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Following Hard After God

INTRODUCTION:  This passage tells of the translation of Elijah to heaven, but the real story is about Elisha. He is determined to follow his master to the end and he desires a double portion of Elijah’s blessing. We see that he gets the blessing and begins to perform some of the miracles for which he is known. O, that we might follow hard after God (Psalm 63:8) as Elisha followed hard after the spirit of Elijah!

    1. At the time when God was to take Elijah
    2. Elijah was found in Gilgal
    3. Typology
      1. Gilgal is the place of beginning for this journey
      2. Gilgal means rolling and is the place where the reproach of Egypt was rolled away from the Israelites. (Joshua 5:9)
      3. In our approach to God, we must all begin with the rolling away of the reproach of Egypt. This is a picture of salvation, the place where all spiritual growth must begin.
    1. Elijah asked Elisha to tarry at Gilgal (2 Kings 2:2)
    2. Elisha refused to tarry at Gilgal (2 Kings 2:2)
    3. They both went down to Bethel (2 Kings 2:2)
    4. The sons of the prophets reported to Elisha (2 Kings 2:3) the spectators
    5. Bethel means house of God and is the place where Old Testament saints drew close to the Lord (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3-4; Genesis 28:16-19; Genesis 31:13; Genesis 35:1-3, 15)
    6. Typology
      1. Bethel is a place of communion and restoration
      2. The path to Bethel is down (2 Kings 2:2) and often requires a time of trial or sorrow
      3. The world, the flesh, and the devil will want you to stay in Gilgal and simply enjoy your salvation, but the earnest saint refuses to rest and presses on to Bethel.
    1. Elijah asked Elisha to tarry at Bethel (2 Kings 2:4)
    2. Elisha refused to tarry at Bethel (2 Kings 2:4)
    3. They both went on to Jericho (2 Kings 2:4); Note: Although Jericho is technically down from Bethel, it is not called such in scripture because it does not fit the spiritual type.
    4. The sons of the prophets reported to Elisha (2 Kings 2:5)
    5. Typology
      1. Jericho is a place of obedience, battle, and victory (Joshua 6:1-27)
      2. Many get the order wrong. They try to get the victory before they battle, get in the battle before they obey, or go off to serve without spending time with the Lord (Bethel).
      3. Some of Gods people simply stay at Bethel. They want to enjoy the presence of the Lord but they are unwilling to go out to serve Him and fight the fight of faith.
      4. Only through facing the battles God sends can we enjoy the victories He has for us.
    1. Elijah asked Elisha to tarry at Jericho (2 Kings 2:6)
    2. Elisha refused to tarry at Jericho (2 Kings 2:6)
    3. They both went on to Jordan (2 Kings 2:6) and stood by it (2 Kings 2:7)
    4. The sons of the prophets went (2 Kings 2:7); Note: many people want to get close enough to see the action but not close enough to be a part of it.
    5. Elijah divided the waters of Jordan (2 Kings 2:8)
      1. With his mantle
        1. He took it off, wrapped it together, and smote the waters
        2. Note: the history of this mantle
          1. Covering for Elijahs face when he appeared before God (1 Kings 19:13)
          2. Cast upon Elisha as a sign of his call (1 Kings 19:19)
          3. Used here to divide the waters (2 Kings 2:8)
          4. Taken up by Elisha after the translation of Elijah (2 Kings 2:13)
          5. Used by Elisha to part the waters of the Jordan (2 Kings 2:14)
      2. They two passed on dry ground
    6. Typology
      1. The Jordan was a place of death to the old life (Deuteronomy 30:18; Deuteronomy 31:2; Joshua 1:2; Joshua 5:10-12)
      2. Elijah and Elisha went to the cities mentioned earlier, but they crossed the Jordan.
        1. It pictures death because the rushing waters that could have drowned them were held back while they crossed
        2. This stage of the journey required a visible miracle. This shows us that this is the most difficult stage of the journey.
        3. Jordan is a picture of the life that dies to self and lives unto God (Romans 6:3-13).
  5. ASKING BOLDLY OF GOD (2 Kings 2:9-11)
    1. Elijah Received a Request from Elisha (2 Kings 2:9)
      1. Elijah granted a request
        1. Ask what I shall do for you
        2. Before I be taken out of the way
        3. Note: Elisha got this chance because he would not leave Elijah
      2. Elisha made his request
        1. For the spirit of Elijah
        2. For a double portion of his spirit
    2. Elijah Put a Stipulation on Elijahs Request (2 Kings 2:10)
      1. The request was a hard one
      2. The request depended on the presence of Elisha at the departing of Elijah
      3. This was the lesson from the beginning of the journey. Elisha received the spirit of Elijah because he would not let him go away from him. See Genesis 32:24-26.
    1. Elijah was Taken up into Heaven (2 Kings 2:11)
      1. Elijah and Elisha were parted asunder
        1. By a chariot of fire and horses of fire
        2. Note: Elisha stuck so close to Elijah that the Lord had to forcibly separate the two so He could rapture Elijah.
      2. Elijah was taken into heaven by a whirlwind
    2. Elisha Responded to the Translation of Elijah (2 Kings 2:12)
      1. He cried out
        1. My father, my father he was very close to Elijah
        2. The chariot of Israel and the horsemen this probably refers to his amazement at the display of Gods power.
      2. He rent his clothes in two
  7. TAKING THE MANTLE OF GOD (2 Kings 2:13-14)
    1. Elisha took up the mantle of Elisha (2 Kings 2:13)
    2. Elisha smote the Jordan with the mantle (2 Kings 2:14)
    3. Elisha asked: Where is the LORD God of Elijah? (2 Kings 2:14; see Judges 6:13)
    4. The waters parted for Elisha; Note: it is not so much the man of God as it is the God of the man that makes the difference. Most men exalt themselves or other men. True men of God exalt the Lord.

CONCLUSION: Have you given up on growing in your Christian life? Where did you tarry? Will you return or will you remain where you are?