Day 49: 2 Kings 2:1-15a
When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind,Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.
The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?” “Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.” Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.
The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?” “Yes, I know,” he replied, “so be quiet.” Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on.
Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?” “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”
As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.
Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over. The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.
Jesus was quite clear with his disciples about his soon-coming departure. On the night of Jesus’ betrayal, his disciples joined him in the garden for prayer. Jesus only asked for them to stay awake and keep watch. The disciples, in their weakness, found themselves asleep instead of paying attention.
This is not the image we find in 2 Kings and the story of Elijah’s departure. Everyone in the story knew about the approaching departure of Elijah. Elisha, the apprentice to the great prophet, knew this as well, and he was not going to leave the side of his teacher and mentor.
The calling of Elisha, a wealthy farmer, resembles the calling of the disciples (1 Kings 19:19). Elisha immediately left everything to take up the role of following Elijah. So here, in the last days of Elijah, we find Elisha remaining near to Elijah, refusing to depart from his side. Elisha’s only request was a double portion of the Spirit of the Lord. The only requirement is that Elisha would remain and stay at watch up until the hour of Elijah’s departure.
Elisha was faithful to keeping near and watchful with his teacher.
As I contemplate the comparison of Elisha with the disciples in this time of Pentecost, I also desire to have a ‘double portion’ of God’s presence in my life. However, am I surrendering everything to follow Jesus? Am I remaining in his presence, eagerly expecting the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life? Or am I, like the disciples, asleep in the garden?
Phil Starr | Student Ministry Pastor