Hunger and desire are great. The LORD loves a heart that pursues Him. He searches everywhere for such a person. And, as is the case with most prophetic people, there is a deep yearning for more. More, more, more.
The prophets hear the voice of the LORD so well that they can get trapped into a place of isolation because of their great contentment with being in His presence. Their desire to seek more often leads them on quests of solitude. And, that is great. For, in those moments, great secret place encounters happen. The LORD loves a heart that pursues Him.
When we look at Elijah and Elisha, we see two of the greatest prophets. Elijah called down fire and defeated the Baal and Ashtoreth prophets on Mount Carmel. He did amazing things to help bring an idolatrous and wicked generation back to the LORD. And, many of you are called to such extreme acts.
Elisha was also a great man of God. He did some amazing things, including raising the dead, cleansing leprosy and raising an axe head out of the river. We all know the story of when Elijah was to be taken up to heaven how chariots of fire came and swept him up as Elisha watched. Some of us also know that he was given a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.
But, many may not realize just what a formidable task it is to carry such an anointing. And, that is what we will look at today.
Before Elijah died, we see an interesting encounter. Elijah and Elisha were in Gilgal (“rolling”) towards Bethel (“house of God”). Elijah tells Elisha to stay there, and Elisha says not as long as LORD and his soul live. He was determined to hang with Elijah for as long as he was alive. So, they went to Bethel.
We find the sons of the prophets coming out to meet them. There is a big statement being made. The second generation (sons of the prophets) is coming out to meet the next generation of Elijah – Elisha. They confront him and ask him if he knows that “the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” Elisha responds that he knows and for them to be quiet.
I believe that this is not an issue of does Elisha know whether Elijah will die today. No, this is about promotion. The LORD sends the second generation of prophets to the second generation of the Elijah spirit and releases the prophetic utterance that Elisha would soon be the father and not the son. He would soon carry the burden of leadership. Did he realize this, and he responds that he does, but he doesn’t want that to be the focus of discussion.
He knows. But, of course he knows.
So, this encounter ends, and Elijah says again to Elijah, “stay here.” Elisha again responds that as long as he and the LORD are alive, it aint gonna happen. So they proceed to Jericho (place of fragrance). Again, the sons of the prophets come out to meet Elisha. And again, they ask Elisha if he knows that today, the LORD will remove his covering. Elisha confirms that he does. And, I believe that the LORD has directed Elijah in this rite of passage to take Elisha to the various houses where the LORD was raising up the next generation of leaders to proclaim the Elisha was about to be moved up in authority. They knew it and wanted to see if he knew it.
So, finally, Elijah tells Elisha to stay there for the LORD has sent him to the Jordan (“the descender”). Again, Elisha says that he wont. Now, for those who are hungry. God will test you. Before increase, He will see if you really want it. For with every increase, there is a cost. There is dross to be burned. And, if you really want it, there will be a test. The LORD will lead you out of the rolling hills and through the sweet fragrance in descend down into the depths where death occurs. Certainly, the Jordan is where the sins were cleansed in baptism and washed down into the Dead Sea. No wonder it was dead with all the sin that was washed down into it.
Anyway, the LORD was preparing Elisha for what was to come. The prophetic words were being declared. The heart of the people were turning to a new leader. The LORD was testing to see if Elisha really wanted it. And God was using the father of one to beget sonship and authority into the next generation. As dads (spiritually or naturally), we must bestow manhood upon our sons.
So, when they get to the Jordan, there are fifty men of the sons of prophets there. They went and stood and watched at a distance.
Elijah takes his mantle, rolls it up and strikes the Jordan. He lashes out at the descender. He exercises his authority over death’s vehicle. And, the river parts. The two cross over, and the torch is passed. It has yet to unfold completely, but Elijah’s part is complete.
So, finally it comes out. Elijah tells Elisha to ask. Do you think that he knew all along what it was Elisha was fishing for? Do your fathers know your hunger? Do they know what you long for? Do you see the boldness? Act! When you see a spiritual father with something that you want, go get it! Don’t be afraid. Go after it.
Ask! Elijah says to him. “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” Says Elijah. (2 Kings 2:9).
V10 “So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, It shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”
V11 “Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”
V12 “And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My Father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more…
Elisha got the mantle.
Now, it’s really important to get these events. Elisha boldly asks for a double portion. Elijah says that he asks a hard thing. Most of us look at that and think that it’s a hard thing to get the double portion. I tell you that it is not. It is a hard thing to walk in a double portion. To carry all that Elijah had X2 requires great grace. Elijah knew this and knew that only the LORD would allow such a thing. So, he gives him the sign, and God answers it.
V13 “He also took up the mantle of Elijah (now, it’s in his posession) that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. V14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah (it’s still Elijah’s until he uses it) that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over.”
It had been completed. Elisha crossed over. He made the rite of passage. He pursued with great hunger, he boldly asked for big things to happen, God blessed him indeed, and he picked up the ball and ran for a touchdown. God got behind His word and caused it to be performed.
V15 “Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him.”
God acted, man saw and came into agreement. It was important for the next generation to recognize who their leader was. God puts the man into the office of the prophet – not man. Even Elijah knew that. So, God puts Elisha in the seat, and the people knew it.
And, immediately, it begins.
The prophets say hey, let’s go look for Elijah. There are fifty strong men. Let’s go look in the valley and the mountains. Perhaps God’s Spirit has taken him there. Elisha is immediately tested in his authority. He tells them not to send anyone.
V17 “But, they urged him till he was ashamed…” A spirit of condemnation was released. A test was put in front of Elisha, and he missed it. Strike one. Often, the enemy will test you when you receive a promotion. Often, man will test you. Sometimes, God will test you. It is a hard thing.
Well, they go and find nothing. Elisha says, didn’t I tell you not to go? It was too late. Elisha had a lesson to learn here. His authority had not completely been worked out in man’s eyes.
But, he immediately gets another swing. The water of the city was bad. So, Elisha gets a bowl of the water and puts salt into it. He makes a prophetic declaration that the LORD heals the water, and it was so. God got behind His prophet. When you see folks who call themselves prophets not moving with the Kingdom’s backing, be wary. It says to judge a prophet by his fruit.
And, finally, we get his third swing. As he is headed up to Bethel, a handful of youths came out of the city and mocked him. They called him baldhead a couple of times. A mocking spirit was sent to stir him up. So, what’s Elisha do?
V24 “So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.”
Do you think it was God’s heart to destroy 42 kids? I don’t. But, God will perform His word. And life and death are in the tongue. There is a level that a prophet can reach where God will do what the prophet declares. He is an ambassador for the King, and he can speak on behalf of the King, and it will be the same as if the King Himself spoke. This is a hard thing.
We must, must, must learn to speak life. Do you think that Elisha knew that two bears would come destroy the kids for mocking him? I don’t. I think that Elisha came into revelation of just how hard a thing it is that he asked for. He truly was given the double portion.
So, know what you ask. For the LORD may just give it to you. But, I firmly believe that the LORD will hold you accountable for all that you do with the gift that He gives you.