2 Kings 2:1-25 WHERE IS THE GOD OF ELIJAH
What happens when the prophet of God leaves?
• When Israel has been hearing the Word of God from this prophet, and seeing many miraculous deeds of God performed through him?
• What happens when he leaves? This is the question this chapter raises, and answers for us.
You can sense the anxiety over Elijah’s departure. It’s a recurring line.
• Right from the start the author says, “When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind…” and he goes on to tell the story.
• Elijah is not going to die. God will take him away. Very soon. This is the will of God.
Along the way they met companies of prophets. The groups of prophets at Bethel and Jericho shared the same revelation from God.
• They asked Elisha, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?” (verse 3 and 5)
• Clearly this is God’s will and the author stated it at the beginning in verse 1.
Elisha sensed Elijah’s impending departure and was determined to stay with him.
• The TWO of them travelled from Gilgal to Bethel to Jericho and to Jordan. At each stopover, Elijah would ask Elisha to stay behind but he refused.
• He reply was consistent: “As surely as the Lord lives and as YOU LIVE, I will not leave you.” He said it three times, in verses 2, 4 and 6.
Two likely reasons why Elisha was so insistent on staying with him.
• One, they had a close relationship. When he was taken, Elisha cried out, “My father! My father!” (v.12) He was his “spiritual father”.
• Elijah who called him into ministry in 1 Kings 19. They had been together minimally 6 years, some estimated 12 years.
• Two, Elisha thirsted for the anointing of God’s Spirit he saw in his master’s life and ministry. He wanted that blessing.
• When Elijah finally asked, after crossing Jordan, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?” (2:9a)
• Elisha: “Let me inherit a double portion of his spirit.” (2:9b)
• He wanted to serve like his master, no doubt, but to do it even better, with “a double portion of his spirit.”
The journey took them from Gilgal to Bethel to Jericho and to Jordan.
• They crossed the river at Jordan and Elijah was taken away.
• Elisha mourned for his departure (tearing his own clothes) and then he picked up his master’s mantle and returned.
• He re-crossed the river at Jordan, moved back to Jericho and then to Bethel and finally to Samaria where Gilgal is.
He re-traced the steps of his master. He did not go somewhere else.
• The author might have painted this geographical move to tell us Elisha returned to continue his master’s ministry.
• This would be now, not the ministry of Elijah, but the ministry of Elisha.
Nothing has ceased with the works of God IN Israel and the words of God FOR Israel.
• God has a new servant and a new prophet. The man might have changed, but God remains.
• Nothing has changed with God. He remains. His power remains. His Word remains.
When Elisha picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah, went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan (v.13) and struck the water with it, he cried out, “Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” (v.14)
• The answer is, HE IS HERE. “The water divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.” (v.14)
• The Lord who was with Elijah, is now with Elisha. The power of God that was displayed through Elijah, is now with Elisha.
50 men of the company of the prophets at Jericho (v.7) saw TWO persons crossing over, in a miraculous splitting of the river (v.8), now see only ONE returning (v.15).
• But the same miracle! (2:13-14) The waters parted. What Elijah had done, Elisha now does.
• And the prophets got the point: “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” (v.15)
• The God of Elijah is the God of Elisha. The power of God remains.
This parting of Jordan reminds us of the last time when it was dried up for crossing.
• That was when Israel was about to enter the land of Canaan. God stopped the waters of Jordan from flowing for His people to cross over.
• That was the crossing of an entire nation. That was in 1400BC.
• The same God was here with Elijah and Elisha in 850BC, doing the same feat.
The God who acted for His people in 1400BC, acted for His servants in 850BC.
• He is the same God at work today in 2018. The God at Pentecost or at the Reformation or at any era in history, is the same God we worship and trust today.
• God is present. Can we see that? God is at work today. Can we believe it?
• God’s presence and His power is not tied to any particular era.
• Whatever the generation, whatever the culture, the place, the time, God remains and He continues His work of fulfilling His will and purposes.
More importantly, God’s power is not limited to a particular person.
• Elijah has been a good prophet and a great one, performing many great feats for God. But God’s power does not rest only with him.
• The 50 prophets testified: “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” (v.15)
The author testified to this by telling us 2 other post-Elijah miracles – in Jericho and Bethel – on Elisha’s return trip.
• In Jericho, it was a miracle of transforming poisonous water into clean water.
• It was unusual but possible, not because of the salt, but because God SAID SO.
• Elisha says, “This is what the Lord says: “I have healed this water.” (2:21) and “And the water has remained wholesome to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.” (2:22)
And the other miracle in Bethel was a word of judgement.
• It might look like a harsh curse for a lame mockery, but it was pronounced “in the name of the Lord”.
• Being in Bethel, the place of Jeroboam’s introduction of the bull worship, this group of youths might not be so innocent.
• God validated Elisha’s curse. It’s not an impulsive act of an irritated prophet but the judgement of God.
Elisha, by the power of God, can do the same works as Elijah.
• So don’t idolise certain servants of God, no matter how great they are.
• Don’t go around looking for Elijah, as Elisha wisely warned, the Lord has taken him away. Look rather for the GOD of Elijah!
• Don’t idolise Mary, worship the God of Mary, the One she served and worshipped!
• Our faith is in the God of His servants, and not their charisma.
• Servants of God are just that - servants of God. We are instruments of God, called to serve Him in a particular era and place that God has put us in.
God’s servants can change, but God’s presence and power remains.
• There will come a time (like what we see here), when God says it’s time for my servant to go and He removes them.
• Perhaps sometimes, God does that so that we will not make idols of them, as though they are the only channels of God’s word and works.
• God took Elijah away, but there comes Elisha. God prepared him for this day.
Where is the God of Elijah? HE IS HERE!
• Elijah is gone. God remains. Don’t look for Elijah. Look for the God of Elijah.
• God has worked in the past, He continues to work today, through us.
• God has declared His Word in the past, He continues to speak today.
God brings His servant home when his time is up, and He raises another.
• In fact, Elisha did twice as many miracles as Elijah.
Can God count on us to be His servants in our generation?
A renowned violinist announced before a concert that he would play one of the world’s most expensive violins. His first composition was played flawlessly, and the audience was thrilled at the performance.
After taking his bows, the musician suddenly smashed the instrument, completely demolishing it. The audience was horrified — that is, until the violinist explained that he had been playing a cheap violin.
Then, picking up the expensive instrument, the master began to draw the bow across the strings. The sound was beautiful. He went on to play the same piece, but most of the people couldn’t tell any difference between the music from the expensive violin and the cheap one.
It’s not really about the instrument. It’s all about the player.
• Our Master can use ordinary instruments to accomplish His will.
• Be an Elisha, seek the God of Elijah and thirst for an anointing of God’s Spirit to do the work of God.
• Can God count on us today, to take up what faithful servants before us have started, and continue the work of God and proclaim the truth of God in our time?
We thank you Lord for what you have done in our lives. We want to dedicate this life to you and serve you faithfully. So take this life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to you. Help us do your will diligently, proclaim your Word faithfully, and finish the work that you want us to do, in our time. Let your will be done in us and through us. This we pray in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.