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Where is the Lord God of Elijah? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Buddy Sheets   
Sunday, 17 February 2008
And Elisha saw it and he cried, "My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" And he saw him no more.Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.  And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.  Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over. Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him opposite them, they said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha." And they came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.  2 Kings 2:12-15 

Buddy Sheets - Director of Passion for Jesus MinistriesLet's look at especially verse 13-14 - "Then he took the cloak of Elijah...and struck the water, saying, "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?"

The following quote from actress Cybill Shepherd reminded me of the new prophet, Elisha, immediately after his mentor, Elijah, was taken into heaven. And it reminds me of each of us too:

"We have to keep trying things we're not sure we can pull off. If we just do the things we know we can do...we don't grow as much. You gotta take those chances on making those big mistakes."

The prceding quote can also be applied to all of us as well as to the account of Elisha in 2 Kings chapter 2. Our friend Elisha had been an apprentice of the prophet Elijah for many years. After Elijah was translated and Elisha saw him go, he was left to begin his own ministry. The first thing that happened was that Elijah's mantle fell at Elisha's feet. This garment was the "official" prophet's garment, and this one was the same one that years earlier Elijah had thrown over Elisha's shoulder when he was called to be a prophet. Elijah had mentored him throughout the years, and Elisha had been a faithful disciple and had learned many lessons. Now his master was gone and he was on his own. Could he "pull it off" without Elijah?

This Scripture reveals three things that Elisha did which brought him success in his ministry and which can be applied to us today as well:

 

1. He picked up the mantle of Elijah

By doing this he was accepting the official badge of a prophet and was stepping into his new role in the Kingdom of God. This particular mantle was one made of animal skin as shown by the Hebrew words ad-deh'reth. What was so significant about this mantle was that it was not only a garment to be worn but it was also a token of the descent of the Spirit upon him. He obeyed God's summons and became Elijah's successor. He now had the rights and responsibilities of a prophet. Although the mantle automatically marked a person as a prophet, a spokesman for God - someone who knew God's heart, it was also a symbol of sacrifice and commitment.

The mantle represented a person's gift, the call of God, and the purpose for which God had called him. The garment was more than a relic to be treasured--it was a useful tool, just as was Moses' rod. When Elisha picked up the mantle, he also picked up the destiny that God had ordained for him. The reason that he didn't hesitate to pick up the mantle was because he had already been called and trained for this day. By picking it up though, he set in motion the wheels of his ministry. He began to move with God. He didn't just stand there in inactivity wondering what his next move would be.

"Just Do It!" - The Prophet Nike

How many times do we fail to "pick up" on opportunities that are right before our eyes because we stand back--waiting on the Lord when, in actuality, He is waiting on us! Sometimes we stand back waiting for someone to ask us to do something when it is all right to go ahead and "just do it!" Eccles. 9:10 tells us "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might...."

How often do we see someone who is sick or injured, and knowing full well that God has already said of us that, "...they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mark 16:18), we look the other way and pretend that we didn't see!

Or we feel a "tug" in our heart that God wants to speak to a watresses' heart at the resturant at which we are dining. Instead of opening up our heart (and mouth) and allowing the Lord to give forth a rhema word that quite possibly could be the pivotal point in that person's life to reveal to them the heart of God, we look across the table and say instead, "Please, pass the salt."

There was an interview on TV a while back about Bill Wilson who lives in Brooklyn in a warehouse, and he has been ministering to children and their families for 17 years in a crime ridden area. They have sidewalk Sunday schools where as many as 1,500 children come to a Sunday school. There are several Sunday schools each day in different parts of the city, and it is estimated that there are 18,000 children per week in Sunday school. Murders and drugs are rampant in the communities. The staff of Metro Ministries visits the homes of these children every week. He has had this kind of commitment for 17 years because a businessman took an interest in him and sent him to kids camp. It has been a consistent ministry to prevent children from getting on drugs in the first place. In the interview he talked about the good things and bad things he encountered in the ministry. He said the call of God is where you see the NEED.

Maybe we are fearful that we can't "pull it off" or are unsure if God will be with us. Think about the times someone has asked you to teach a Bible study or help serve in an evangelistic outreach, or to do any number of things that you have never done before. It can be a scarey experience. You ask, "Can I pull it off?" "Can I be sure God will be with me?" Let me assure you, you will never know if you don't "pick up your mantle" just as Elisha picked up his. It was his to take. Picking up your mantle is taking that first step of faith. As John Wimber used to constantly remind us, "You spell faith: R-I-S-K!"

The Scripture doesn't tell us whether or not if there were any fears in Elisha's mind or whether or not he felt "competent" or "qualified" to do the job. But I have learned that one of the basic, foundational principles of the Kingdom of God is that God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called! God never calls you to do what you can do without Him!

Elisha was a man who had a completely different personality from Elijah. You see, we don't have to be an exact copy of someone else in order to be used by God. He was not the rough cut, outsider that Elijah was. Scripture shows that he got along better with people and worked better within the established system. We don't know what his fears were, but we do know that he had the call of God and that he had the credentials (the anointing - the Presence of the Holy Spirit).

We, too, each have access to the Holy Spirit's graceletts (gifts), and we each have a unique mantle that represents God's unique call on our lives. So, let's not hesitate to pick up our "mantle", develop our gifts, and allow Holy Spirit to work through us.

True this means making a commitment just as Elisha did --a re-evaluation of all of our values and priorities. Elisha, like Elijah, was an ordinary person who became extra-ordinary because he was available to the Lord and willing to pick up his "mantle."

 

2. He took action

It was necessary that Elisha do more than just pick up the mantle. Not only did he have the mantle, which was the official badge of the prophet, not only did he have the training Elijah had given him, and the God of Elijah to help him, but he then took action to do what needed to be done! He went back to the Jordan River which represented barriers to the plan of God--barriers to what stands in the way of entering God's blessings or service.

