Monday, 30 January 2012

The God of the Increase

Elisha is quite probably my favorite prophet in the old testament. He was different in many ways to his predecessor, Elijah. Elisha came from a wealthy family, when we are first introduced to him he was plowing with 12 yoke of oxen (1 Kings 19) and he himself was driving the twelfth pair.
Elisha had it made. He was doing well for himself and may have been expecting to continue as part of the family, his future may have been laid out before him by his parents. He would be a successful business man, working the land and providing for many. Elijah had a garment of hair (2 Kings 1v8), this may have referred to his clothing (Camel hair) or his appearance (hairy!)
This is speculation on my part, but we do know one thing. When Elijah came by, Elisha knew there was more to life. Elisha wanted to do something for God.

"Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah" (1 Kings 19v19-20 NIV)

This was no mean feat, Elijah had been known to out run a chariot so Elisha must have been serious!
Elijah didn't even need to speak. He had thrown his cloak over Elisha, he had declared that Elisha was going to be his successor, that Elisha was going to take on the mantle that Elijah had.

Elisha knew the significance of this. He killed his oxen and burned the yoke. He then gave it to the people and then they ate. Elisha was cutting off all his ties to his past. He gave his source of income to become food and fed those around them. This man of means, of a wealthy family had given it all up, to become an attendant to Elijah.

Elisha was leaving a wealthy life to become a servant. He had been called by the prophet and by God, so he knew that he had to go. He left a life of wealth to become a servant as he knew this was the true way to achieve greatness.

Elisha was a driven man. He didn't let Elijah out of his sight while they were together. He wanted to learn from the best and that meant spending every waking hour with him, watching him behave as he did and seeing how God was using him.
Elisha refused to leave his master's side as he knew that it was the best place to be. This is where we, as people who follow Jesus need to get to in our lives. We need to learn to watch everything He does, listen to what He says and most importantly, spend every waking hour we have in His presence, aware of Him and conscious of Him.

When the time came for Elijah to go to Heaven, Elisha refused to leave him and specifically requested that he would get a double anointing of his spirit. Elisha had seen what was possible and wanted more. God places desires in our hearts to go after Him and want more of Him and the seed had been planted in Elisha.
The last miracle performed by Elijah was to cross the Jordan on dry ground (2 Kings 2v8) and when he was taken up into Heaven, Elisha picked up his cloak, went over to the water and proclaimed:

"Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?"
(2 Kings 2v14, NIV)

He struck the water and it separated. The first thing Elisha did was to step into his anointing and use it. The other prophets saw this and knew that the mantle had been passed on.

God is in the business of increase. He doesn't do subtraction. Elisha received a double portion of the Spirit that was on Elijah. The man in hair garments was succeeded by a bald man from a wealthy family.

Jesus always wore seamless garments and went to partys where He created wine. The mantle of the prophet was passed on to Him by His cousin, John the Baptist. John had lived in the desert and eaten locusts and wild honey and he never touched alcohol. He wore camel hair garments and his ministry was to get people to repent.

Jesus left the glory of Heaven to become the Servant King. Jesus took on the mantle from John the moment He was baptised. There was a dove and a voice that proclaimed:
"This is my Son, whom I love. With Him I am well pleased." (Mt 3v17 NIV)
God was declaring that Jesus was now His representative on earth. He now had the authority to do in his Father's name, His Father's business.

And when Jesus went to be with the Father, He handed that authority over to us.

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Mt 28 v18-20 NKJV)

We were upgraded before we were even created. That's God for you. Go, and live in the authority of Jesus, constantly aware of His presence and let's see how great a difference we can make.

Roger C.

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