Header Banner

 

Chapter Nine

Where are the Elishas of God?

Taken from "Fire upon the Altar"

by Gene Easley

Carrying his Bible, attending the services, singing the songs, putting a little money in the offering plate as it was passed was not what church was all about to Elisha. He wanted more of God. When Elijah said, "Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away," Elisha said, "Let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me." He wanted a double portion of God's Spirit!

When Elisha crossed the river Jordan after the ascension of Elijah to heaven, he took the mantle of Elijah and smote the waters of the river Jordan and said, "Where is the LORD God of Elijah?" Then the waters parted and Elisha crossed over on dry ground.

This verse of Scripture has been used to pose a similar question. That is, "Where are the Elijahs of God?" Where are the mighty prophets such as Elijah who did not fear to declare the truths of God's Word in the face of much opposition? He did not fear to stand and declare, "Thus saith the Lord." Where are the Elijahs of God? We need that kind of prophet! The question we are asking now, however, is still a little different: "Where are the Elishas of God?"

Elisha was known for something very special. As Elijah was known as the fearless spokesman for God, Elisha was known as the man who wanted more of the Spirit of God. The question for us in this day of the church, when we have so enjoyed our complacency, when we have so accepted a lukewarm atmosphere, when we have allowed ourselves to be rocked to sleep in ease and comfort and have not been seeking more of what God can give us spiritually, is, "Where are the Elishas of God?" Where are those today who are asking for a double portion of God's Spirit? Where are those who long after and hunger for the power and presence of God?

The most important thing happening in some churches is the Thursday night ball game. If that activity were canceled, some would not understand the purpose of church. The social get-together is its reason for existing. May God give us some who will join with the prophet Elisha and say, "I want a double portion of the Spirit of God!"

Every Christian makes the choice. Every church makes the choice. We can turn our church into a social club, or we can make it a house of prayer where the Spirit of God moves.

When Elisha asked for a double portion, he realized the work that was before him. He realized that God needs a witness in the world.

What does church mean to us? Is it simply a gathering place? A place where the women learn how to grow flowers and share favorite recipes? A place where men talk about fishing trips, and the youth play ball games? What does church mean to us?

If Elisha were alive today, you would not find him looking for the church which has the best program. He would be looking for the church with a prayer room. He would be wanting a new infilling of the Spirit, so that he could boldly proclaim God's Word!

There was a deep hunger in Elisha's heart. He could have asked for an earthly fortune. But Elisha made his choice. He chose the Spirit of God. How many today are asking for the spiritual blessing? Would not most in this hour ask for a large monetary sum? Isn't money really the answer? Can't money buy whatever you need and answer all your problems? If you only had plenty of money, wouldn't everything always work out all right? The world would say yes to these questions and many in the church are giving an affirmative response, but the Word of God tells us where the true treasures lie.

1 Timothy 6:5 speaks of those who suppose that gain is godliness. To them the Gospel grants an access whereby they may satisfy their covetous desires. But Paul placed the emphasis elsewhere. 1 Timothy 6:6-12 states it this way: "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." So, the choice lies between that which is temporal and carnal and that which is spiritual and eternal. Elisha wanted the latter.

Elisha's servant, Gehazi, could not understand the thinking of his master. The leper, Naaman, had offered large sums of money to Elisha after Naaman was healed by following the instructions of the prophet. But Elisha refused the money. He wasn't serving God for the material rewards. He only wanted the Spirit to continue to work in his life. It seemed outrageous to Gehazi that Elisha would not accept such a gift. So, in haste, Gehazi followed Naaman and requested some of the offering. Upon returning to Elisha, his evil deed was revealed. As a result, the leprosy of Naaman was placed upon Gehazi. The church is leprous today because it has hasted after the temporal and material and has cared less about a double portion of God's Spirit.

We need to ask ourselves, "Am I a Gehazi Christian or an Elisha Christian?" The answer is found in what we are pursuing. Is it the love of money or the love of His Spirit that drives us? There are many who err from the faith in a false pursuit of material happiness who afterward find it difficult to bear the sorrows they have brought upon themselves.

It is our choice whether we want Gehazi's leprosy dragging us down or Elisha's double portion lifting us up. Abraham chose to forsake his homeland that he might some day dwell in "a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Esau chose a bowl of pottage, while Jacob wanted the birthright. Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Samson chose the favor of Delilah over the power of God. What choices are we making?

It appears that the choice was easy for Elisha. He had witnessed the power of God in Elijah's life and was fully convinced that that was what he wanted.

But it was more than just desiring something good which motivated Elisha. He was aware that he needed what Elijah had in order to fulfill the task before him. He had watched the river Jordan open as Elijah smote the waters with his mantle. Elisha realized that that type of ministry could not be carried on in the power of the flesh. God isn't looking for people who will work for Him, as much as He is looking for people He can work through.

