Lessons From Elisha

In 2 Kings, Chapter two, the prophet Elisha is walking along with Elijah — who is soon to be taken up to heaven by a whirlwind — when certain individuals, referred to as, the ‘sons of the prophets’ approach him and ask him if they know that God will take his master (Elijah) from him on this same day. Now that in itself is an interesting statement, for I think it tells us that these ‘sons of the prophets’ knew something — that is, they really did have a connection, of sorts, with God. Nevertheless, it appears that Elisha is somewhat bothered by them, and tells them to “keep quiet!” (“hold your peace” in the King James). We read them asking him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” (2 Kings 2:3,5). In both instances, Elisha answered, “Yes, I know; keep silent!”

Now let’s get a picture, if you will, of these ‘sons of the prophets’ at least insofar as it relates to their interaction with Elisha. Elisha was ‘en route’ with the mighty prophet Elijah, and both Elijah and Elisha knew that Elijah would be taken up to heaven at that point. And Elisha was sticking close to Elijah so as not to ‘miss out’ on what the Lord had for him. Then, along come these ‘sons of the prophets’. What are they doing? They disturb Elisha. They may be good folks, but Elisha has a plan and he wants nothing to come in the way. He knows what is at stake — his entire calling as prophet! God has spoken to him privately, saying, “Fix your eyes on me!” And typical to the call, Elisha gets tested. Is Elisha worth his stuff? Is he worth that “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit that he requests of Elijah? (2 Kings 2:9) The answer is, he is, if he can keep his eyes resolutely focused on God — and that means turning away these prophets, who are coming in ‘right at the very time’ when Elisha doesn’t need to hear from them! Thus, Elisha commands them, saying, “Keep silent!” knowing that absolutely everything is at stake.

Sometimes the Christian life is like that, too. We are commanded by God to keep our eyes focused on him, but, instead, we allow our desire for approval from others to ‘sway’ us into doing what they want. We may even engage ourselves in a conversation, or ‘go along with the guys’ just because we feel it’s the right thing to do, but all the while shunning what God is saying to us. Today, we have to be thankful for a man like Elisha, who knew when to say, “Keep silent!” and when to say “Go!” For God certainly blessed him in the end, and everyone has been speaking about him ever since! Today, let us make it our goal to set our eyes steadfastly on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who, as the Bible says, endured the cross, and scorned its shame. (See Hebrews 12:2)

“So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:12-14)