“As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them…” 2 Kings 2:11
One was an accomplished prophet and the other was a prophet-in-training, and the two were soon to be separated by a chariot of fire. The two couldn’t have been more different in their maturity and spirituality, for one had been walking with the Lord for years and the others was merely at the beginning stage of experiencing God’s presence and might.
“Rev. Ton, a well-known evangelist and fiery preacher is retiring and he has picked his successor, an up and coming young man with great gifts,” someone told me.
“Well, ultimately it’s up to the Lord to choose his servant,” I replied.
The thought of choosing someone to take my place to serve in this little church has never entered into my mind, even though I am rapidly approaching retirement age. Am I being irresponsible? Far from it. The Lord will have to choose his own servant when the time comes, and when it does, a separation will take place.
Just when the servant of the Lord was fully equipped to serve, it was about the time for him to be picked by the chariot from above. Elisha was full of zeal, yet little did he know what he was getting into, and his spirituality hardly matched the spiritual gift he was going to be receiving. The one was ready to depart from the scene, but the other wasn’t ready to take on the heavy responsibility to serve.
The chasm between Elijah and Elisha was quite vast, and it would take years to bridge the gap, if it happened at all.
There was a choice to be made, though. The Lord could have kept his elderly prophet on earth a little bit longer and accomplished a few more things, yet this would have been only a short-term solution, for even the greatest prophet in Israel couldn’t have defied the onslaught of time. Ready or not, Elisha would have step up to the plate and do his batting.
The young prophet was endowed with the gift of performing signs and wonders, and seemed to be eager to show off his newly-discovered skill, yet there was something that seemed to be lacking in him, which might have been what separated him and his mentor - an inward thing that was hardly visible.
Elisha instantly became a public figure after he assumed Elijah’s position and he further solidified his status by performing one miracle after another, and at least one of them seemed to be quite capricious, when he called down a curse against a group of children who jeered him on the road.
There was indeed a separation between the two in their spirituality, which causes us to develop a longing for the elderly prophet who had been taken away, and a slight dissatisfaction with the one who succeeded him.