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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Transparent Request

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, "Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me." 2 Kings 2:9

When my kids were much younger, shortly after their dad's and my separation, I would cook strategically. When I shopped, it was for a certain amount, even with using food stamps or money that I had. I bought a certain number of drumsticks in a package (I actually still do this), a certain number of packed meats or veggies, etc. I did this because our resources were limited which made our food choices limited. On days when one was sick or spending the night out or if I had already eaten/ was not hungry for some reason, I would ask my kids what their request was to eat. I remember my son saying on one such day, "I don't care, Mommy, but I want double." To understand why that was and is so funny but truthful, you must know that my son, my middle child, loves food even though his small frame back then didn't show it!

I wonder if that was the case with Elisha... What a request to make and an honor to Elijah! It took such boldness to say what most of us think when we are around people of "greatness"! And what scary thing to request... Just take a second to think about that. Let's go back over Elijah's life in hyper-speed to understand what Elisha had just asked. 

Elijah came in just as Ahab, son of Omri, became king of Israel. He was the guy that Jezebel threatened after all of her priests were killed. He had done all of these great things in faith and yet when this woman (remember women were low creatures) threatened... no, sent someone else to threaten him, he got so scared that he wanted to die... Like... Wha???? Anyway, after her dismal death by a disjointed worker was done and she became yummy or not so yummy treats for the dogs of the area, he settled into a sanctuary and began to mentor/ disciple Elisha. (1 Kings 17-2 Kings 2) and so leads back to this verse I chose. 

In the beginning of chapter two of Second Kings, Elijah has done incredible work for God. Elisha has gotten to see the bulk of this work, so you know he is in awe of God and the power used through Elijah! So much so that when Elijah tells him to stay behind and asks what he can do for him, in a last request from your favorite performer sort of way, Elisha did not hesitate!! I didn't read, "Let me think about it" nor "can I get back to you" or "umm... welllll"..... No! He immediately said, "Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me,"!!!! Wow!! Even Elijah knew what Elisha had asked for he stated back, "you have asked a hard thing." (2 Kings2:10) That got me wondering, why? Why was it that hard? Here's why...

The original text for spirit is ruwach. The meaning is breath, air or wind. It is derived from the same word meaning smell or scent; perceive or accept. We each have a spirit. We know this because it is with a "broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart" (Psalm 51:17). Wind is never the same for the same person. For me, I love a good heavy breeze. Case in point, recently, I have been becoming so sick that I am near being physically ill or passing out. I don't know why yet but when it happened earlier this week, I was outside this time. I am one that doesn't like to throw up outside.... So as I tried to make my fastest turtle pace walk to the front door, up the stairs and to the bathroom, once I reached the two steps that lead into the house, I knew I was not going to make it. Normally I will lie on the cold floor and fall back to sleep but this time I only had the heat of the day and the hard concrete steps on my side, it seemed. But just then, there was a rash of hard and heavy breezes that came playing through and they were so refreshing to me that it could have been God standing over me breathing onto my almost lifeless body for everyone to see! But fir someone else, who may have a fever, or just like the heat more than they like the crisp air of the fall evening, this same breeze that almost knocked our trash cans down would not have been received well. Much like "each is given a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3), God knows what we can take in our spirit. Scripture says, "To whom much is given, much is required" (Luke 12:48) and this aligns with Jesus asking the twin brothers that wanted to sit at the "right and left" of His Throne in Paradise if they knew what they were asking. 

So much responsibility, so much heartache, so much hate coming his way! But I do think that Elisha knew because he had journeyed with him for much of his ministry. He saw, he heard, he lived it with him. But at the same time, he didn't know what went on in Elijah's head... What demons tormented him and tried to psych him out or throw him off course. Now align this with today's world...

So many want what someone else has. Money, time, materials, husbands, wives, children, ministries, hearts, faith, testimonies.... Yet they do not know what it takes, nor do they have, to carry them. We want what we see, in today's world when it comes to coveting others.... Elisha desired what he saw God doing in the life of Elijah. It wasn't the status, the fame, the name that many feared... It was the God of Elijah that he sought after and he knew that Elijah and God were very close in spirit, what we would call besties today and more. I long for that! I want that! I want to know God so well that He speaks as well of me as I do Him. Wait.... he does speak well of me! It's in His Holy Word! He speaks well of you too! Get to know the God of your salvation, the God Elijah and Elisha. The God of the impossible. It's okay to have someone that you admire and long to be like, if that person exhibits Jesus to you. But don't just want to become like them, long to be just as much Jesus in someone else's life as they have been in yours. That's a double portion!

Dear giving Father! Thank You so much for the gifts that You give us. Thank You for the breath that you handcraft for each of us. I ask, Lord, that when we are in need, that You would give us that extra breath, that extra portion in addition to what You have already given us. For whatever we need.... In Jesus name! Amen!