Gilgal, they find salvation and deliverance, but never move on to deeper things in God. This is dangerous because salvation without direction leads to religion and ritual.
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18a, KJV). If our faith leads us nowhere, we stagnate.
Elijah’s next words finally reveal where they are going, Bethel. He told Elisha where God had called him next and encouraged him to stay in Gilgal. This was a test of Elisha’s fidelity to his calling. Even those in full-time ministry are not immune to the seductive voice of the comfort zone. We need to make a commitment to grow our faith, and never allow it to become stale.
Gilgal is a starting point; salvation is a starting point. Finding Christ is a worthwhile effort, but God never intended for salvation to be a destination, but rather a new beginning and a life-long adventure with Him. Let’s renew our commitment to mature and mindful discipleship. Let’s put Gilgal in the rearview as we move toward the deeper things of God.
Image by jwvein from Pixabay