2 Kings 2:1- 2, 6- 14
by Darlene Saunders Ousley
My mom likes to tell the story about my request for an extra seat at the table for my invisible friend Jesus) when I was four or five years old. She honored my request – even though our dinner table already had ten places set. During dinner I regularly conversed with “my friend,” being sure to ask if he wanted peas or chicken. She never questioned my behavior.
God’s presence overwhelms Elijah. It comes not in the wind and fire but in the stunning silence from which the Lord beckons Elijah to anoint Elisha “as prophet in your place” (1 Kings 19:16). Many scholars justifiably credit Elisha’s unwavering loyalty to Elijah and his undying commitment to the God of Israel in his refusing three times Elijah’s request to “stay here.” In Elisha I also see a young man who honors his own voice as a source of wisdom. He relies on the strength of his own spiritual insights to guide his decisions and actions.
Rather than emphasizing Elisha’s willingness to follow Elijah mindlessly, the writer records the strength of Elisha’s decision to accompany Elijah. In refusing Elijah’s request to tarry, Elisha clearly stands his ground for what he believes is a better avenue of action. He has spent enough time observing Elijah’s relationship with God to have developed the same presence of mind and confidence in his own connection to God. By following rather than tarrying, Elisha receives the mantle. Trusting in one’s spiritual intuition is honored by God.
God of the prophets, God of the dinner table, restore our courage and confidence to stand our ground. Help us understand that the young learn by following. Amen.