When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 2 King 2:1-2
Elijah leads Elisha on a journey of remembrance and testing.
First they travel to Gilgal. The place where Joshua led the nation of Israel into the promised land. Then they travel to Bethel. This is the place where Jacob encountered God.
Then they go to Jericho where Joshua led the nation in a great victory. It is here that 50 additional prophets begin to follow the activity.
Elijah then leads Elisha to the west bank of the Jordan River. This is one of the nation’s borders and is rich in biblical tradition. This is the river that Moses could not cross and where Joshua led the people to finish what Moses started.
Throughout this journey nothing is said about the places. I believe the places spoke for themselves. No words were needed to describe the importance of the places. Everyone knew about their significance.
Elisha is in a tough spot. He is the one selected to assume Elijah’s position of leadership. Elijah has been training him, but when will he be ready?
Elisha knows this will be a tough spot to fill and asks Elijah for the “GIFT.” Elisha recognizes that a leadership position without God’s spirit will be an empty position of leadership.
Elijah’s success had not been based on his ability but rather his obedience to God. The task before Elisha will be impossible without God’s power and leadership.
Elijah has one more important lesson to impart to Elisha with God’s help because the “GIFT” Elisha seeks is not Elijah’s to give.
Elisha needs to focus on the God of Elijah and not Elijah, the Man of God.
Wise leaders test the commitment of their followers.
John Wesley believed that church membership should include a commitment to Prayer, to be Present, to Give, and to Serve. The church should call all members to accountability.
We should be accountable to one another, accountable to the church, and most important accountable to God.
Opportunities to pray, to be present, to give, to serve and to grow are always available.
They will not be easy.
Are you be faithful to follow wherever you must go? Is this where God has lead you?
A Wise leader tests the commitment of his followers.
Joining is easy, being a committed member is hard. It certainly was not a easy task following Elijah for the day or for the years. This time of testing and service was hard for Elisha.
When was the last time church was hard for you?
When was the last time being a follower of Jesus was difficult?
Tomorrow’s Reading – 2 Kings Chapters 5-8