The Double Portion
2 Kings 2 1-14
In last weeks Sermon, we looked at the home going of one of the greatest men in the word of God. Elijah was greatly used of the Lord in his generation, but his time on the earth came to an end. The day came when it was time to pass the baton to a new generation. Today we reflect on His successor, a man named Elisha. He was a man hungry for all God could give him. He wanted the Lord and His power in his life and he was willing to pay the price to get it.
Our Old Testament lesson today tells us what it took for Elisha to obtain the double portion he asked for. What we learn here from him is valuable in our own lives as well. Like it did for Elisha, the mantle of ministry in these days rests upon you and me. If we are going to be as effective as we should be for the glory of the Lord, then we too need the power of God’s Spirit. This passage tells us how to go about getting the power of God on our lives. Let’s look into these verses together in today’s sermon which I have entitled … The Double Portion.
Let us examine first of all the Mans SPIRITUAL REQUEST
Verse 9 reveals The Content Of His Request – Elisha asked to receive a double portion of Elijah’s spirit! The request was not for twice the power that had rested on Elijah. The request was to be recognized as Elijah’s replacement. Of course, he had already been selected by God for that position – 1 Kings 19:16. In those days it was common for the firstborn child to receive a double portion of their father’s estate. This was mandated by the Law, Deut. 21:17. (Notice that He called Elijah “my father” in verse 12.) Elisha was asking for the right of the firstborn! He was asking that the same Spirit that had empowered the ministry of this great man of God be given to him as well.
What kind of spirit was he asking for?
Firstly, I believe it was A Spirit Of Faith – Elijah learned to trust in the presence and power of God in this world. He knew that God was in absolute control of every situation. He walked by faith!
Then it was also A Spirit Of Obedience – Elijah instantly and without question, even when the commands of God made no sense at all, always walked in obedience!
Also it was A Spirit Of Courage – His faith in God and his obedience to God combined to give him the courage to stand for God, even when others ran away.
Elisha merely wanted to take over where Elijah had left off.
He wanted to be the next prophet to Israel!
Verse 10 shows us The Character Of His Request – Elisha is told that he has asked a “hard thing”. In other words, it was beyond the power of Elijah to grant such a request. Only God could raise up prophets and give positions of power and influence. On the surface, Elisha’s request seems a little selfish! It seems as though he is asking for twice the power and twice the glory, and so on. In truth, his request is most humble in nature. Elisha knows that Israel still needs a man of God to deliver the word of God and do the work of God. He also knows that if he is to be that man, then he needs a power that he does not possess himself! He needs the power of God working in him and through him if he is to accomplish this ministry!
Elisha wasn’t asking for power, or wealth or position. He was asking to be controlled by the Spirit of God. In fact, to be a dedicated, outspoken man of God during the dynasty of the house of Omri and Ahab, was to live a life of constant danger! He was asking for divine power to accomplish the will of God! This request was not about pride, it was about necessity!
Verse 10 also reveals The Condition Of His Request – Elijah tells Elisha that is he will be with him until he is taken out of the world, then he will have the thing for which he is asking. The idea here is that this blessing can fall, but the man or woman of God must remain faithful unto the end! It would have been far easier for Elisha to have stayed in one of those towns they had passed through, – but had he dropped out along the way, he would never have received the blessing he desired and desperately needed!
If there was ever a day when we need people with a heart like Elisha’s, it is this day in which we now live! When will we learn that we will never be able to do what the Lord has saved us and called us to do without His power? For far too long, the church has tried to operate in the machinery of human wisdom and experience. As a result, we have lost the power of God that at one time made us remarkable! The Author A.W. Tozer writes “that without the ministry of the Holy Spirit, 95% of what the early church did would have ceased. He went on to say that
if the Spirit were removed today, 95% of what we do in the modern church would continue unabated! “ How True!
We need to seek the Lord for spiritual power in these days! We don’t need to get concerned about numbers. We don’t need to be concerned about becoming user friendly. We don’t need to get caught up in the many debates that are engaging the hearts and minds of church folks. What we need to do is to carry out the command of Eph. 5:18. We need to be filled with the Spirit of God! We need to get before the Lord and request an influx of His power and His glory in these days! If we are to get the job done, we must have Him! We need Him and His power more than we need crowds, money, buildings, or any of the things we hold on to so tightly … We need God!
