And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” (2 Kings 2:9)
At this point in 2 Kings, the time soon approached when the older prophet Elijah would be taken to heaven and leave the younger prophet Elisha behind. Before he left, Elijah tested Elisha in a few different ways and then asked this amazing question: Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?
This was an open invitation for Elisha to ask for whatever he wanted. It was like the invitation that God gave to Solomon (1 Kings 3:5), and the invitation Jesus gave to all who seek Him (Matthew 7:7). This great invitation was given after Elisha had demonstrated his loyalty and commitment by refusing to leave his mentor. That dedicated, seeking-God’s-best attitude of Elisha was rewarded.
What did Elisha ask for? Elisha said, please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me. Elisha asked for a big thing – a double portion of the mighty spirit of Elijah. Elisha saw how greatly the Spirit of God worked through Elijah, and he wanted the same for himself.
The idea of a double portion was not to ask for twice as much as Elijah had, but to ask for the portion that went to the firstborn son, as in Deuteronomy 21:17. Elisha asked for the right to be regarded as the successor of Elijah, as his firstborn son in regard to ministry. Yet Elisha had already been designated as Elijah’s successor (1 Kings 19:19). This was a request for the spiritual power to fulfill the calling he already received.
It is worthwhile to consider if this was generally a good or a bad thing. Normally we don’t think of one person inheriting the ministry of another. The relation between Elijah and Elisha – and God’s apparent blessing on their ministries – shows that at least sometimes God intends one person to inherit the ministry of another.
More than anything, consider this: Elisha could have asked for anything, but he asked for this. When offered everything, he didn’t seek wealth, worldly power, or status. He wanted all he might need to fulfill God’s purpose and call on his life.
What do you think is missing in your life? What would you ask God for if He offered you anything? Asking God for all you need to fulfill His highest purpose for your life is a great thing to ask for. Get a double portion of that.