An Advent reflection for Tuesday, December 19th by Seanna Wong
Lectionary reading for 12/19/2023: Psalm 125; 2 Kings 2:9-22; Acts 3:17-4:4
Selected passage for reflection: 2 Kings 2:9-22
2 Kings 2:9-22 New International Version
9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.
10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”
11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.
13 Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.
15 The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. 16 “Look,” they said, “we your servants have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.”
“No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.”
17 But they persisted until he was too embarrassed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. 18 When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”
19 The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.”
20 “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him.
21 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’” 22 And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.
“Tell me what can I give you? Ask me for anything”.
Although these words come from Elijah to Elisha, I can’t help but picture them as from the Savior’s mouth to my ears. Perhaps because Elijah and Elisha’s relationship - their spiritual kinship and Elisha’s avowal to his master foreshadows the relationship Christ calls us to enter into with Him.
In verses before our text, Elisha refuses to leave his master’s side on journeys to Bethel, Jericho, and Jordan where Elijah is taken up into Heaven.
Elisha’s refusal isn’t an example of flagrant disobedience but represents an unrelenting, persistent loyalty. He ties, fastens, and latches himself to his master, possibly for the same reasons we attach ourselves to those who seem like wells in dry terrains, warmth in cold seasons, and light in dark places.
Perhaps to Elisha, a closeness to Elijah was a closeness to God and His will, observing Yahweh’s power working through his master in each prophecy spoken and miracle accomplished.
The same God of Elijah and Elisha beckons us to remain close.
Attaching ourselves to His hip, fastening our minds on His words, and tying ourselves to His truth. When we’re close to someone, as Elisha was to Elijah, we live in the freedom of asking without abandon. I believe God encourages us to do just this and He is faithful to give what we ask for, one way or another.
Now, take note of Elijah’s response to his mentee in verse 10. “You have asked a difficult thing yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”
So Elisha’s request hinges on his sight. This response draws me to the twenty-first chapter of Numbers when the Israelites, dying from poisonous serpent bites, only had to look at a bronze serpent that the Lord told Moses to fashion so that they would be healed.
So what is it about looking, fastening one’s eyes on, that matters here? For the Israelites, looking upon the bronze serpent meant overlooking distraction and focusing on the Lord’s instruction. Testifying that it was neither themselves nor Moses doing the healing but only the glory of God.
Similarly, we must commit ourselves to a deep reverence and respect for God to be used by Him. Living in expectation of His power. For it’s the glory of God we read in 2 Kings 2 revealing itself through a fiery chariot and horses whisking Elijah into the Heavenly realm.
What if God required Elisha to witness and see His glory to cement where all glory, might, and goodness comes from?
From the text, we don’t know if Elisha held his father figure, Elijah, to a higher standard than he should have. Reverencing the servant more than the Master he served.
God knows that wielding his given authority and the anointing that Elisha asks for requires an absolute understanding that He is the epicenter of all dominion, all blessing, and all power.
Leaving us with a view that echoes Paul’s as it is not simply I, but He who lives and works through me.
We may do, say, and accomplish remarkable things, but whatever good we do is a testament to God’s goodness.
As his beloved friend rides into Heaven, Elisha shouts of what he sees - those inflamed chariots and horsemen of Israel. And we know his double portion, perhaps not as he expected, is released to him for others to see the glory of God, pledging loyalty to Him as a master, a Father, and a friend.
If we assume the role of Elisha in this passage of scripture, then God in triune is our mentor, our friend, and the Father we cry out to.
Power, anointing, and authority from God are ours, as Christ sacrificed His life for us, and we accepted Him as our own. Just as Elisha began operating in that authority immediately, so should we.
We are free to ask persistently, expecting a door to open when we knock.
Lord, we praise you, for you never change.
You are the same God of Elijah and Elisha. A God of power, might, and unending glory.
We come to you, Lord, with the requests our hearts bear and ask for you to show us your glory as you showed Elisha. With our eyes, grant us to see your glory, Father.
God, we tie, attach, and latch our wills to your own. Spirit, help us to desire walking with you, never leaving your side just as your servant desired never to leave his master.
We cling to you, God, as our master. Not just for the requests you grant or the questions you answer but for the sweetness of being in your presence and learning from your Spirit.
In a world that clamors to diminish our reverence of you, center our minds, hearts, and desires on you alone, oh Lord.
Grant us a watchful eye for the works you have done, are doing, and will accomplish.
To you belong all glory, all honor, and all praise. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
About the Author
Seanna Wong, MBA is a Miami, Florida-native based in the Chicago area.
When she’s not reading or cooking for her friends, family, or food blog, she’s writing on Christian life, womanhood, and race (and restaurant hopping in the city).
Read more of Seanna’s work here: https://medium.com/@seannawrites.