Those who know they are soon going to heaven should be concerned for those they are leaving behind to carry on God’s service and to leave with them their experiences, testimonies, counsels and prayers.
II Kings 1
1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Beth-el. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el.
3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.
5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.
7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.
8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
9 ¶ And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12 ¶ And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.
15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.
16 ¶ And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send.
17 And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not.
18 And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?
19 ¶ And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren.
20 And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him.
21 And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.
22 So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.
23 ¶ And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
25 And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.
II Kings 1 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Kings 2:1-12 – Fitted to Succeed His Master
We are at a loss whether to admire most the humility of Elijah or the pertinacity of Elisha. The humility of the former is very beautiful. An ordinary man would have blazoned abroad the honor to be conferred upon him. He would have taken care to secure witnesses, that it might not be unrecognized and unknown. Instead of this Elijah sought to be alone, that no eye might see the chariot sent specially from heaven for his conveyance.
But the determination of Elisha is equally beautiful, and only they who stand such tests can behold and inherit the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. At Gilgal, Bethel, and Jericho, Elisha might have stayed his steps at the call of indolence or love of ease; but the divine promptings would not allow him to remain. Do not allow yourself to be put back by apparent rebuffs. The Divine Spirit is only testing your mettle. Be ready with your request when he says: “Ask what I shall do for thee.” But you must have communion with the spirit-world, if you would have the double portion of the eldest son. They two went on; they two stood by Jordan; they two went over on dry ground; they two still went on and talked. Apply that to your intercourse with your Saviour!
2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6—Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee.
Thrice (v. 2, 4, 6) Elijah spoke thus to his friend and disciple, to test him. Perseverance, tenacity of purpose, a refusal to be content with anything short of the best, are indispensable conditions for the attainment of the highest possibilities of experience and service. And perpetually in our life’s discipline these words come back on us, Tarry here! Not that God desires us to tarry, but because He desires each onward step to be the choice and act of our own will.
Tarry here in Consecration.— “You have given so much; is it not time that you refrained from further sacrifices? Ungird your loins, sit down and rest, forbear from this strenuous following after. Spare thyself; this shall not come to thee.”
Tarry here in the Life of Prayer.— “It is waste time to spend so much time at the footstool of God. You have done more than most, desist from further intercession and supplication.”
Tarry here in the attainment of the likeness of Christ.— “It will cost you so much, if all that is not Christlike is to pass away from your life.”
Such voice’s are perpetually speaking to us all. And if we heed them, we are at once shut out of that crossing the Jordan, that rapturous intercourse with heaven, that reception of the double portion of the Spirit, which await those who have successfully stood the test. The law of the Christian life is always Advance; always leaving that which is behind; always reckoning that you have not attained; always following on to know the Lord, growing in grace and in the knowledge of the blessed Savior, and saying to the Spirit of God, as Elisha to Elijah, I will not leave thee.
2 Kings 2:13-25 – Elijah’s Spirit on Elisha
We, too, may have a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, but everything depends on the purity of our hearts. Only the pure in heart can see, and if we can see into the spiritual, it is proof that our hearts are pure enough to become the residence of the Holy Spirit. Had Elisha been unable to see the translation of his friend, his nature would have been shown to be gross and sensual, and how should such a one have God’s supreme gift?
When we receive this power, we must begin to use it at once. Whether we feel possessed of a fresh accession of spiritual dynamic or not, is immaterial. We must reckon that we have received, and must proceed to use; and as we make the attempt, the parting water will prove not only to ourselves, but to others, the reality of our experience. The reception of spiritual power is a quiet, secret act, known only to God and the soul; but the results are manifest to all. Hear these young men talk! Has God ever been known to take up a man and then cast him away on valley or mountain? That is not his way of dealing with those whom he loves and would honor.