Summary: "As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee." (2 Kings 2:2)
The Sell Out - John 15:13
by Eric Aschendorf
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Elijah and Elisha were at Gilgal, the place of the circle. This is the place where Israel left their life in the Wilderness of Sin. Here they started to be led by the SPIRIT of the LORD rather than by the physical presence of the LORD. This is where they entered into "The Promised Land"!
Now Elijah test Elisha. Elijah tells Elisha to stay in Gilgal while he goes to Bethel as the LORD has directed him. Elisha, with steadfast determination refuses! "As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee." (2 Kings 2:2)
As I was reading this story of Elijah and Elisha I sensed that Elijah knew that it was his time to go and be with the LORD and so did Elisha yet neither one had told the other. In verse 3 GOD confirms this to Elisha by having the prophets that were at Bethel tell him so. "Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day?" Elijah understands well his role as a servant to Elijah. He understands that his job is to handle anything that might distract Elijah from the leading of the LORD. As the other prophets tell him this he tells them that he knows and that they should say nothing.
Then again in verse 4, Elijah tells Elisha to stay in Bethel because GOD now wants him to go to Jericho. Again Elisha refuses! He is determined to complete his job as a servant to this man of GOD. Thus they continue to jericho. Here again the entire scene with the prophets of the city and Elisha is played out.
Once again Elijah tries to talk him into staying while he goes the way of the leading of the LORD but Elisha is bound and determined to stick to him like white on rice! The two of them leave Jericho to the Jordan River and fifty of the prophet’s follow and view from afar off.
In verse 8 we see a miracle repeated for the third time by the LORD.
"And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground."
When the Israelites had left Egypt, GOD parts the Red Sea and they pass over on dry ground. When Joshua brings Israel out of the Wilderness of Zin (Sin) the nation passes over on dry land. "Dry Land" is indicative of "sinlessness." It does not mean sinlessness in all cases but in these three incidents and when Noah got off the Ark it is an indication that none of the former life is stuck to them. Thus the things of this world have not stuck to Elijah and he can walk into the presence of GOD (be translated). Note that in verse 14 when Elisha parts the waters and crosses back there is no statement that he did so on "dry ground"? Why not? Because some of GOD’s presence stuck to Elisha and GOD doesn’t want you to think otherwise. Through all this GOD is showing us how Elisha "stuck" to his earthly lord; his master; his teacher through the good and the bad! He didn’t get to the end simply to concede to the inevitable and then give up. He was bound and determined to go through anything in order to reach the higher calling that he had been destined to.
He had a goal to do the works of Elijah and greater still! The drive to this goal was so great that nothing would deter him. There had been doubts in times past but not now. His belief that he was serving GOD through his service to the man of GOD Elijah had grown through all the adversities. Now Elijah could go home to be with GOD, because he had prepared Elisha to take his mantle and carry on. He had given him everything, every key he needed to do those same things he had done and even more! Elisha had become sold out on service to GOD!
In Elisha’s life he would fail to find someone suitable to carry-on after he left. He had Gehazi to serve him but Gehazi never sold himself out to serve and trust in the provision of GOD. He tried to do things out of his abilities. This is exemplified in 2 Kings 5:20-27 when Gehazi chases after Naaman to receive from him for the healing he had received from GOD through Elisha. When Gehazi is questioned about this he tries to lie to Elisha but Elisha reveals that he knows the truth. Then he pronounces the leprosy which Naaman had been healed of will rest upon Gehazi. Thus Gehazi dies in his sin.