2 Kings 2 Continued by Pastor Don
There were several people at Bible study that were not there the week before, so Pastor Don gave a recap for them and to remind us of the material covered. I still recommend reading the detailed accounts linked above, for a recap is not as in-depth, but the recap added fresh details!
Elijah was getting ready to be with the Lord. He was led by the Lord through a series of places significant for him and the Nation of Israel. They also are also places that are significant for our life and work, for they detail the steps that lead us to spiritual maturity. Just like when we are born on the earth we grow through the infant stage, to toddler, to youth, preadolescent, adolescent, young adult, adult, maturity. Each part of the journey Elijah and Elisha took contain experiences we have. And we can learn much by learning where and what the experience at each place entails.
The first stop on the way for the two was GILGAL, which means wheel, circle, rolling. It was the place where the children of Israel rolled away God’s reproach against them. During the 40 years in the wilderness during the Exodus, the children born at that time were not circumcised. So the first thing Joshua did when he brought the people to GILGAL was to circumcise them, for that was a sign of the covenant of Abraham. And God wanted the people to have all that was offered under the covenant of Abraham. When we first met with God, he rolled away reproach against us through the blood of Jesus.
At Gilgal, Joshua made a major mistake, he went into a battle at AI without consulting God and many men died. We need to always consult God first before making any decision in our lives. Talk with our pastors and elders, don’t just blindly make a major decision without knowing what the Word of God says about it. God showed Joshua where the idols were, and he had to cleanse the camp of those who were disobedient to God.
Pastor Don pointed out that whatever is between us and a relationship with God needs to be rolled away. We cannot go into the Promised Land and still practice witchcraft and idol worship.
BETHEL which means House of God, this is where Jacob had his confirmation that he was in the right place. Remember Jacob slept with his head on a rock, and had a vision of a ladder with angels ascending and descending. After that vision, he changed. At our BETHELS God confirms us, and enters more fully into the covenant that we acquired at GILGAL. It is a place of meeting with God. We need to remember this part of our testimony, the first time where and when we met God. This is a place to come back to when we face trials, to gain strength. It puts us in position to go forward and establish a better sense of God in us and with us.
2 Kings 2:4 discusses JERICHO, which means fragrance, smell, blow, sweet fragrance, to perceive and understand quickly, fragrance of flowers. It is where we receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to perceive and understand what God wants us to focus on and do. The Holy Spirit gives us not just an intellectual understanding of the Bible, but allows us to perceive the Spirit of the Word and have spiritual understanding. Sometimes it can be a perception that all that appears on the surface isn’t true. It can help you to judge circumstances and situations with God’s view of them, not our own understanding. It gives us a heightened perception.
Then we moved to new ground in 2 Kings 2.
2 Kings 2:6 Then Elijah said to him,, “Stay here please, for the LORD has sent me on to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So the two of them went on.
JORDAN (Strong’s 3383) means to descend, to go downward, boundary set, sink, bring down, fall, enemies fall, sinking. When we walk through the passages of life, we don’t have to go through them alone. Elijah felt prepared to go alone to meet God (he probably did not know what this would entail), but Elisha would not permit this. He was dedicated to go with Elijah, even to descend to the Jordan with him. When Elisha was brought on this spiritual journey from Gilgal, to Bethel, to Jericho, to Jordan, he could have stopped at any point, or phase of development. He chose to go with Elijah each step of the way.
2 Kings 2:7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan.
Pastor Don pointed out that there is a difference between watching at a distance like the fifty men did, than being where Elijah and Elisha were. These 50 people, as we learned earlier were also prophets, raised up by prophets. (2 Kings 2:3 mentions that they are the sons of prophets). They were trained under different prophets in the school of prophets. They had knowledge to speak to Elisha about Elijah, but they were watching AT A DISTANCE. Jesus had 1000’s of people following him during his time on earth, but there were only 120 in his inner circle (those who would be in the upper room), and then he had a smaller circle of 12 disciples (Judas was replaced by Matthias, with the criterion that the replacement who was chosen knew Jesus and was with him from the beginning – there were two that were considered, Barnabas and Matthias, and had to have been others who followed Jesus from the start).
(Heather’s note, I am reading a book I found on Amazon written by Pastor Don’s father, also a minister, called The Art of Survival by Reverend Ivor Moore, in a chapter written to fellow preachers in the introduction he talks about the crowd waiting for Zachariah to come out from offering incense and give a blessing, and Pastor Ivor Moore says, “But how many of the waiting crowd in the outer court were truly waiting to worship? The preacher-pastor should never outlook the fact, nor allow the congregation to forget, that physical presence in the Sanctuary only heightens the possibility of worship, it does not by any means guarantee a worshipping heart in each of the bodies there present! Whether or not the worshipping hearts are lifted up before God, is what determines if he crowd is a congregation or a mob. The preacher-pastor needs to keep this in mind, lest numbers sway him overmuch. It would surely be startling and, perhaps even frightening to any preacher-pastor to have the ability to stand before his congregation and, from their faces, accurately read the thoughts of their hearts. Remember, God does this all the time, “But Jesus knew their thoughts…”(Luke 9:47) However many are present, the pertinent question is, how many are worshipping?” (p. xii) There is a vast difference between the 50 looking on and Elisha – Elisha will walk away with the blessing, the others will just observe at a distance.
Pastor Don said you can minister to a large group, but only disciple a few. Pastor Don knows those who he is to disciple by how close they want to be involved with him and his life. How they want to watch what he is doing, learn all that he offers to teach, etc. Elisha spent years walking with Elijah and did not stand at a distance at this crucial time of Elijah’s life. Pastor Don also pointed out that pastors are people, and have weak moments, needing to be ministered to. He mentioned the pastor’s breakfast that he goes to, where pastors share their concerns and cares and get advice and be ministered to. We all need to have people who can minister to us when trials come.
