The Test of Devotion/Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
2 Kings 2:1 “And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.”
Elijah was God’s Prophet. He had been called, when Israel was at one of it’s worst times. He had proved that God was “THE GOD”, before all Israel in a “showdown” with the four hundred priests of Baal, who were supported by Jezebel, the queen. (1 Kings 18:36-39)
His success there, thwarted the efforts of Jezebel to destroy the worship of God.
There were still those who were idol worshippers, but she could no longer kill, and torture those who believed in God, as she had before. There had been a renewal of the worship of the Lord, because of Elijah.
But now it was time for Elijah to be taken to heaven. Years before, Elijah had been told to anoint Elisha as prophet, in his room. (1 Kings 19:16, 19-21)
And Elisha had been a servant to Elijah, as his helper, while his training had been going on.
2 Kings 2:2-3 “And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Beth-el. And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Beth-el.
And the sons of the prophets that were at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head today? And he said, Yea, I know it, hold thee your peace.”
Elijah and Elisha traveled from Gilgal to Beth-el together.
Elijah had asked Elisha to stay at Gilgal, but Elisha would not leave him. Where he went, his helper would go also.
Elisha knew that God was going to take Elijah, and he wanted to hear every instruction, every prayer, and every help he could, before that happened.
He also felt that being with him till the end was his duty; that God would show him what to do by it.
We have been called to follow on with Christ Jesus. He has shown us many things, and we have learned of Him. We know He is with us, but we are conscious of a lack of power. How are we to do all we have been called to, without the power of the Holy Spirit resting on us?
This was Elisha’s thoughts, too.
2 Kings 2:4, 6 “And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.
And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me unto Jordan. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.
And they two went on.”
Stay here? Elijah asked, at both places. But again came the reply, “As the LORD liveth and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee”.
Did Elisha know exactly what would happen? I do not think so. But, I believe, he knew that the ministry of Elijah was ending; and his, as Prophet in Elijah’s room, was beginning. He knew that he would need to see the work Elijah started, done.
God would part them, and begin Elisha’s work; but Elisha would continue on as Elijah’s servant, and companion, till God did. He would not leave him, till then.
2 Kings 2:7c-9 “…and they two stood by Jordan.
And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, that a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.”
Here Elisha sees once more the power of God, Elijah could use. And here, Elijah asks him “what shall I do for thee?”
Without hesitation, Elisha asks for a double portion of the power of God.
He felt that he needed more of that power of the Holy Spirit, to help him do what was needed, in this time, in Israel.
If Israel was to be guided according to the Word of God, then Elisha would need double the power that Elijah had.
It is one thing to show God, as “the God”; as Elijah had.
It is another, to guide the believers of God into the life which they ought to have, stay with them, or visit them, to help them again and again. This was Elisha’s ministry.
He felt that such a work, would need great power. The enemies of God were still at work. Idolatry was always a problem.
Elisha felt, if he was to serve acceptably as God’s Prophet, he would need much of the Holy Spirit.
2 Kings 2:10 “And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.”
Now if Elijah had said this at the first, we could understand Elisha’s sticking close to him. But that was not the reason for him staying with Elijah.
His devotion to the man who lead him into a deeper knowledge of God, and His Word and Works, was great. He had taught him many things, shared his experiences, and manifested to Elisha the great faithfulness of God to His people.
Now it was time for Elisha to do the same with the sons of the prophets (groups of believers which met together in various cities), and with Israel.
Elijah’s ministry would now be passed on to Elisha, to be finished.
2 Kings 2:11-13 “And it came to pass, as they went on, and talked that, Behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went by a whirlwind into heaven.
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 into two pieces.
He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;”
Going on, walking and talking, as they had done so many times; God parted them, with a chariot of fire and horses of fire.
Elijah was taken up to heaven, and Elisha saw him no more.
Elisha then tore his outer clothes in two pieces, to show he was no longer just Elisha, and he picked up the mantle Elijah had dropped (which had been cast upon him when Elijah had called him. 1 Kings 19:19).
He was now Prophet in Elijah’s place.
2 Kings 2:13-14 “He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of the Jordan;
And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said,
Where is the Lord God of Elijah? And when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: And Elisha went over.”
He had received a double portion of the Holy Spirit which had been on Elijah.
He was now to finish the work of leading the believers of God, in Israel, on to a more full and joyful life with God.
In his ministry, Elisha dealt with kings, captains, and those which would be kings.
But his ministry mainly centered around the circuit he walked with his servants, to preach and instruct those that believed in God and stayed true to Him.
From Gilgal, to Mt. Carmel, to Samaria, to Beth-el, and around, Elisha went delivering the message of God; saving such as came to seek God’s help, and leading others to a knowledge of God.
We, too, have a ministry for which we should seek the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
He is in us, if we are born again; but to have His power in our lives, we need to submit to Him.
The condition of Elisha receiving the double portion, was that he STAY WITH Elijah, and see him go.
So we, too, need to “stay with” the Holy Spirit, by obeying what we have been given to do, removing all that hinders His influence within us, and standing in the place Christ Jesus won for us in His Victory on the Cross.
Where is the Lord God of Elijah? He is the same, yesterday, and today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8-9b “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace;…”
He is ever ready to give power to the faint, and to them that have not might He increases strength. (Isaiah 40:29)
But it is as we “stay with”, and yield to the Holy Spirit within.