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2 Kings 2:1-14
OBTAINING THE DOUBLE PORTION
Intro: This passage records the home going of one of the greatest men in the word of God. Elijah was greatly used of the Lord in his generation, but his time on the earth came to an end. The day came when it was time to pass the baton to a new generation. Our text tells us about a young man named Elisha. He was a man hungry for all God could give him. He wanted the Lord and His power in his life and he was willing to pay the price to get it.
This passage tells us what it took for Elisha to obtain the double portion he asked for. What we learn here from him is valuable in our own lives as well. Like it did for Elisha, the mantle of ministry in these days rests upon you and me. If we are going to be as effect as we should be for the glory of the Lord, then we too need the power of God’s Spirit. This passage tells us how to go about getting the power of God on our lives. Let’s look into these verses together this evening as I preach about Obtaining The Double Portion.
I. V. 9-10 ELISHA MADE A SPIRITUAL REQUEST
A. V. 9 The Content Of His Request - Elisha asked to receive double portion of Elijah’s spirit! The request was not for twice the power that had rested on Elijah. The request was to be recognized as Elijah’s replacement. Of course, he had already been selected by God for that position - 1 Kings 19:16. It was common for firstborn children to receive a double portion of their father’s estate. This was mandated by the Law, Deut. 21:17. (Note: He called Elijah “my father” in verse 12.) Elisha was asking for the right of the firstborn! He was asking that the same Spirit that had empowered the ministry of this great man of God be given to him as well. What kind of spirit was he asking for?
1. A Spirit Of Faith - Elijah learned to trust in the presence and power of God in this world. He knew that God was in absolute control of every situation. He walked by faith!
2. A Spirit Of Obedience - Elijah instantly and without question, even when the commands of God made no sense at all!
3. A Spirit Of Courage - His faith in God and his obedience to God combined to give him the courage to stand for God, even when others ran away.
He merely wanted to take over where Elijah had left off. He wanted to be the next prophet to Israel!
B. V. 10 The Character Of His Request - Elisha is told that he has asked a “hard thing”. In other words, it was beyond the power of Elijah to grant such a request. Only God could raise up prophets and give positions of power and influence. On the surface, Elisha’s request seems a little selfish! It seems as though he is asking for twice the power and twice the glory, etc. In truth, his request is most humble in nature. Elisha knows that Israel still needs a man of God to deliver the word of God and do the work of God. He also knows that if he is to be that man, then he needs power that he does not possess! He needs the power of God working in him and through him if he is to accomplish this ministry! (Note: Elisha wasn’t asking for power, wealth or position. He was asking to be controlled by the Spirit of God. In fact, to be a dedicated, outspoken man of God during the dynasty of the house of Omri and Ahab, was to live a life of constant danger! He was asking for divine power to accomplish the will of God! This request was not about pride, it was about necessity!)
C. V. 10 The Condition Of His Request - Elijah tells Elisha that is he is with him until he is taken out of this world, then he will have the thing for which he is asking. The idea here is that this blessing can be his, but Elisha must remain faithful unto the end! It would have been far easier for Elisha to have stayed in one of the town they passed through, but had he dropped out along the way, he would never have received the blessing he desired and desperately needed!
(Note: If there was ever a day when we needed people with a heart like Elisha’s, it is the day in which we live! When will we learn that we will never be able to do what the Lord has saved us and called us to do without His power? For far too long, the church has tried to operate in the machinery of human wisdom and power. As a result, we have lost the power of God that made us remarkable! A.W. Tozer commented that without the ministry of the Holy Spirit, 95% of what the early church did would have ceased. He went on to say that if the Spirit were removed today, 95% of what we do in the modern church would continue unabated! (Ill. Thomas Aquinas and his visit to the Vatican!)
My friends, we need to seek the Lord for spiritual power in these days! We don’t need to get concerned about numbers. We don’t need to be concerned about becoming seeker friendly. We don’t need to get caught up in the many debates that are engaging the hearts and minds of church folks. What we need to do is to carry out the command of Eph. 5:18. We need to be filled with the Spirit of God! We need to get before the Lord and request an influx of His power and His glory in these days! If we are to get the job done, we must have Him! Oh we need Him and His power more than we need crowds, money, buildings, or any of the things we hold so dear. We need God!
