Thursday, 12 November 2009
Below is an excerpt from a message I preached in one of our youth meetings. And I am sure it will bless your life.
Text: II Kings 2:1-15.
Our text is about the account of Elijah and Elisha, a very familiar story in the Scriptures but for the sake of time and space, we wont read it all at a go now. Rather we will read it in bits as we go along.
Let me say that there is a great spiritual lesson to learn from this account. Elisha came to limelight because of this encounter he had with Elijah. Men who have gone far with the Lord consciously or unconsciously passed through this spiritual pathway.
If you desire to be one among those who will change the tide of time in this generation, then get set because God is looking for vessels upon whom He will release a double portion of His Spirit. There is always a price tag on every exploit in life whether in spiritual or secular settings.
Before we examine the price Elisha paid, lets first examine the pathway or stages he went through as revealed in our text. The price he had to pay as well the entire pathway he went through are the secrets to greatness and exploits in His kingdom.
II Kings 2:1 "And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal"
Every spiritual journey begins from Gilgal. If in your spiritual journey, Gilgal is missing, then you've got a wrong beginning. Elisha would have been of all men most miserable if he had not had the Gilgal experience. Remember, Elisha has been ministering to Elijah before this time but when it was time for him to really begin his assignment, it was needful that he start all over again from Gilgal.
So, what does Gilgal represent or symbolize? Joshua 5:9 " And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day"
Gilgal represents what we call the salvation (or born again) experience. It is at Gilgal that God rolls away the reproach of Egypt (Sin) from the individual. This experience gives the individual the right footing to start off from in his spiritual journey.
It may surprise you to know that there are individuals who, though very busy with the things of God in churches today, do not have a gilgal xperience. They are busy in the choir, ushering, protocol etc depts. How do I know, ask them when they got born again, and you will see them fumble with words. They can't tell. The Lord said unto Joshua, "THIS DAY HAVE I..." This experience is such that can not be forgotten in a hurry. It can not be faked or counterfeited: if it has not taken place, then it has not taken place and can not be substituted. If you can not tell the day you gave your life to the Lord, then check up. But come to think of it, how could you forget the day you were born into God's kingdom? I mean your spiritual (and real) birthday.
I repeat, one can be very busy with religious activities but lack this experience. John Wesley was a missionary for years but little did he know that he hadn't been saved until the day the Lord opened his eyes to this truth. That very day, the reality of his spiritual standing with God dawned on him. He saw that he has been standing on a sinking (religious) ground. Thank God he eventually got saved and his ministry was officially commissioned by heaven thereafter.
What can we say about Isaiah's cry in Chapter6:5 when he had an encounter with the Most High: "Then said I, woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts"
What a confession. See the result in verse7 " And he (The seraphims from God's alter with a purging coal in his hand) laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away and thy sin purged.
A spiritual journey started without a gilgal experience is a journey founded on sinking sand. Like they would say, ''first things first''. Remember the story of Simon in Acts8:9-24. This fellow heard the gospel, got baptized and joined Philip's missionary team but was not born again. Thank God for the gift of discernment at work in Peter's life. At times I wonder what would have been our response today to someone like Simon in our contemporary churches. So sad that many who have manifested and shown these traits or even worse in churches today have gone away with just slaps on their wrists even though we know such traits are pointers to something more deadly locked up within. Think about that.
Make sure you have a gilgal experience and if you have lost yours, remember He is a God of a second chance.
II Kings 2:2 "And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bthel. ANd Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel"
Bethel was Elisha's next port of call as it were.
While every spiritual journey begins from gilgal, it must not end there. Gilgal, as mentioned above, is regarded as salvation experience. Don't limit yourself to gilgal, there is bethel waiting for you. There are no commitments nor challenges at gilgal. Gilgal is the baby stage, dont dwell there. I challenge you to come over to bethel, a place of communion and intimacy with God.
Bethel is a place of commitment. The first place Jacob made a vow was at bethel. Alters are raised at bethel (see Genesis 12: 8; 13:4; 28:16-19, ). God's voice is always heard at bethel (see Genesis 35: 15). Bethel is the secret place of the Most High.
A lot of Christians operate without a bethel in their lives. These are Christians without commitments; they don't know what it means to hear the voice of God.
Bethel is God's reference point in your life, that is for those who have had the bethel experience. That period in your life when you (just like Jacob) promised God heaven and earth; when you vowed to do exploits for Him in your generation; when to you, it was as though you literally saw God each time you closed your eyes in prayers , was when you had a bethel experience. Everywhere to you then was like the house of God because you were in tune with Him.
Hear Jacob when he had this experience in Genesis 28: 16-19 "...and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not...this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven...And he called the name of that place Bethel..."
Have you ever had a bethel experience?
Now hear me, your bethel must be kept alive. No wonder God had to command Jacob to go back to bethel where He first appeared unto him (see Genesis 35:1-2). Jacob, at that time, seemed to have forgotten his bethel and was busy about with cattle here and there. He was losing sight of his commitments with God. God stepped in to avert an abortion of His purpose for his life. You bethel must be kept alive! If you have lost your bethel, God is asking you to "go back to bethel and dwell there" Genesis 35:1.
...to be continued
Watch out for part 2 as we take a look at Elisha's next ports of call-Jericho and Jordan