|Pastor Don has been teaching a most remarkable series on 2 Kings 2. Here are the links from the start of the teaching until present.
Good news, we finished the chapter on Friday, but there are so many places we could have lingered. God’s Word is so rich, and really encourages us.
We did a quick review for those who came on Friday but missed the other Bible Studies, going quickly over GILGAL, where sins are rolled away, the place where Joshua had the people circumcised so that they would be in the Promised Land with all the promises of God’s covenant with Abraham. Gilgal means rolling, wheel. It was at Gilgal that the Mana stopped. As we grow in God, God will require more from us, not less. We move from Mercy to Grace where God gives us the power to do what He wants us to do. He wants us to learn to stand in our faith that we have developed because of our relationship with Him.
Then Elisha and Elijah went to BETHEL, which means house of God. It is the place where we made our decision to follow God. It is where we meet God, like Jacob did when he laid his head on the stone and had the dream of the ladder with angels going up and down. When we are challenged in life, we need to go back to our Bethels so that we can get grounded in our faith again.
JERICHO means breath, fragrance, quick understanding. This is where the Holy Spirit works in us to give us quick understanding of situations. There are times in our lives where we need quick understanding, revelation and discernment. It is here at Jericho where the Holy Spirit is active in us that we find such understanding.
JORDAN – you descend into the Jordan, it is a boundary, a meeting of the enemy, difficult and struggling times. So often after the high point of contact with God, we end up in the wilderness – it happened to Jesus after His baptism when the Spirit of God affirmed Him as Son of God. Pastor Don also pointed out that when we are strong in faith, satan then looks for the weakest link in your family to attack – it can be your spouse, children, parents. Elijah took his mantle, ADDERETH (Glory) and struck the water to cause him and Elisha to cross over on dry ground.
Elijah, even though he was going to meet God, had to walk through the whole process again, and Elisha chose to accompany him although at every stage of the game Elijah told him not to come with him. Elisha did not leave Elijah’s side, so went with his mentor through the stages. Elijah was taken up in a fiery chariot, and Elisha saw what happened, so Elisha received the double portion of Elijah’s glory that he asked for. Now we continue with:
2 Kings 2:14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah 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.
Elisha only asked, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” once. He had crossed over into the dry place. For a mature saint when we are crossing over the dry place it is usually when we are believing God for something or someone. When we need healing from depression, healing from illness, spiritual growth. When we put our need on the table, asking God for help, so often it seems that we are in a dry and barren place. The desert awaits us, and we need to keep making our confession of faith. Pastor Don pointed out that no one can go with us into the wilderness but our mentor, not those who we are discipling. Pastor Don also told us that we should take someone with us into this wilderness, not go it alone if at all possible. If we get stuck in the Jordan, in the wilderness, and do not get beyond it the waters will not be held back forever and we can end up drowning in our challenges.
No one likes tests and trials. When we go into the Jordan, what has been sown into us through teachings and the Word of God, is what we bring with us. Satan will look for weakness in us our our surroundings, and send discouragement and attack. In the desert place the believer is faced with reality, whose voice will the believer listen to? God’s or satan’s? It is the place where the thorns in our flesh bother us. Where our co-workers, family, people around us, throw obstacles in our path. Discouragement will come when you exercise your glory, your mantle. (Pastor Don in a writing that has not been published yet, talks about the ripple on the pond, where when you cast a small stone of faith onto a pond, ripples form. Those ripples spread out over the surface of the pond and those ripples attract the attention of those who want to stop your faith.)
Why do we have obstacles? It is where we grow, in those desert situations. If the obstacles are not being removed we need to go back to Gilgal, to see what still needs to be rolled away. Is there hidden sin? What needs to be cleaned up in our lives? Bitterness? Hatred? You need to roll those away with God’s help, to do what you need to do, or they will keep following you and you will face obstacles.
It seems peculiar that when the people reached this hard place the Manna stopped. But it is a greater blessing that God is giving by letting the people work with their own hands to do the work and gather in the crops.
Pastor Don was asked if it was perpetual cycles, and he pointed out that as a believer develops they will be quicker at going back to Gilgal to roll away the reproaches, and that as they grow closer to God there will be fewer and fewer reproaches to be rolled back. We need to realize that the opportune time is NOW for asking for forgiveness for an offence that we made. God wants to give us a double portion of His blessing, but just like a good parent, He cannot bless disobedience.
Elisha, when he asked where the God of Elijah was, was testing what Elijah gave Him to make sure it was from God and that he could wield the double portion.
Pastor Don pointed out that we will all have moments of weakness, of depression, but that we need to set limits on this. Make a decision that we will not stay in the depths of the Jordan for an extended stay. If you are suffering burnout, if satan puts you in a position where more is going out than coming in, you need to get back to Him and recharge, reclaim the glory that is passing out. You need to realize that the dry place really is a place of victory, but the circumstances may not make it seem so. And if you go for help, be careful who you pick to counsel you. You do not want someone who will tear you down, or make you sink lower, you need someone who can edify you, encourage you, walk alongside you as you come up out of the low place, the wilderness.
When Peter walked on the water, he did well. Peter asked Jesus to tell him to walk to Him, and Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on the water, until he looked at the circumstances, then he sunk. So often the sinking into circumstances is progressive, a bit at a time, until you are overwhelmed. Peter called out to Jesus and he was there to extend His hand and raise Peter up. Had Peter not called out to Jesus, the result might have been different.
In the desert places you have to be careful about whom you reach out to. For whatever challenge we have, God gives us grace and we do it. The desert place will either kill you our you will use your mantle. The Holy Spirit will be there to guide us, and God will send mentors. God wants us to succeed and move forward, if we don’t we move back to Egypt land (the ways of the flesh and the world).
So many believe that when we receive Jesus into our lives, problems cease, that everything will be hunky dory, but it is not the case. There will be trials and tribulations. We will be challenged, and it is a place of growth and maturity. After Jesus was baptized the Holy Spirit led Him to the wilderness.
Welcome to the wilderness. If the trials were easy, what glory would that be for God? The victory would be cheap. Remember that in the wilderness the Holy Spirit will help us, we have human mentors and helpers, don’t go there alone! So often, like Elisha, when the trials come, we start asking, “Where is God in this?” God is there, even when we don’t perceive Him. We may not know where He is, but we can trust that He is there.
Someone wondered more about Elisha, and Pastor Don took us back to the call of Elisha.
1 Kings 19:19-21 So he (Elijah, after escaping Jezebel, overcoming depression, hearing God in the still small voice, and realizing that there were others who also did not bow down to Baal) departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” So Elisha turned back from him and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant.
1 Kings 19:16 Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.”
God told Elijah to anoint Elisha, so Elijah obeyed God and put his mantle over Elisha. Elisha had a choice at that time, he could either follow Elijah or stay where he was. Pastor Don pointed out that the Holy Spirit in inspiring this word, shows a picture not only of what actually happened, but also spiritually too. It is no accident that there were 12 oxen – for that represents the 12 tribes of Israel. When Elisha asked to go and kiss his parents, Elijah basically told him, I did what God told me to do, I did my job, how you respond to that is your choice.
It wasn’t until 2 Kings 2:14 That Elisha had ownership of the mantle. And the parting of the waters that Elisha was able to do with the mantle was the confirmation from God that the anointing had passed from Elijah to Elisha.
Elisha had received the anointing with signs and wonders, but he walked with Elijah for a long time first. David waited 17 years for the anointing that he received from God came to pass. He had to wait until Saul died to become king.
I will cover the rest of the verses tomorrow, so that this is not too long. I hope you have a blessed Sunday.
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