Christ, Our Double Portion

Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 2.11-14
11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two. 
13 Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.

Reflection: Christ, Our Double Portion
By John Tillman

Before parting the Jordan river to recross it, Elisha asked, “Where now is the God of Elijah?”

Elisha was present for much of Elijah’s ministry. He knew he was following and learning from a legend. The entire prophetic community seemed to realize that this legend would soon be taken by the Lord.

We often connect God’s presence with the presence of people who taught us about him or who have been faithful to him. Elisha said, “the God of Elijah.” We may think about the God of our parents or our pastors or other faith leaders. Elisha pushed away discussion with his fellow prophets of Elijah’s departure. We may push away thoughts of losing people upon whom we have relied. 

When Christian heroes, mentors, or friends pass, we often have an emotional and a spiritual reaction. We dread losing these voices. Will God be with us like he was with them? Will God work in our lives in the same way he did through them?

Many of us have looked around and wondered, “Where is the God of the past?” Will he show his power today as he did then? Like Gideon, we question God based on our circumstances. (Judges 6.13) Like Elijah, we question God’s support. (1 Kings 19.14

God answers Elisha by parting the Jordan. Elijah’s God is with Elisha and is still our God today. God is with us now, regardless of what past leader has died, has failed, or has fallen into sin. God is our God and we are his prophets and priests in the world.

The cloak Elisha picked up was not dropped by accident. It was meant for him. It was his anointing. Elijah threw it over Elisha’s back as he plowed to call him away from a simple life of farming into the dangerous employment of prophesying to wicked kings. (1 Kings 19.19)

The “double portion” that Elisha asked for is ours in Christ. Our mantle and anointing is the Holy Spirit of God which has been laid on our shoulders. Like Elisha, we have been called from plowing hardened earth to prophesying to hardened hearts. Like Peter, we are called from spreading nets for fish to spreading the gospel to people.

Elisha wasn’t called to be Elijah but to be God’s. We have the same calling. Be God’s.

Music: Elijah, by Rich Mullins. (Rich Mullins often signed autographs, “Be God’s.”)

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living. — Psalm 116.8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Kings 2 (Listen – 4:26)
2 Thessalonians 2 (Listen – 2:32)

Read more about Ahab and David
God will have mercy whenever there is true repentance. Persevere in sharing the gospel with the strength and boldness of Elijah, Micaiah, and Elisha.

Read more about Over Jordan
In transition from Moses to Joshua, from Elijah to Elisha, and from John the Baptist to Jesus, the Jordan symbolizes a change in leadership.

The Crux of Repentance

Scripture Focus: 2 Thessalonians 2.13-14
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection: The Crux of Repentance

By John Tillman

We acknowledge that Jesus said “It is finished.” But still we often want to “do our part.” We are like a patron in a five star restaurant being served a dish prepared by a master chef which we then we drown in ketchup.

The unmerited favor of Christ is an acquired taste. Most of us are gauche enough to like our grace flavored with a little bit of earning it.

But, don’t we have to do… something? What about repentance? What about sanctification? What about growing more like Christ?

Where the call of the gospel, the work of Christ, our belief in him, and the first steps of our sanctification meet is the crux of repentance.

“If you believe, you must every day renounce, as dung and dross, your privileges, your obedience, your baptism, your sanctification, your duties, your graces, your tears, your meltings, your humblings, and nothing but Christ must be held up.” — Thomas Wilcox

We often are so unwilling to renounce anything. So unwilling to part with anything. So unwilling to lay down anything.

If only our repentance looked more like that of the thief on the cross. His hands are open, holding nothing. He is naked, hiding nothing. He is humble, asking nothing. He simply believes.

Our hands are full of work and achievements. Our sins we dress in the finest of intentions. Our demands are not only for Heaven in the future, but tangible blessing now. We want one pie in the sky and one on earth too.

It is important to distinguish that acts of repentance are not a precursor or a down payment that secures our forgiveness. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit—no longer behind the veil of the temple but living in us—is our down payment from Christ.

Just as Christ completed his work on the cross for us, his Holy Spirit will complete a transforming work in us, if we let him.

May we repent as the thief and allow Christ to do his work. The man lived mere hours as a believer, but look what God has done with those hours.

“If a dying Saviour saved the thief, my argument is, that he can do even more now that he liveth and reigneth. All power is given unto him in heaven and in earth; can anything at this present time surpass the power of his grace?” — Charles Haddon Spurgeon

What may the Holy Spirit do in you?

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
Show me you ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusteed all the day long. — Psalm 25.3-4

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Kings 2 (Listen – 4:26)
2 Thessalonians 2 (Listen -2:32)

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Read more about More and More and Less and Less :: Guided Prayer
Sanctification and moralism both introduce change, but only one is spiritual and is powered by the gospel.

Read more about A Trinity of Neglect :: Readers’ Choice
The king expected growth in the servant. Growth of the gold would only be a side effect.