II Kings 2: 1And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
I couldn’t help but think about Paul when reading this. He wrote Second Timothy 4:6-7 about his departure. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Paul knew he wasn’t getting out of prison; it would be his place of departure. He knew the Lord would soon take him home. The place was set, and the time was nigh.
We all know our departure is near. Jesus is coming again in the clouds just like he sent a chariot for Elijah and an escort for Paul. Are you at the place of departure? Paul knew he was there and because he had fought a good fight and kept the faith was ready.
If you’re going on a trip via an airplane you won’t depart from Adwolfe. You’ll have to go to an airfield to the departure point. We know the time is near. Elijah kept moving along. He had been told his time was about up. If we hear at all, we know the departure time is near whether we want it, like it, or realize it. Are you at the point of departure? The Lord told Elijah it would happen soon but not exactly when. We don’t know the exact time the Lord will come, but we know he’s coming soon. Elijah had to be at a specific spot over the Jordon River. He knew he had to get there soon. If we expect to be in the departure group, we’ve got to be at the place of departure. Elijah’s was a geographic place. He immediately began to make his way there. Are you making it through?
Between verse 1 and the departure point was a pretty long way. He went from city to city. He told Elisha to be on his way, but he wanted to stick around to be there when Elijah was called away. The chariot of the Lord will be big enough for no one to be left behind as long as we’re all at the point of departure. You’ve got to be where the Lord wants you to be.
Gilgal was a place of beginnings. Kings were anointed there. Sacrifices were offered for victories. In order to reach a place of readiness to leave, many need to come to a new beginning in their relationship with the Lord. We can get stagnant and lukewarm with our routine of living for the Lord. It’s time to go back to our first faith, our first zeal, our first determination and love for the Lord. Are you at Gilgal? It’s the proper point to make a new beginning with God.
Elijah left Gilgal and went to Bethel. This is where the ladder from heaven came down to earth for Jacob. It was the home of God, the house of prayer. We can’t forsake the house of God. We can’t be a Christian on our own. The house of the Lord needs to be as much a part of our lives as our physical, earthly home. If we want to dwell in the house of the Lord forever, we’d better be dwelling in it some now.
From there Elijah went to Jericho, a rough, risky, dangerous place. His integrity and faith would be tested by the wickedness of the city. Whether we want it or not, we have to pass the tests of our Jericho’s. I don’t care how bad this world is, it is no excuse for failure. We’re in the world but not of it. God got Elijah and Elisha through it and he’ll get us through.
Then they came to the Jordon River. The other side was the departure point. Of all the parts they had been through, this turned out to be one more barrier. It was deep and wide. We now face things we’ve never faced before. There are family problems, personal problems, work problems, depression….and on and on. We have so many devils working on us we need to make it a practice to be encouragers to each other and not part of the problem. Do you think you’re at a barrier you can’t cross? Elijah could have sat down and given up. Have you been at that point? We all have. He had to go on, and we do as well. We have to get to the other side. The Lord won’t come for you if you lay it down and go on your own. You’ve got to get to where he says. What did Elijah do? He took off his mantle. It was dirty and dusty from his travels. Our mantle of salvation may be dusty and tattered, but it still works. Elijah slapped the water with his mantle and the waters parted for both he and Elisha to walk across on dry ground.
The devil knows the Lord is coming soon. He knows our need of being ready for departure. That’s why he puts so many Jericho’s in our way. You have decisions to make. Apply your faith to what is there. Don’t lay it down. We want to be on the chariot. Use the mantle. Do whatever Jordon crossings that must be done. Do some Jericho passing. Go back to Bethel, the place of prayer for the house of God. Get to Gilgal for your new beginning. Make sure you’re at the right starting point.
Don’t worry about whether it’s coming. It is! You need to be ready. The glory of God came down with a fiery chariot in a whirlwind. Your name will be called. Will you be in the place to answer?
Elisha stuck with Elijah all the way and asked for a double portion of his spirit. Elijah told him if he saw his departure that it just might happen. Elisha reached his arms to catch the mantle of Elijah as he tossed it aside; he didn’t need it anymore. That’s what we need. Reach out to God. Be ready to go. Catch your mantle and begin moving to the proper place of departure.