Spending time in the book of II Kings, specifically focusing on the epoch shift in the Kingdom of God concerning Elijah and Elisha, something began to occur to me. Well, several things began to occur to me. First, God’s power is not tied to a particular era. Yes, in the event of Elisha striking the waters with the mantle, one quickly realizes that the God of Moses’ era still operates in the era of Elisha. Simply put, God’s arm has not grown weak nor has it shortened. This can be seen throughout the history of God’s revelation to humanity. Secondly, and this is where I felt to focus, God is not limited to a certain personality or individual.
Consider this second point with me. Taking a thorough look through the scriptures one quickly finds the continual shift, and replacement, of great leaders. Each generation gives way to the next, and for most generations, one or several men stand out as Gods vessels. Yet, take a closer look with me to men such as Moses and Elijah, two of the greatest men of Old Testament history. When Moses dies, the people weep and mourn and scripture declares, “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel” (Deut. 34:10-12). However, there is an immediate transition from the tremendous words of honor expressed by God upon the deceased Moses then we are confronted with the words given to Joshua: “Moses my servant is dead….as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” (Josh. 1:2a; 5).
Only thirty days of weeping and mourning (Deut. 34:8) and we are told that Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him… (vs. 9). What happened? Seismic transition happened! Yet more than this, God made it evidently clear that His power wasn’t contingent upon the instrument. This simple truth should give a moment of pause to those of us that shine too much of a spotlight upon God’s messengers and less upon God’s message. This should speak with startling clarity in a generation that has seen too great an emphasis upon the PERSONALITIES of God’s men rather than the demonstration of God’s POWER through weakened flesh.
Look with me at the transition of Elijah to Elisha and the catching away of Elijah. What did the sons of the prophets declare? “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” (II Kings 2:14). Then, seeing Elisha strike the water with the mantle of he had received, they declared: “the Spirit of Elijah (meaning God’s anointing) doth rest on Elisha” (vs.15). Yes, God would continue to use humanity to accomplish His purposes. Yes, great men would be used by an even greater God! However, humanity at his best is NOTHING in the presence of God Almighty.
I cringe each time aspiring young men declare of various personalities and preachers, “they are beast bro…” or “they are amazing.” I understand what we are saying, yet I still cringe. Surely what stands as amazing is that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (I Cor. 1:26-29, bold emphasis mine).
Our we, in our fallen state, usurping God’s intentions? Are we elevating men to unsustainable platforms of praise? Are we, in our own ignorant way, worshipping the creation rather than the Creator? Remember, of all the things that Jesus Christ could have claimed or taken to Himself, He took upon Himself the form of a servant. Think about that! Though He thought it not robbery to be equal with God, because He was God in flesh, desired to be confused with a servant! He wanted to be seen at men’s feet, humbly expressing the pattern of humility and selflessness His ministry should themselves express. He sought to be found among men of no reputation or pedigree, for He Himself, “made himself of no reputation.” (Phil. 2:7).
Think on this with me! Jesus Christ, the son of God, upon whom all the world consisted “made himself of no reputation!” Why? “…that thy son also may glorify thee (Jn. 17:1b). The humanity of Christ NEVER gloried! The humanity of Christ never sought reputation. The humanity of Christ never reveled in accolade and praise. Instead, as a perfect, extreme example of how the true servant of God should live, He sought to glorify God through His humanity.
In a generation of social-media, the enablement of live-stream broadcasting of church services, conferences, and ministerial milestones; what are we presenting to the masses? More of Christ or more of ourselves? Whose reputation are we seeking to build? Is it Christ that we seek to make his praise “glorious?” (Psa. 66:2b). Are we declaring, “Come and see the works of God?” (Psa. 66:5a) or are we saying, “come and see the “best of men?”
Where has the voice of the preacher gone that warned of pride before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall? (Prov. 16:18-19). Where has the teaching of Christ to not seek out the “high seats” gone? What of the abomination of a proud look? (Prov. 6:17).
Counting the elders who rule well worthy of a double-honor, especially those that labor in the word and doctrine (I Tim. 5:17) is surely Biblical and something to be instilled in the hearts of all saints! However, nowhere does this legalize the practice of veneration! Perhaps it is due to the fact that I have observed the greatest among us fail God? I don’t know. However, I believe we are reaching a pivotal point in church-culture that demands we take a closer look at our “affections” and “focuses”.
Give me less human personality and more of Holy Ghost demonstration! Whether God’s speaks through a vessel of wood or gold, oh that the vessel be “meet for the Master’s use!” Pulpit idolatry, as one elder once penned it, is limiting the true scope and extent of God’s Word. Oh that men would pray and fast for a revelation of God’s glory, not mans. Oh that we would seek the face of God that the miracles, signs, and wonders of God would penetrate our cities going to hell, regardless of WHO gets the credit, the photo opportunity, or the social-media recognition. God help us that we spend more time “preparing the way of the Lord,” than “posturing for political power and favor.”
God help me…