We have more than one problem in our powerless church. Not only is our desire for God small, but also we don't realize how greatly we need Him in order to fulfill the great commission of preaching the Gospel in all the world.

We have substituted our education, our know-how, and our talent for the working of God's Spirit. We have become suave in our ability to be in control. We work in competition with our Christian brothers and sisters, trying to prove that we can do it better than they. If we can produce a better program than the church down the street, soon we will be able to claim some of its members. Then surely God will reward us for our accomplishments. Does this sound strange? Yet, sad to say, it appears to be our present way of thinking.

We measure achievement and success by numbers present in our little group and by material blessings received by it, rather than by how many lives have been transformed by His power. The church must once again long for His presence and His manifestation in its midst!

Elisha was a farm boy, who seemingly had little to offer. But God made him a prophet to be remembered throughout all ages. It was the power of God resting upon him that distinguished him from other prophets. Many miracles were manifest through his life. And his great ministry was born out of a desire to have more of God.

Where are the Elishas of God? The church is desperate for some prophets like him. With more money we will still fail. With more education we will still fail. With more talent we will still fail! But with a double portion of His Spirit, we will see the church accomplish God's mission in these last days!

COPYRIGHT REPRODUCTION LIMITATIONS: This data file is the sole property of Gene Easley. It may not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only in its entirety for circulation as "freeware," without charge. All reproductions of this data file must contain the copyright notice (i.e., "Copyright (C) 2012 by Gene Easley"). This data file may not be used without the permission of Gene Easley for resale or the enhancement of any other product sold. This includes all of its content with the exception of a few brief quotations. Please give the following source credit: Copyright (C) 2012 by Gene Easley, Alamo, Texas.

 

 

Featured Article •

A New Beginning
by Gene Easley

Joshua 3:4 says, “Ye have not passed this way heretofore.”  The children of Israel were to pass for the first time across the River Jordan into Canaan’s land.  It always feels good to get out of the rut and go somewhere you haven’t been before.  It is a relief when we are not going in circles any more but are moving forward in God to a new experience. 

Many churches and individual Christians have spent years in a rut.  They need someone to lead them to a new experience in God with a new vision and a new burden.  We know we are headed to an eternal promised land.  But there are also promises here of victory and blessing for this present time into which many may never go. 

I have witnessed God’s Spirit being poured out in abundance and lives being transformed.  I have also heard and read the testimonies of saints of an earlier era, who spoke of the all-night prayer meetings where great healings and deliverances came with power.  I have heard the stories of the Spirit being poured out and the tabernacle of God being saturated with His eternal glory.  My prayer is, “God get us out of our rut.  Renew the church with a fresh visitation of God’s divine presence.  Move us forward into the promised land of victory, where our lives can be meaningful and our service to God effective.”

God was leading Israel to a land they had never been to before--to a land flowing with milk and honey.  Israel had experienced the cruelty of Egyptian bondage.  They experienced the hardships, the testings and trials of the forty-year wilderness journey.  Most of the group who crossed the River Jordan had been born in the wilderness and had never known anything else.  Canaan would be a new experience.  They would eat the fruit of the land in which they had sown nothing.  They would inherit homes they had not built.  It would be a blessing and gift from God.

The church needs the gifts of God to operate again in believers’ lives and in the sanctuary.  A new beginning does not start with our turning over a new leaf.  It starts with God pouring out His blessings.  A new beginning does not begin with the institution of new programs but rather with a new outpouring of God’s Spirit bringing instant transformation.  If we forsake one program and start a new one, we will still be in a rut.  Nothing will really change.  Only the Spirit of God will bring change.  He will launch us out into a new and effective avenue of service.

I have been at the altars of prayer where the presence of the Spirit of God was so real that no one wanted to leave the sanctuary.  Some were crying with many tears; others were rejoicing; some were speaking in unknown tongues as the Spirit moved on them and gave the utterance.  Some were singing, and musicians were providing the appropriate music.  No one wanted to leave.  It was times like those that one felt the heart being renewed and victory infused over all the bondage and battles plaguing our lives.

A new beginning can be found at the altar of prayer.  My prayer is that God will not allow us to be satisfied with a powerless church--with no souls being saved, with no lives being transformed, with no saints being filled anew with the power of the Holy Spirit.  When the Spirit fell on the Day of Pentecost, it marked a new beginning for the work of God on planet Earth.  The 120 believers in the upper room had prayed for ten days.  Their hearts were ready for the outpouring of His Spirit.  May God lead us back to the altars of prayer and prepare our hearts and lives for a new visitation from on high.  May God give the church a new beginning!

 

Content for class ".table" Goes Here