A Holy Friendship
“Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’”
- 2 Kings 2:1-3
To truly understand this passage of Scripture, we need to turn back to 1 Kings 19. Elijah had just defeated the prophets of Baal in a test of offerings. The Lord demonstrated his presence, his power, and attentiveness to his people when he answered Elijah’s prayer and consumed the offering with fire. Despite the fervent prayers of the prophets of Baal, Baal provided no answer and no fire. Their offering sat untouched. The God of Israel overthrew Baal and all his prophets on that glorious day!
After this great triumph, one would imagine that Elijah and the people of God would celebrate such a victory. Instead, Elijah ran in fear after being threatened by Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab. Elijah hid in the mountains and bemoaned his fate before the Lord. Elijah thought himself to be alone, to be the only one left who truly worshipped the Lord and sought his will. In his great compassion and love, the Lord met with Elijah on that mountain. He gave Elijah needed rest and food. Once Elijah’s strength was restored, God provided specific instructions as to what Elijah was to do in the anointing of kings. Beyond instruction, God provided Elijah another prophet to work alongside him and to eventually to serve in Elijah’s place.
Elisha was God’s provision for Elijah. He became like a son to Elijah as they shared the joys and challenges of serving the Lord together. These men loved the Lord and loved each other. In this last day together, Elisha was in it to the end. Despite Elijah’s instructions for Elisha to remain, Elisha persevered with Elijah even knowing the heartache ahead of him. The friendship between these men was truly a holy friendship, a gift from the Lord for their joy and mutual benefit.
Much like Elijah and Elisha, we need the love and support of godly friends in our lives as well. God loves to bless his people with Christian fellowship. He knows us; he understands our need to have people walk alongside of us in our journey of faith. Throughout Scripture, we have examples of those who invest in one another and raise up the next generation of leaders. Moses raised up Joshua; Paul raised up Timothy; and you are to help raise up the next generation. The joy of Christian community is investing in one another and passing the baton of faith and leadership to those who will continue to build the Kingdom of God. Reflection:
Who is the Elisha that God has placed in your life, the one in whom you are called to invest, to guide, and to enjoy his or her fellowship and friendship? Are you faithfully investing? If you cannot think of your Elisha, ask the Lord to bring one to you today. The next generation needs you!
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