The journey of a lifetime is the march in the right direction, the walk of faith in the right ways, the adventures God will take us on, the paths of new things and new experiences. Ours is not to worry about how we will make it through each day. Everyday has its own lessons, its own graces and mercy. Each day will unfold with new experiences and will unveil the truth of God’s word over our lives.
Every journey has a preparation; certain things are set aside and prepared for the journey. One does not dive into a journey without a purpose. What better way to study the journey of Elisha, the son of Shaphat: successor to a great prophet, a man of accuracy, a man who was to declare the salvation of God in a restored nation.
The Initial Call
Elijah the prophet of God had done amazing things on Mt Carmel, destroying the prophets of Baal and Asherah with one blow then getting intimidated into early retirement by the wicked Jezebel. God seeking to establish His dominion over a restored nation called on Elijah to anoint a successor, a man who was buy in the fields when the prophet made an unexpected visit.
Scripture records in the first book of Kings Chapter 19 that Elisha had been plowing with his servants in the field. Life was routine, everything went according to plan and the book. Nothing seemed to be happening except that farming was productive. After all the 3 ½ year famine had come to an end. The rains had fallen and it was time to till the land, maybe this time around their fortunes could change.
We can assume from the passage that Elisha was a farmer and that he was a hard worker. Life revolved around the land for him and it would seem that he knew this trade better, otherwise why would he be involved rather than having hired laborers to do the dirty work for him. It was in this commitment that God decided to engineer a journey of a lifetime.
The grumpy prophet Elijah had to come down from Mount Horeb and embark on his search for a successor. How many days it took him to find Elisha we are not told but we are sure of one thing: a destiny was about to be changed. He had to come and invade the life of a man who had set his sights on restoring the fortunes of his family through farming. One day he finally arrived in the area that Elisha lived in and what better place to find him than in the fields leading the 12th pair of oxen.
Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother good-bye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the ploughing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant (1 Kings 19v19-21).
That question Elijah asked must have puzzled him as well; “What have I done to you?” You have just launched out this man on a journey of a lifetime. Remember the journey takes a “Follow me” stance like that Jesus gave to the fishermen from the last chapter. Elisha had been touched by the power of God that forced him to leave all and follow the future. He was earmarked for destiny and God had set His Eye on him all the while.
On this journey the Eye of God will be set on you and all that He has been planning behind the scenes will suddenly pop up and things will eternally change. Elisha wanted to simply bid his family goodbye and follow the man of God for a while. But the power of the anointing in the cloak changed things for him. See how he burnt his tools of trade and forsook the former life to follow this man.
Journeyers will start off as attendants and then rise up the ranks to be what God has desired them to become. Scripture would say that the servant is not greater than the master, neither the student than the teacher. Elisha had to start off this journey as the follower and then over the years would lead someone else on the journey.
Saints, this journey will demand that you forsake the past and make the commitment to start afresh on some one else’s terms. Scripture would record that once a man is in Christ he is a new creature, the old is past and all things have become new. In the case of Elisha things had to change. From being the master he had to learn how to attend, he had to learn how to do things for someone else. He had to pour water when all his life water must have been poured on his hands.
The journey of a lifetime is a journey that will put away personal reputation for the sake of the Cross. That’s why Paul would say of Jesus that He did not consider it robbery to be made equal with God. The Man laid down His rights and came down to live and die as a servant. If He the Master of the journey could stoop so low, it means you and I are more than capable of losing our rank and position for the Cross.
We need to come on this journey with the mindset that God becomes more important than all else, that He has to be the focus of our lives. We need to come on this journey with a mindset that will serve than be served, that will desire to learn what other forerunners have learnt. This journey will unveil so many things and affect so many lives and an impact will be seen like never before upon lives. You simply need to trust God to unveil His goodwill and purpose. It shall be well and all shall work out just as God has designed. Take heart and know that God will take you through to the end of the journey.
The Pursuit Of An Anointing
Immediately after Elisha decided to follow Elijah we hear nothing more about it. It would seem these were the silent times, where Elijah had to be the prominent master downloading divine messages into the student. It would appear many of us are not proponents of this phase. It is the hardest because it is the learning stage. A question I would like to pose to you: What made Elisha follow Elijah?
Maybe it was because he had heard of the fame of the one man army, the one man prophetic machine that could change weather patterns, or of the man who could change the destiny of a nation. I would like to believe it was because God had impressed upon his heart to undergo a journey of a lifetime. Maybe you can ask another question and say: what was it that made Elijah appear without introduction in the book of First Kings? It was the journey of a lifetime.
We catch up with Elijah and Elisha on the final leg of an epic journey. From his introduction in chapter 17 of First Kings, Elijah had been an enigma. No one seemed to understand what had set him apart, what had made God choose him as a vessel to destroy Baal worship and why he had affected things the way he had. I believe it had to do with the times in oblivion, where God had worked on him. Like Jesus he made a grand appearance onto the public sphere, but it had begun with a journey.
