And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 2 Kings 2:9 KJV
Every man must of necessity leave this stage called ‘earth’; it is the reality which we all must face. There are no everlasting men in terms of physical existence on earth. No matter how relevant or irrelevant a man is in the agenda of heaven, he must of necessity leave the battle ground for others to take over. In the past year and this year also, we have seen lots of ministers and apostles of Christ Jesus in our day and age depart from this scene into the realms of eternal glory.
This was the point that the prophet Elijah was standing. He had single-handedly orchestrated revival in his nation (at least that was how he saw it), and he had confronted kings and princes with the truth of God’s word without fearing faces. However, it was near time for him to depart the earth, and another, Elisha, to take over the ministry.
Why Elijah consistently wanted Elisha to stay behind while he went yonder may not be so clear to me yet, but we must realize that there are no compulsions in the things of the Spirit. You can always be given an opportunity to drop out of divine agenda at any point in time. It is our responsibility, therefore, to always recognize times and seasons and march in step with the Spirit of God.
Elisha knew that Elijah was about to depart the earth, and he wanted to see to his discipleship till the end. City after city as he went on with his master, Elijah, he met prophets who told him that his master was to soon depart the earth. He always acknowledged his prior knowledge of that information and told them to keep quiet about it.
They marched until they came to river Jordan, and Elijah parted the river, and they both crossed on dry ground. I have no intention of fawning today on the miraculous powers available to this ancient prophet; so, let us move on to the main matter.
After crossing Jordan, Elijah turned to Elisha and ask him to state what he (Elijah) will do for him (Elisha) before his exodus from the earth. You see that question; I always wonder what I will answer if Someone ever asked me that question (I mean “someone” in capital letters). They asked Solomon that kind of question, and he asked for wisdom. Now, they are asking Elisha too to state his own issue.
I don’t know what was wrong with these men. If it were me that they asked this question, trust me, I know what I would have said. Don’t I need a job? Don’t I need real estate? Don’t I need a car? What about an opportunity to go and live abroad? There are so many things to ask…. But Solomon asked for wisdom; and what did Elisha ask for? “A double portion of your spirit.”
What does that even mean? The Holy Spirit? Ha! I would have just gone to someone and asked him to lay hands on me so that I would receive the Holy Spirit. Why would I bother the ancient prophet with this request as my last wish from him? What was Elijah really asking for? He asked for “the spirit” of Elijah, in double portion. No; he did not ask for a double portion of “the Spirit”, rather he asked for a double portion of “your spirit”- that is, Elijah’s spirit. What does that even mean?
Let us do a little word study. The word ‘spirit’ in Hebrew means ‘ruach’ and in Greek ‘pneuma’, both signifying the wind in motion. So, in a sense, ‘spirit’ refers to the driving force, the motivation, that which compels or propels a man. For example, when you say a man has the ‘spirit’ of money, it does not necessarily mean that a demonic spirit called money is living in his body; rather it means that his primary motivation in life, the driving force that propels his words, actions and sacrifices is money.
Elijah had a spirit. It was that which caused him to grieve at unrighteousness in the land. It was that which caused him not to keep quiet as the king and his wife led Israel into ungodliness and away from the true and Living God. Elijah had a passion for God, he had a constraint in his inner man that caused him to move with great energy towards the redemption of his land. Elisha prayed that he may be endued with a double portion of the spirit of Elijah.
Elisha did not pray to be like, act and behave in the same manner as Elijah; neither should you desire to. You were created to be different, and gifted to follow God in a particular manner and fulfill a particular assignment. However, it is necessary that you pray to drink of the spirits of men; especially the men God placed over your life. What happened to them that made them this focused? What did they see that made them to follow the Lord with utter abandonment? What did they eat from that made them so strong and unyielding to the princes and the gods of their age? These are the questions the young must ask and pray to God for.
Several men, great men, are living the stage of life; but are there younger men who have drunk of their spirits and are ready to carry on with the vigour, force and propensity of these men?
Elisha prayed for a double portion of the spirit of Elijah, and so must we. We must pray that the sense of purpose, focus and commitment to God that characterized our fathers in faith will come upon us. Yes, we may not be full time ministers like they, and we may not be traveling preachers; but if we have drunk of the same spirit, we will be able to take our place in the location where God had ordained for us, and take our societies for the Lord.
FINALLY, I must also add that drinking of the same spirit as the prophet is not only obtained by prayer, but by close following. Elijah told Elisha that he had asked a difficult thing, but that his prayers will be obtained if he can follow closely and see when Elijah was taken to heaven. Hence, any man we desire to drink of his spirit, we must spend time with that man, in listening to his messages, reading his book, and if it were possible, being with him physically.
This is the way we can stake our claim in the battle for earth’s space. That day, Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind, but Elisha returned in the spirit and power of Elijah. He had obtained a double portion! May God grant us wisdom and understanding, so that we will not miss out of the ‘spirits’ of great men which we would have obtained portions in. Amen.