When I was perhaps 25 or 26, a few years after my conversion, I was drawn to study the life of Elisha the prophet. There came a time when Elijah the prophet was to depart this earth and Elisha was by his side as the moment drew near. The story is told in 2 Kings 2 and is full of insights into the heart of Elisha, as well as the “sons of the prophets”, who also were on the scene at Elijah’s passing into the heavens. The exploits and miracles of Elijah were stunning and he stood alone in his day proclaiming the reality of God Almighty in the Northern Kingdom of Israel that was ruled by an evil king then and always in it’s history. No one had done the miracles that Elijah did.
Elisha was probably in his 20’s when this took place and had served Elijah since his call to serve Elijah years before. Elisha beheld as Elijah had shut the heavens and stopped the rain for 3 years and then as Elijah literally opened the heavens for the rains to return. He was there when Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead, did miracles of provision in multiplying the oil and grain and released prophesies determining the destinies of kings and events in the future. The passion of Elijah to demonstrate that Jehovah was the One True God in the midst of a nations idolatry and worship of other Gods was witnessed every day by Elisha. It culminated in the showdown between Elijah and the 800 false prophets of Baal and the groves. You can read the story in 1 Kings 18:18-46. Elijah called the entire nation to choose on one day to serve God or to Baal. Calling fire down on a water soaked altar proved that Yahweh, He is Elohim and no other God was to be served. One man defied the principalities and powers operating through these servants of demonic false gods and prevailed, bringing great glory to God. Then the rains came. Elisha saw a man who was not content to wait for another day to see God do His wonders in this day. He saw a man who brought the reality of God upon the scene now and not be as others who were content to build memorials to miracles of the past or prophesy only of them coming in the tomorrows which leave the moment without proof of His love, might and power.
So as Elijah neared the end of his earthly ministry, Elisha realized that with Elijah gone, where would the “eye hath not seen and the ear hath not heard” take place in Israel. Countless sermons have been preached on Elisha’s request of Elijah when asked what he could do for Elisha.
“Let a double portion of thy spirit rest upon me”
2 Kings 2:9
There was a cry for more. A hunger for more. I believe that it was not a cry for power for power’s sake. I believe it was the recognition that when Elijah left, the demonstrations of the living God on behalf of His people would cease. I believe Elisha was moved by love to not allow the people of God to go without the manifestations of His love on their behalf. His name comes from a word meaning “to halloo for help, cry to be freed from danger or distress”. God of wealth, God of riches, God is salvation are other meanings of his name. God hears the cries for His aid and Elisha was a man who heard the cries of God’s heart to touch His people, to save them to the uttermost and bring them into a life of riches! He did not look around for affirmation or confirmation to want a God without limits, a God who can step into history and write His Story on the canvas of the present and display His glory. He burned with a zeal to defy the darkness and be a lightning bolt of God’s power and love and it mattered not to him the conditions of the world around him. He refused to build a monument to Elijah or other great men or women of God in Israels history but declare in the sight of all that God can do even more than He has ever done and took ownership of his own life to do just that. When Elijah responded and said, “Thou has asked a hard thing…”, Elisha could care less as he would not be denied. That is the key right there. Are we willing to allow God to not be seen in the earth? Are we willing to let His image be defiled, His name be sullied, His honor be trampled, His nature be misunderstood? Are we willing to see souls perish, bodies remain sick and diseased and destinies not be harvested? In the earth there is ” a halloo for help”, do you hear it? To shut our ears is is to betray the heart of God within us, it is a choice. Elisha would not live his life without yearning to answer that cry and the famine and darkness around him or the prophecies declaring that end of the Northern Kingdom in which he lived did not stop him from declaring the kingdom of God in the midst of it all. He did not curse the darkness but became a blazing torch in the midst of it.
God did answer that prayer for the double portion. History records that he actually did double the miracles of Elijah. Never Say I Am Too Old, is the title of this book and it is what took place at the end of his earthly life that is the most thrilling moment of all. It shatters the way we view our lives should be when we are old and motivates us to accept nothing less than being “fat and flourishing” as Psalms 92:14 says, bringing forth fruit in old age. “Gushing forth and boiling”, Gushing forth and boiling, Gushing forth and boiling”, is the what we look like, the way we do life when we are old. Studies say that when you are old you do not want to risk anymore, you struggle with feelings of worthlessness and incompetence and preference for the routine. Caution not risk taking is a characteristic of old age studies conclude. Elisha in old age shatters these long held belief systems that can rob those in old age of doing great things for God right up to one’s last breath. Why should we stop burning and boiling for God when we are old? Passion for Him and to make Him known is not age related but heart related.
It is said that Elisha received the double portion in his 20’s and then ministered for 55 years or longer as a prophet of God. So the passage in 2 Kings I am about to share took place when he was in his 80’s probably and as you will read, he was on his death bed. This is what our death bed scene should look like. Let’s look at this passage of scripture.
“Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the King of Israel came down unto him and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof
And Elisha said unto him, take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.
And he said to the king of Israel, put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands.
And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.
And he said, take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite the ground. And he smote the ground thrice and stayed.
And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hast consumed it: where now that shalt smite Syria but thrice
And Elisha died, they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land in the coming of the year.
And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood upon his feet”
2 Kings 13:17-21
Can you believe this incredible story? This was in the Old Testament, why cannot it not be today? It can for those who occupy the reality God is inviting those who have reached old age. As I have shared before, old age for some is 50 but most agree that is 60 or beyond. Elisha was in his 80’s. He was sick. So sick that he was on his deathbed. Yet in that moment he was boiling, gushing forth and wanting to see great things for God, wanting God to intervene on behalf of His people who were constantly being invaded by the Syrians. On his deathbed he was not dreaming of being in eternity with God but rather doing everything he could to make a difference for God on earth while he was still alive to do so. He is my model for old age. “They shall bring forth fruit, they shall be fat and flourishing”(Psalms 92:14). Fully alive, increasing and receiving increase, productive and prolific, boiling and gushing forth. These are some of the meanings of these words! Such was Elisha, so can it be for you and I.
It is interesting that Joash said the same words over Elisha as Elisha said to Elijah when he was caught up in the whirlwind to heaven. After he was caught up. It was time to pick up the mantle, it was time to step upon the world scene. Remember, the words “born again”, mean to be birthed from above to come upon the world stage, to appear in history, to come into being. From the beginning of one’s salvation to the end of one’s earthly life, we are to be making history, writing HIS STORY for all to read through our lives!! What others have done to glorify God are simply the invitation to do it again and again and again. The word testimony means “to do it again”. The ceilings of those who have done exploits in doing good and healing all that were oppressed are just the first floor of yet another amazing demonstration of the king and His kingdom.
He told the king, “to open the window eastward”. There was a window but it was shut and Elisha said to throw it open towards the east and that is always indicative in scripture of the rising the sun, the coming of the dawn, the coming of Jesus Christ, the glory of God came by the way of the east gate. It also means, “to anticipate and confront”. Elisha on his deathbed was only anticipating more of God’s deliverance and full of faith that God can do the impossible for the people He loved. He was living his name to the end. As I mentioned, his name comes from a word “to halloo for help”, and the word “deliverance” means to cry out for help also but to be victorious and be liberated, usually through human agency!
God co labors with men and women who are willing to see Him do the supernatural born of love to establish His rule and reign on the earth. This man was boiling with zeal to destroy the enemies of God. Open the window, remove the hindrances, kick out the limitations in your thinking and anticipate the miraculous from God. The heavens belong to God but the earth He has given to the children of men.(Ps 115:16) Open the window Joash, take ownership of making a difference for the glory of God. On his deathbed, Elisha was making sure he lived his life that way.
Syria means citadel, fortified city and Aphek means to be strong, enclosed, so not penetrable. This meant nothing to Elisha. God is stronger, God is mightier and after Joash shot the arrow, Elisha commanded him to smite the ground with the arrows One of the meanings of “ground”, is “the whole earth as opposed to just a part of it”. Elisha refused to think small. Jesus came for nations and to want to give God anything less is unacceptable. The devil said he would give Jesus the kingdoms of this world in exchange for worship. He knew what Jesus came for, do we? Seeing the glory of God cover the earth is the way to see God truly bless any God given assignment He has placed you in. Elisha was wanting more than just immediate deliverance from Syria. When the king smote the ground three times, Elisha said why did you stop? Why did you not smite the ground 5 or 6 times, why didn’t you want it all? The same cry for the double portion as a young man was burning in his soul on his deathbed. This is the life of old age as God wants it to be!!!
Not only that but a year later, one whole year later, a dead body was cast in the sepulchre of Elisha and lo and behold, when the body touched his bones, the dead man came back to life! What kind of life was in the bones of Elisha? Our influence and impact should touch anyone with resurrection and awakening power during our lives, on our deathbed and after we have physically gone to heaven. I do not care what the studies tell us about old age, I stand on the word of God as to what He says about old age!
“They shall bring forth fruit in old age
They shall be fat and flourishing”
That is God’s viewpoint and if you are in old age, make it yours and the Spirit of God will flow into your life. It does not matter what has transpired up till now in your lives. Even if you have had not had much of your destiny fulfilled, when you arrive at old age, it can begin and flourish now. Even if God has done great things in your lives and ministries, He can do even more and give you incredible fruit in old age. The people that “know their God will be strong and do exploits,(Daniel 11:32) and old age is only a season to do more!!
Father, I pray the power and presence of God come upon those that read this and that a supernatural quickening usher them into the most glorious season of their lives and that every hopelessness, hope deferred, depression, limitation be shattered in Jesus name and life pour in now! Let every dream and vision come alive and anticipation and faith rise in every heart!!