“Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak over him. Elisha deserted the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please! Let me kiss my father and mother good-bye—then I’ll follow you.” “Go ahead,” said Elijah, “but, mind you, don’t forget what I’ve just done to you.” So Elisha left; he took his yoke of oxen and butchered them. He made a fire with the plow and tackle and then boiled the meat—a true farewell meal for the family. Then he left and followed Elijah, becoming his right-hand man” (2 Kings 2:19-21, MSG).
Elisha was out in the fields, plowing the ground. He was doing his job, minding his own business. It is unlikely he had any idea that the recognized Prophet of the land of Israel would pass his way, or name him as his successor.
It had nothing to do with dumb-luck and it wasn’t fate. It had everything to do with Elisha’s attitude; his commitment to faithfully serve. The Bible says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9, ESV). The eyes of the Lord are watching us. He’s looking for faithfulness.
Jesus said, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things” (Matthew 25:21, NKJV). While this has an eternal, future application, the principle is clear: when you serve faithfully in small ways, God will promote you along the way. This is what happened to Elisha.
“And it came to pass, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” (2 Kings 2:1-2, NKJV)
Elijah asked Elisha to leave his side three times, so he could continue on. Some may have thought this was a reasonable request. After all, Elisha knew Elijah would soon be taken away from him. It wouldn’t have been unreasonable to think, “I guess I better look for another job. Elijah is about to go away and leave me with nothing.” But Elisha was looking with eyes of faith.
Elisha was committed to remain with Elijah for as long as he remained the prophet of God. In every town they passed through, there was a school of the prophets. Each time Elisha was asked, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent!” (2 Kings 2:5,9, NKJV).
Elisha knew the Lord would take Elijah away and he knew he would take Elijah’s place – the mantle had been placed on his shoulders. Elisha’s concern was that he served Elijah faithfully. This kind of attitude cannot escape God!
When Elijah was taken away before Elisha’s eyes, a double-portion of his anointing was given to him. God rewards faithfulness. If you have been faithfully serving, keep your eyes on Jesus, you are being set up for a promotion.
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Rob Granger is Senior Pastor of Faith Harbor Church, a non-denominational church that meets at 10 a.m. Sundays in the Escondido Columbus Hall, 515 W. Valley Parkway. His wife, Becky, serves as Co-Pastor. Videos of Pastor Rob’s sermons can be seen on YouTube by typing faith harbor church escondido ca in the YouTube search box. Visit fhcescondido.com for information about Faith Harbor Church.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.