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May-June 2021 - Elijah and Elisha

May 1, 2021 by Erin Pearce
Artist: Judy Racz (Australia, Contemporary)

Three times in 2 Kings, chapter two, Elisha said to Elijah, “As the LORD lives and as you live, I won’t leave you” (CEB). Knowing Elijah would be taken into heaven soon, Elisha was a loyal disciple and stayed by Elijah’s side. Eventually “a fiery chariot and fiery horses appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went to heaven in a windstorm” (v. 11).

This is the scene that artist Judy Racz has beautifully depicted in her painting named for the two prophets. Her striking use of color highlights the magnitude of the moment when Elijah was taken up in a fiery chariot. The cool blues and greens contrast with the warm, vibrant orange. Indeed, this must have been a stunning moment for Elisha.

Before this point in the story, Elijah asked Elisha, “What do you want me to do for you before I’m taken away from you?” (v. 9). Elisha replied, “Let me have twice your spirit.” The Hebrew word that he used for spirit is ruach, which is translated “spirit,” “breath,” or “wind” in different places throughout scripture. Elisha received Elijah’s spirit and went on to work wonders.

“As the LORD lives and as you live, I won’t leave you,” said Elisha. Are we as committed as Elisha in our own discipleship?  When the road is long and treacherous and the path is unclear, how well do we stay the course? Just as Elisha received the ruach, it can also empower us to remain focused in our lives of discipleship and accomplish more than we ever thought possible.

Cover image courtesy of Judy Racz. © Judy Racz.  Prints of cover art are available from

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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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