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Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Trivia Files: Double Portion

This morning I re-read the request that Elisha made of Elijah--namely, that he would receive a "double portion of Elijah's spirit" when his friend and master (he was Elijah's personal servant, if you remember) was gone.  After Elijah was taken away, Elisha picked up just where his former master had left off.  As usual, I find myself comparing the lives of these two men, and again I have arrived at the conclusion that, while both were great men of God, Elisha had greater faith, and it was because of this huge, unshakable faith that God rewarded him with a "double portion" of anointing. 

Don't believe me?  I find the basis for this in the difference in how the two men reacted to intense persecution.  Whereas Elijah ran from Jezebel and had to get reassurance from God that he was not the last one on earth to believe in God (1 Kings 19), Elisha coolly accepted that the army of the Arameans had surrounded his home, because he was certain he and his servant were not alone--God was with them (2 Kings 6: 16).

When Elisha asked for a "double portion," I don't get any indication that he was asking for more faith than his master Elijah.  He already had that faith, and the certainty that he would get what he asked for was what kept him with Elijah until the very end.  His was a dogged faith that even the apostles lacked (at least in the beginning), because they fell asleep while their Master prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26: 36-46).

What Elisha wanted was not greatness among men, but rather to see the greatness of God generously meted out through his life.  His request proves that two ways.  First, by asking for more than his master had, Elisha demonstrated that he wanted nothing of human origin.  It is within a man's power to teach his apprentice all that he knows.  It is beyond a man's power to pass on more than what he has.  Secondly, Elisha wanted more than just what he had seen of God in Elijah's life.  He wanted what he hadn't seen yet, that second measure of God's presence, the part that was beyond the limits that even Elijah, in his weaker faith, had put on God.

Today, I've got to ask, do we have the faith of Elisha?  I don't mean the faith that gives us the power to work miracles, although those are wonderful.  I mean, do we have the faith that believes that God's power is without limit?  As the days grow more evil, will we know for certain that God is greater than our enemy?  Will we have the faith to stand and wait for God to deliver us?  We need that double portion!  I pray that we will seek it.

2 comments:

Kamal said...

Thank you for sharing with us some wonderful thoughts from this portion of the scripture. Elisha certainly had more faith and was seen in his confidence on God even in very difficult circumstances.

My favorite lines -

"What Elisha wanted was not greatness among men, but rather to see the greatness of God generously meted out through his life."

"It is within a man's power to teach his apprentice all that he knows. It is beyond a man's power to pass on more than what he has."

We need faith from God to know not only that God is able to deliver from the punishment of sin but also the power of sin in our day to day life.

Rachel M. said...

Thank you for taking an interest in my words. :)
I was at first a little cautious about comparing Elisha and Elijah, since so many have put more emphasis on Elijah in their teachings. This wasn't to put Elijah down or to talk up Elisha too much, but I think what I said was valid, based on what is available. Elisha does seem to have the greater faith. I wonder why so many prefer Elijah over him?

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