Being the youngest, I often was called by one of my sisters’ names. In fact, truthfully, I felt like I grew up in the shadow of my two older sisters. Perhaps that’s how our biblical character we read about today felt. Many people get the stories of Elijah and Elisha confused because their names are so similar. Elisha definitely had big shoes to fill in the shadow of his mentor, Elijah, but we will see today that Elisha, although he may not be as well known, was just as prominent.
Our character, Elisha, enters the scene in 1 Kings 19 after Elijah, a great prophet of God, was burned out from ministry. Elijah fled from wicked Jezebel, who sought to kill him, hid under a tree wishing to die, ate breakfast made by an angel, heard God’s voice in a gentle wind and was convinced he was the only one left on God’s side.
He was done.
So, God told Elijah that another prophet would take his place. Elijah first found Elisha plowing a field but Elisha quickly left his family, the oxen and the fields behind and followed Elijah. Elisha was Elijah’s right-hand man who did not leave his side. He was dedicated to minister to Elijah and learn from him before God miraculously took Elijah in a chariot of fire right in front of Elisha. Wow! Can you imagine seeing that?! Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And whoosh! A whirlwind took Elijah to heaven!
Before God whisked away Elijah, Elisha asked Elijah to give him a double portion of his spirit and he was granted that request. The book of 2 Kings is full of story after story of the miracles God performed through Elisha. Oil was multiplied for a widow, a boy was raised from the dead, an iron axe head was caused to float. Elisha was no doubt a man of God, full of compassion for others.
One of my favorite stories of Elisha is found in 2 Kings 6:8-19. The king of Aram was at war with Israel and, because God gave Elisha the ability to supernaturally know where the enemy camped, the king of Aram was enraged and sought to take Elisha. At night the Arameans surrounded Elisha’s city with chariots. In the morning Elisha’s servant was shocked at the scene-completely surrounded without an escape! Elisha comforted him and said, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” God permitted Elisha to see the unseen spiritual battle! He saw that God’s forces outnumbered the enemy’s. Elisha then prayed that his servant’s eyes would be opened to see the same thing and they were!
This reminds me of Ephesians 6:10-18 where Paul writes that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Paul continues with instruction to put on the full armor of God- the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. The unseen battle is real. What are you fighting? Rest assured that, although we cannot see the spiritual forces at war, God’s forces outnumber Satan’s and the victory is God’s! Oh, that we could see, like Elisha, that those who are with us are more than those who are with them.
Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. You are on the winning side.