2 Kings 1-4

2 Kings 1-4…Take up your mantle.

When the time came for Elijah to depart from this world, he asked Elisha what he should do for his apprentice before being taken from Israel. At that point, Elisha could have asked for many things. He could have requested courage or boldness in ministry. Elisha could have asked for miraculous power. He might have sought Elijah’s intercession so that the king of Israel would be more willing to listen to the prophet’s student than he was to hear the prophet himself. Yet Elisha requested none of these things. Instead, he asked for a “double portion” of the spirit that was upon Elijah. Of course, enjoying the Holy Spirit’s anointing was key to receiving any of the other things that Elisha might have wanted. However, it is notable that Elisha understood enough not to seek success but rather the person who works in and through His people, namely, the Holy Spirit of God.

As Elijah told his assistant, the fact that Elisha saw him taken up into heaven on chariots of fire meant God had granted the new prophet’s wishes. At that point, Elisha faced a moment of decision. He could take up Elijah’s mantle of prophethood, the anointing of the Spirit, and the rejection by the world that went with it, or he could go his own way. Elisha chose the former option and went on to be one of the greatest prophets in the history of God’s people. We likewise face a moment of decision when the Lord calls us. Will we take up His mantle and follow Him?

As followers of the Lord, we are called to bear witness to Him where we are and insofar as we are able. This is the mantle—or better, the cross—that all of God’s people are given in this new covenant era. We are called not to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16–17), to stand firm for His truth. Like Elisha, we can do that only in the power of the Holy Spirit given to us.

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