Read: II Kings 2:1-14
Reflect: Have you been going through a season of discouragement? As I am writing this, it is pouring outside and seems like a good day to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed. There is way too much to do and I am overwhelmed. However, God has different plans for me today. Plans to encourage a sister who has lost her husband, plans to go to a new job where I’m still learning the ropes, plans to delve deeper into a target group of women I’m ministering to, plans for different writing projects. Even though my bed calls me and asks for an easier route, God calls me to stay steady and do the harder thing.
As you read this passage, please note the determination of Elisha to stay on track, to do “the harder thing”. Though he was on the road with his mentor Elijah, who he deeply revered, Elisha knew that this would be the last journey for them. He also recognized that Elijah’s ministry had been an incredibly difficult one. He remembered that it had been so arduous that shortly before, Elijah had been ready to give up. Yet Elisha kept in step with this man of God, feeling ill-prepared to be Elijah’s successor.
Elisha understood without a question of a doubt how weak he was to walk in the footsteps of Elijah. That’s why he asked for the “double spirit”, the strength to continue the course. This was a request for spiritual power to fulfill the calling he already had received. Elisha knew that if he ministered on his own power, that all would be lost.
As for Elijah, this was the end of a remarkable ministry, one that was in many ways similar to the ministry of Moses. Both Moses and Elijah: were associated with fire upon mountains; met God on Sinai; were chased out of their countries by pagan rulers; knew God’s miraculous provision for food and water; wandered in the desert for a period and fasted for 40 days; were powerful examples of praying men; and they both parted waters. Elisha accepted that he was supposed to follow in the footsteps of both Elijah and Moses, so no wonder Elisha asked for extra power to stay the course.
Apply: Has your path recently been especially difficult? Have you been frightened by the challenges ahead and wanted to pull the covers over your head? Be encouraged, God has not forgotten you. Stay the course like Elisha did and ask God for the power to draw magnificently close to Him. I love the promise and the command for having marvelous power in one’s spiritual life: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8) Jehovah God wants to draw near to you! The great preacher Spurgeon summed up this spiritual journey of Elisha: “Say not, ‘Where is Elijah?’ but ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah?’ Elijah is gone, but his God is not; Elijah has gone away, but Jehovah is present, still.” No matter the circumstances, Jehovah is present, still! Draw near to Him.
I grew up having an Advent Calendar. It was a handmade wall hanging with a green gingham Christmas tree...