Now that journey was coming to an end. When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. They had been traveling for sometime. No one may know their initial starting point but they were going somewhere. An Elisha was sure that his time had come. All the silent times had set him up to succeed the most difficult prophet of that time. Remember what an enigma he had been.
It would appear that Elisha had some inside information we may not be privy to and he must have known exactly what there was in store. I believe it was the anointing. Maybe along the way Elijah had hinted that God had told him to pass on the baton to Elisha and Elisha was setting himself up to receive. This was a journey that would radically change his life forever. Maybe you too need to hold onto that man or woman of God because your life may be in for a great change.
Elijah put his servant under a test of endurance. Was he willing to pay the price for the anointing? Was he willing to go the whole way to the point of departure? Was he willing to hang on till the end? All these questions had to be answered and as such Elijah had to be hard on his servant. What kinds of questions are yours to answer today? What is it that you are prepared to leave in order to pursue the anointing? Are you ready to follow the prophet through the different cities, criticisms and trials to get the double portion?
Why this journey? There was a lifetime change that had to take place. God was done declaring His being, now what was left was to declare His salvation in the nation of Israel. There will come a time when God is done with one generation of anointed men and women of God and the onset of a time when He will raise up new people to take on the mantle. This may be the time, only if you are willing to pursue that which God has in store for you.
The Stages of the Journey
The journey had to deal with Gilgal. This is the place where the manna stopped falling and the Passover was celebrated. These were two significant events in the history of Israel. The manna was a type of bread that sustained the Israelites on their 40 year adventure to Canaan. The Passover was a reminder that God had supernaturally saved them from death when they were in Egypt. They had to celebrate the Passover because once again God had given them victory in a foreign land: the crossing over of the Jordan River.
Gilgal was a place where they had to eat the fruit of the land rather than temporary provision. We need to get to that place in our lives where we need to celebrate the graces of God by eating the fortunes of the journey. One promise the journey has is that God will never leave nor forsake us and that He will supply our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ. We have a guarantee that we will eat the best of the land if we are willing to travel with Him.
We need like Elisha to come to a place where we will start to enjoy the covenant we have with God. It was at Gilgal that Israel renewed their covenant with God. The uncircumcised received their circumcision here. We need to journey to a place where our hearts are realigned to the Heart of God and where we can get them circumcised afresh. We need to come to an accurate knowledge that God will never go back on His word.
Remember that the journey of a lifetime is a journey of covenants and once God has written a covenant with us, He will never fail to perform it. God is not a man that He should lie nor a son of man that He should change His Mind. He will do just as He has promised. Remember how He tells Jeremiah that He is watching over His word to fulfill it. Journeyer, God is the one who said, “My word will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
The experiences of Gilgal ministered a new birth into his life; they took him out of an old life and made him experience new things. Gilgal took him out of the world system and set him apart with God. They took out of him the mentality of temporary provision and satisfaction, the unfulfilled desires and set in motion things that made him turn to God. It was at Gilgal that the temporary provision stopped and a permanent solution came about.
The journey continued to Bethel, the place where heaven and earth interacted in the dream of Jacob. It was the place Jacob called the House of God. This journey will never succeed until heaven and earth interact and show that oneness. It would appear as though Elisha needed to connect with the God he was to serve at this stage of the journey. All along he may have had an impression of God. But at Bethel he surely experienced the real deal. You and I need to encounter God in great ways till angels ascend and descend on a ladder to reveal that heaven is not a mystery but a reality. We need to walk with a divine connection that draws its power from a Christ connection.
Jesus says to Nathaniel that he would see heaven and earth joined as one if he dared walk with the Master. I dare you today journeyer, walk with God and you too will see open heavens. John on the Island of Patmos saw a door standing open in heaven and he was ushered into the most beautiful description of heaven worship. You too can experience the greatness of heaven if you are prepared to walk with Jesus.
As he moved to Bethel, it was a time to experience the presence of God, to be in a place of revelation and the supernatural moves of God. It was an opportunity to trust God for bigger things. We need to get to the place where when we are in place of the Presence anything can happen. For Elisha it was a place of nurturing and growth. It was the time when covenants and a foundationing in the truths of God’s word had to be made. Maybe you too need to value the time you are spending in the House of God because it will be critical in the times that lie ahead.
The journey continued to Jericho. It was at Jericho that Israel had seen the power of praise and worship destroy walls so thick that two chariots could run side by side. Jericho was the place of broken resistance. For seven days a city had looked at a band of marching men led by horn blowing priests encircling their city and retreating to the plains at set times. Their mind was that their city was impenetrable and that they were safe. But at the end of the seventh march, the city’s resistance fell with the thud of collapsing walls.
