And Elisha Saw It
II Kings 2:12 And Elisha saw it…
Intro: This story has always fascinated me. There are several unique incidents that transpire in these few verses.
- Vs. 8 – the waters were divided, and they walked across on dry land.
- Vs. 11 – there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire
- Vs. 12 – Elijah went up by a whirlwind
- Vs. 12 – Elijah escaped the wages of sin; he didn’t die.
- Vs. 14 – Elisha duplicated the miracle of the parting of the Jordan.
There are a couple other unusual things that really stand out.
1. Elijah knew the very day that he would be taken away.
2. Elijah knew HOW he would be taken away, as opposed to dying. – vs. 10
3. Everybody in the world knew he would be taken away. Vs. 1, 3, 5, 7
But what is so intriguing to me is how few people actually saw it happen.
- (Contrast vs. 7 with vs. 12)
Elisha’s request was contingent upon just one thing – IF THOU SEE ME… – vs. 10
Elijah was clear – if you see me when I’m taking from thee, your request will be answered.
But – if you DO NOT SEE ME, it shall not be so.
Elijah realized that being the man God wanted him to be required him to see some things.
Verse 7 tells us that the fifty sons of the prophet, presumably from Jericho, stood to view afar off.
But Elisha’s proximity to the miracle of Elijah’s being taken away was different.
He was there. He witnessed it up close and personal.
Verse 12 says, “AND ELISHA SAW IT…”
It occurred to me when I read that verse that Elisha saw a lot of things the other men didn’t see.
That’s why he happened to be there for that amazing request to be given and answered.
Elisha wasn’t there so he could ask Elijah to fulfill a request; Elijah granted Elisha the request BECAUSE HE WAS THERE.
Elisha was there to see it because there were several key things he had ALREADY seen.
As a pastor, I marvel at how few people actually SEE it.
They are looking right at it and miss it.
They sit and hear it, but they don’t have a clue.
They are here, involved, watching it happen in real time, and they don’t see it.
Their behavior; their lifestyle; their attitude makes it clear – they don’t see it.
BUT ELISHA SAW IT.
In fact, Elisha saw a lot of things in this story before we ever get to verse 12.
Let’s notice several things Elisha saw before HE SAW IT in verse 12.
I. The Benefits of being a Loner
Sometimes, it is important to see one thing – leaving the one’s that don’t want to go is beneficial.
He didn’t allow what his friends did; his co-workers; his colleagues did dictate what he did.
He wasn’t controlled by groupthink or peer pressure.
He didn’t play politics.
He wasn’t planning his future career.
I find it fascinating that the sons of the prophets all chose each other over pursuing God’s working.
- The ones at Bethel stayed back. – vs. 3
- The ones at Jericho stayed back. – vs. 5
- The ones by Jordan stayed back. – vs. 7
They all knew that God was going to do something unprecedented, yet chose to stay back.
They were all aware that Elijah was going to be taken away, yet they stayed behind.
Elisha on the other hand was willing to go alone in order to go further.
When it came to serving God alone, they didn’t see it, but ELISHA SAW IT.
- He left all his prophet friends at Bethel.
- He left all his preacher friends at Jericho.
Not one of those prophets saw the importance of that day, but ELISHA SAW IT.
None of them saw the magnitude of the miracle that was about to happen, but ELISHA SAW IT.
Do you know how many friends he walked away from in order to be with Elijah?
He was willing to be the only one following Elijah.
He was willing to be the only one left after Elijah was taken away.
They walked to Jordan and crossed Jordan as a group of two.
But Elisha knew he would be crossing Jordan and coming back without Elijah.
He never worried about how he would get back.
The thought of getting stranded never crossed his mind.
Being by himself didn’t bother him.
Serving God alone didn’t scare him.
Performing miracles without anybody around to see it didn’t slow him down.
One thing is clear – if you want to cross over Jordan, you may have to do it alone.
Your wife may not want to go.
Your husband may not want to go.
Your children, your parents, your friends may not want to go.
They may be content to stand afar off and watch you make that trip all by yourself.
Are you willing to do it alone?
He saw the importance of not letting the others hold him back.
Many people never advance in their walk with God because they would have to walk alone.
- Enoch walked with God – alone.
- Noah walked with God – alone.
- Joseph walked with God – alone.
- David, watching the sheep, walked with God – alone.
Many others did too…
II. The Blessing of being a Learner
- 2 Kings 2:9 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.
In essence, Elisha was saying, “I want what you have.”
I do not believe that Elisha was at all insinuating that what Elijah had was not enough.
It is possible that he asked for a double portion because he felt he was only half the man Elijah was.
The request for a double portion wasn’t a slight or an insult.
I don’t believe it was ambition or desire for personal achievement.
I believe he had so much respect for Elijah that he wanted a double dose of what he had.
NOTE: He had been Elijah’s servant for around 20 years.
Even after being with him for nearly 20 years, he didn’t want to forfeit even an hour.
He just wanted to be with God’s man for as long as he possibly could.
Elisha wasn’t a “know-it-all.”
After 20 years of serving and watching and ministering to Elijah, he didn’t consider himself an expert.
He didn’t assume to have found a way to improve how Elijah had ministered.
Elisha wasn’t looking to change Elijah.
He was looking to imitate him.
He wasn’t looking to conform Elijah to his way of thinking.
He wanted to be like, think like, minister like, serve like, lead like Elijah.
We’ve got a generation of Christians today that think the old timers had it all wrong.
They are trying to reinvent every aspect of the church.
- They are changing the manuscript we use.
- They are changing the music we sing.
- They are changing the methods we employ.
- They are changing the mission we’ve adopted.
- They are changing the mandates we were given to follow.
- They are changing the modesty that has identified us as Christians for generations.
Elisha was different – he saw the importance of learning from Elijah.
- 2 Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked…
There were a few more minutes left to enjoy the blessings of learning, AND ELISHA SAW IT.
III. The Burden of being a Leader – vs. 10 “…if thou see me when I am taken from thee…”
Elisha realized that after today, he would have to step up and be the leader.
He may not have known that he would be the replacement for Elijah.
There were dozens of other sons of the prophets around.
But he had been preparing for 20 years, so he assumed it might fall to him.
He wanted to be ready – prepared for the leadership role that God might put him in.
There was an opening coming up; a vacuum; a need for spiritual leadership, AND ELISHA SAW IT.
Twice Elisha was told that the Lord will “take away thy master from thy head today.”
- We won’t always have these older men of God around.
- We won’t always have these more seasoned saints in our midst.
- We won’t always have preachers and teachers that have studied for years.
Our current Sunday School teachers will one day be taken from us.
EXAMPLE: Sis. Ella Turner taught the 4- and 5-year-old class for over 45 years.
She just stepped down to let younger teachers teach.
There will come a day when they are taken from us, one way or another.
Do we see the importance of preparing for that day?
Are we learning and gleaning what they know?
Have we taken advantage of the importance of learning to lead others?
Are we seeing the possibility that one day, we could be standing where they are standing?
- In I Kings 19:19, Elisha received the mantle of Elijah for RECRUITMENT.
- In II Kings 2:13, 14, Elisha received the mantle of Elijah for REPLACEMENT.
The first thing he said when he grabbed that mantle was “WHERE IS THE GOD OF ELIJAH?”
He wasn’t asking for the methods, or the style, or the philosophies of Elijah.
He needed the GOD of Elijah!