Summary: Part 1 of the Sermon Series, "God of Elisha."
The writer of Kings brings us to the time when Elisha is about to take over prophetic leadership from Elijah. God has called Elijah to his heavenly retirement and has called Elisha to take his place.
It is a time of transition for Elisha. He will step into the shoes of the most celebrated star in the Hall of Fame of Yahweh’s prophets. It is a time of transition for the sons of prophets as well. They will now follow a new leader and mentor. It is also a time of transition for the northern kingdom of Israel. They shall see God’s ways and learn God’s will through the prophet Elisha.
Elisha asks the question, “Where is the LORD, God of Elijah?” (2 Ki. 2:14). According to the context of the story, it is a test-question—a question of confirmation. Elisha is asking whether the God of Elijah is now truly with him. He is inquiring whether the spirit and power of Yahweh upon Elijah is now upon him. He is asking whether the blessing and authority of Yahweh now rests on him.
We must ask that question today. “Where is the LORD, God of Elisha? Is the Spirit of God upon our lives, our church, and our ministries? Is the power of God upon us?
There are three things about the power of God upon Elisha. God’s power is there for us. Yet how do we utilize it for His glory?
The Demand for Divine Power
“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” (v. 14)? Elisha wanted a token, a sign, or proof that God’s power upon Elijah is now also upon him. Recall that Elijah confronted 450 prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel. He called down fire from heaven at Mt. Carmel. The fire of heaven consumed the burnt offering on the altar, the water on the altar, and the water in the trench around the altar. The same Elijah pronounced judgment against King Ahab and his wife Jezebel for their sins (1 Ki. 18:33-40; 21:17-24). This is the spirit and power of Elijah.
Elisha wanted a sign of God’s power upon him. He takes the cloak of Elijah and stands at the bank of the river Jordan. Then he strikes the water with the cloak. The water parted to one side and to the other side, revealing dry ground in the middle. Then Elisha walked over the dry ground (2 Ki. 2:8). Thus, God manifested His power and blessing upon Elisha by the miracle of the parting water.
We learn two things here about how to prove the power of God in our lives and in our ministries. First, use whatever spiritual gifts you have.1 Paul wrote Timothy, “Do not neglect the gift you have” (1 Tim. 4:14). The power of God manifests itself through the spiritual gifts of God. Spiritual gifts are Spirit-energized abilities. When we utilize our supernatural abilities, we see God’s power.
What spiritual gift has God given you? You may have the gift of encouragement, the gift of giving, the gift of leadership, the gift of exhortation, the gift of teaching, or the gift of helping. Each one of you has received at least one spiritual gift. Use that for the building up of the body of Christ.
Do you wonder why you do not see the power of God sometimes? Maybe you are not using the gift of God in you. It is not because God is not working. It is because you are not using what God has given you. If you will use that gift, then you will see the power of God working through you! Do not just sit there doing nothing for the Lord! Do something with your divine ability. Find a way to serve the Lord with your divine ability.
Second, do all things by fervent prayer. Serve God as you pray. Pray as you serve God. Elisha knew that the cloak of Elijah is useless, unless God is with him. He sought the Lord and expected the Lord’s answer. When he asked, “Where is the LORD, God of Elijah,” he was already expecting an answer from God.
I read a story about a little agricultural town that survived by reaping a good harvest every year. For many months however, there was no rain. The town leader called on everyone to go to the town plaza in the early morning and pray for God to send rain. Everybody went, including a little girl. Everybody arrived carrying nothing. But the little girl arrived at the plaza carrying an umbrella in her hand.
Who do you think expected an answer from God?
Jesus said, “If you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive’” (Matt. 21:21-22, NKJV). If you want to see the power of God, better pray and expect God to do mighty things. Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it shall be yours (Mk. 11:24).