In this passage, we get to see the relationship between Elijah and Elisha in the time right before Elijah is taken up to heaven. Three times, Elijah tells Elisha that the Lord is sending him somewhere else and that Elisha needs to stay. And every time, Elisha says, "I will not leave you." Elisha knows that the Lord will soon take Elijah, but he chooses to stay with him until the very end.
When they get to the Jordan, Elijah asks Elisha what he wants before the Lord takes him away, and Elisha asks for a double portion of the spirit that Elijah has received, and since Elisha stays until the very end, he receives what he asked for, as he is able to split the Jordan River just as Elijah just did.
This story shows us a great model of how discipleship should be. Elisha followed Elijah because he did incredible things in the name of the Lord. Elisha got to learn much from Elijah, and Elijah made sure to teach Elisha much. But in this story, we get to see the type of loyalty that Elisha had.
In three different places, prophets told Elisha that his master would soon be taken, and he did not waiver. Elisha followed Elijah no matter what. It is very apparent that Elisha loved Elijah, but at the end of Elijah's time on earth, we get to see that Elisha had an even greater loyalty. When Elijah asks what he shall do for Elisha before he is taken, Elisha asks for a double portion of his spirit.
Elijah might be the most anointed person in the old testament, and Elisha wants double of his spirit! Elijah acknowledges that it is a difficult request, but that if Elisha stays until the end, it will be granted. And of course, Elisha see Elijah being taken up into heaven, and he receives the same anointing that Elijah had. So we get to see that even though Elisha was a disciple of Elijah, his allegiance was to the Lord.
Elisha doesn't ask for wealth, or wisdom, or even for more time with Elijah. He asks for more of the Spirit of God.
This is how we are to approach discipleship. There is a common saying about people we look up to, "If only I was half the man he was..." But what if we lived like Elisha did: "I don't want to be half of what Elijah was. I want double of what he had." So as we learn from pastors and mentors and small group leaders and disciplers, we are to follow the example of Elisha. Let us get as much as we possibly can out of discipleship, and let us ask for more and more of God.
Thank you that you have given us many examples in the Bible and in our lives of people who love you. Thank you that it is your desire for mature believers to teach and mentor new believers. I ask that you would give us the desire to know you and to get as much of you as possible in the areas that we are taught and mentored. We are grateful for the wise people in our lives, but would you give us the grace to worship you and not them. Would you give us the boldness to ask for a double portion of your spirit? We just want more of you, God. Amen.
Author | Hunter MacInnis