Crossing the Jordan, on the other hand, represented moving out under the power of God. It speaks of faith in God's ability to remove the barriers and allowed him to move on to fulfill God's call and work. 2 Cor. 10:4 tells us "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

Going back to the Jordan River was an important starting point for Elisha because it proved not only to be an encouragement to him, but it was a means of authenticating his ministry to the other prophets and to the people in Israel.

As Elisha stood before the Jordan, he rolled up the mantle and smote the water just as he had seen Elijah do. He used the techniques he had learned from his mentor, and God did the rest. Elisha knew he was filling a large pair of shoes, and he needed confidence in the Lord. Overcoming the barriers of the Jordan stood as a reminder of God's power many times in the days ahead. Once he had broken through this difficult barrier, it helped build his confidence that God would help him with more difficult things in his ministry.

Teach Me Your Ways Oh Lord!

We often complete step one of "picking up our mantle" in the form of training under those who are already "doing the stuff". As Rick Joyner travels around the world, one of the things he does in many cities is ask the congregation he is ministering to, how many know for sure what their calling is.

Rick says that usually about 10% of the crowd raises their hands. He then asks of those who know what their calling is, how many are actually functioning in that calling. Usually about 10% of the 10% say that they are functioning in the calling they know they have from God.

That means that, in any given location, at any given time, only about 1% of the Body of Christ is doing what they were created to do. What if only 1% of your body was functioning, how well would you be? And we wonder why our churches are in so bad of a shape.

How many people hold a college degree in their hand but never do anything with it. How many have musical talent, whether singing or playing a musical instrument but never sing or use that instrument for the Lord. We may know God has gifted us to do many things but still let the barriers immobilize us from taking action. Many people have the expertise but never taken any action. Faith without works (corresponding action) is dead!

I would like to ask you, "Are there any Jordan Rivers in your life right now that need to be removed by faith and prayer so that you can move on with the Lord?" Such barriers could include fear, sorrow, procrastination, ill will against others, or any number of things. The removal of the barriers at your Jordan becomes an opportunity for God to display His power and to become a testimony to others. It always stretches you to do things you never thought you could do. Sometimes we need to "jump in with both feet" by volunteering for something we've never done before.

Playing it safe is dangerous!

The old saying goes, "It is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all." Applying that truth to Simon Peter, "It is better to have stepped out in faith to walk on the water with Jesus and temporarily faltered, than to have stayed in the boat and to never even try." In other words, it is better to be a wet water walker, than a dry boat rider!

In what ways can you begin to take action to overcome the barriers that are hindering you? To help you move toward identifying new experiences complete the following sentences:

  • Something I would like to do is_______________.

  • Something I feel God is calling me to do is_______________________.

Stand before your "Jordan" and move the barriers out of your way by taking action.

Elisha rolled up the mantle and took action. Most of us need to take action in some area of our lives. You can begin today.

 

3. He called forth, "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?"

Notice that he didn't call for Elijah to come back and help him. Elijah had done his mentoring and his job was completed. Elijah had trained Elisha well over a long period of time. As they walked along together, Elisha had soaked up what Elijah had been telling him and demonstrating to him. He now called for the God of Elijah to help him. He had his own personal history with God, and he was trusting in the God of Elijah to be right there to help him.

It is of utmost importance that we have our secret history in God and know how to pray and to see things happen. We cannot rely on the faith or experiences of other people. We can't rely on the prayers of others alone to deliver us. We must pray ourselves. In our crises experiences, we need to know that "we" know the God of Elijah and know how to get in touch with Him. It is not a time for hoping or guessing. As Oral Roberts used to say, "I know that I know that I know!" We need to "know" how to pray for big things as well as little things.

There is a story about a little 4 year old who was taken to the Emergency Room with a severe cough. She talked incessantly and the doctor finally said, "Open your mouth so I can see if Barney is in there." She immediately replied, "Jesus is in my heart; Barney's on my underwear." I believe that this little girl had the certainty of where the Lord dwells more than most Christians.

Where is the Lord God of Elijah? Psalm 11:4 tells us, "The Lord is in His holy temple..."  which gives us a sense of the awesomeness and greatness of God in relationship to the world. Psalm 145:18 says, "The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth."

This tells us of the nearness of God to us individualy. He is not only transcendent but He is also immanent.

The same God who worked for Elijah and Elisha is present today and desiring to work personally in our individual lives. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  God will work to enable us to do what He has called us to do. Phil. 4:13 reminds us, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

Elisha had previously asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit. Later Scripture show that Elisha received this double portion and that he accomplished much for the Kingdom. It was imperative that Elisha keep his experience fresh and up to date with God if he expected God to work. Can we do any less?

Conclusion:

Let's go back and look at our text verse again, "Then he took the cloak of Elijah...and struck the water, saying, "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?"

Take a look at where you are in relationship to this verse. Have you reached out your hand of faith to pick up the mantle as far as performing your function in the Body? Maybe this is your starting point. If you are a new Believer, pick up your mantle. Those of you who have been in the Kingdom a long time--pick up your mantle.

Have you begun to take action to move out into new areas of ministry--things you might be a little fearful of doing--like getting up to sing that first song, or teaching that first Bible study, praying for that sick person, giving that first prophetic word to someone, or explaining the plan of salvation to that first person. Don't wait to be asked to do something. Begin to volunteer. Third, take a look at your experience with the Lord. Is it up to date and fresh. Are you like the 4 year old who knew for a fact where Jesus dwells?

Then like the great prophet Nike tells us - "Just Do It!"

Amen.