Date: January 4, 2015
Bible Text: 2 Kings 2:9-14 | Steve Damron
Series: Transcribed Sermons
II Kings 2:9-14, “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.”
In this passage, Elisha is asking, “Where Is the Lord God of Elijah?” Looking at these two men—Elijah and Elisha—is a very interesting study. Elijah’s name means, “Jehovah is my God.” However, Elisha’s name means, “Jehovah is my Saviour.” Just a little bit different. You say, “What’s the difference?” It appears that Elisha was a little more personal in his relationship with God.
Elijah was a prophet of the wilderness. Elisha was more a prince of the courts. Elijah had no settled home – you see him wandering all the time. But when you look at Elisha’s life, you see him at home. Even in the story of Gehazi, you see that his servant was there at his house. Elijah was known for his long hair and shaggy mantle. Elisha was known by his staff, and in chapter 2, by his bald head. Elijah was mainly prophetical in his dealings; Elisha’s work was much more miraculous.
Many times when I think of a prophet or a man of God, Elijah comes to mind. However, we read of Elisha saying, “I need a double portion.” Remember that is what he asked for, and Elijah told him, “If my mantle falls on you, then your request is going to be granted.”
Well, what did that mean in Elisha’s life? When you study Elijah and Elisha, Elisha had two times the amount of miracles, so he did get his petition. We sometimes think that Elisha was not as flamboyant as Elijah; however, we see that Elisha was a man of very strong faith. In II Kings chapter 2, you see that Elisha was a man of swift action. Elisha had spiritual power. Elisha had courage. In chapter 3, Elisha had sympathy, and Elisha was willing to help. Elisha had clear understanding. In II Kings chapter 5, you’ll see that he was a man of force, a man of might, and in II Kings 6, he was a man who knew secrets. Also, in II Kings chapter 6, you’ll see that he was a man of remarkable foresight. Elisha is interesting to study because as you look at what was accomplished in his life, he did receive a double portion.
So this evening when we consider this idea of, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah,” we ask first of all, “Who is the Lord God of Elijah?” Why did Elisha want the Lord God of Elijah? Who is He? The first thing that we see is that He’s a God of power.
I read a funny story about Mike Collin who was a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins. He tells the story of his coach who asked him to do some recruiting for the team. The coach was trying to describe the type of player that Mike should look for while recruiting. “Mike, do you know the type of guy that gets knocked down and doesn’t get up?” Mike said, “Yeah, Coach.” He said, “That’s not the guy we want.” Then he continued. “You know the type of guy that gets knocked down and he gets up, and he gets knocked down and he stays down.” “Yeah, Coach. Coach, that’s not the type of guy we want, right?” “Nope. It’s not the type of guy we want.” So then the coach looked at Mike and said, “The guy that gets out there, gets knocked down, and gets up, gets knocked down and gets up...,” and he just went on and on with it. Mike said, “That’s the type of guy we want.” The coach said, “No, no, no. You find the guy that’s knocking everybody down. That is the guy we want!”
Elijah found an all-powerful God. In I Kings 17:1, we see a God Who can hold back anything He wants. He can perform any miracle, He can provide anything, but also He has enough power to just say, “It’s not going to rain.” It’s not just Elijah. This is the God of Elijah. The God of Elijah has power. He can do things that we can’t imagine. That’s the type of God we serve. We don’t serve a God that is weak. We don’t serve a God that is unable to do things.
Understand that although I don’t know your need, God does, and He can supply your need because He’s a God of power. This God of power is limitless. He spoke and the worlds came into existence, so don’t you think He could speak for you? He can speak for you and can change all things. As Pastor Wagner said on Thursday night, it is unbelievable to me sometimes how weak our prayers are and how little we ask of God. He has it all. He is all powerful.
A week or two ago, a famous atheist had an interview on national television, and he said, “Very soon Christianity is going to be dead.” And I thought of Voltaire who said the same thing. Shortly after his death, they were printing Bibles in his home. There have been others before that famous atheist, who have said, “Who is this God? He’s powerless.” God always wipes them out because Elijah’s God was a God of power.
