In my previous post, I shared about how important it is for every Elisha (young minister) to learn to walk with their Elijah (spiritual father-mother, mentor) before they can run as an Elisha with a double portion. I want to share with you in this post, four significant “walking” lessons every Elisha needs to go through with their Elijah. (You can read the earlier post here: Learning to walk with Elijah before you can run as an Elisha )
Remember that Elisha was called to follow (walk with) Elijah until his appointed time where he would run with a double portion. In 1st Kings 19, we see the call of Elisha take place, but we hear nothing of him again until 2 Kings 2, at which point Elijah is about to be taken up to heaven. I also believe that the passage in 2 Kings 2 reveals what had been taking place all along the path that Elisha had walked with Elijah in preparation for this moment. This passage serves as a summary of the lessons that Elisha had learned as he walked with Elijah.
Let’s read that passage again carefully because this will be the heart for the lessons I will share with you later:
“Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the LORD will take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.” Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the LORD will take away your master from over you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.” Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.”2 Kings 2:1–12, ESV
I believe Elijah took Elisha on one last walk to affirm the valuable lessons he had learned in his journey of mentorship. Each time Elijah said “stay here” was a test to see if Elisha had truly understood and mastered the lifestyle (life-walk) he would need to live as he ran with a double portion mantle.
Let’s take a closer look at each place, and how it is representative of valuable lessons, we must all walk with our spiritual authority.
“Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.”(2 Kings 2:1, ESV)
Gilgal represents the place where the reproach of slavery is rolled away from your life. If you remember, in Joshua 5:1-9, God guided the new generation that was to possess Cannan to Gilgal to re-establish covenant with God. It was at Gilgal that Joshua circumcised the new generation that had wandered throughout the wilderness before occupying their inheritance. Josephus, the historian, recounts the following: “Now the place where Joshua pitched his camp was called Gilgal, which denotes liberty…” (Antiquities V, i 11)
Gilgal is representative of the rigorous process towards freedom any younger minister can face at the start of their training and mentorship, this is a place of vulnerability, transparency, and authenticity in their walk with their spiritual parents or mentors. It is a place to remove the shame of slavery from the past and possess the liberty to walk in the light.
“And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.”2 Kings 2:2, ESV
Bethel means “house of God.” It is the place where we come to obtain our new identity in our journey of transformation and mentorship. Gaining freedom from the past is the preceding step to embracing our new identity. Remember Jacob, in Genesis 32:22-32 (Also Read Genesis 35:1-15) we read the encounter where Jacob wrestles with a divine being and has his name changed to Israel. The meaning of names are revealed in scripture by its context, and in this case, Jacob had wrestled this divine being and prevailed. Therefore, it is commonly said that Israel means “he who strives with God” Unfortunately, this can give the idea that Jacob beat God or that was in constant opposition to him. In reality, if we look at other translations of the Original Hebrew, we can see that there is another possibility to what the name Israel means, for example, Genesis 32:28 reads like this in The Complete Jewish Translation: “because you have shown your strength to both God and men and have prevailed.” Also one of the earliest translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek (The Septuagint) translates it as: “because you prevailed with God, and you are mighty with people.”
It is clear that his past identity (supplanter, your own strength) and future identity (prevailing with God, secure in God) had wrestled and in the end, Jacob demonstrated that Gods identity of uprightness had overcome him. Remember that Jacobs request was to be “blessed.” He essentially said to God, I will not let go of you until I yield fully to your blessing and it is my new identity. At Bethel, Jacob saw and heard God allowing him to be transformed.
Every Elisha must face this process of transformation to seal their identity and security in God. Elijah went through a similar process, remember the story of him hiding in the cave? Elijah had to wrestle with his natural weakness until he could clearly hear the Voice of God that brought security to continue in his call. Elijah role modeled to Elisha the importance of being secure in his identity in God and not natural bents or man’s idea. Elijah showed Elisha that seeing and hearing God would keep him confident in his identity.
“Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho.”2 Kings 2:4, ESV
Jericho was known as the “city of palm trees” because it contained a spring that formed an oasis for long periods of occupation. It is also the place where Joshua and Israel obtained their first victory in possessing the promised land after being at Gilgal. Jericho was known for its impenetrable walls, which only God could bring down. The triumph of Israel and Joshua depended on the faithful covenant of God and their obedience to His instructions. Jericho represents the place of trust in Gods voice and reliance on his promise.
Every Elisha goes through a process of growth in their faith in Gods faithfulness. Elijah modeled a lifestyle of faith and trust in Gods faithfulness to Elisha. We know that Elijah faced many challenges and at times those challenges tested his faith in God. In the end, Elijah overcame because of his reliance on the faithfulness of God. (James 5:17-18)
JORDAN: THE PATH TO YOUR DOUBLE PORTION
“Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on.”2 Kings 2:6, ESV
Jordan is known as the worlds lowest-elevation river. No matter from which direction you approach the banks of the river, its descent is long and steep. Jesus declared “The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11–12, ESV) The path to a double portion requires steep and lengthy processes into humility and servanthood. It was not until after they crossed the Jordan that Elijah asked Elisha what he could do for him. Access to the double portion is found only after we cross our Jordan of humility and servanthood.
Where are you in this journey?
Are you at the beginning stages of Gilgal? If you are, it is time to bring all things to the light and receive your freedom.
Are you at Bethel? Learning to see and hear God so you can receive your identity and security in God? If you are, press into this transformation and change of identity.
Are you at Jericho? Stretching and growing in your faith and reliance on God’s faithfulness. If you are, press into His faithful promises.
Are you at the Jordan River? A process of humility and servanthood that will eventually give you access to the destiny and call you have as an Elisha. If you are, don’t get distracted, don’t get discouraged, follow until the appointed time of your release.
I want to leave you with this thought. Elisha had gone through an intense mentorship process. The very first miracle he performed was crossing the Jordan River alone to fulfill his destiny. What did Elisha do upon returning to the River? Did he shout and command the river to open up so he could cross over? No! Did he raise Elijah’s mantle so the river would open? No! He followed the example of what Elijah had done. This demonstrated that Elisha had indeed taken on the mantle of Elijah. He had walked with Elijah and manifested a legacy of honor with a double portion anointing.
“And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.”2 Kings 2:13-14, ESV
Why is this important? One of the pitfalls of the younger generation of ministers is the dissatisfaction they feel with how things were done in the older generation. I would like to challenge you that ultimately we need their wisdom and yes, even many of their principled methods that safeguard us against pitfalls that stray us away from the Kingdom of God. In the name of doing a “new thing,” we have forsaken the tested principles of our forefathers and need to return to them.
Will you walk with your Elijah? Will you stay steady and on course until your appointed time of release? I want to invite you to make a more significant commitment and dedication to the process God has you in with the leaders he has placed over you.