II Kings 2:7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. 8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 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. 13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; 14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.
There are so many songs about crossing over. One of my favorites is “I Won’t Have to Cross Jordan Alone.” It was a dreadful place for both Elijah and Elisha to be, but it was a beginning for both. Every day with the Lord is one day less down here. Each is the beginning of a new day and opportunity to serve the Lord. People who have crossed over are more alive than ever. When this body dies, I will live on. We can make it.
We learn so much from the Old Testament. It and the New Testament fit like a key in a lock. We could ask for no greater physical gift than the Bible. It is most needed. Consider the truth of this: we walk together and get used to each other in church and our Christian family. Suddenly we’re at the Jordan River. Someone goes over and some stay here. We’ve seen so many here at the church go over in just the past few years. They were taken up to cross over, but we go on here. Elijah was taken. It was a new beginning for him. Elisha would have liked to go with him, but he had to go on. It was a new beginning for both of them.
Our life and death are up to God. No one has the power to stay when it’s time. We have to go. I’d love to see those gone on, but they are happy with the Lord in their new beginning. We live here without them, but they gave us something just as Elijah did Elisha. He left his mantle; it landed right in Elisha’s arms. Put what’s been left by those gone on to good use. It will help us. We have their experiences, their testimony, their faith. They made it in spite of hindrances and sufferings. We can too. The sons of the prophets hounded Elisha to death about Elijah’s leaving. He told them to hush. He’d go on by what Elijah left behind. People leave us the motivation to go on. I’m looking forward to seeing the prophets, but I’m looking forward to meeting family and friends. A chariot came for Elijah, but an angel band came for Lazarus. I think I’d rather have angels come for me. We’re looking for the city they went to. Now is not the time to back up; keep on and face Jordan. From Bethel to Gilgal to Jericho to the River Jordan looks like a jigsaw puzzle on the map. If your life looks like one, keep on going. The sons of the prophets thought they should take over when Elijah left, but it’s not what you know but who you know. Elisha hooked up with Elijah and followed him all the way. Our loved ones are in heaven tonight because they went all the way to Jordan.
Elijah and Elisha kept on going–walking with and serving God. Let’s do it too. Keep on. Keep fellowshipping with each other. Don’t be distracted. Don’t be overcome by fear and threats. Keep your eye on the Master. When Elijah got to Jordan, the mantle he wore all the time was his gift. It’s natural to fear death because we’ve never done it. I’ve seen many die, including my own wife. They just go using their faith one last time to smite the waters of Jordan. That’s victory! Elisha turned around with the mantle of Elijah and said Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. He went over Jordan by using that mantle.
We can make it. We wear the mantle of those gone on. It is ours now. No matter how bad the times are, we have the mantle until we cross over. We can go on. Elijah rode a chariot, but Elisha’s body was put in the ground. In that grave were bones of another person. Elisha’s body came in contact with those bones, and the skeleton jumped up in the power of God. We think about our loss. It’s great. But through those we have lost we get a double portion as did Elisha. We build upon their mantle for the glory of God.
So, what are you doing with your mantle? Use it. God has given us the resources to keep on, to cross over. We will make it home one day!