We may wonder why Elijah wanted Elisha to accompany him to Bethel (see 2 Kings 2:1-4). Surely it wasn't just a sentimental journey for Elijah, one last trip down Memory Lane. No, this wise, old man wanted to teach Elisha—as well as us today—the need for more of God's power and anointing.
Now, as they walked through the streets, Elijah probably noticed his servant's horror and indignation at the totally backslidden society. Elijah himself had faced mockers and scoffers in his own day, on Mount Carmel. But he knew it would take even greater supernatural strength to face this new generation. These young people were far more hardened and godless than the idolatrous priests he had battled.
I believe it was at this point that Elijah decided to test his servant. He most likely suggested, “Elisha, why don’t you settle here and pastor these people? You have a sure calling, and you’ve been well trained. You could help restore Bethel’s great heritage.”
As Elisha surveyed the situation in Bethel, he knew he was not ready to stand up against the wicked spirits there. He realized what Elijah had known all along—he needed the Holy Spirit to do a greater, more powerful work in him before he could face down the evil in such a wicked city. So he told his master, “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee” (2 Kings 2:6). Then, Scripture says, “They went on” (same verse).
I believe Bethel represents the kind of evil society our own nation has become in just a generation’s time. We too live among scoffers and mockers—sensual people given over to lust, idolatry, homosexuality. And this present generation is worse than any Elijah or Elisha ever faced. Those holy prophets saw children mocking, scoffing and blaspheming but America's children are murdering one another. Young children are killing without any guilt or sorrow, cutting down parents, classmates, innocent strangers.
I don't wish to make a broad, sweeping judgment against all youth. I know there are many godly teenagers in this society who are on fire for Jesus. I thank God for every young person who takes a stand for Christ in these wicked times.
Yet, this evil day demands that God’s people obtain a double portion of His power and authority in order to be able to reach this lost generation. It is going to require a measure of anointing such as we have never seen in all of history. It demands that a holy remnant rise up and cry with Elisha, “Oh, Lord, more is needed.”
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon