8Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground. 9When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” 10He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” 11As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.
13He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.
2 Kings 2:8-14
Reflection: He picked up the mantle of Elijah…
Do you recognize the item in the picture above? If you are like me and you live in the suburbs, then you probably do not see one of these very often. it is a yoke and it is used to join two animals together so that their energy and efforts can be combined to do a work that is too great for one of them to do on their own. The yoke became the pattern for the prophetic mantle that is spoken of in this passage, as well as the clergy stole that is worn around the neck of pastors every Sunday in worship services around the world. We are not our own – that is the message given by the yoke-mantle-stole. We are being yoked together with other Christ-followers to d the work of God’s kingdom.
In one sense, God is driving those of us who have taken up this mantle. When animals are yoked together to do work on a farm, the farmer stands or sits behind them and drives them. This ensures that they will go in the right direction and work to their greatest potential. Elijah and Elisha desired to do the work of God and fulfill their prophetic potential. They did so not out of selfish ambitions, but out of love for God and a commitment to the will of God. God knew what was best and they trusted him to lead them into his best. So, they took the mantle upon themselves and asked God to drive them.
Jesus also spoke about his yoke. Matthew records him as saying, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). God does not wish to unduly burden us with his will. God’s will leads to freedom and the experience of full humanity. We can make it too complicated for ourselves when we add too many requirements on doing God’s will. The yoke, or mantle, of God is found in the simple practices of worship, engaging with Scripture, prayer, and self-giving service.
The good news is that – while God does act as the driver of the yoke – there is an invitation to share the yoke with Jesus Christ. He takes one side of the yoke, while we take the other. We are bound together in the yoke! Not only then does he bear the burdens we cannot bear, but he also empowers us to live under the will of God. And in so doing, living under the will of God becomes a light, life-giving experience. This is why Paul says that “we are God’s fellow workers” (1 Corinthians 3:9 NASB). What mantle is God asking you to take upon yourself? Remember that Jesus is right beside you all along the way.
Journaling Focus: Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.”
We’ve talked about it before: God is the God of abundance and God desires growth. Think of all that God has given you from your birth and up until now. Do you think God is finished with blessing you with the riches of the kingdom of God? What would it look like to inherit a double portion of the spirit – that is, a doubling of what you have already received in the Spirit of God? Last week we read that “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). How might God be preparing to honor your faithfulness with more spiritual blessing and responsibility? How might you open yourself up to what God has in store for you?
This practice allows you to listen to the Scripture for the week (sometimes in larger context) and to open yourself up to God’s voice in that Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above and listen to the Scripture. As you listen this first time, ask God to point out to you a word or phrase from the Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a second time. As you listen this second time, ask God to reveal to you the holy intentions for this word or phrase that is being spoken into your life.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a third time. As you listen this third time, ask God how you might respond to this word or phrase being spoken into your life today.
Explore: If you would like to explore the Scripture more deeply, go to our Exploring Scripture page!
Listen to the song Days of Elijah. Notice how God worked in powerful ways in the days of all the servants of God that the song mentions. How is God working in the days of you? What is God communicating to you through this song? What might you communicate to God through this song?
Prayer Focus: When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.
Do you ever feel as if there is a barrier preventing you from fully experiencing what God has in store for you? Perhaps it is a personal barrier or an internal barrier. Maybe it is something beyond yourself that is standing in your way. Imagine that you are holding the mantle that symbolizes what God has called you to do and strike the barriers with it. Ask God to clear the obstacles standing in the path he has set before you. Trust that God’s power is greater than anything that tries to prevent you from experiencing God’s will.
Meditation Focus: Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?
Sometimes we might be tempted to ask, “Where is the God of yesterday? Why doesn’t God move as mightily as he once did?” Indeed, our days look different than the days of Elijah and the days of the early Church. But God is still at work! Spend some time in quiet reflection. Ask God to show you where he is at work in the world. Then imagine yourself joining God in that work in your own community. God is present and active – we must be willing to look for him.
Take some time to reflect upon your day or your week. Follow the process below and open yourself up to the presence and work of God in your life this week. Every week the structure is the same, but some specifics are changed to reflect the Scripture of the week.
- Find a place and posture that will prepare you for prayer.
- Begin by breathing in deeply through your nose and breathing deeply out of your mouth.
- Invite God to lead you through the previous day or week. For instance, if it is Tuesday night, reflect back on Tuesday morning, afternoon, and evening. If it is Saturday or Sunday, reflect back on Monday through Friday.
- Ask God to guide you through these questions:
- Where have you seen God at work?
- In what ways have you witnessed others doing the work of God?
- How is God asking you to join in the work of the kingdom?
- Who might you partner with in doing the work of God?
- Thank God for this journey of reflection on your day or week. Ask God to continue to reveal Godself to you tomorrow.
What is your calling? God calls us all to do the work of the kingdom in our own context and life-circumstances. Consider what your calling is and how God is asking you to answer that call actively in your life.
Breath Prayer: LORD God, call us and empower us.