2 Kings 2
Elijah has been called “the prophet without a resume” because in 1 Kings 17, he shows up unannounced. We are not provided with previous information about his background, pedigree, previous experience, or calling. He just shows up, announcing to king Ahab that he, as God’s prophet, will be controlling the weather and economy–“No dew or rain during these years, except according to my word (1 Kings 17:1). ” We know nothing about him, except that he is a Tishbite, of Tishbe, which is said to be in Gilead, east of the Jordan River, just north of Jabesh Gilead.
Elijah suddenly appears on the scene in full maturity, mode, and power–there’s no announcement of his approach, no context of his life and beginnings provided us, but he’s simply and suddenly announced as he is already in full sprint as a prophet, speaking to kings to affect and direct the national scene and even the weather itself.
Elijah has a young intern, the soon-to-be prophet, Elisha, whom God is grooming as his replacement. It is Elisha who is the focus of 2 Kings 2, as Elijah is preparing to check out of this world (We all should be doing that).
There are several outstanding realities about Elisha’s life that every Christian should emulate and build into their lives.
1. Unmovable Perseverance – Three times, Elijah was directed to test Elisha remaining with him or going home (vss. 2, 4, and 6) –“Please stay here”, for I am going on to Bethel, Jericho, and the Jordan; in other words, “I am going on to possess something on my own, alone.” It’s as if Elijah is trying to run him off, to get him to give up and not stay the course if its possible. Is it possible to run Elisha off? The going will get tough and the things Elisha will ask and face will be hard and not easy. Can he be deterred now? If he can, then he should be. If he can be made to run away when things are easier, he would surely turn back when things get harder? “Elisha, just stay here and don’t come on with me”, says Elijah.
And all three times, Elisha will not be moved away–“As the Lord lives, I will not leave you.” (vss. 2, 4, and 6). “I am not turning back, I will not be denied, and I will not cease my pursuit of the high calling and the divine reality of what Jehovah has begun with me–no, I’m not turning back, no way, no matter what.” Elisha would not let himself be stopped or turned away by Elijah’s testing him and he would not be distracted by his peers, the sons of the prophets, who more than once tried to distract him (vss. 3 and 5) Elisha has an unmovable perseverance built in his heart by God’s grace and Spirit to press on and lay hold of all God had for him.
Do we? Can we be deterred by anyone or anything from pressing on to lay hold of all that God has for us? If you can be robbed of persevering, you will be. Can you determine in your heart, “I will not be, I will not be moved–I want to be like Elisha and persevere, regardless of the discouragements. O, God, keep me in the way fully to the end.”
2. A Double Portion of the Holy Spirit – This is what Elisha desired and prayed for (2:9-10), a double portion of the Spirit that had saturated Elijah’s own spirit. He wanted nothing less that twice as much as Elijah had. Do we desire such? Do we ever pray, “O, God, you used George Whitefield, George Muller, John Piper, and others, so why not me? I want even more–please give me a double portion. Give me more and more of what they had.” A double portion ought to be our desire and request. This is only obtained in prayer and in the secret place, not in Bible studies, in a seminary, or in an academic setting. And the beginning of such reality and experience is to desire it and seek God for such. Do we desire such great reality?
3. A Supernatural Life and Walk – This is the fruit and result of a double portion of the Spirit; it was what he desired and was promised (2:9-10) A double portion of Elijah’s spirit was the mantle and empowering of the prophet of God that Elisha desired and sought, to function as his mentor and predecessor had done. Elijah was not interested in mediocrity, the status-quo, or doing things in a average way. He wanted and needed the highest, in terms of divine life, reality and power. This is the fruit and result of the Holy Spirit resting upon him increasingly; Elisha’s life cannot be explained in natural terms. The supernatural working of God was all over his life and ministry. Divine reality and divine working was that which marked his life. Do we have a supernaturalness about our lives that can’t be explained in natural terms? As Christians, we should.
Do these realities mark our Christian journey–an unmovable perserverance that won’t be denied–a double portion of the Spirit–and a supernaturalness about our lives that is unmistakable? May God grant it to be true for us, as we seek to walk with Him.
– Mack Tomlinson