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After a long while, Elijah’s work on earth was wrapping up, and God let Elijah know that He was going to take him up to be with Him very soon.
“Elisha,” Elijah said one day, “stay here, because God is sending me to a different town.”
But Elisha said, “No way, I definitely won’t leave you.” So they went to the town and visited some of the men there who served God.
The men pulled Elisha aside and whispered, “You know God’s going to take your master away from you today, right?”
Elisha answered, “I know, I know, but let’s not talk about it.”
“Elisha,” Elijah said again, “stay here, because God is sending me to a different town.”
“Oh, I definitely, positively won’t leave you,” Elisha told Elijah again.
So they went to the next town and the men there who served God also whispered to Elisha, “You know God’s going to take your master away from you today, right?”
“Yes, I know, but I don’t want to talk about it,” Elisha said.
The same thing happened a third time! “Elisha,” said Elijah, “stay here, because God is sending me to the Jordan.”
“Oh, I definitely, positively, absolutely won’t leave you,” Elisha said. So they walked on together.
Why did Elijah tell Elisha to stay behind? And was Elisha being rebellious or disobedient when he said he wouldn’t leave Elijah? No. Elisha could See what God wanted him to do. And he was going to stick with the plan.
Ever since that day he’d gotten Elijah’s coat thrown on him, Elisha had been following after the life of God that he saw in Elijah. He served Elijah. He watched and listened and learned from Elijah. Elisha got to see firsthand what it would be like to take Elijah’s place, to be a voice for God.
Could it be that by telling Elisha to stay behind, Elijah was finding out if Elisha still really wanted this life of God that he had seen in Elijah? Elijah had wicked people hating him and trying to kill him. Did Elisha really want that life, or did he want to go back to his old home and get a new plow and some more oxen? Did Elisha want anything else in life but to be God’s voice, God’s man, God’s worker? Let’s find out.
Finally Elijah and Elisha came to the Jordan River (that big river the people of Israel had crossed with Joshua following God’s Holy Ark so long ago).
Elijah took his coat (the same one he’d thrown on Elisha), folded it up, and hit the water with it! Smack! The water rolled back — Phhht! Dry ground again, baby! Elijah and Elisha walked across the Jordan on dry ground. After they crossed — Whooosh! — the water went back to its place.
Then Elijah asked Elisha, “What can I do for you before I’m taken away?”
Now Elisha could have asked for just about anything. Elijah was the same guy who’d asked God to not let it rain for three and a half years! The same guy who asked for fire to fall from the sky again and again. And now here he was asking Elisha, “What can I do for you?”
This was Elisha’s chance to ask for whatever he wanted the most, most, most.
Are you excited to hear what Elisha asked for? Well, I’m excited to tell you because he asked, “May I have double the Spirit that energizes you — twice as much of God’s Spirit as you have?”
Woooah! That was a pretty bold ask, huh? Elijah was a super powerful, powerful, powerful man of God, who had heard God’s voice and done many powerful miracles. But Elisha loved God so much, that he was willing to look a little crazy so that he could have more, more, more of God.
Have you ever wanted something so much that you wanted DOUBLE of it? Ice cream or candy or a toy? Or a second trip to the zoo or the beach? That’s a double helping! And that’s what Elisha wants of God’s Spirit.
Of course, Elisha had seen what being a true man of God would cost. He knew that double of God’s Spirit might also mean double the work, double the responsibility, and double the enemies. But double of God’s Spirit and Blessing and Life is SO worth it!!! And Elisha knew that.
“Woah, that’s a BIG thing to ask for,” Elijah said. “I tell you what. If you see me when I’m taken away from you, then yes, you will get what you’ve asked for. If you don’t see me, then you won’t get it.”
As they walked along and talked together, suddenly a fiery chariot with fiery horses separated Elijah and Elisha! And that’s not all. Elijah rode up, up, up to Heaven in a big whirling wind.
The wind was strong, the fire bright and hot. But Elisha did not take his eyes off of Elijah. He focused his eyes with all his might. The wind was blowing, blowing hot, bright. He dared not close his eyes. He dared not look away. He dared not even blink.
Elisha cried, “O my father, the chariot and horsemen of Israel!” Elijah, the man with God’s Spirit on him, had been like a whole army for God’s Children. He had been like soldiers and chariots fighting God’s enemies and protecting those who stayed true to God.
Elisha watched, watched, watched until he couldn’t see Elijah anymore.
As Elisha sat crying, he noticed Elijah had dropped something when he went up in that fiery chariot — his coat! Yes, the same one he’d thrown over Elisha so long before. Elisha picked up the coat and went back toward the Jordan river. And when he hit the water with the coat — Phhht! Dry ground, baby!