Elijah the Tishbite was getting ready to leave this world and be taken up to glory. The Lord knew he had fulfilled his purpose at this time on this earth, but he would not leave without discipling another to take up his position as prophet. The Lord would lead Elijah to anoint Elisha as the next prophet to Israel and he would spend possibly around seven years being taught by Elijah. The Scripture says that Elisha was known as the one “who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah” (1 Kings 3:11).
When it came time for Elijah to be taken up in the chariot of the Lord, Elisha still did not feel competent or confident in this new role as prophet. He asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit because he knew he could not fulfill this mission before him without the help of the Lord. The Lord would honor Elisha’s request and the mantle of Elijah would be left for Elisha as a symbol of the answer to His yes (2 Kings 2). Elisha takes the mantle and steps on the banks of the Jordan and he strikes the waters with the mantle and asks, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” At that moment the waters of the Jordan divide and Elisha crossed over to the other side where the sons of the prophets stood watching the entire thing take place. Here begins the ministry of Elisha.
Some may have looked at Elijah as he called down fire from heaven atop of Mount Carmel, or as he prayed for rain, and thought; well that’s Elijah, God listens to him. However, James tells us that, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours” (James 5:17). Elisha understood this because Elisha was there with him, spending time with him and learning from him. Elisha saw that Elijah was just a man. He knew that it was never really about Elijah, but the LORD, the God of Elijah. The very same LORD that we serve today.
Here in America we have many pastors and denominations that will tell us that the Lord is not in the signs, wonders, and miracles business anymore. The canon of Scripture is here and complete and God has left us His manuscript to follow and that’s it. We are simply to believe who He was in the past and have faith in who He will be in the future, but here in the present we are just to try to be good and not sin and show up for church on Sundays, give our tithes, and tell others they are sinners and Jesus is the only way to keep them from Hell, where all the sinners go when they die. Now I ask you, how big is your God?
In 2 Kings 3 the King of Israel and the King of Judah come together to seek the Lord through Elisha because they need water for their army and cattle. Elisha tells them,“Thus says the Lord, ‘Make this valley full of trenches.’ For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts This is but a slight thing in the sight of the Lord; He will also give the Moabites into your hand.“ (3:17-18). Elisha says, this is but a slight thing in the sight of the Lord. Not only is the Lord going to provide water out of nowhere, but He is going to fight with and for them to give them victory over their enemy. I ask you again, how big is your God?
Then in 2 Kings 4 we begin to see a string of miracles performed through Elisha. We see a widow woman who needs money to provide for her home be supplied as she steps out in obedience to the Word of the Lord. We see a barren prominent woman who loves the Lord and shows hospitality and kindness to Elisha be blessed with a son, and then we see her and Elisha’s faith in the Lord raise that same son from the dead. We see hungry men who almost kill themselves with poisonous ingredients in a stew be able to eat that very same stew, and we see an offering of firstfruits be used to feed a multitude with some left over, all “according to the word of the LORD” (4:44).
Let us fast forward several hundred years to the day that a man named Jesus would walk the streets of the land of Israel. When we read the gospels we see Jesus perform similar signs, wonders, and miracles as those of Elijah and Elisha. We see Him raise the dead and feed the multitude. We see prominent women step up and provide for Him and show Him hospitality. Then when it comes time for Him to leave this world we see Him say, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12).
Looking back we see the mantle passing of Elijah to Elisha as a beautiful picture of Jesus commissioning us for the work of the continuation of His ministry; “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49). In the book of Acts we see the disciples wait just as they were commanded by Jesus to do. Then we see them filled with the Holy Spirit and go out and perform the works that Jesus said they would perform. I ask again, how big is your God?
The Word of God tells us that, “For I, the Lord, do not change…” (Malachi 3:6). The book of Hebrews tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (13:8). In 2 Chronicles we read that, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (16:9). Our God is searching for and seeking those that He can strongly support. Now the question is are we someone that His eyes can rest on, and be found as one He can strongly support? Perhaps the reason we do not see the strength and power of God in our lives, in our churches, is because our hearts are not completely His.
We are told in the book of Hebrews that we are to, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (12:14). Perhaps the reason why our God has become so small is because our egos have become so big. If we are to see God, then we must pursue peace with ALL men and sanctification, because without peace with men and personal holiness we cannot see the Lord. The word pursue in this verse means to aggressively chase like a hunter going after a catch. It means to eagerly and earnestly go after. Do we, here in the American church, really aggressively chase and earnestly go after peace with all men and personal holiness?
Perhaps the reason we don’t see God move the way He did through Elijah, Elisha, and the early disciples is simply because we aggressively chase after the things of this world and not personal holiness. Perhaps it’s because we allow the things of this world to cause us to pursue dissension with others instead of peace. Instead of setting our own personal importance aside we demand our way or the highway. Instead of laying our opinions down at the cross and to the weak becoming weak that we might win the weak (1 Corinthians 9), our message dies on the hill of pride. I ask again, how big is your God?
Is He big enough to humble yourself under enough to pursue peace with all men? Is He greater than your opinions and your view of life?
Is He big enough to humble yourself in obedience to enough to pursue personal holiness. I don’t mean outward appearance of holiness, but inner true holiness in the secret places of your heart and mind.
Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah? He is right here. His eyes are still searching to and fro for those whose hearts are completely His.