I have intensely studied the Word of God for 40 years. Over the course of all these years I have had my favorite figures from the Bible. But lately, no matter which way I turn, the LORD brings me to the life of Elijah. Even my first Grandchild, who came into the world last year, is named Elijah.
Of particular interest, was something I knew but never gave it much thought. Just before Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind, Elisha had asked for a double portion of what Elijah had. Previously I only thought about it in terms of the mighty things Elijah did. In other words, THE HIGHS. But let’s not forget about THE LOWS which included fearing for his life, depression, and being set aside by the LORD for a time of complete idleness. That is why Elijah said, “You have asked a hard thing.” Let’s read it along with the surrounding sentences:
And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” (2 Kings 2:9-10)
Remember, it’s not just about the mighty things a Christian may do. Any Christian who lives a godly life WILL suffer persecution and you WILL have to endure hardships (2 Timothy 2:3 and 3:12).
We must be very careful to study Scripture just as it is written and not add or take away from it. Study very carefully 2 Kings chapter 2 verses 1 and 11. Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind, not by a chariot and horses. The chariot and horses were of fire and they were only a means to separate Elijah from Elisha. But when you look at Christian tradition and paintings, it will show Elijah riding a chariot and horses on a whirlwind. This serves as a lesson for us to be careful of all the hype preachers that only brag about receiving a double portion of the blessings without a double portion of the lows.
To further that thought, if you continue reading verses 13 and 14, Elijah’s mantle fell from him. It was not handed over as paintings and depictions falsely portray. Observe the following painting that falsely depicts the scene contrary to Scripture:
Here is an excerpt from a World Challenge Pulpit Series from May 2016 by Gary Wilkerson:
We all know that speaking a word for God can be risky. It usually means going against the status quo. It can make us unpopular and label us as judgmental. But if we’re faithful to speak his “now” word to us, God will empower us with all authority. In the past decades, the church hasn’t been very willing to step into this kind of risk. Instead, a lot of teaching about receiving words from God has centered on claiming selfish needs. The idea is that God desires to prosper us financially. It gets reinforced by a lot of best-selling Christian books. Of course God wants to bless us, but a careful reading of Scripture shows us that his “now” words to his people were rarely about blessings. Most were about soul-cutting challenge. Think about Elijah’s commission to speak. I don’t think he relished the thought of saying, “It’s not going to rain for a very long time, so we’ll all probably come close to starving.” Most of the words Paul received from the Lord were fiercely challenging. What famous Christian teachers today talk often about having a thorn in their flesh? Who considers that a testimony worth sharing? God told Paul there were cities on his missionary agenda where the gospel wouldn’t be received, that he would be persecuted, beaten and jailed, that he would come close to dying again and again. Perhaps the hardest “now” word Elijah ever received from God was to stop his ministry. He was at the height of his calling, leading a powerful revival in darkened Samaria when God told him this: “The word of the LORD came to him: ‘Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan’” (1 Kings 17:3-4). God was telling Elijah, essentially, “I’m setting you aside for now. You’re going to be hidden from view. That is my calling for you.” We have to ask ourselves: Are we just as willing to “hide” ourselves—to be anonymous in a self-marketing culture—as we are to speak for the Lord? God will test us on this, just as he did Elijah and Paul. You see, he gives his divine authority not to those who are necessarily bold, zealous or gifted—but who are willing to submit themselves to his will fully. That’s one mark of those whom God calls forward in darkened times like ours.
To read the whole message, you can click on the following PDF:
There are two questions I would like to leave you with. First, “Do you truly want to be an Elijah for today and are you willing to accept both THE HIGHS and THE LOWS that go along with it?” Second, “Are you checking everything you are being taught and making sure it completely aligns with Scripture, since there are so many false teachers out there which the Bible predicts in these end times?”