Summary: For the congregation that has not seen much forward progress or for those simply seeking direction, the final chapter of Elisha and Elijah’s time together truly guides us. We can STAY HERE and the world guide us or JOURNEY ON WITH JESUS and discover oppor
“STAY HERE”: A Journey of commitment and faithful living
There is one thing that will bring tears to my eyes as much as anything else and that is when one person does his best to protect another against being hurt spiritually or inwardly in some way. Basically it is a sacrificial act of protecting someone else. You can see this example in novels or movies and in various life experiences. Of course when I needed to remember a particular movie, book or life experience that reflects this thought, I nearly drew a blank. The only example I could recall was with a movie entitled “Air Bud”. Yup! That is the story of a boy who finds a talented dog to play basketball with while trying to keep him from his former abusive master. In one scene of that movie, the boy tried to ditch the dog, rather than see “BUD” return to his wicked master. So he yells out a command to the effect of, ‘STAY HERE”! The dog of course did not understand. The little boy again said STAY HERE and eventually had to throw the dog’s favorite toy so that the dog would chase it and not see the boy run away. We know as we watch the movie that the dog really wants to stay with the boy and the boy really wants to stay with the dog but, at the time, the separation seems like the best thing.
In our Old Testament lesson we see a similar account! No, there is no Dog playing basketball but there is a command for one person to STAY PUT. In our reading we see that Elijah and Elisha are together but, soon to be separated because the Lord was about to take Elijah in a whirlwind.
Elijah is quite attached to Elisha and visa versa. Each of them knows what God has promised to soon do. Therefore as that time of departure approached, Elijah tells Elisha to “STAY HERE”. Of course it is not an easy thing to see someone you love being taken away from you permanently, and so it is easier simply not to view the loss. Maybe that is the reason why Elijah told Elisha to “STAY HERE”. But Elisha would have none of it. He said, “As Surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.”
Now that’s a dedication folks and it is that dedication that will be our focus for today. This dedication was not simply an act of loyalty and friendship but, one that tells us that Elisha wanted to be a part of every aspect of God’s ministry through Elijah. When I observed this dedication of Elisha, I began to pray. I asked God that He would continually enable me to have the same dedication with him. You see, this world of ours is often the voice that says “STAY HERE” but, it is not command derived from warning or protection but, of avoidance. ‘STAY HERE and relish in the joys and passions that this world can offer. “STAY HERE at home and remain asleep instead of going to worship or serve someone. “STAY HERE” to read this next chapter in this exciting Novel rather than stopping so that you can spend time in God’s Word. “STAY HERE” and listen to the wisdom of this world rather than the wisdom of God.
As I was in prayer I began to ask, “Lord, what do we miss when we listen to the world’s call to “STAY HERE” rather than walk on with you?” The answer came to me quickly as I read on in Scripture and followed the journey of Elijah and Elisha.
When we STAY IN THE WORLD we miss out on the company of the Lord. We can only imagine the conversations these two prophets had as they journeyed together. We can surmise that they prayed together. What we do know is that God divinely directed Elijah to Bethal, Gilgal and Jericho where a company of prophets came out to see him. There was certainly a meeting with that company that came out and Elisha now had an opportunity to learn and to listen, as the prophet Elijah spoke to them. If Elisha STAYED as he was asked, he would have missed out on this fellowship both with his mentor and with the various groups out of each city. Remember where two or three are gathered, there is the Lord in their midst.
We can learn so much as we gather together in God’s name. We can grow with one another as we fellowship, as we simply talk and get to know each other better and as we journey together over the years towards the earthy ministry destinations that God assigns for us. But when we STAY away from these opportunities we truly miss out.