Elijah’s Mantle, Pt. 1

2 Kings 2:8-14 (NASB) says, “8Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 9When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” 10He 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.” 11As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. 12Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over.”

In 1 Kings 17, Elijah came out of training and stepped into the race. He seemed to have been running well when all of a sudden Jezebel came in the picture and threatened his life because true Elijah’s suffer persecution. Galatians 5:7 says, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” As you run this race, the devil will manipulate people to hinder you so that you will disobey the rules and be disqualified. Elijah was faced with a decision, “Do I quit or do I continue to run?” He wanted to die, but after the angel of the LORD fed him, he went to Mt. Horeb and fasted for 40 days and nights. When he went to a cave and dwelt there, God asked him, “What are you doing here Elijah?” Elijah’s response was “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” (1 Kings 19:10 NLT) 

Elijah got to the designated place where he felt he was all by himself, celebrating (as most of the church does) his own self-pity party, and the world was against him. But God was going to reveal Himself to him. As Elijah stood upon the mount of God, God sent a wind, an earthquake and even fire from heaven, but Elijah could not see God in any of those things. But the very moment God spoke in a still small voice, Elijah knew God had shown up! When Elijah heard the small still voice of God, he wrapped his face in his mantle, stood in the mouth of the cave, and God spoke again saying, “What are you doing here Elijah?” When you wrapped your face in your mantle, it signified reverence to the presence of God. (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible) When God speaks, our next response should always be to wrap our face in our mantle of anointing and purpose, resembling the very image of God’s Word! You can hear his voice in the midst of the darkest days in your life, and you may feel terrible, but never allow emotionalism trump your spirituality. Wrap your face in the very calling of God upon your life because God will do His greatest works through you when you are in your greatest struggle! We must never react to our threatenings and struggles, but we must respond with very power and Word of God! Elijah reacted again when God questioned him why he was in this cave. He stated as before, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” (1 Kings 19:14 NLT) However, instead of God manifesting Himself before Him, God gave Elijah three commands:  anoint Hazael king of Syria, Jehu king of Israel and Elisha prophet in his place. When God issued forth the command, he departed from Mt. Horeb and the first one he found was Elisha, the son of Shaphat. 

Whether Elijah had already known Elisha when God spoke his name to him we do not know. But one thing is certain:  he was destined for greatness! Elisha wasn’t just along for the ride. People are just along for the ride with someone who is paying the price instead of walking under impartation. Elijah was to pave the way for Elisha to step into the greatest realm of anointing known in his generation. However, we must realize that Elisha was not to be “another” Elijah. God did not call us to be conformed, but to be transformed; not to be imitators, but to be demonstrators of the power and love of Almighty God!  Michael Jordan was an amazing athlete, but since his retirement, we have had a lot more imitators than demonstrators. So many athletes have been referred to as “the next Michael Jordan.” But the fact of the matter is that there will never be another Michael Jordan, period. No matter how many people wear #23 on their jersey, they will never fill in those shoes. They have been the sons of Sceva, who have looked the part rather than lived the part! However, Elisha was not an imitator. He was truly the protégé of a spiritual Michael Jordan, who had made meal and oil multiply and called fire down from Heaven! And just like everybody before him, Elisha had a small beginning. 

The most thrilling moment occurred with what Elisha did with his old instruments that he used to work in the fields. He butchered his yoke of oxen that he used to be in charge of, kindled a fire out of his plowing equipment, and boiled the meat of the oxen for a last “Thanksgiving” meal with his family. Elisha did not leave with Elijah until after he did this. When we chase after God, our old way of living must be consumed by His glorious presence. His consuming fire must purge us from our past and birth a testimony of who He is. His instruments were transformed into ashes through a godly sacrifice because instead of plowing the harvest of this world, he would now plow in the harvest of God! He made a sacrificial meal out of the oxen he used to labor with in the harvest to serve his family for the last time and serve God’s family for the first time! Spiritually, we must make the same transition. All has sinned and come short of the glory of God, but we must not wallow in misery for our past failures, but we must lay our sins on the altar of God and carry the ashes as a testimony of how great God’s delivering power really is. And God will give beauty for ashes! It is exactly what the Spirit of the LORD has anointed Jesus Christ to do. (Isaiah 61:1-3) You may have used to labor in Satan’s field through alcoholism, sex or drugs, or you may have had an instrument that you used to play for the world, but just lay it down on the altar and exchange the beauty of God for those ashes, to be an instrument in His hand and labor in the soul-winning business! Leave your past behind and press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus!

Out of Elijah’s short state of depression, an Elisha was birthed. Not the old Elisha who worked in the fields, but a new Elisha who would shake an entire nation and generation of people with the miraculous and wondrous works of God! However, Elisha had to spend a season observing this man of God as his right-hand man. Elisha was there when Elijah announced doom on Jezebel and Ahab. (1 Kings 21:17-24) He was there when Elijah called fire on 102 men, saying, “If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume them.” (2 Kings 1:9-14) Elisha was with Elijah when he parted the Jordan River and crossed on dry ground. Elisha seen this anointing, and he wanted it, more than even his own life.