It was also a place of salvation where a prostitute saved the entire nation by hiding under a type of the Blood of Jesus as represented by the scarlet thread. It is the stage of the journey that salvation has to come to the house of the journeyer when the Blood of Jesus becomes the saving means for you and your house. It also represented a place of new victory. It was the initial victory that Israel had in the Promised Land. For Elisha it was a personal victory over the sons of the prophets who may have wanted to discourage his pursuits.
This journey will be wrought with discouragements but he who endures to the end will be saved. In the same manner that Elisha pursued, you too must keep going even though it will cost you your life and reputation. Elisha was walking towards his destiny and he was prepared to waive off the discouragement and keep pressing on. Our attitude on this journey is that the anointing is key and as such we should press in till we get to it. Even though it will cost much we must be prepared to encircle the fortress of the enemy until something breaks for us.
Jericho was a place of breakthroughs and breaking into the realm of greatness. We see how things happen miraculously for Joshua and his army in the seven day assault on the fortified city. It was a time of faith in the LORD, an opening into the things God had prepared for His own, a time of personal victory over things that had long troubled people.
It was at Jericho that divine solutions were given. The story of Joshua and the Commander of the LORD’s Army come to mind as Joshua received divine insight into dealing with his man mountain. On this journey there will be times when the divine has to invade the realm of man and proffer solutions that the mind cannot comprehend. It is only when the divine has entered our lives that the impossible becomes possible.
Worship was also a feature of Jericho. The name Jericho implies fragrance, worship and intimacy. It was here on the plains of Jericho that Joshua separated self and sought out the mind of God in worship. One key element of the journey of a lifetime is that worship has to be at the heart of all that we do. We need to become true worshippers, the kind of people who can stand in the Presence of God and worship Him. Joshua was standing on Holy Ground when the LORD came to visit and his response was worship of the highest order.
Elijah still had a long way to go and he needed to leave Elisha behind. But having come this far the prophet in training decided to soldier on. He was almost at the end and he was prepared to face the toughest stage yet, the Jordan River. This was the place of the cross over a separation of the past and the present, a time when the old had to go and the new had to come.
Jordan was a type of the baptism into the things of God, a time to experience the supernatural moves of God. It was a time when dry ground had to come out from wetness, a time of exchange. You and I need to come to a place where we can exchange the past pain for the new joy, where we can go into our difficult zones with a clear assurance that we will not fail to make it.
We need to experience our personal Jordan and cross it because after it lays the blessing. If Elisha could come round to seeing the power of God dry a river, we too need to experience the supernatural one way or another. There is a Jordan River the journeyer has to face and finish, after all you’ve come thus far to let it go. Hang on in there because the power of God is able to accelerate you to the next dimension.
After the Jordan was the double portion. It was after the crossing over that Elijah asked the question to his successor. What is it that you would like the Master to do for you seeing you have come thus far? What is it that you were expecting to receiver? Journeyer there will come a time in your life when it will make more sense to cross over than to stay in the same place.
One interesting fact about this journey was that the sons of the prophets had a divine revelation of the going of the master and yet the servant was willing to pursue till he got what he walked all this way for. Are we the kind of people who are prepared to step out against all odds when everyone says the right thing to do is to stop pursuing because sooner than later we will be hurt when we are left alone? The disciples must have known that it would be unpopular and safe for them the very minute Jesus was arrested, and yet they chose to engage in a journey of a lifetime.
It was after the Jordan that Elisha's ministry was confirmed. Only after Elijah was taken away did the sons of the prophets acknowledge the call upon the life of Elisha. It was only after they had seen him operate in the same power that his predecessor had that they were willing to acknowledge he was called. Sometimes it will take a man walking to beyond thee Jordan for others to realise the call upon his life. Step up your game and go to your Jordan because only then can you receive the double portion of the anointing. Remember the servant and student will always learn faster because the Master has already experienced it and impartation is easier to give. When he came from the Jordan we begin to see a life transforming ministry that would affect ordinary life in extraordinary ways.
God wants to take each one of us through a phase where we will get to know Him deeper. There will be times when the enemy will want to wear us down and put us off course. But stay on course and know that all is well. Do not be side tracked or pushed off your paths. God will take you to your end and all shall be well..
This journey will do among others the following:
- It will open up opportunities for you
- It will show off the power of God
- It will unveil a new character of God
- It will usher you to the next level
- And bring you closer to your destiny
A journey of a lifetime demands great patience. It demands that God moves on your behalf. The fruit of patience is being developed each day. There are situations that will cause you to be patient and force you to rely more on Him.
Elisha had to be patient and press in till he got that which he wanted. Persist and press on till all things fall into place. It won’t be long before you see the Hand of God unveil a new thing over your life. And it will take you enduring till the end. The journey is long so brace yourself for the long haul.
The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”
1 Kings 19v7
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