This kind of blessing and power does not come upon the uncommitted! It is reserved for those who will pay the price in pray and holiness before the Lord! If you are willing to go all the way with the Lord, He will bless your life with His power and glory! Would to God we had some thins evening who would get before God and seek His touch and His power in their lives! It isn’t about pride to ask God to fill you with His Spirit and to use you for His glory, it is about survival! The future demands that God’s servants be filled with God Spirit! We need that same spirit of faith, obedience and courage that rested on Elijah to be placed within us!
It would do us well to remember that all those great men of God we venerate from the past are gone! The mantle has been passed to us and we are responsible for serving the Lord for ourselves in these days. We need God, not the stories about what He did for someone else! We need Him to do it in us today!)
II. V. 1-8 ELISHA MANIFESTED A STEADFAST RESOLVE
(Ill. From the time it became apparent that Elijah was leaving until the moment he left and Elisha received the blessing, several trials crossed his way that attempted to hinder them. However, Elisha remained focused on obtaining the double portion.)
A. V. 3-5 Opposition Did Not Shake His Resolve - At every turn the sons of the prophets ask Elisha the same question, “Knowest thou that t he Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day?” This question is literally this: “Why are you still following that old man? The Lord is through with him and is calling him to heaven today. You would be better off to stay with us, or to strike out on your own.” They tried to talk him out of his resolve! (Note: If you decide that you are going after God until you obtain the double portion, you have better look out! All around you there will be people who will do there best to talk you out of it! I don’t know if they are bothered or offended when someone progresses farther than they have, but you can be sure that they will attack you and oppose you if you go with God! Wholehearted commitment to the cause of Christ leaves many people baffled! (Ill. Joseph - Gen. 37-39; Ill. 3 Hebrews - Dan. 3; Ill. Daniel - Dan. 6; Ill. Paul - Acts 26:24; Ill. Jesus - John 7. Don’t let that crowd shake you, just run with God!)
B. V. 1-6 Opportunities Did Not Shake His Resolve - Every time they passed through a city, Elijah even attempted to get Elisha to stay. This wasn’t an effort on his part to hinder Elisha’s progress, it was designed to test his resolve. Of course, each of the places mentioned help a special place in the heart of the Jew and would have made a pleasant stopping place. These were opportunities for ELisha to stop and to settle down!
1. Gilgal - The place of beginnings - It was here that the Israelites first celebrated Passover in the promised land. Here the males born during the wilderness wanderings were circumcised and the covenant was renewed, Josh. 5.
2. Bethel - The place of dreams - It was here that Jacob met God and dreamed of angels descending and ascending out of heaven, Gen. 28.
3. Jericho - The place of past victories - It was here that Israel had its first military victory in the promised land, Josh. 6. Jericho was also a border town. To pass beyond this location was to enter wild, new territory.
4. Jordan - The place of death - That river represented the boundary for the Promised Land. To cross it meant to enter into death. It was a formidable barriers that few would ever want to cross.
(Note: We too find ourselves at these same places in our walk with the Lord. Far too many believers spend their entire Christian lives at Gilgal. They never grow and they never leave the place of beginnings. Some go as far as Bethel. They catch the vision of God’s great work which must be done. They see the needs, they feel the tug, but they never get past the place of dreaming about what they might do. They never take the next step of making those dreams and visions realities. Still others hold onto their Jericho’s. They live in the victories of yesterday. They remember what happened back there, forgetting that the same God Who blessed then is desiring to bless now. Then some come to Jordan. This is the barrier between the self-life and the Spirit-life. Few ever take that final step of faith and sell out to go with God all the way. Notice that of all the prophets, only Elisha had enough faith to cross the river and go with Elijah, and it was Elisha who received the double portion. Don’t allow the opportunities to settle down along the way to hinder your progress, but by faith, proceed with God and watch Him remove the barriers, v. 8.)
