Thursday, March 1, 2018

Elisha's Choice

"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" (2 Kings 2:9).

When it came time for Elijah to be taken into heaven, he took his servant Elisha with him to the river. They crossed the Jordan, and Elijah asked Elisha what parting gift he would like to have from him. Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.

Why did he ask this? Was it Elisha’s ambition to be twice as great as Elijah? Did he want to outstrip his master? I think not. Rather, I think Elisha was saying this: “If I’m going to inherit responsibility for your work, I’m going to need twice as much spiritual help because I’m not worthy to fill your shoes.” Elisha’s request shows his humility before the great task he was going to perform.

Elijah replied that it was up to God and that if Elisha saw Elijah’s translation into heaven, he could be assured that he had been given the double portion of the Spirit. And so it was. The glory-chariot of God Himself came down from heaven and carried Elijah away, and Elisha saw it. Elisha tore his garment in half. This was an expression of grief, but it was also something more because after ripping apart his old cloak, he picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah. Elijah’s mantle was the symbol of the prophetic office. There must have been a moment of decision for Elisha that was dramatic. Shall I pick it up? Dare I pick it up? Will I be able to bear the weight of this robe?

Elisha had to decide whether or not to accept this role. He could have walked away from it. But he didn’t. He picked up the task God had left him. This was an act not of arrogance but of surrender to God’s will. By picking up that mantle he invited the rejection and scorn of his own people. He took upon himself the same kind of loneliness and suffering Elijah had encountered.

It is not Elijah’s robe that we are called to pick up, but the cross of Jesus Christ. Have you taken it up? Rest assured that with the coming of the Holy Spirit, you have access to that same double portion of what was given to Elijah. Jesus’ cross must be taken up day by day. What is your decision today?