Summary: Elijah is gone, God remains. Don't look for Elijah, look for the God of Elijah. God's presence and His power remains. Can God count on us to continue His work and proclaim His Word?
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.