This kind of blessing and power does not come upon the uncommitted! It is reserved only for those who will pay the price in prayer and holiness before the Lord! If you are willing to go all the way with the Lord, He will bless your life with His power and His glory! Would to God we had some listening today who would get before God and seek His touch and His power in their lives! It isn’t about self to ask God to fill you with His Spirit and to use you for His glory, it is about survival! The future demands that God’s servants be filled with God Spirit! We need that same spirit of faith, obedience and courage that rested on Elijah – to be placed within us!
It would do us well to remember that all those great men and women of God we often venerate from the past are gone! The mantle has been passed on to us and we are responsible for serving the Lord for ourselves in these days. We need God, not the stories about what He did for someone else! We need Him to do it in our lives today!
So then this was His SPIRITUAL REQUEST
let us now consider His STEADFAST RESOLVE
From the time it became apparent that Elijah was leaving until the moment he left and Elisha received the blessing, several trials crossed the way that attempted to hinder them. However, Elisha remained focused on obtaining the double portion.
Verses 3-5 show us that Opposition Did Not Shake His Resolve – At every turn the sons of the prophets ask Elisha the same question, “Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day?” The question is literally this: “What are you still following that old man for? The Lord is through with him and is calling him to heaven today. You would be better off to stay with us, or to strike out on your own.”
They tried to talk him out of his resolve!
If you decide that you are going after God until you obtain the double portion, you have better look out! All around you there will be people who will do their best to talk you out of it! I don’t know if they are bothered or offended when someone progresses farther than they have, but you can be sure that they will attack you and oppose you if you’re going on with God! Wholehearted commitment to the cause of Christ leaves many people baffled! Don’t let that crowd shake you, just run on with God!
Verses 1-6 Show us that Opportunities Did Not Shake His Resolve – Every time they passed through a familiar or favourite city, Elijah attempted to get Elisha to stay. This wasn’t an effort on his part to hinder Elisha’s progress, it was designed to test his resolve. Of course, each of the places mentioned held a special memory in the heart of the Jew and would have made a pleasant stopping place. There were opportunities for Elisha to stop and to settle down in any of these places!
There was … Gilgal – The place of beginnings – It was here that the Israelites first celebrated Passover in the promised land. Here the males born during the wilderness wanderings were circumcised, and the covenant was renewed, – Josh. 5.
Then there was … Bethel – The place of dreams – It was here that Jacob met God and dreamed of angels descending and ascending out of heaven, – Gen. 28.
They had passed through … Jericho – The place of past victories – It was here that Israel had its first military victory in the promised land,- Josh. 6. Jericho was also a border town.
To pass beyond this location was to enter wild, new territory.
And then there was … Jordan – The place of death – That river represented the boundary for the Promised Land.
To cross it meant to enter into death. It was a formidable barrier that few would ever want to cross.
We too may find ourselves at these same places in our walk with the Lord. Far too many believers spend their entire Christian lives at Gilgal. They never grow and they never leave the place of beginnings. They go as far as Bethel. They catch the vision of God’s great work which must be done. They see the needs, they feel the tug, but they never get past the place of dreaming about what they might do. They never take the next step of making those dreams and visions reality. Still others hold onto their Jericho’s. They live in the place of victories. They remember what happened back there, forgetting that the same God who blessed then is desiring to bless now! Then some come to Jordan. I see this as the barrier between the self-life and the Spirit-life. Few ever take that final step of faith and sell out completely to go with God all the way.
Notice that out of all the sons of the prophets, only Elisha had enough faith to cross the river and go with Elijah, and it was HE who received the double portion. Don’t allow the opportunities to settle down along the way to hinder your progress, but by faith, proceed with God and watch Him remove every barrier.
Again verses 1-6 reveal that Obstacles Did Not Shake His Resolve – Even Elijah seemed to be an obstacle to Elisha’s progress. After all, he tried three times to get Elisha to stay behind. The Jordan also stood as a barrier between Elisha and his receiving what he desired. Still he went on! He resolved in his heart to stay with Elijah until he was taken away. He did not want to miss the blessing. Even the Jordan was no obstacle to this man’s faith. After all, if Elijah was going to pass over
Jordan, then so was Elisha! Whatever means his master used would be the means he, himself would use to cross that river!
