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Section 1 Title

Elisha is known as "the prophet who received a double portion of the Spirit." Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me" (2 Kings 2: 9). He received the "double portion" as evidenced by the fact that he lived a victorious life and performed a greater number of miracles than anyone in the Bible, with the exception of Moses and Christ.

The name “Elisha” can be divided into two parts; Eli & sha, which means Jehovah or God is salvation. He was the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah. We also know that Elisha was a farmer, for when Elijah came to him the first time, Elisha was plowing with oxen (1 Kings 19:19). Concerning his personal appearance, we know that he was bald (2 Kings 2:23). All that we can determine about the attire of Elisha is that he wore the same mantle, which was previously worn by his predecessor Elijah (2 Kings 2:12-13). With this mantle, he performed his first miracle, which was the dividing of the Jordan River.

Other miracles attributed to Elisha are as follows: (1) Waters healed (2 Kings 2:21), (2) Mocking children torn by bears (2 Kings 2:24), (3) Water supplied (2 Kings 3:1-3), (4) Widow's oil multiplied (2 Kings 4:5), (5) Pottage rendered harmless (2 Kings 4:41), (6) Loaves multiplied (2 Kings 4:43), (7) Child raised to life (2 Kings 4:35), (8) Naaman healed (2 Kings 5:10), (9) Gehazi smitten with leprosy (2 Kings 5:27), (10) Iron caused to swim or float (2 Kings 6:6), (11) Syrians smitten (2 Kings 6:18), (12) Resurrection of a man (2 Kings 13:21). There are almost twice as many miracles performed by Elisha as was performed by Elijah.

You may have noticed that some of the miracles attributed to Elijah and Elisha were very similar. In fact there are many striking resemblances between the lives of Elijah and Elisha. (1) Both smote the waters of Jordan and divided the river (2 Kings 2:8 and 14). (2) Both men brought water in the time of drought (1 Kings 18:41-45 and 2 Kings 3: 9-20). (3) Both increased food for a widow (1 Kings 17:10-16 and 2 Kings 4:1-7). (4) Elijah and Elisha both raised to life a dead child (1 Kings 17:17-24 and 2 Kings 4:18-35). (5) Both men performed miracles for people outside of Israel (1 Kings 17: 9-16 and 2 Kings 5:1-15). (6) Both pronounced judgment upon kings (1 Kings 21:19-22 and 2 Kings 8:7-10). (7) Finally, both prophets called down vengeance upon unbelievers (2 Kings 1:9-12 and 2:23-25). In spite of these similarities between Elijah and Elisha, there was a great deal of difference between the temperance and general attitudes of the two men.

Elijah was a solitary figure, until he called Elisha. He spent most of his time struggling with the evils of his times and consequently suffered from deep depression on at least one occasion. However, Elisha's gift of a "double portion of the Spirit" enabled him to lead a triumphant life as he mingled with other people. There is no record of Elisha ever fleeing from his enemies or complaining about his lot in life. He never lost his courage and even on his death bed, seemed full of the Spirit.

There are many valuable lessons to be learned from this great man of God and there is no better place to begin, than his double portion of the Spirit, which empowered his life. The Spirit of God gives spiritual power to the lives of God's people. Jesus said to His disciple, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you..." (Acts 1:8). We do not accomplish great things in God’s service by our own power; rather, we achieve true greatness through the power of God. Therefore, the more spiritual we are, the greater His power in our lives. For that reason, Paul admonished us to be “filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). The more of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the more we will be able to accomplish for the glory of God. "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16.)

