Read 2 Kings 2
Focus on verse 16
“The Spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” This was what the group of prophets who witnessed Elisha’s return from across the Jordan after Elijah’s departure exclaimed when he crossed the river by parting the water. Apparently it was well known among the prophets that Elijah was going to be taken up – and apparently no one knew this more clearly than Elisha.
When Elijah realizes the time is near he asks Elisha what he can do for him before he goes…this is the moment that Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.
Elisha has been hanging with Elijah for some time it would seem, to learn the ways of the prophet. To ask for a double portion is quite a bold request, but as it turns out the request is granted and Elisha goes on to perform equal and greater things than Elijah did in Judah and Israel.
The acid test of whether the spirit of Elijah has truly rested on Elisha comes in short order. When Elisha returns to the Jordan he repeats what Elijah had done by rolling up his cloak and striking the water – as the water parts just as it did for Elijah it becomes evident to all that a succession has taken place…that the spirit of Elijah lives on in the life of Elisha.
Successful succession does not happen without intentionality and planning. Whether it is business, church or family leadership, where the mantel is passed smoothly and successfully there is typically been some level of purposeful discipleship and planning. Where this is not the case the transition is not usually as smooth.