But not just that. Look at verse 4. This one is so refreshing. Elijah tells the king that it is not going to rain. What is Elijah going to do? Not only is the God of Elijah a God of power, but He is a God of provision. Too many people are afraid that if they rely on the Lord, He will not take care of them. Some of you sitting here have only partially committed to God, and you do not see the miracles that an Elijah or Elisha could see. It is because you haven’t understood resting upon an all-powerful God. He can provide for all your needs because God is a God of provision. God sent ravens to feed Elijah. I’d rather be taken care of by the Lord than be fed at the table of Ahab. Some of you say, “I’m not being fed by Ahab.” But you’re scared to death to stand up. You’re scared to death to commit to the God of Elijah. And the devil has his little dainties. He sits there and feeds you at his table. I can tell you this—all his food has a bunch of disease in it. His food isn’t satisfying, but my God can provide a table in the wilderness. My God said, “I can supply your needs.” If need be, He can go out into the hills, and kill one of His beef, and fling it right there in front of me because He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. One man said that it shows how much God thinks of gold. He owns the gold in the hills, but let’s His cattle feed on those same hills. God has the resources to take care of your needs.
Elijah’s God is a God of provision. He wants to take care of us. There was a powerful old-time preacher by the name of T. T. Shields. At one time, he had seven millionaires in his church. His needs were supplied, right? No, they all left the same week. I guess he probably made them mad. The next Sunday, he got into the pulpit and preached a sermon entitled, “The One Millionaire Who Never Leaves—God.” He told his church, “It doesn’t matter because God will supply our needs.”
It is sometimes hard for us to picture this. We live in the lap of luxury. We sit in a beautiful auditorium and walk on a beautiful campus. We walk into our closet, and we have all the clothing we need. We open up our pantries, and we have all the food we need. Sometimes I think we rely on those things instead of our God, Who can provide everything. He can provide all of our needs, but you’ve got to go to Elijah’s God. Elijah’s God is not only powerful, but He provides. He is a God of provision.
Another thing we see about Elijah’s God is that He is a God of principle. In I Kings 17, Elijah comes to Ahab after six months. I can picture it. It hadn’t rained for six months. It was dry and getting crusty out there. You know how it is when we get a spell of about four weeks, and we’re about dying without rain. But at this time, it had been twenty-six weeks and not a drop of rain has come down. You can imagine King Ahab’s lavish palace at this time. Just then a man comes walking up the steps of the palace. You can see the guards standing there at attention. We see him as he is described in the Bible. He wore camel’s hair, and we’re not talking cashmere. We are talking about a rough man who comes walking in.
You can almost imagine the palace guards snickering as they stand at attention. “Who is this guy?” He walks past them, and requests an audience with King Ahab. He says, “Is it a little dry? The flowers outside aren’t as beautiful in your landscape. Are you having a problem? The flowers are fading, the trees are shriveling up, the grass has withered away, and it’s not going to rain for three more years. Go call your god and tell him to bring some rain.” He turns around and he walks out. You know what I see about Elijah? He had some guts. He served a God that had principle, conviction, and backbone. Elijah could stand there because it wasn’t him. He didn’t control the rain, and all of the earth, and the atmosphere, but he served a God Who was powerful. That God is principled. Six months without rain. It was pretty parched, but he said, “There are three more years coming.“
Look at I Kings 18:21 and notice the challenge. What we are trying to figure out is, “Who is this God of Elijah?” He is a God of power. He is a God of provision. He is a God of principle because verse 21 says, “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.” He challenged them because our God is a God of principle, and He challenges the world. He challenges the devil. When you get in touch with the God of Elijah, you won’t back down from the devil’s assaults, and you won’t be timid. You won’t just let your family go and say, “Devil, you can have them.” You’ll stand stiffened up. You’ll have backbone, and you’ll say, “Come on.” You will know it isn’t your strength because you serve a God that is powerful, and it stiffens up your backbone. When I see a preacher who doesn’t have backbone, I say, “He hasn’t been with God.” When you have been with God, your back stiffens up. He gives you a vertebrae. There is a new species—the invertebrate preacher who is spineless, sissified, and effeminate. He can’t stand up to anything.
God, give us the God of Elijah again. Let us want the God of Elijah that has principle and will stand up to things. You read in the Bible and you see that even afterward, Elisha stood. Daniel, he stood. John the Baptist, he stood. Peter faltered, but then it says they took note that he had been with Jesus and he said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” When you get with the God of Elijah, and when you desire Him, you will say “God, I want that double portion.” He will give it to you, and He will stiffen your principles. He will help you stand.
Who is the Lord God of Elijah? A God of power, a God of provision, and a God of principle. So, why do we need the God of Elijah? This week in the case of Greece vs. Galloway, in Greece, New York, an atheist and a secularist complained that most of the town council implications were Christian in nature. Already a lower court in New York ruled that the prayers were unconstitutional, so it’s being taken to the Supreme Court for a decision. The Family Research Council is sponsoring lawyers to defend praying at a town council meeting. The Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision in the first quarter of the next year. Observers say that based on exchanges between the attorneys arguing the case and the justices, it appears the court favors prayer. Wow! What a powerful country we live in! It just might be that the Supreme Court will make it legal for us to pray again. That’s the country you live in!
Here is Governor Christie in New Jersey. Many thousands of people have been able to shake free of same gender attraction through counseling, but Governor Christie signed a bill forcing counselors to halt the therapy. In the state of New Jersey, you are no longer allowed to counsel a young man that a same-sex relationship is wrong, and you need to get that right. But guess what, that’s America.
There is a book at my house called, “The Justice Project.” It came out about six months ago. A group of neo-evangelicals have come together and called it the Justice Project. It is to help Christians bring justice back. A lady named Sandy Campola, who is a huge neo-evangelical out of Pennsylvania wrote, “The Justice Project of Fairness in the Family.” This chapter is about seven pages and doesn’t quote one scripture. She says, “Nowhere in the Bible can I find a description of marriage being a husband and a wife.” Now, I don’t know, maybe you’re reading the “Message,” or maybe you’re reading the NIV, or maybe you’re reading something else, but I went right to Genesis chapter 2, and I found that God called them Adam and Eve. God put them together, and it was a husband and a wife. Now it’s amazing to me that I could find it in a matter of seconds, and this lady has never been able to find it. Although claiming Christianity, she says, “Christians need to be more accepting.” She has gone on cruises with the LGBT movement that were sponsored by Roseanne Barr. She marches in parades with them. Here is a so-called Christian in our nation who can’t even open up a Bible and find out that God says that a man and a woman together make a marriage. That’s our country.
Why do we need the God of Elijah? Because we live in a wicked world, and that wicked world wants to come after you, not just your children. You could be sitting here at 65 years old, but the world wants to destroy you just as much as it wants to destroy my children. It wants you worthless. It wants you without a backbone. It wants you to back down. It wants you afraid. Why do we need the God of Elijah? We need the God of Elijah because we need His power again.
Look at our text again in II Kings chapter 2. You’ll see three illustrations here and how it represents what we need today. “And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him. And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send. And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not.”
Do you know what that shows me right away? Why do we need the God of Elijah? Because there’s a religious world out there that has never seen the power of God, and has never seen a church move forward for God. They have never seen revival, as the Holy Spirit comes through and does a mighty work. That religious crowd needs to see a church on fire for God. They need to see a people sold out for Him because the religious crowd is dead.