Second, Elisha was a man of total commitment. When called by Elijah, he asked only to return home that he might kiss his parents good-bye. He killed his oxen, offering them to the Lord and thus severed all earthly ties, that he might be given to God and his service completely (1 Kings 19:20-21.) Every true servant of God must give themselves wholly to the work, as did Elisha (1 Timothy 4:15). Paul reminds us that early believer first gave themselves to the Lord and then to those who ministered in His service (2 Corinthians 8:5). Total commitment means that we put God and His kingdom first in our lives (Matthew 6:33)

Third, Elisha was a man who sought spiritual interests, rather than worldly goods. He was much like Solomon, who sought the blessings of wisdom rather than wealth (1 Kings 3:9). So Elisha sought spiritual blessings, that would enable him to serve God in greater ways (2 Kings 2:9 & 14). He not only desired a double portion of the Spirit, but also took up the mantle of Elijah and used it to serve God. Likewise, Paul admonishes us to put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:13) and to also covet earnestly the best spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31). We should never be completely content with what we are doing in God's service; instead, let us always strive to be a little better and do a little more, for His glory.

Fourth, he was a man genuinely concerned about people other than himself and sought to help them in their needs. 2 Kings 4:1-7 tells of a widow, the mother of two sons who lived at home. She was deeply in debt and stood to loose both sons to imprisonment, if she failed to pay her debts. The miracle of multiplying the oil, was Elisha’s plan for raising the needed money to pay her debts and guarantee the continued freedom of her sons. Elisha cared about that widow and her sons, just as "The Good Samaritan" in the New Testament cared about the poor man who had fallen victim to thieves. Both are beautiful examples of individuals who cared for their fellow man and reached out a helping hand. Paul said, “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2.) Jesus also taught us to treat others, as we want others to treat us (Matthew 7:12).

Fifth, Elisha was a man who lived consistent with his profession and thereby was regarded as a "man of God" (2 Kings 4:9). In 2 Kings 4:8-10, we are told that as Elisha’s journeyed to Shunem, he passed by the home of a “great woman” and her husband. Evidently, he often passed their way and the woman perceived by his conduct, that he was indeed "an holy man". All of us should endeavor live each day, so that others will see and know the genuineness of our love for God and our devotion to Him. What do we accomplish when we tell others we are a Christian, if our behavior does not verify it? To say we are saved and not live up to our profession is meaningless. People will be able to tell by our conduct, that we are the children of God; if we walk as "children of light" (Ephesians 5:8) and let our lights "so shine before men" (Matthew 5:16). Elisha lived true to his commitment to God and so should we.

Sixth, Elisha was also a praying man. He did what he could to help others, but in recognition of human inability; he also sought the blessings of God through prayer. Here is an example: the Shunammite woman's son had died. When word of his death came to Elisha, he first sent his servant Gehazi; later he proceeded to go himself, that he might help the family in their time of sorrow. No human power could impart life to the dead boy; but God could. Trusting in God’s power, Elisha went to God in prayer (2 Kings 4:32-33.) The boy was raised to life and returned to the loving arms of his mother. God had answered Elisha's prayer. It is no wonder Jesus taught us to pray in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:9-13). Like Elisha, we are to pray for others; not just for ourselves (James 5:16).

Seventh and finally, Elisha was a man of honesty and integrity. He could not be corrupted either by power or possessions. To prove the point, I call your attention to a Syrian officer called Naaman, who was afflicted with leprosy. He went to Elisha bearing gift of great wealth, supposing to give them to the man of God. Elisha told him what he must do to be healed, but refused to take his gifts (2 Kings 5:5-6). However, his servant Gehazi, lusted for those material possession. He pretended that Elisha had changed his mind, in order to persuade Naaman to give the goods to him. His actions resulted in leprosy coming upon Gehazi (2 Kings 5:20-27). Then as now, there are those who have too great a love for money and material possessions, which causes them to err from the faith (1 Timothy 6:10). It is folly to think that the blessings of God can be bought and sold (Acts 8:18-19). Therefore "let us walk honestly, as in the day ..." (Romams 13:13) and live with integrity, as did Elisha.

In conclusion let me say, that after the death of Elisha, a rather remarkable event took place. A dead man was put in Elisha’s grave, where he was revived as he touched the bones of this great man of God (2 Kings 13:20-21.) Elisha was truly a "Model Spiritual Leader." No mortal can attain perfection on this earth but Elisha certainly taught us some very valuable lessons. May we learn and live the lessons we learn from God’s great prophet, Elisha.

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This page last updated on June 17, 2014