“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” – Luke 24:46-49
There’s no doubt that Elijah’s leaving would leave a big hole. He had been God’s “army” on Israel’s behalf. His loss will be devastating. But God will provide for His work. He has a succession plan in place. In his farewell tour, Elijah visits the school of the prophets, probably to encourage them to continue their fearless promotion of God’s claims on His people. There’s also Elisha. He had served with Elijah for some years and now it was time for Elisha to fly solo. Elijah tests him by suggesting that he abandon Elijah on his final tour. Elisha refuses to bail. That’s the kind of people that the kingdom of God needs, people who will not turn back even when the future is unnerving.
And then the final moment arrives. Elisha asked for something that Elijah is unable to give, a double portion of his spirit. How wise that Elisha recognizes that he cannot minister in his own strength. However, Elijah promises his successor that, if he sees him being taken, he shall receive the double portion. Elisha does see the glory of God – God coming down in chariots and horses of fire and therefore receives the promised Spirit.
Leaving the Jordan in the power of the Spirit, Elisha does Elijah’s farewell tour in reverse, across the Jordan, to Jericho and Bethel, before returning to Samaria. That succession is complete but the succession of the servants of God continues and what we need is what Elisha needed: a vision of God’s glory and the outpouring of God’s Spirit. And God delights to grant both.
Suggestions for prayer
Pray with Moses, “Please show me your glory.” Confess that our help is in the name of the Lord and ask for the Spirit to be poured out on us so that we may be faithful and effective servants of the Lord.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta.