Listen to the audio above while reading the transcript below, which is also available for download in Word from www.biblestudyminsitriesinc.com
As we come to look in God’s word, there’s a principle of Bible study that is absolutely indispensable, and that’s total reliance on God’s Holy Spirit. It’s His book, and He gave it to us, and only He can unveil the Lord Jesus. He delights to do it, and He promised if we would come and seek Him as little children, He would unveil Himself to us. So, we want to trust Him.
Before we go to prayer, I want to share a verse from 1 Peter 2:9, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The expression I want to focus on is, “a people for God’s own possession.” Recently, that wonderful verse in Corinthians was in my heart, “You are not your own. You are bought with a price.” As I was praying, I was just meditating on that, and I’m saying, “Lord, I am Your property.” The Holy Spirit checked me on that, and He reminded me of the verse we just read. He said, “It’s true you are my property, but you are also my possession.” It’s just the emphasis that I’m not only His property, but I’m His possession. You are not only His property, you’re also His possession.
With that in mind, let’s commit our time to the Lord. Heavenly Father, thank You for the indwelling Holy Spirit, the One who is God and searches the depths of God, and unveils to us the things pertaining to Christ. We just ask you, Lord, to meet us where we are. You know us, and You know our circumstances, our situation, our hunger, our capacity. Meet us where we are and take us where You would have us. We commit this session unto You, and we just pray that we might behold the Lord Jesus in a fresh way. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Once again, we have the privilege to wait before the Lord and to look again in a fresh way at Jesus, God’s adorable Son, our Savior. We’ve come to see the Lord in the word. We have the written word, but we desire to see the Living Word. In our meditation, as you know, we’ve been considering the history of His servants Elijah and Elisha. I want to bring you back to where we left off, a little bit of a review.
We’ve been following the steps of Elijah and his relationship with the Lord in his spiritual journey, as the Lord prepares him to bring back His people who have strayed away from Him, His rebellious people. In that preparation of Elijah, God allowed Elijah himself to be separated from the Lord. If he’s going to bring back a separated people, God is going to let him identify with what it means to be separated. God allowed Elijah to take his eyes off the Lord for a season and to have that fellowship broken. His broken fellowship was a little different than Israel’s. Israel’s was caused by rebellion. They turned against the Lord, and they cast Him out, and they turned to gods that were not gods. Elijah’s separation from the Lord was different. It was occasioned by distraction. He had taken his eyes off the Lord.
The record shows that he began to look at circumstances, and he became afraid, and he looked at his ministry, and he felt like he was a failure. Especially, he became afraid of the threats of Jezebel. Isaiah 2:22 says, “Stop regarding man whose breath of life is in his nostrils. Why should he be esteemed?” I love that expression, “whose breath of life is in his nostrils,” it wasn’t even in Jezebel’s lung, yet. The breath was just in her nostrils. The Lord at any moment could have snatched that away. God could have taken care of Jezebel, but Elijah took his eyes off the Lord, and he began to look to circumstances, and became afraid. Psalm 104:29 repeats that idea from Isaiah, “You hide your face and they’re dismayed. You take away their spirit, and they expire and return to dust.” All the Lord has to do is take that breath that’s in your nostrils and it’s all over. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts the Lord will be exalted.” Elijah fell into the snare. A snare is just a small trap for catching small animals, and Elijah got caught in that. He fell into a deep depression and fell into despair. He prayed that he might die. You take your eyes off the Lord even for a moment, you are going to get discouraged and fall into despair.
We saw him under the juniper tree, and we saw him wandering for forty days aimlessly in a wilderness, and we saw him on Mt. Horeb as he was dwelling in a cave, cut off from man in a cold, dark cave. He had been snared. Again, that was an important part of Elijah’s experience because God is going to use him to bring others out of that bondage. So, God brought him out. On Mt. Horeb he experienced full restoration. That’s what we’ve been talking about, and I want to review that, and then go on from here on that. I’m not going to develop the two pictures again, the still, small voice and the mantel, but I’ll just give you the spiritual reality.
The still, small voice, of course, he’s being drawn out of the cave by the presence of the Lord, and he received peace in his heart. That was the still, small voice. The mantel I showed you was a picture of God’s Holy Spirit, and it was at this moment when God drew him out and spoke peace into his heart, he hid his face in the mantel, and he experienced what we call in the New Testament “the exchanged life”. Now, he was fully restored. All of that depression and all of that discouragement and all of that despair was all over, and his heart was filled with the peace of the Lord, and he entered that glorious reality of the Life of Christ, the Life of the Lord. So, in a moment of time he was fully restored.
When we left off, I was describing what takes place after that, after you’re fully restored, you’ve messed up, you’ve come back to the Lord, and now after Horeb, life after full restoration. What does it look like, because what it looked like in Elijah’s life, is what it will look like in my life if I’m restored, in your life if you’re restored. By looking at the life and the spiritual history of Elijah, we can see what full restoration looks like.
When we left off a couple of weeks ago, I was in the process of giving five observations of Elijah’s life after Horeb. Actually, we covered three of the five observations. We saw the great characteristics. I want to review those, but before I do, I want to just go back to this expression, “full restoration.” That is such a marvelous truth. It brings God such joy. It’s a joy He wishes He didn’t have to have, because He would rather you walk with the Lord and didn’t need to be restored, but that doesn’t tone down the joy He has when you’re fully restored. Some struggle a great deal after they’ve been restored because they can’t enter into full restoration. They’re timid to believe that God has fully accepted them back into His favor and into His fellowship and into His presence, because they’re considering their straying. Their sin was so ugly, and their rebellion was so thorough, and they blundered so much and they hurt so many people, and now in a moment of time to say, “Alright, you’re fully restored,” they struggle with that.
Since the only kind of restoration God can give is perfect restoration, because He can’t give an imperfect restoration because He’s a perfect God, and we saw that when I showed you that God has no second best, and He only has a will, and He doesn’t have a shelf, He only has a will, and His will is good and acceptable and perfect, and at any moment in my life, regardless of my past, however ugly and repulsive it may have been, I can have the perfect will of God, and I can have a full restoration.
Hebrews 10:22, “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.” I want to spend a little moment on “full assurance of faith,” a complete restoration. God’s wants us, when we’re restored, to have the confidence that it’s a full restoration. I think the Apostle Peter is a great illustration of one who enjoyed full restoration. You know Peter’s departure. He denied the Lord. You might have departed from the Lord, but I wonder if you’ve ever gone that far that you denied the Lord. That’s going a long way away from the Lord. After he was restored, he preached at Pentecost and so many came to the Lord, but then God used him to give strength to a crippled man at the gate called Beautiful. Then all of the Jews started coming against Him, and He gave His second sermon, not Pentecost, but the one after that, and in that sermon in Acts 3:13&14, these are the words Peter used, “You have denied the holy One of Israel.” I want you to note the word “denied.” If I were Peter, that’s the last word I would ever use in my life. If I’m going to try to convict someone, I’m going to avoid denial, because I was so guilty of that. Yet, Peter was able to stand up, look them in the eye, and say, “You denied the holy One of Israel,” after what he had been through. Do you know why he could do that? He was fully restored. He didn’t go out and weep bitterly every time a rooster crowed. He had a full restoration.
I want to mention two things before we get back into the lesson that might keep a restored Christian from being fully assured. We need to understand the ground of our restoration. In other words, what brings us back to the Lord and into His favor and into His presence? Many Christians think, “I came back to the Lord, and it was my sincerity that brought me back.” That’s why you have doubts, because you wonder, “Was I really sincere.” You can doubt your sincerity. You aren’t going to have full assurance if you’re depending on your sincerity. Someone says, “Well, I’m not depending on that. I’m depending on my repentance. I repented.” So, I would say, “Was it real? Are you sure? Do you still have the pawn ticket, so what you put away, you might go back and get again?” If you are depending on your repentance, you’re not going to have full assurance. Someone else says, “Well, I rededicated my life.” Well, was your rededication thorough, and was it real? See, anything you do… It’s not your repentance, and it’s not your faith, and it’s not your prayer.
What brings me back into the presence of the Lord? The answer is in Ephesians 2:13, “Now, in Christ Jesus, you who were formerly were far off, have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” That’s what brings you back, whether it’s the first time or any time thereafter. It’s the blood of Christ that brings you back. It’s grace, undeserved grace, and nothing else. The more you see that, the more you’re able to have full assurance. If you’re depending upon sincerity or prayer or faith or repentance or dedication or rededication, throwing some kind of a stick in the fire and making confession, you’re never going to have full assurance. It’s because God accepts the blood of His Son, and therefore He accepts you, fully. Nothing but the Lord could have drawn Elijah out of His depression, and out of that dark cave, only the grace of the Lord. Self has no power over self. We’re always talking about losing self. You lose self when you find Christ. That’s when you lose self, and not until then. If you are in a cave of discouragement, only the blood can bring you out, only the grace of the Lord can bring you out. When He died, I died. When He was buried, I was buried. Where was I buried? I was buried in an empty tomb. I live, when He rose, I rose, as well.
Here’s the second thing that might rob someone of full assurance, not only not knowing the ground, that I’m brought out of my depression because of the finished work of Christ, but some Christians have so departed from the Lord and made such a mess of their lives and such a mess of other people’s lives, have cause so much damage and so much hurt, they said, “I know the Lord has forgiven me, but I can’t forgive myself. If I could only forgive myself, I could have assurance.” If you have been made nigh by the blood of Christ, I’m not going to clear my throat when I say this, if you’ve been made nigh by the blood of Christ, you don’t have to forgive yourself. There’s not a verse in the Bible that says that you’ve got to forgive yourself. In fact, if you think you’ve got to forgive yourself, you haven’t fully entered into the forgiveness of the Lord. When He forgives you, it’s over. You’re clean. Your sins and iniquities are remembered no more.
So, Elijah was fully restored by the blood of the Lord, and he didn’t have to go and say, “Well, I really messed up now, and now I’m going to have to undo everything I’ve done.” There’s none of that. On Mt. Carmel, here’s an illustration of his full restoration. I’m not going to read the full passage, but when he was out on Mt. Carmel, this is when he prayed down fire from heaven, that was before he went astray. Then, after he went astray, 2 Kings 1:12, he calls down fire from heaven again. I think that’s just an illustration. He’s fully restored. Before he called down fire and after he called down fire, and in between those two events, he deeply revolted against the Lord by taking his eyes off the Lord. That just illustrates that he was fully restored. I love Psalm 23, and I wouldn’t trade anything for verse 1 connected with verse 3, “The Lord is my Shepherd; He restores my soul.” When He restores my soul, it’s a perfect restoration. When He restores your soul, it’s a perfect restoration. Dear brothers, sisters in Christ, pull out all the stops and believe that with all your heart. When you come back to the Lord because of the finished work, you are fully restored. Deuteronomy 32:4, “The rock! His work is perfect, and all His ways are just, a God of faithfulness without injustice, righteous and upright is He.” His work is perfect.
Now, let’s go back. I just want to bring you back to life after Horeb, life after full restoration, illustrated by Elijah who now was delivered from his own life, his own efforts, his own energy, his own ministry, his own courage, his own faith, and now he’s living in the life of the Lord. Let me mention again quickly the three principles we’ve already touched that describe characteristics; this is what life looks like after restoration.
My first observation was that we sort of did an overview of his whole life. He lived another six, eight and maybe ten years, we don’t know how long exactly, but it was at least a half dozen years and probably more, eight or nine years. Before this you read, “Elijah, Elijah, Elijah, Elijah, Elijah at the brook, at the widow’s house, at Jezreel, at Carmel,” and now you hardly see him at all; he’s gone. It’s just that principle from John 3:30, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” The first characteristic of someone who has been restored to the Lord is that he fades away. The Lord is increased, and he’s just sort of not in the limelight anymore. He’s out of the picture, not completely, but he’s now fading away.
The second event was when he anointed Elisha as a prophet in his place. He threw the mantel on him, and you remember that Elisha asked in verse 20of chapter 19, “Is it alright if I go and say goodbye to my parents? I want to kiss my parents goodbye.” Elijah answered, “Go back again; what have I done to you?” In other words, this characteristic, “I didn’t call you. I’m just obeying the Lord. You don’t have to answer to me. I’m not going to try to help God. It’s up to you.” In fact, when he threw the mantel, he just kept going, and Elisha had to chase him down, because he’s saying, “This is God’s work. He started it, and He’s got to finish it, and it’s not dependent on me, and I’m not going to follow up, and all of that. I’m going to let the Lord do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is He who calls you, and He, also, will bring it to pass.” If God has begun a work in you, He’s going to finish it. There’s no unfinished symphony with the Lord. What He begins, He finishes. I’m not ruling out the fact that God might direct you to follow up and to help and to encourage people, but it has to be the Lord. That’s the second characteristic, Elijah didn’t try to help the Lord.
The third thing we looked at was illustrated by Elijah’s meeting with Ahaziah, the wicked son of King Ahab. 2 Kings 1:3, “The angel of the Lord said to Elijah, the Tishbite, ‘Arise, and go to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria.’” This is like a half dozen years later, and then God certainly comes. Up until this time God has used many servants. He had used two unnamed prophets. He had used a man of God. He had used one of the sons of the prophets. He had used a king from another nation. He had used someone who used to live in his house who was a believer, and then all of a sudden God says, “Elijah, arise and go.” He was available. That’s a characteristic of someone who has been fully restored. Before this, he was looking at his ability. Now it’s his availability. He’s just available. If God wants to use me, or He wants to use somebody else, that’s okay. He can use anybody, but I’ll be ready, and when He calls, I’ll click my heals, and I’ll stand at attention, and I’ll solute and I’ll obey the Lord by His power. Those are the three characteristics we’ve looked at so far; I fade away, I don’t try to help the Lord, and I’m always available anytime He calls. That brings us to our new material.
There are two more characteristics and, Lord willing, we’ll look at those today. In an earlier lesson we referred to Amaziah, the story of Amaziah, and I called attention to the liberty; He called down fire from heaven. How did he know how to do that? The answer is the still, small voice. He said, “If I’m a man of God,” and he made his own decisions, and the Lord was guiding through that. I want to take that same experience, Elijah with Amaziah and the messengers of Amaziah, and enlarge a little bit, and show you another characteristic.
There’s a contrast here that is very obvious. 2 Kings 1:9&10, “The king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty, and he went up to him, and behold he was sitting on top of the hill. He said, ‘Oh man of God, the king says to come down.’ Elijah replied to the captain of fifty, ‘If I’m a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty,’ and fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.” You know it was the will of God because Elijah didn’t have power to do that. Then in verse 11 & 12, a second time, “He sent again another captain of fifty with his fifty, and he said to him, ‘Oh man of God, thus says the king, “Come down quickly,”’ and Elijah replied to them, ‘If I’m a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” And then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.” So, that’s pretty negative; twice he called down fire.
But then notice verse 13, “So, again, he said, ‘The captain of a third fifty with his fifty,’ and when the third captain of fifty went up, he went up and bowed down on his knees before Elijah and he begged him, and he said to him, ‘Oh, man of God, please let my life and the lives of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight.’” And then verse 15, “The angel of Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go down with him, and do not be afraid of him.’” What I’m calling attention to is the negative and the positive. In one case he was negative, calling down fire, and in the other he’s full of compassion and full of mercy. By calling down fire, I’m not saying he wasn’t merciful. One illustration of that is James and John in the New Testament. They got their nicknames the sons of thunder because of this, they were in the same area, Samaria, and the Samaritans rejected Jesus, and they said in Luke 9:54, “Shall we call down fire, like Elijah did and consume these guys?” And Jesus made the answer in verse 55 & 56, “You don’t know what spirit you are of.” That wasn’t Elijah’s spirit. You think it was, that he was just out to kill people and vengeance. That wasn’t his spirit at all.
Let me home in on the characteristic. If you’re fully restored, this will be true of you. It’s true of me and it’s true of anyone fully restored. Sometimes you are going to have to deal negatively. Sometimes, as you manifest Christ, you’re going to deal positively, and the thing that’s going to determine it is your union with Christ. It wasn’t his decision; it was Christ in him, it was the Lord. Let me show you a couple of passages that illustrate this same truth. For example, people say, “I love Hebrews 12.” And I say, “Well, what part of Hebrews 12 do you love?” And they say, “I love the first part because it says, ‘Keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith.’” Well, I think you should love Hebrews the first part, but do you know the last part? Hebrews 12:29, “Our God is a consuming fire.” That’s the same chapter, and it’s the same God, the one that we keep our eye on, the author and finisher of faith is also a consuming fire. Both are true. Psalm 97:1 says, “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice.” That’s 97:1. Do you know 99:1? “The Lord reigns; let the people tremble.” Both are true. The fully restored Christian will sometimes manifest Christ positively and sometimes negatively.
I want to share a verse from the prophet Micah, chapter 5:7&8, “Then the remnant of Jacob will be among many people, like dew from the Lord, like showers on vegetation, which do not wait for man or delay for the sons of man. The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, among many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forests, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which if he passes through, tramples down and tears, and there is none to deliver.” One of my favorite titles of the Christian in the New Testament is overcomer. One of my favorite titles of the Christian in the Old Testament is remnant. I like that word remnant. There are remnant minor prophets. There are remnant books. In the world the remnant is the part you throw away. If somebody is working on curtains or something and there’s remnant cloth, they throw it away, but in the Lord the remnant was the part that was precious, and that was kept. It referred to the few who in the spirit came back from Babylon, the land of confusion, and returned, even though it was upside down to the city of peace. It’s the handful of those who seek Him. I love Psalm 24:6, “This is the generation of those who seek Your face, even Jacob. Selah.” I hope, I think, I’m inclined to believe that this little Bible study is remnant, those who have come to seek the Lord and to seek His face.
Micah describes the remnant in verse 7, “The remnant will be like dew from the Lord, like showers on vegetation.” In other words, it will be a blessing. You’re a remnant, and God is going to use you like dew, like showers on vegetation. My natural heart longs to be used of the Lord, to be dew, if I can encourage you, if I can bless you, if I can point you to Christ, if I can point you away from yourself, if I can bring some joy into your life, “Lord, use me like dew, like showers on vegetation.” Here is the other part, verse 8, “The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, among many people like a lion, among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep which if he passes through, tramples down and tears. There is none to rescue.”
It must have blessed Jeremiah when the word came to Jeremiah and said, “I have appointed you to build and to plant.” But the same verse that says build and plant, verse 10, chapter 1, “I’ve appointed you this day over the nation, over the kingdom to pluck up and break down and destroy and overthrow, and to build and to plant.” Both are true. My natural heart says, “Use me as dew. I don’t want to be a lion. I don’t want to tear people up. I don’t want to tear it down,” but as I live in union with the One in my heart, He’s a lover, and that’s mercy, He’s a lover, that’s grace, he’s a lover, that’s compassion. He’s a jealous lover. Uh-oh, that’s the other side. He’s intolerant of rivalry. He’s insisting on exclusive devotion, and the One who lives in my heart sometimes is a lover, and I express mercy, and sometimes He’s a jealous lover. In this context, He’s the jealous lover. Let me show you that.
This is Elijah before, when he claimed to be zealous. The Hebrew word for zealous is the same as jealous. He said, “I have been very zealous.” But now it’s different. 2 Kings 1 :3, “The angel of the Lord said to Elijah, the Tishbite, ‘Arise, and go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, “Is it because there is no God in Israel, that you are going to inquire of Beelzebub, the god of Akron?” God is jealous. He says, “Why are you going to a false god? Is it because I’m not here?” And it was a jealous God in Elijah’s heart that was responding, “They’re rejecting Me.” So, he said, “If I’m a man of God, I’ve got to respond to the jealous love; I’ve got to be hard.” If you’re serious about satisfying the One that lives in your heart, sometimes you’re going to have to be severe with Christians, and you’re going to have to take a rugged stand, and it’s going to be difficult, but it’s not you deciding, “When will I be tough? When will I be merciful?” It’s you responding to the lover and the jealous lover that lives in your heart. It’s Him; you’re manifesting Christ. That’s the characteristic that I wanted to call attention to. “If I am fully restored, I will manifest Christ whether it’s negatively or whether it’s positively, however He leads, and if I have to take a rugged stand and lose friends, and I have to take a rugged stand and people turn against me, I’ve got to live up to the One who is living in my heart.
You don’t decide when you have to be tough or when you have to be merciful. You just live in fellowship with the God who lives inside you, and you’ll know that you’ve got to take a stand here, especially if it’s in the word. If it’s written in the word, you know God’s will. For example, if there’s an issue like homosexuality, you know you’ve got to take a stand. If there’s an issue like what constitutes marriage, you know you’ve got to take a stand. If there’s some immorality like adultery or something like that, you know you can’t be wishy-washy on that. Even if you know something is legalism, you’ve got to take a stand against that, for the pure grace of God. If someone is soft and humble and repentant, you know the Christ in you is going to receive that one. So, again, the characteristic if you’re fully restored, you are going to be living in union with the One who lives in your heart, the lover and the jealous lover of your soul.
Let me give the final characteristic. If you’ve been fully restored, you’re not only going to fade away and not try to help the Lord and always be available and manifest Christ positively or negatively but let me give you this final observation. We’re going to look at the final chapter. I’m still on Mt. Horeb but I followed Elijah all the way to where he’s going to get raptured. In other words, I did an overview of his entire life. That rapture part, we’re going to touch that next week, that’s a big part of this story. It’s a large event. I’m going to touch it now but I’m going to jump over stuff, and you’re going to say, “What about this and what about this.” Be patient with me, if you will. All I want you to see this morning is that characteristic of someone who is fully restored.
Let me set it before you by calling attention to a strange comment Elijah made three times. 2 Kings 2:1&2, “It came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind into heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal, and Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So, they went down to Bethel.” So, in 2 Kings 2:4, “Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’” Then again in 2 Kings 2:6, “And Elijah said to him, ‘Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ And he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’”
Why did Elijah want Elisha to stay behind? Was it that he wanted to be alone because he knew he’s going to heaven? Or these were the school of the prophets; did he say, “Stay here because they need you,”? We’re going to see later that they had problems and they needed Elijah’s ministry there. Was he testing Elisha in some way, to see if he would be loyal? Why after six or seven or eight years of faithful service does Elisha refuse to obey Elijah? You’ve got to picture this; he’s been serving Elijah, and he goes where he goes, he sleeps where he sleeps, and he does what he does. He ministers and he washes his hands. I know Elijah didn’t command it; he said “please,” three times. He said, “Please stay here, please stay here, please stay here.” Wouldn’t you think after seven years of faithful service that Elisha would say, “If you want me to, I’ll stay.”? But all of a sudden Elisha is saying, “No, I don’t care. You’re my leader. You’re my master and my mentor. I’m not leaving. I’m staying,” and they go on. He said, “Please stay,” and they go on. He said, “Please, stay.” And he said, “No, no, I’m going.” Wouldn’t you expect Elisha to obey Elijah? What’s going on here?
I think Elijah who was fully restored and finally had his head screwed on correctly, who knew about the exchanged life, who knew about the indwelling life of the Lord, that Elisha had been with him constantly seven or eight years, we don’t know, 2 Kings 3:11, “Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there not a prophet of the Lord here, that we might inquire of the Lord by him?’ And one of the kings of Israel’s servants answered and said, ‘Elisha, the son of Shaphat is here, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.’” Three years he served Elijah.
Let me make this suggestion, and you’ll see the principle. I think Elisha, because of how precious Elijah was in his life, had an unhealthy attachment to the human instrument, to Elijah. It takes a mighty miracle of God not to want a following. Elijah was saying, “Stay here and stop looking to me. Stop depending on me. You can’t depend on me anymore.” There’s a way to look to a man. 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ,” but not just looking to a man. I think Elisha couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from his mentor, his teacher, his friend, the one who had helped him so much, Elijah, the man of God. But Elijah was fully restored, and he knew the danger of that. He knew the danger of being in an unhealthy was attached to a man. 2 Kings 2:9b, “When they crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask what I shall do for you before I’m taken.’” You remember the answer. 2 Kings 2:9b, “And Elisha said, ‘Please, let a double portion of your spirit be on me.’”
You may not agree with all I’m about to say. I know the commentators give him an atta boy for that answer, “That’s a good answer, a double portion of your spirit.” Let me give a little testimony. I was saved about one week. God used Youth for Christ, and they led me to the Lord. Immediately I was put into a Bible memory course and into a Bible study. They followed me up. I was one week saved, and we had a meeting, and they said, “Your assignment for next week is to find your life verse.” I was saved one week. I didn’t even know there were two testaments. They had given me the gospel of John. So, I was reading the gospel of John and I came to chapter 12, and I said, “Oh, that looks like a good life verse. I think I’ll take it.” So, when I reported, I gave my thing. “My life verse is John 12:27&28, “What shall I say? Have I come to this hour? What shall I say? Deliver me from this hour? No, for this cause came I to this hour. Father, glorify Thy name.” That’s my life verse. I had no idea what I said, but that has been my life verse. God used it even though I didn’t know what it meant. Now I know, and when I come to any hour, I don’t care what hour it is, I’m going to say, “Lord, what shall I say; deliver me from this hour? No, for this cause came I to this hour. Father, glorify Thy name.”
I think Elisha did the same thing. I think he said the right thing, but he had no clue what he was saying. When he said, “I want to be like you, and I want to have a double spirit,” I don’t think he was thinking the depths of that. I think he was saying, “You want to know what I want? I want you. You’re my friend, you’re my mentor, you’re my teacher, you’re my leader. Don’t go away. I want you.” “What can I give you?” “Your spirit. I want to be like you, and I want to have what you have, and in fact, I want the whole.” I think that was what was in his heart, but it was the right words, and God, of course, turned it around. Those who have been greatly used in your life or mine, it is so hard to let go of the human instrument. I think Elijah was trying to shake him. I don’t think he was trying to be alone. I think he was saying, “Alright, stay here. We’ve been together eight years, seven years, stay here.” Elijah is trying to shake him.
In another connection, we’re going to look at the facts of this rapture, but for this morning I wanted you to see verse 11, “As they were going along talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, horses of fire which separated the two of them, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” Just that expression, “which separated the two of them.” The bond, on the level of earth was so tight, and Elisha was so dependent on Elijah, that only the Lord could separate them. It took a mighty miracle of God to separate Elisha and his attachment to Elijah. Elisha was never, on the level of earth, going to be separated from him, unless God did it by a miracle.
Once again, let me give a little testimony. I was attached like Elisha was to Elijah to a man named Frank Sells. He was a teacher at Bible school. It wasn’t only him. I was attached to every man of God. I used to read a lot of missionary biographies and Christian biographies, so I wanted to be Morgan and Moody and Hudson Taylor, and I tried to imitate them. With Frank Sells I was already married, and I asked this guy if I could move in with him. I don’t know what I was going to do with my Lillian, just leave her alone. I just wanted to be with him, “I’ll carry your bags; I’ll do anything. I won’t bother you. I just want to follow you around.” I was that attached. You might say, “Well, did you venerate him or did you worship him?” Probably, I think it was that tight, that he was such a blessing in my life. I was pretty messed up when he came into my life, and God used him in a mighty way. After I graduated, we were separated, but I wasn’t. I got hold of all of his tapes. In those days it was reel to reel. I had a tape recorder, and it was recorded on the slow speed three fifths, or something like that. I was still attached to him. I would call him up, and I would go down to South Carolina and visit him. I would write him letters. He never answered some of my letters. One letter I began, “This is life and death.” He didn’t answer it. When I finally saw him face to face, I said, “Did you ever get that letter?” He said, “Oh yes, the life and death letter? You didn’t need my answer for that.” But I remember how God finally separated me from him. Even after we were separated in body, I was attached. If you had heard of him, and then you heard me, I imitated him. Some of you think, “Well, Ed must have come from the south,” because I have some sort of a southern twang. That’s because that’s who he was. I imitated him, and I listened to his tapes, and I repeated his tapes. I didn’t have any original material; it was just him. If you heard him and heard me, it would be him.
One day I was getting ready for Bible study, and I went in and turned on his tape, and I was ready to take notes, and the tape recorder didn’t work, and we had no money. So, I said to Lil, “I’ve got to get money.” She said, “Well, you’ve got a charge card, but don’t use it.” I said, “I’ve got to.” So, I went to Radio Shack, and I bought a tape recorder, and he said, “Well, if you want that speed on the tape recorder you are going to have to spend a little more, and you are going to have to get this special machine. I said, “Well, I have no choice. I’ve got to. I came home, set it up, and there was nothing; there was no sound! I went back to Radio Shack, “You ripped me off.” He said, “No, no, no. You need an amplifier.” I asked, “How much is an amplifier?” Then I had to buy an amplifier. I bought the amplifier and came home, and I said, “Oh man, it’s getting late. I’ve got to get this study done, and I put on the tape, and I connected the amplifier, and the stupid machine ate the tape! It ate it all up. “What am I going to do?” The tape was gone. Frank Sells was gone. And I went in my study, and I fell on my knees, and I called out to the Lord, and said, “Help! I’ve got to study tonight. What am I supposed to do?” I opened the Bible, and it was like the fourth of July. God showed me Christ, and in that moment Frank Sells was caught in a fiery chariot and he went up to heaven. I was free. That was 1968, and ever since then I’ve been free from Frank Sells.
The whole point I’m trying to make is that’s what is going on here with Elijah, that we can be so attached to human instruments that it will take a mighty miracle of God to separate us. 2 Kings 2:14, “He took the mantel of Elijah that fell from him, and struck the waters, and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah.” Next week we’re going to get deeper into that, what was happening there, but what I want you to see now is that when Elijah was gone, separated by a mighty miracle of God, and he picked up that which symbolized the Holy Spirit, he no longer said, “I want your spirit; I want a double portion of your spirit.” That’s over. Now he says, “Where is the God of Elijah?” See, in my deep heart, I wanted the God of Frank Sells. I didn’t know that. I tried twice to name my kids after Frank Sells, and Lillian wouldn’t let me. Where is the God of Frank Sells? 2 Corinthians 5:16, “Therefore, from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh, even though we’ve known Christ after the flesh, we know Him in this way no longer,” no confidence in the flesh, not my flesh, not anybody else’s.
Elijah, that’s his characteristic now. He’s fully restored. He doesn’t want disciples. He doesn’t want a following. He doesn’t want people clinging to him. He doesn’t want anybody depending on him, “Stay here.” He wants them to go to the Lord, and it takes a mighty miracle of God, first for Elijah not to want a following. The natural heart of man is that I want people to follow me and have a mega church and I want to be a big pastor and I want fame and be famous. No, no, if you’re fully restored, it’s the Lord, and it’s all the Lord, and you don’t want anybody leaning to you or trusting in you.
I hope the Lord helps you with this last verse. We’re going to close with this. I hope the Lord helps you really believe this verse, “As for you, the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you. You have no need for anyone to teach you, but as His anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie, and just as He’s taught you, you abide in Him.” Thank God He’s given teachers to the church to edify them. They’re helpful, but you don’t need them. You need Him. We sing “He’s All I Need, He’s All I Need,” but sometimes we don’t believe that. He’s all I need. So, if you’re fully restored, you’re going to fade away, and if you’re fully restored, you aren’t going to try to help God. If you’re fully restored, you are going to be available anytime He calls you. If you’re fully restored, you are going to be manifesting His life, whether it’s positively or negatively, and if you’re fully restored, you are going to do everything in your power to keep people from looking to you. You are going to point them to the Lord.
Let’s pray together. Father, thank You for Your word, not what we think it means, but all You know it means. Will You work that in our hearts and take us forward in a heart knowledge of the Lord Jesus and prepare our hearts for our next session. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.