Compliments of the Season! Ain't you grateful that God has brought us this far? If you are not grateful, then you are not better than a great fool. In all that you do this season, always remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and as you celebrate him, may He make you a celebrity. Ain't you suppose to be talking about Elisha? someone may be asking. Of course I am but I need to put down those lines in the spirit of the season.
We have diagnosed the various stages in his journey with Elijah and their spiritual significance in part 1 & 2. As I conclude this post today, I will be looking at the attributes or qualities in Elisha that stood him out from the crowd. I am afraid I may need a part 4 to conclude this series but I will try as much as possible to see that this won't be the case. I crave your patience cos u may be in for a lengthy reading but trust me, it has a lot in stock for u!
Hope you are aware that Elisha wasn't the only prophet in town at the time. Of course not! In I Kings 18: 13, Obediah reminded Elijah of how he hid an hundred prophets of the Lord in a cave away from the onslaught of Jezebel. So there were some prophets in the Land at the time. Also recall that at each stage Elijah and Elisha got to, there were sons of the prophets (these were prophets-in-waiting, i.e there were trainee prophets serving other prophets with the hope of succeeding them). It is obvious that there are other prophets at the time but why did God by pass them and went for Elisha? That's the question I will attempt to answer in this post. He by-passed them, I believe, because of the qualities He saw in Elisha. Those prophets were cowards and were not worthy to be entrusted with the great task of confronting the prophets of baal and of reviving Israel. There were alive but there impact was not being felt. It got to the point that Elijah was bold enough to declare to God that he was the only prophet left in the Land. If you know what that implies, then you would understand the extent of their cowardice. Elijah didn't know they existed, and God couldn't count on them either. If only one Elijah troubled Jezebel and her prophets, imagine what those hundred prophets could have been able to do if they were cut out of the same sterner stuff as Elijah.
God knew that these anonymous prophets would chicken out when the chips are down. Imagine them been hid in the cave by an "ordinary" Obediah who wasn't even a prophet because of a woman. So, when it was time for heaven to shop for Elijah's replacement, none of them nor their students passed heaven's test except Elisha. Elisha was , in my opinion, the least experienced in prophetic matters amongst existing prophets and sons of prophets then. Remember Elisha was not yet known until I Kings19:19 that was after Elijah confronted and defeated Jezebel and her porphets.
So, what are the qualities that made Elisha thick?
1) Desire and Hunger:
Elisha was a man with a burning desire, an insatiable hunger for the spiritual. He was never content with his spiritual level but was continuously pressing forward. Neither the joy of Gilgal, nor the splendour of Bethel, nor the oppositions of Jericho could hold him back. He refused to settle down on any of these mountains as it were. He, like apostle Paul, was in the practice of forgetting those things there were behind and reaching forth unto those things that are before. He pressed on until he reached his mark. Remember at every level they got to, there were the sons of the prophets. Elisha meets and leaves them behind at each level. These sons of the prophet lack hunger for the spiritual, although they knew what God was about to do but they were too complacent to key into it. There are such people in churches today. Year in, year out, they remain where they have always been. No growth, no progress. They can tell you how their church started, or even recite the scriptures by rot but are very anonymous. Their impact are not being felt in their churches. They leave in their past. For them it is now, "I remember when i was a soldier". And if you are not careful they may slow you down just like that old prophet did to that young prophet in the bible. Desire and hunger are spiritual lubricants that keep the wheel of your spiritual life going.
"Show me a man who knows where he is going but never gets there, and I will show you a man who lacks focus, a man given to much distractions"-PrinceElisha had a great deal of focus. The first sign of this was manifest in I Kings 19:21 when Elijah first found him. The Bible says he burnt his yoke of oxen and bade his family goodbye. In other words, he made sure nothing stands as a potential source of distraction to him. He like the early apostles, abandoned all and followed his master. Another evidence of his focus was his response to the batches of fifty sons of the prophets as each tried to distract him from following Elijah at each level they got to. He always told them, "I know but hold your peace". And the climax of it was over Jordan when Elijah asked him to make a request which he did. Elijah told him in II Kings 2: 10, "Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see when i am taken from thee, it shall be so unto; but if not, it shall not be so" It sounds simple but very tricky. And Elisha passed the test. One thing that is obvious is that Elisha abandoned himself to this cause and gave his all. One of the weapons the devil uses against youths of this generation is distraction. There are forces of diversion and distraction all over demanding our attention and resources. Their aim? To distract you from your goal and divert your energy and resources to something else. They are countless and abound at every turn: on campuses, in churches, in our neighborhoods etc. No matter where you find them, their mission is the same. One of the tasks you owe yourself is that of been able to discern these forces whenever they show up. Many destinies are aborted because of these forces. If you doubt me, go and ask Samson.
3) Foresight and vision:
Needless to say, Elisha was a man with profound foresight. He knew that Elijah's mission was over and there was need for a successor and thus positioned himself for it. Not only that, he had a clear vision and purpose for following Elijah which was why he didn't hesitate to state what he wanted when asked to do so.
He knew what he wanted even before he embarked on the journey. He had his desired or expected end in sight which was why he could endure the pains of that lengthy journey. It wasn't a rosy journey at all!
He knew what God has spoken concerning him and was willing to the pay the price for it.
Do you have a vision of your tomorow? What is your goal or vision concerning your present engagement. Hear this:
"your life flows in the direction of your vision"- PrinceIt means without vision, your life will be without direction.
4) Ability to see and seize opportunity:
Let me say this. There was no open invitation to Elisha to come with Elijah. In fact at every turn of the journey, Elijah would try to dissuade him but he wouldn't let go because he saw in that journey an opportunity others couldn't see even though they too, knew about the journey. They (the sons of the prophets) all had an opportunity to come on board but were too blind to it. Elisha saw and seize the opportunity. For more on the dynamics of opportunity see my post on opportunity
5) Determination, persistence and patience:
Wow! Finally we've come to the last lap of the race.
Elisha was a man of great determination, persistence and patience. Not even the subtile discouragement of his master Elijah could stop him.
I believe we can all pin point how and where the trio of determination, persistence and patience were exhibited by Elisha.
I also believe there might be other qualities of Elisha than those highlighted above.
So am leaving that out for you to highlight as your comments in the comment section.