The last thing written in the Old Testament is “Behold, I send you Elijah (whose name means My God is Jehovah) . . .” John the Baptist was Elijah to come (Matt. 11:14) but we know he was NOT Elijah. He had “the Spirit and Power” of Elijah. Before his birth, Luke 1:17 shows the angel Gabriel prophesying that John would go “in the spirit and power of Elijah . . .” The work of Elijah and the work of John the Baptist was REVIVAL. Elijah said “how long halt ye between two opinions” and John said “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
Elisha received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (II Kings 2). How can we receive it? By being in the right place, and asking (praying) for the right things. Everyone reading this – including the writer – has a measure of that spirit, or we wouldn’t even be studying or reading right now! But we all need ENOUGH. All 10 virgins had oil, but only 5 had ENOUGH. It’s what separates the ones who make it from those left behind. To keep our lamps lit, we need a reserve – a back up or storage place for the spirit. That’s where prayer comes in. It wasn’t enough just to build the boat – Noah stored food or they wouldn’t have made it through the flood. Our cars have a light that reminds us to fill up before we run out of gas. We could use a warning or “reminder” so we don’t run out of oil!
Elisha received a double portion by saying “I will not leave you.” Notice how when Elijah ran from Jezebel he went to Beer-sheba (I Kings 19:3) and “left his servant there.” We never heard about that man again. Perhaps he should have said “I will not leave you.” Ruth said it to Naomi. Peter said it to Jesus and the cock crowed. In fact, all the disciples said it – yet they scattered – but in the end – only Judas didn’t make it. That’s the kind of dedication that gets you that “double portion.” I think God tests us sometimes to see if we’ll get discouraged, back off, and leave Him alone! What would happen if we did like Job – cling to Him and won’t let go?
Where was Elijah going? To Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho and the Jordan – all significant places in Israel’s history. Let these four places symbolize stages in the life of a Christian:
1. Gilgal means “roll away.” It was where Joshua circumcised the people before entering the Promised Land. The intent was to “roll the past away” so Egypt was no longer a reproach. Circumcision represents a covenant with God. It was a “separation” – not just talk – but to actually walk the Christian life.
Gilgal was also where Joshua set up the monument of stones. Whoever saw them remembered God is alive and acts on our behalf. Without this reminder we’ll act as if God isn’t alive and doesn’t know our situations when He’s not only capable of parting the Jordan River– but even the Red Sea so we can reach our destination!
2. Bethel means “House of God.” In II Kings 2:1 Jacob saw the stairway to heaven and said “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” Some don’t even have enough reserves to make it to church! They constantly miss opportunities. If you don’t have enough reserves to make it to church, do you really think you have enough to get to heaven? Bethel speaks to us of the Lord’s presence. We should have a desire to be where He is.
3. Jericho represents “walking by faith.” At the site of the first battle in the Promised Land, Joshua asked the guy with the sword “are you for us or against us” and the answer was “I am here to take over!” The question was “how were they going to win this battle? The answer? They wouldn’t . . . the Lord would. All we need to do is “walk, have faith, and give a loud shout!”
4. Jordan means “descend or flow down.” A double portion of Elijah’s spirit fell down on Elisha. Had he become discourage from following, he never would have received it. Jesus went to heaven, and his spirit flowed down at Pentecost. Only the people who were there received it. Most of the year you can walk through Jordan – but its banks overflow in the spring. It’s going to get rough sometimes. Nobody told us the road would always be easy. Will you still follow? You will if you don’t worry about what it looks like. The two DID go over on dry ground.
Remember the four points above, but also remember that after running from Jezebel, Elijah heard God’s still small voice to anoint Elisha to be prophet in his place. What kind of prophet Elisha was to become was up to him. Just as Elijah told Elisha when he first met him to “go back again: for what have I done to thee” – at each of the four places of his final journey before leaving in a whirlwind, Elijah asked Elisha to “stay here, don’t go any further.” I believe he was testing him to see how much he wanted to follow him and to be with him, and at what cost. In John 12:25-26 Jesus said “He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates it in this world shall keep it . . . if any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.”
In conclusion – Elijah said “ask what I shall do for thee before I go.” If a man who prays and fire comes down – who prays and rain stops – who prays and rain starts – who stood as 1 man against 400 prophets of Baal – a man who makes Kings tremble – asks “what can I do for you before I leave?” – What would you ask him for? Think bigger than “a job” or “money to pay my bills.” If you want a double portion, remember that Jesus is about to return, so the most important prayer is “please give me more of your spirit so I can serve you better!!!!” Don’t just “start” the Christian life. Carry on well and finish well. Stay blessed.