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The Jordan River, the Place of Departure

He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan.
–2 Kings 2:13

In 2 Kings 2, Elijah knew his life on earth was coming to an end, so he took his protégé Elisha to places that represented his legacy. After visiting Gilgal, Bethel, and Jericho, Elijah took Elisha to the Jordan River, which represented the place of departure for Elijah.

In verse 6, “Elijah said to him, ‘Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ And he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on.” The Jordan is the place where God would catch Elijah up into the whirlwind and he would go to heaven. Let’s look at the account of Elijah’s departure in 2 Kings 2:8: “Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.” Just as their ancestors had done, they walked on dry ground across the Jordan River. After they crossed over the river, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” Elisha responded, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me” (v. 9). Elisha was referring to an Israelite inheritance law that said the firstborn should receive a double portion of the father’s estate. By asking for a double portion of God’s Spirit, Elisha was saying he wanted to be Elijah’s spiritual firstborn. Elijah explained to Elisha that ultimately it was God’s decision, and the way he would know whether he was Elijah’s successor is if he saw Elijah when he was translated to heaven. Let’s look at what happened next: “As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. Elisha saw it and cried out, ‘My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces” (vv. 11-12). That’s a sign of the normal grief for any believer. As Elijah was being translated into heaven, his cloak fell down. So Elisha “took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters” (v. 14). The water was divided, and Elisha crossed over. That was a sign that this mantle now belonged to Elisha, and he would be the new prophet of God.

Preparing a legacy that lasts requires preparing those we are going to leave behind. One of the most important things you can do to make sure you have a legacy that lasts is to prepare those you’re going to leave behind for your inevitable day of departure. You may not know exactly when it’s going to be, but you know it’s going to be, so prepare them for it. How do we prepare those we leave behind for our departure? Make sure you can tell them with certainty you’re going to a better place. And be sure you recount to them the circumstances that led to your trusting in Jesus as your Savior. That’s the greatest legacy you can leave behind. Impress upon them what really matters in life. That is part of leaving a lasting legacy.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Secret #7: Living with the End in Mind” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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