Ok, I’m sure you’re wondering how far with me. Two blog posts in two days??? Well, I’m on a roll baby! Some weeks are just bleh/dry/nothing to report mode. Not this one hehehe.
Today, I was browsing through my blue old rugged Bible and I dwelt on the whole Elisha/Elijah/Double portion and decided to do some blogging on it. So here we go…
I find the story in 2 Kings 2: 1-15 very interesting. It has so many themes running through it ranging from perseverance, determination, love to victory. I’ve decided to blog about it today to share my thoughts and also see what you think of it.
The story is about the home going of Elijah, one of the greatest men in the Bible (whenever you hear the prayers like ‘by fire, God that answers by FIRE!!!’ or ravens bring someone their best food just remember Elijah).
I think of him as a no nonsense man. He was never smiling when it came to doing God’s business and he never spared the enemy. No matter how seemingly outrageous/wicked/harsh his request were, God ALWAYS honoured it. Hence, my resolve to be careful with men of God. I know no baseless curse will stand etc but please, it’s not on my body that the experiment would be performed. I don’t want to try any man of God before he commands leprosy on someone. Anyways, I digress.
Elijah had been mightily used of God but it was time for him to pass on the baton to a new generation. Elisha was hungry for power from God and he was willing to follow this hunger to fruition. He was ready to pay the price for the prize.
In verse 1, we see how Elisha went along with Elijah. In verse 2, despite Elijah’s plea/admonition for him to stay back, his mind was made up. This reminds me of the whole Ruth (Abokoku) and Naomi situation. This shows that a strong resolve usually gets God’s attention. Anyone can wish upon a star, hope, dream, even pray once in a while. However, when the time arises to separate the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys, the unserious from the determined, one’s resolve is what matters.
How willing are we to go along with the Master? From the Word, it is not evident that Elisha was after the whole double portion from the onset. He could simply have followed on due to the deep love he had for his master, Elijah. This is my guess.
Elijah was moved by the level of faithfulness and commitment demonstrated by Elisha that he just had to give him a parting gift. He could not bear to see such staunch loyalty go unrewarded. Therefore, the request in verse 9 was simply a fringe benefit of Elijah’s devotion.
It would interest you to know that God had already selected Elisha as Elijah’s replacement in 1 Kings 19: 16: Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. However, as His Word says in Hebrews 11:6 , He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
In those days, by law, firstborn children received a double portion of their fathers’ estates, Deuteronomy 21:17: But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his and in verse 12, Elisha called Elijah, ‘My father, my father‘. He was therefore in verse 9 only asking for his rightful inheritance as a first born! When then did Elijah consider his request to be a ‘hard thing’ (verse 10)? I believe it is because it was beyond Elijah’s jurisdiction (power for the lay people ie non-lawyers hehehe) to grant such a request of anointing. Only God can anoint, raise up a prophet and give positions of power and influence.
At a first glance, Elisha’s request seemed selfish, ambitious and proud but the truth is that it is most humble in nature. He understood the fact that Israel was in dire need of a man of God who would deliver the Word of God and do His will. He also appreciated the fact that if he was to be that person, he, of himself, was unable to do it as he did not possess such power. He was not asking for power, wealth, position etc. He was simply asking to be led by the Spirit of God, to be a son of God (Romans 8:14).
The condition in verse 10 was for him to remain faithful to the very end. It is this same power of the Holy Ghost that we need today. We have to understand that we are unable to operate in the machinery of human wisdom and power.
AW Tozer commented that without the ministry of the Holy Spirit, 95% of what the early church did would have been impossible (make that 100%). Sadly he noted that if the Spirit were removed today, 95% of what we do in the modern church would continue unabated!!!(Tozer and Synder, 2009).
We need the infilling of the Holy Spirit but are we willing to follow our Elijah from Gilgal to Bethel to Jericho past the mocking prophet to Jordan through the sea and see him taken up? We need to experience God, not just have stories fed to us from the pulpit of others’ experiences.
When we pay the price, others will know that indeed there is a difference just as the prophets’ sons knew that there was a difference on Elijah without him having to utter a word. They even rightly identified that it was indeed the spirit of Elijah resting on him. No need to speak much, if you’ve been through fire, people will smell the flames.
I pray that God will help us to identify our Elijahs (be they actual people or situations) and remain faithful to the end through the help of His Spirit in order to obtain the double portion.
I found a lovely video about the Elijah/Elisha story by George Bloomer…
Days of Elijah ( love this version by Paul Wilbur)
Lovely song of thanks to God even as we reflect on His mercy and grace from January to this day
That’s all folks (for now)