This past year has been one where tornadoes were plentiful. A tornado can form in a matter of minutes and devastate an entire town before its citizens can even take cover. We have all seen the aerial videos and pictures of the unbelievable destruction of just such an event.
Recently, I was reading in 2 Kings about a different kind of tornado that dipped down just long enough to pick up a passenger. In 2 Kings chapter 2, Elijah told his protégé Elisha to stay put while he took a short trip to Bethel at the Lord’s request. But Elisha refused and they both began their walk together. Once in Bethel, Elijah told Elisha to remain there while he went on to Jericho as directed by the Lord. Once again, Elisha knew that the Lord was coming to take Elijah that very day so he continued with Elijah on toward Jericho.
For Elisha, it had been good to have Elijah as his spiritual mentor. Who would not want such a dynamic man of God to train under? But Elisha knew that his apprenticeship was about to come to an end and he wanted to remain with Elijah until he saw him taken by the Lord. He probably had no idea how it would happen, but he knew that it would and wanted to be there when it did. Elisha told Elijah in verse 4, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho.
It’s been said many times that “the good is often the enemy of the best.” Elisha could have chosen to be satisfied with what he had experienced and remained, but he refused and went on to Bethel. Then he could have stayed in Bethel as Elijah had told him. After all, by this time he had experienced so many “good” and marvelous things from his association with Elijah. But Elisha was not one to settle for the “crumbs that fall from the master’s table.” (Matt. 15:27) He was determined to be there (wherever there was) when Elijah was taken up by the Lord. And guess what? He was! Elisha went the extra mile and because of that, he saw with his own eyes the greatest miracle of his entire life.
How many miracles have we missed because we were satisfied with our own routine … our comfort and safety? God reveals miracles to the Elijahs and the Elishas of this world. The rest often move methodically from birth to death without ever experiencing the magnificence of the glory of the Almighty. Elisha wanted all that God had for him and that meant that he would need to move toward the Lord rather than away from Him. I have finally learned that when we are not moving toward the Lord, we have begun to drift from Him.
So what would Elisha have missed if he had remained in Bethel?
2 Kings 2:11 says, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.”
What will we miss out on today by choosing to settle for “crumbs” when God has prepared for us a feast for kings? Think about it.