He suggested that we pick people who we want to learn from and follow them. He has used this in his life even before he became a pastor. When he was building his house, he hired contractors to do various jobs like bulldozing, and made the provision that he got to learn what they did as they did it. By the time his house was built, he had learned much about the contracting business and was able to step out and be a contractor.
When you watch at a distance you don’t get much to protect you when trials come, and you are more easily brought down and defeated.
2 Kings 2:8 Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
Pastor Don told us to write in our Bibles, near the word “mantle” ADDERETH, which means Glory, a goodly wide dress garment of splendor, beauty. Aaron’s priestly garment was called an addereth. The mantle is God’s glory. Elijah takes God’s glory which God gave him to part the waters. It is important to remember that even though Elijah used his addereth, it is God who gave him the addereth. The glory will not work without God.
As a teen, Pastor Don would preach in his father’s church, but the first time he preached a service as a layman was in 1983, and he realized that there was a calling on him to preach. During these years the church had an attitude that it did not matter how you dressed to come to church, that souls were more important than clothes. While this is true on one level, once a person becomes saved and God begins to work in their lives, people choose to dress to honor God. Pastor Don, while not legalistic about it, feels it important to preach in clean clothes. He does not like to preach in a shirt that he wore the day before, but prefers a freshly washed set of clothes. For him, how you dress in the pulpit matters, for you are sharing God’s word. The Levites were struck dead for dishonoring God in their use of what He instructed them.
Pastor Don said that the dress code was not to prevent you from coming to church, for God does care more about souls. But when God really has your heart, he will change your clothes.
When Elijah took the mantle, addereth, and struck the water, it was an application of faith to an inanimate object, sort of like the aprons and handkerchiefs mentioned in Acts. It was not to make an idol of the mantle, but it was used as a touch point for Elijah’s faith. Elijah’s mantle was an expression of the power of God working through the person who held it.
Jesus pointed out that the mantle of Elijah came on John the Baptist, and John was seen as a type of prophet like Elijah. Had John wanted to, he could have used power from God to slay Herod. Remember Elijah destroyed 300 prophets and priests of Baal.
Elisha will ask Elijah for a double portion of the Addereth. For Elisha to have that, he has to walk in righteousness in order to wield the power that that entails. Elisha will do twice the number of miracles that Elijah did because of the transference of Addereth. But there is no way Elisha would have that transference of power if he did not have righteousness, or was not prepared to face the suffering and persecution.
Psalm 34:7 tells us that we will have the desires of our heart. But there is also the fact that we have to qualify for that desire. Elisha walked with Elijah from Gilgal, to Bethel, to Jericho, and then down to the Jordan. He did the spiritual work necessary.
So, Elijah strikes the water, and they cross over on DRY GROUND. To get to the bottom of the riverbed, they would have to walk down, and then cross a boundary. The Jordan was a boundary. After his baptism, Jesus went into a place of dryness, the wilderness, to be tested and tried for 40 days. Satan tempted Him, and Jesus resisted the temptations. Moses led the people around the wilderness, also a place of dryness where they had to depend on God for food and water, as they were formed into a nation of Israel. So often, after we meet with God, and gain a vision for our lives, we are led to a dry place, which God will use to develop us towards more spiritual maturity.
2 Kings 2:9 And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
They crossed over, they did not remain in the Jordan, but the promises were on the other side. They went on to achieve the mission, the fruits of the spirit, the victory. You do not do great exploits, reach the promised land, gain the fruits unless you take the mantle given to you. Elisha had to go with Elijah across the river. We need Christ’s mantle on us, the glory of Christ, to carry out His kingdom work. We will have, in order to achieve this mantle, to walk in the dry places in the flesh, to face difficulties, spiritual battles, or warfare. The battles and dry places strengthen us for what is to come. Sometimes we have to go down into places we really don’t want to go. But there are blessings of God on the other side of the Jordan, after you go through the dry place. We may have to face depression, diseases, snickers, kids messing up to get to where the blessings of God are.
So many ask him for signs, wonders, miracles, but they are not qualified, for they have not walked with Him or crossed over. They want to take the glory and run with it, not realizing that there are conditions and that it can come with persecutions. As someone said the other day, they want Christian-ease.
Elijah tells Elisha to ask what Elijah can do for him. Elisha could have asked for the double portion at Gilgal, at Bethel, at Jericho, or on the other side of the Jordan, but then Elijah would have had to tell him “No.” Only after the spiritual experiences that he had would Elisha be qualified to wield a double portion of Elijah’s power. (Heather’s note, we do know that power in the hands of an unscrupulous leader can cause great harm.)
Pastor Don pointed out that to be slow in obedience to God can block your victory, for to not obey God instantly is disobedience. When we get a clear instruction from God, to do the right thing, we have to do it. If we misunderstood God and yet tried to obey Him, thus making a mistake, it was better to try and obey His command, God will correct us. We obey God no matter the circumstances, He has knowledge of things we don’t see – NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME. Don’t be slow in obeying God. God knows what He put in the plan, and His plan is what is best for us, so follow His instructions.
King Saul tried to make decisions with his head, deciding what he would obey and not. But Saul’s decision was not the heart of God. Instead of destroying all goods and enemies, Saul decided to keep certain items to please the people. By not obeying God, Saul lost the Holy Spirit, and ultimately his kingship and life.
Pastor Don continued on, so I will type the rest tomorrow so that this post is not too long.
Hoping you have a blessed Sunday!
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