The first time I’m blogging and so the title is aptly named “One.” Though I currently don’t know how often I’m going to be updating, I will always try to keep this blog of an inquisitive nature reflecting the thoughts I have when I study the Bible. I know that many of my thoughts may lack evidence but they are usually questions that require insight, perhaps even insight that another might have that I do not.
I am imperfect and therefore what I write will likely also be imperfect, so if there are errors or perhaps you think I have a mistaken interpretation feel free to discuss it with me. It’s important to find the truth regardless of personal experiences or biases.
Recently I have been studying Elisha. The movement of ministry from Elijah and the translation of Elijah going to heaven while Elisha remained behind to continue teaching the message of God. A few points there did I find interesting.
Elisha only followed Elijah after the period of depression and loneliness that Elijah had when he had seen that the miracle of fire from heaven only caused Jezebel to want his life (1 Kings 19). One thing that seemed to be missing was that same depression and loneliness that Elijah had, though one has to wonder if that had something to do with the fact that Elisha had requested a double portion of the prophetic spirit given to Elijah (2 Kings 2:9-11). I’m usually prone to compare the prophets, now I know that my comparisons are short sighted, but I keep asking myself if the reason that I at times become depressed or have periods where I am unable to get up and do anything is due to the fact that I haven’t asked for an extra portion of the Holy Spirit?
There are many moments even while writing this where I’m tempted to do something that isn’t holy, and moments even where I find myself anxious and afraid of what’s to come next. Moments in deep thought and darkness. When Elijah had those moments, even the earthquake, wind, and fire (1 Kings 19:9-12) didn’t suffice to have him go out until he heard the still small voice.
Prophets and Kings (174) has this to say:
“It is at the time of greatest weakness that Satan assails the soul with the fiercest temptations. It was thus that he hoped to prevail over the Son of God; for by this policy he had gained many victories over man… So with Elijah. He who had maintained his trust in Jehovah during the years of drought and famine, he who had stood undaunted before Ahab, he who throughout that trying moment of weariness allowed the fear of death to overcome his faith in God”
Temptation comes not due to our weakness but because we will have times of weakness. Times where something comes unexpected, and invariably times where we might experience pain which hardens us to the message of patience, kindness and compassion that God gives to us. When in pain or in weakness, even great signs and miracles might be things we care not for.
Even then Elijah did overcome that moment of weakness and was called to take up his mantle and go out and continue the work. Now when Elijah was taken up to heaven, Elisha took up his mantle (2 Kings 2:14) so we know that Elisha was not only mentored by Elijah but succeeded him. This does however make me wonder why it was Elijah had a period of depression and fear for his life, while the Bible makes very little mention about Elisha’s struggles. Instead 2 Kings talks about the many things that happened with Elisha from the bears attacking youths who made fun of him (2 Kings 2:23-24) causing those around to fear him and the seeming lack of fear by Elisha. Unlike Elijah also, it seemed that Elisha had that mentorship that Elijah never had by someone who was fallible and who was and is human. A man. Someone who had the possibility to sin and go away from God but did not despite the trials he went through.
Though there was no explicit verbiage in the Bible that talks about the need for Elijah hiding alone from Ahab and being fed and dependent on God, I believe it is a type of training that God gives us even today. Even though we know God is there and that his Holy Spirit can be sent upon us, there are going to invariably be times where we will have loneliness, that’s the natural circumstance of living in a world battered with sin while awaiting His coming.
Regardless though of how one was trained, whether they were trained by others or trained by God in solitude, the difference in the portion of Spirit between Elijah and Elisha is clearly seen, and the benefit that Elisha had learning of Elijah’s ministry before his own also impacted his works in the name of God. It’s a reminder that in those moments when you’re tempted, listen again to that still small voice because God is still calling you to come to Him, and He is calling us to stand above the temptation of sadness and despair, and to ask again for an extra portion of the Holy Spirit.