C. V. 1-6 Obstacles Did Not Shake His Resolve - Even Elijah seemed to be an obstacle to Elisha’s progress. After all, he tried 3 times to get Elisha to stay behind. The Jordan also stood as a barrier between Elisha and his receiving what he desired. Still he went on! He resolved in his heart to stay with Elijah until he was taken away. He did not want to miss the blessing. Even the Jordan was no obstacle to this man’s faith. After all, if Elijah was going to pass over Jordan, then so was Elisha! Whatever means his master used would be the means he, himself would use to cross the stream! (Note: When you resolve to go with God, be forewarned that obstacles will cross your path. Remember when they do that they are there because God has permitted them in your life, Rom. 8:28. These obstacles will test your resolve, but they are God’s responsibility! When Elijah and Elisha arrive at the banks of the Jordan, Elijah flexed his faith and God parted the waters. Elisha got in a miracle because he did not back away from an obstacle! If God has put a resolve within your heart to go with Him, then let nothing short of death keep you from going with Him! If He has called you, then it is His responsibility to clear your path! Ill. Caleb - Josh. 14; Ill. David - 2 Sam. 17; Ill. Moses - Ex. 14)
III. V. 11-14 ELISHA MANAGED A SOVEREIGN RESPONSE
(Ill. Because he would not be deterred short of victory, Elisha got to partake in some wonderful, supernatural events.)
A. V. 11 Elisha Watched Elijah’s Miracle - Because he remained with Elijah, Elisha got to see the man of God taken up into Heaven alive.
B. V. 12 Elisha Wore Elijah’s Mantle - Because he stayed by the man of God, he was given Elijah’s mantle. This sheep skin garment was the tangible sign that Elijah’s ministry had been handed down to Elisha. In other words, because he refused to be waylaid, distracted or sidetracked, Elisha got exactly what he asked for. He inherited the ministry of his master.
(Note: Those who pay the price to stay with the Lord and to go with Him through every difficulty and obstacle will see Him do the unexplainable time and again! Those who choose the easy route never get to see God’s best! However, those who go the extra mile get to see the remarkable. (Ill. Gideon’s 300 - Only a few got to see the miracle!) If you want to see the glory and the power of God manifested and displayed before your eyes, then don’t unhook and don’t back up or turn around. Just stay with God and hold on. In His time, He will move in power and glory!)
C. V. 13-15 Elisha Walked With Elijah’s Master - When Elisha returned to the banks of Jordan, he knew that the mantle and the ministry of Elijah had passed to him. Now, he, in faith, calls on the same God Who had worked through Elijah to work through him. He calls upon the God Who: Answers by fire! Stops and starts the rain! Feeds His servants by the ravens! Multiplies the meal and the oil! Raises the dead! Is powerful enough to shake the mountains with the wind and to rend them with the earthquake! And speaks to His children in a still small voice! That is the God Elisha was calling upon and he got the answer he was seeking. Just as they had for Elijah, the muddy, rushing waters of Jordan parted for Elisha! He had obtained the double portion!
(Note: The God of Elijah is still in power, Heb. 13:8! He is still moving in great ways to accomplish His will in the world. He still feeds His children, moves their mountains, answers by fire and works wonders the heart cannot fathom. He is still the same God He has always been, and He still has all power in heaven and in earth, Matt. 28:18; Luke 1:38; Job, 42:2; Isa. 40:12! The problem is not with God. The problem with our modern churches is that we have no Elisha’s! God is still looking for people who will take up the mantle and believe God for the impossible!
Conc: So, do you want the double portion in your life this evening? Do you want to be in a position where the God of Heaven is using you for His glory in this world? All that is required is a consistent walk with the Lord that follows Him in spite of everything! When you get to the place where all you want is God, you will find God is all you need.
It is interesting to watch the sons of the prophets. They see Elisha part the Jordan just like Elijah did and they know the mantle has passed to Elisha. They also know that Elijah has been taken away from them, yet they are determined to go look for him, v. 16-18. It seems these young men thought they needed Elijah to go on for God. Maybe they just wanted to find his body and bury him. Either way, Elisha has encountered the God of Elijah and when you have the God of Elijah, you don’t need Elijah any longer! How did Elisha receive the double portion? He asked for it. He was totally committed to it. And, he received it! How bad do you want it?
Where are you in your spiritual journey this evening? Are you hard after God? Are you seeking the double portion? Do you long to see God move in great power? If so, then get focused and stay focused. In His time, He will move in power in your life. But, if you would have to admit that everything under the sun but God has your attention, maybe you ought to get before Him and get after God until you get all He has to give you.
If He is calling you, then you come and seek Him for the double portion you need for your life, your family and for this church!