“Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lordlives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know it; keep quiet.’ Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they came to Jericho. The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know it; keep quiet.’ Then Elijah said to him, ‘Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.’ And Elisha said, ‘Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.’” 2 Kings 2:1-6, 8-9
This chapter is poignant to me: Elisha following Elijah his final days, then succeeding him after he is taken to heaven. Elijah, prophet sent by the LORD, journeys to Bethel- place of meeting with God, to Jericho- place of battle and victory against strongholds, to the Jordan- place of crossing to new life, the blessed life, with death to the old self. And Elisha walks the route with him, mulling over (and being repeatedly reminded) that this great mentor will be leaving him soon, revisiting the places of life-altering encounters with God. Then, when dear Elijah asks him to name whatever he wants, he asks for a double portion of his spirit before Elijah’s death. What a touching look into a man of God’s final days, and into the heart of one who would take up the mantle after him. It is the intimate moments with God that have made, and will make, the difference.
This passage offers a rhythm of life for us: meet with God, in worship and dependence; triumph against strongholds and temptations at God’s leading and in His supernatural power; and continually dying to self and proceeding in faith to take possession of His land and life and intentions for us, all adorned and endowed richly with His Spirit.
Lord, may this be my daily pattern, in prayer and planning, at home and work. I am Yours, You are my Prophet, Priest and King. You ordain for me every Bethel, Jericho, and Jordan. May I walk with You, and whether seeing You or not, be cloaked with Your power and countenance for each new step. Amen.