This article in part of the series ‘how far are you willing to go’ could rightly be captioned ‘how desperate are you to succeed’? Are you willing to persevere, persist, and keep going until you receive or obtain that which you desire? The narrative that forms the basis of this article illustrates that very point. It is the story of what happened in the succession process between Elijah and Elisha. We read this in 2nd Kings 2: 1-15.
Elijah was about to be taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. He was followed by his lead student, Elisha. They were travelling from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; the Lord told me go on to Bethel.’ Elisha replied, ‘I will never leave you’. They went to Bethel, and Elijah said to him, ‘Stay, I want to go to Jericho.’ Elisha replied, ‘No, I will stay with you.’ So they went to Jericho. Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; the Lord told me to go to the river Jordan.’ Back came the same answer; so they went on together and crossed the Jordan River. They were able to cross the river on dry ground because Elijah folded his cloak, struck the water, and it parted for them to pass through.
It was only when they crossed the river that Elijah asked, ‘what would you have me to do for, for I am about to be taken away from you.’ Elisha replied, ‘Let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.’ Elijah said to him, ‘You’ve asked for something very hard, but if you see me when I am taken away, your request will be granted. If you do not, they won’t.
They continued walking and talking, when suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It came between the two men, separating them. Elijah was carried into heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw it and cried out, ‘My father, my father, I see chariots and the charioteers of Israel!’ and as they disappeared from sight, Elisha tore his clothes in distress, then picked up Elijah’s cloak which had fallen when he was taken up. He returned to the bank of the river, using the same cloak cried out, ‘Where is the God of Elijah?’ He struck the water with the cloak and the river divided, allowing him to cross over.
In this auctioned packed and incredibly powerful narrative we see a story of persistence, perseverance and doggedness, bordering on desperation. Elijah knew deep down what Elisha wanted. Elisha also knew what he wanted, but he didn’t say it until the final moment when it became clear that he would not leave his Elijah’s side until he had been given the mantle as his master’s successor. Their journey was testing, winding, shifting direction every so often. But all the while, Elisha’s resolve remained strong. His absolute focus on the prize ensured that he received the mantle of the successor. Here was a man willing to pay the ultimate price in order to gain the ultimate prize. What about you?
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2015©
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