Elisha, The Prophet
The ministry of the prophet Elisha in the ninth century B.C, comes to us in a series of 18 episodes, extending over more than fifty years. His ministry was conducted mostly as the head of the school of the prophets and was largely public. In included displays of signs and wonders at both the personal as well as the national level, Elisha was a prophet whose counsel and help were sought by both kings and commoners.
Read 2 Kings 2:1-15. What does this tell us about the calling and ministry of Elisha?
No question that Elisha was called of God; he had some incredible experiences that must have confirmed his calling in his own mind. More important, this request for a “double portion” of the Spirit showed his awareness that for him to do what he was called to do, he would need divine power, because in mind of himself he would be helpless. This, even back then, this man of God understood what Jesus said many centuries later: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can nothing” (John 15:5, NKJV). It’s a lesson that no matter our position in the Lord’s work, we all need to recognize.
Obviously, as we can see from the story of Elisha’s calling, this power had, indeed, been granted to him. Thus, Elisha revealed that he had a healthy and honest understanding of his own role and calling when he declared to the king; let Naaman “know that there is a prophet in Israel” (2 Kings 5:8).
Also interesting must have been the scene when this military commander and his retinue showed up in all their glory at the door of Elisha’s house, probably something relatively small and modest in contrast to the luxury that Naaman enjoyed. Elisha, however, didn’t seem all that intimidated by Naaman and his troops. In fact, Elisha did not so much as step outside to meet his powerful caller; instead he sent a messenger, who gave the military commander a command! The only reward for his long trip from Damascus was the blunt directive to go to the Jordan and bathe! But it was accompanied by a promise; “you will be cleansed,” (vs. 10, NIV).
No doubt the pride of this important man was hurt. Perhaps, though, that was the point.