Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho. (2 Kings 2)
“You have succeeded in discovering your Personal Legend…It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish…Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. ~Paulo Coelho (Balance: The Business-Life Connection by James A. Cusumano)
Elisha is following Elijah to the third land. At each stop Elijah tells him to stay behind, it is a test of Elisha’s commitment to spiritual growth. Each time his mentor bids him remain in the previous land, Elisha refuses to concede and faithfully follows Elijah to the next level. First there was Gigal, the place of turning. Then there was the city of Bethel, the House of God. Now they head to Jericho, the place of warfare.
As Benny Hinn shares, “It is at Jericho that the battle will be won and the enemy defeated.” It is a place of victory, where the devil is overcome. It is a place where one’s spiritual life bears fruit. As Paul would tell the Galatians, the fruit that is born is of the Spirit and includes love and peace and patience and kindness and self-control and joy. (You can learn more about the Fruit of the Spirit at Cleveland's First Assembly of God.)
Jericho is perhaps most famous as the city Joshua and his armies marched around and then with a shout commanded the walls to fall down. It was their victory at Jericho that opened their entrance into Canaan, the long sought Promised Land.
The victory contains Jesus’ promise of a peace that the world can’t take away; it is where the presence of God brings fulfillment at the deepest level. It is a place of spiritual authority where one is no longer tossed to and fro by every wind and doctrine, but stands firm in faith against the tides of the enemy. It is a place of overcoming, overcoming of sin and the flesh and the devil.
Many will reach Jericho and remain there for life, “bearing much fruit” as Jesus commanded. But there is another place beyond Jericho, as Benny Hinn shares, a place of more anointing of the power of God. But the pull is strong to remain in Jericho; the battle to reach the land can take years. It takes refining and maturity to be brought to this place of victory, and there is no reason to rush on.
Elijah for the third time tells his protege to remain in the city, this time in Jericho. He has one more place to go, the Jordan River. Will Elisha stay or go? Tomorrow we will see.