2 Kings 2:9 (NKJV)
9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?”
Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
This is the third of our devotions on Waiting on God. We have seen the different postures or attitudes that the scriptures use to describe the idea of placing our prayers before the Lord and waiting on Him for our answer. Firstly, we had the idea of lying in wait, in the place where God has placed us. This is a quiet but very focused thing, almost like the idea of stalking wild game yet we can do this while living our normal lives. Last week we talked about the eager anticipation of hearing from God. Again, very focused and in the context of our daily lives, filtering out the background busyness to catch that still small voice.
Today we are looking at a type of waiting that is not quite as subtle. There is a sense of waiting on God, that the Hebrew scholars tell us, likens it to that of a woman in labor. For the ladies it won’t be too hard to think back to those times in the delivery room. For the anxious fathers either waiting outside or in the delivery room, we too well remember the experience. There is no doubt about the purpose of the moment. It is noisy often messy, joyful, painful, and unfortunately also at times dangerous for both mother and baby. Everyone associated with bringing that baby into the world would have shut out everything else from their minds. This is one occasion where you are 100% focused, desperate to hear from God and you are not doing anything else until you hear from him. This is clearly not an everyday situation, but then neither is delivering a baby into the world. It’s a case of when the situation demands it, then we go for it, full throttle, no holding back.
The old testament gives us an example of this total fixation on one thing. Elisha was a student of the great prophet Elijah.
In the first 8 verses of 2 Kings 2, we see the relentless attempts by both Elijah and the sons of the prophets to divert Elisha from his mission. He stays resolutely focused on staying with Elijah no matter what.
2 Kings 2:1–8 (NKJV)
Elijah Ascends to Heaven
2 And it came to pass, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel.”
But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they went down to Bethel.
3 Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?”
And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent!”
4 Then Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Jericho.”
But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they came to Jericho.
5 Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?”
So he answered, “Yes, I know; keep silent!”
6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to the Jordan.”
But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So the two of them went on. 7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. 8 Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
It seems that everyone knew that Elijah was going to be taken by God on this particular day. Elisha knew that when Elijah had passed, that the responsibility of the prophet would then fall upon him and he knew that he needed something very special from God if he was to have any chance of success. Elisha stuck with Elijah all day and after they crossed the Jordan, on dry ground, Elijah put the question to Elisha, “… Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?”Elisha then asks something truly outrageous. So outrageous in fact the Elijah was unable to immediately agree to the request. Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
How could Elijah do this? He can only give what he has. He can pass on the anointing that He has, and being the greatest prophet in the history of Israel you would think that this would be sufficient. Elisha, however, had a glimpse of what was in store for him and he knew that he would need a greater measure of the anointing than even Elijah himself.
Nevertheless, Elijah gave conditional consent to Elisha’s request. 10 So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”
This is where the single-minded focus that is the subject of today’s devotional comes into play. The Lord then provided the most spectacular diversion in history in an attempt to test Elisha’s resolve and fitness for the mission He had for him. “11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them;” Now you would think that this would distract Elisha. There they were, talking to each other, and a chariot of fire drawn by horses on fire drives between them. But no, Elisha maintained his eye contact with Elijah even as he cried out “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!”. But Elijah had not been taken in the fiery chariot. The scripture tells us that even as Elisha cried out to Elijah that “Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” Elijah maintained his focus and maintained his mission to obtain the double portion anointing. The scripture tells us that as Elijah was taken up to heaven that the prophet’s mantle, the symbol of his anointing had fallen to the ground and Elisha immediately picked it up. To give you an idea of the drive and determination that this man had to serve God, he took the mantle to the Jordan “and struck the water, and said, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over.” Probably he would not have been an easy man to live with, direct to the point of rudeness, and yet he was just the man that God needed for that time.
There was an immediate testimony of his office when he had crossed the river.
2 Kings 2:15 (NKJV)
15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him.
Elisha went on to minister as a prophet at the highest level. Along the way he performed miracles routinely. For over 65 years, Elisha stood at the head of the prophets of his time, among whom was also the prophet Jonah. He saw many kings reign and fall in Judah and Israel. Fearlessly, like his master the prophet Elijah, he fulfilled his divine mission, until his last day came.
A Final Word from Brian Simmons’ devotional “Wait on Me”
“Trust in Me and lay aside every anxiety and every form of impatience, and I will bring a miracle to pass in your life, for I am the Father of Love. I will make it happen and show you My perfection.”
 Brian Simmons, I Hear His Whisper: 52 Devotions (Road Racine, WI: Broadstreet, 2015), 50–51.