When you resolve to go with God, be forewarned that obstacles will cross your path. Remember when they do that they are there because God has permitted them in your life, Rom. 8:28. These obstacles will test your resolve, but they are God’s responsibility! When Elijah and Elisha arrive at the banks of the Jordan, Elijah flexes his faith and God parted the waters. Thus
Elisha got in the miracle because he did not back away from an obstacle! If God has put a resolve within your heart to go with Him, then let nothing short of death, keep you from going on with Him! If He has called you, then it is His responsibility
to clear your path!
So then we have seen His SPIRITUAL REQUEST
and His STEADFAST RESOLVE
finally in verses 11-14, let us see how Elisha managed a
Because he would not be deterred short of victory, Elisha got to partake in some wonderful, supernatural events.
v11 Elisha Watched Elijah’s Miracle – Because he remained with Elijah, Elisha got to see the man of God taken up into Heaven alive in a Chariot of fire.
v12 Elisha Wore Elijah’s Mantle – Because he stayed by the man of God, he was given Elijah’s mantle. This sheep skin garment was the tangible sign that Elijah’s ministry had been handed down to Elisha. In other words, because he refused to be waylaid, distracted or sidetracked, Elisha got exactly what he asked for. He inherited the mantle and ministry of his master.
Those who pay the price to stay with the Lord and to go on with
Him through every difficulty and obstacle will see Him do the unexplainable time and again! Those who choose the easy route never get to see God’s best! However, those who go the extra mile get to see the remarkable. If you want to see the glory and the power of God manifested and displayed before your eyes, … don’t unhook and don’t back up or turn around. Just stay with God and hold on. In His time, He will move in power and glory, both in You and through You!
He Watched Elijah’s Miracle, He Wore Elijah’s Mantle and
verses 13-15 show that Elisha Walked With Elijah’s Master! When Elisha returned to the banks of Jordan, he knew that the mantle and the ministry of Elijah had passed to him. Now, he, in faith, calls on the same God who had worked through Elijah to work through him. He calls upon the God who: Answers by fire! Stops and starts the rain! Feeds His servants by the ravens! Multiplies the meal and the oil! Raises the dead! Is powerful enough to shake the mountains with the wind and to rend them with the earthquake! And yet speaks to His children in a still small voice! That’s the God Elisha was calling upon and he got the answer he was seeking. Just as they had for Elijah, the muddy, rushing waters of the Jordan river – parted for Elisha!
He had obtained the double portion!
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
The God of Elijah is still in power, He is the same yesterday today and forever. Heb. 13:8! He is still moving in great ways to accomplish His will in the world. He still feeds His children, moves their mountains, answers by fire and works wonders that the natural mind cannot fathom. He is still the same God that
He has always been, and He still has all power in heaven and on earth, Matt. 28:18; The problem is not with God. The problem I recon is that within our modern churches nowadays, we have no Elisha’s! God is still looking for people who will take up the mantle and believe God for the impossible!
So, do you want the double portion in your life today? Do you want to be in a position where the God of Heaven is using you for His glory in the world? All that is required is a consistent walk with the Lord that follows Him in spite of everything!
When you get to the place where all you want is God, you will find that God is all you need.
It is interesting to watch the sons of the prophets. They see Elisha part the Jordan just like Elijah did and they know the mantle has passed to Elisha. They also know that Elijah has been taken away from them, yet they are determined to go and look for him, v. 16-18. It seems these young men thought they needed Elijah to go on for God. Maybe they just wanted to find his body and bury him. Either way, Elisha has encountered the God of Elijah and when you have the God of Elijah, you don’t need Elijah any longer! How did Elisha receive the double portion? He asked for it. He was totally committed to it; and,
he received it! How badly do you want it?
Where are you in your spiritual journey today? Are you following after God? Are you seeking the double portion? Do you long to see God move in great power? If so, then get focused and stay focused. In His time, He will move in power in your life and circumstances.
But, if you should have to admit to me that everything under the sun but God has your attention, maybe you ought to get before Him and seek God until you get all He has to give you.
If He is calling you, then you come and ask Him now for the double portion, the anointing you need for your life,
your family and for your church!