Refusing To Stay Behind

The time had come for the Lord to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal, and Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord is sending me on to Bethel.”

But Elisha replied, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said, “Do you know that the Lord will take your master away from you today?”

He said, “Yes, I know. Be quiet.”

Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here; the Lord is sending me to Jericho.”

But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.

Then the sons of the prophets who were in Jericho came up to Elisha and said, “Do you know that the Lord will take your master away from you today?”

He said, “Yes, I know. Be quiet.”

Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the Lord is sending me to the Jordan.”

But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on.

Fifty men from the sons of the prophets came and stood observing them at a distance while the two of them stood by the Jordan. Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water, which parted to the right and left. Then the two of them crossed over on dry ground. When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken from you.”

So Elisha answered, “Please, let me inherit two shares of your spirit.”

Elijah replied, “You have asked for something difficult. If you see me being taken from you, you will have it. If not, you won’t.”

As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire with horses of fire suddenly appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went up into heaven in the whirlwind. As Elisha watched, he kept crying out, “My father, my father, the chariots and horsemen of Israel!”

2 Kings 2:1-12a

You have to admire the persistence of Elisha. Everyone knew that Elijah was not going to be on the earth much longer, including Elisha. Elijah kept trying to give him excuses to stay behind as he went to this next destination. Each time Elisha insisted that he would not leave Elijah’s side. He wanted every last minute with Elijah.

As Elijah knew the time was getting close for him to leave, he asked Elisha if there was any last thing he could do for him. Elisha’s request was bold. He wanted to receive a double portion of the spirit that Elijah had. This was a bold request by Elisha (it may even sound presumptuous), but he knew that if he was going to continue the mission of Elijah in such an evil time he needed to know that the Holy Spirit would be with him in a strong way as well.

We can learn from the persistence of Elisha. He didn’t give up easily and we shouldn’t either. We live in a time with a lot of chaos, confusion, and corruption. We need to be persistent in seeking the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives in order to live out the mission of Jesus in our day. When others may tempt us with the opportunity to just stay back we need to respond, “As the Lord lives, I will not leave.”

  • How can persistence assist you in your pursuit of the mission of Jesus this week?

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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