I’m so glad that our preacher has been able to resist it, and my prayer is that I can resist it. This isn’t my work, and this isn’t Preacher’s work. This is God’s work, and we give honor to Him. If He can use a poor worthless person like me, then let Him do it. Notice when the religious crowd sees the mighty hand of God, they bow down to a man. That is exactly what has happened in our movement. When they see God’s hand, the man gets lifted up. Notice what the sons of the prophets did. They bowed down to Elisha. They didn’t say, “O God.” They said, “O Elisha.” God, give us some preachers again who have enough guts and have enough humility to understand that it’s not our work, it’s not by my might, not by my power, but it’s by His might and by His power. You see, what we should be showing to the religious crowd is that Elijah’s God is powerful. Why do we need the God of Elijah? Because the religious world hasn’t seen it. It’s empty in America. This Sunday morning, thousands of so-called Christians got together and were jamming in their praise time. I don’t know who they were praising, but it wasn’t my God. Because when you worship my God, you look up and you say, “I can’t believe this God—how mighty He is. You are humbled before Him. I don’t raise my hand and dance. It’s silliness. The religious world needs to see the God of Elijah.
Next, notice what the men of the city said unto Elisha, in verse 19. “And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren.” This is Jericho. In Joshua chapter 6, the Israelites went across Jordan, and the first city that they destroyed was Jericho. In Joshua chapter 6, verse 26, the walls came down, and Joshua said, “Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.”
What I see in my mind is an unregenerate world that is dead, and nothing can grow and nothing is alive. They’ve tried to raise crops, and now even there is no good water. There is no satisfaction. An unregenerate world needs the God of Elijah. Notice he took a little salt and put it in a vial. He took a pinch of salt and he threw it into the water. If you study salt in the Bible in the book of Leviticus and Numbers, you will see that when the children of Israel brought an offering to the Lord, they salted it. It made it a sweet savor to God.
In fact, the Bible tells us that we are the salt of the world. We aren’t supposed to lose our savor because it makes the world bearable to God. When we are removed at the rapture, then tribulation comes. We hold it back; we’re salt. Salt brings healing, and salt brings life back. It adds flavor. The world is unregenerate, and it’s dead. No flavor. It can’t grow anything because it’s dead. Why do we need the God of Elijah? Because there are dead people out there—unsaved, unregenerate people who are lost, and the salt can be brought upon them. They can have the God of Elijah brought to them, and He can revive them. He can save them. And where there was emptiness, there is happiness. Where there was unrest and insecurity, there is peace because that’s what the God of Elijah can do. He’s a powerful God.
Why do we need the God of Elijah? Because the religious world needs to see Him and the unregenerate world needs to see Him. But there is another group. “And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.”
Why do we need the God of Elijah? Oh, we said the religious crowd, they’ve never seen it. They don’t know what to do when they see God’s power. They say, “Let’s do a praise and worship time. Oh, let’s lift up this man because he’s such a great speaker.” They’ve missed the whole point—that’s the religious crowd. The unregenerate crowd, they’ve never seen it. They’ve tried on their own; they’ve tried to get life, and it’s dead. The youth of this world, they need to see the God of Elijah. They need to see an all-powerful God, a God that deserves respect—a God that deserves awe-inspiring honor. And the youth of this world, are they seeing this God of Elijah today? Are they seeing that? No. Why do we need the God of Elijah? Because the religious crowd, the unregenerate crowd, and the youth of this world need to see Him. They need to see people filled with the double portion.
Elijah was like you and me, but he did pray earnestly. He prayed again, and the earth brought forth her fruit. It’s not impossible for you to see the Lord God of Elijah in your life because you and I are in the same flesh that enclosed Elijah. Where is the Lord God of Elijah? He’s ready as ever to clothe you. He’s ready for that mantle to come down upon you. He’s there alive to the service of the most obscure of servants. Will you live a life that people would be desirous of your God?
A little boy was dying in one of the English counties. He had heard of Whitefield. He had heard his marvelous voice. He had heard him preach about the Lord Jesus, and the impression never left him. While this boy was very young, a fever came over him. He had to be taken to a hospital. There, with the fever burning upon him, he knew that he was going to die. He looked at the attendant who was beside his bed, and he said, “I should like to go to Mr. Whitefield’s God.” When I heard that, I thought of my children. Is the God of Steve Damron the One that they want? Put your name there. Your bus kids, do they see a powerful God, and in their life say, “I want that guy’s God”? You can have it. He’ll give you a double portion. It’s not arrogant to ask for it. You come humbly and God will grant it. Oh, may God give us the Lord God of Elijah.