Imitation is said to be the greatest form of flattery.
Today’s Scripture reading comes from 2 Kings 2:14, quoting from the NIV:
“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.”
Elisha’s master had just been whisked away in a “chariot of fire with horses of fire.” Many who witnessed his departure also knew that Elisha was the appointed successor. The same tender, young man who could not follow Elijah until he “kissed his father and mother” goodbye now grieves Elijah’s “home going” by tearing his clothing. His comment “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel” might suggest that young Elisha comprehends the gravity of the post he has inherited. As he strikes the Jordan River with Elijah’s cloak, he asks, “Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” He uses his master’s cloak to demonstrate that his request for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit had been granted him.
Was it arrogance for the young man to ask for a double portion? Apparently, two shares or a double portion was an indicator of legitimate succession. The sons of the Jericho prophets witness this miracle and declare, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.”
Imitation is said to be the greatest form of flattery. What a winsome testimony when a son emulates the godly leadership of his father or a young officer that of a leader of integrity! Elisha had seen in Elijah characteristics worthy of emulation in a nation ruled largely by godless kings. The power of God was strong in the life of Elijah, and Elisha desired the presence of his teacher’s teacher. Striking the ground as he had seen Elijah do, he cried out: “Where now is the LORD?”
When circumstances turn from desirable to undesirable or when the task ahead is greater than one’s resources, it is common to want to know our importance to God and whether He is with us in our labors. We are not all like Elisha, who had a fire of faith blazing in him, emboldening him to ask for a double portion. If, like Elisha, you have made an abrupt life style change to follow God, you may find yourself asking if this is really His plan for you. If you were Elisha striking the Jordan, you might have asked: “Will God be as faithful to me as He was to Elijah?”
Points to Ponder
Over the next week, here are 4 points to ponder during your personal time of reflection or with a small group or mentor.
- First, Elisha knew God was with him. How do you know whether God is with you?
- Second, Elisha asked for a double portion. Is it appropriate to ask God for big things?
Is something burning in you to accomplish for God?
- Third, Elisha had a godly mentor or teacher. Are you going it alone?
- And fourth, Elijah identified a successor to the important work. Whom are you bringing along in faith, profession, or relationships?