Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Prophetic Insights 2011 - Part II

The earlier post on the prophetic insight for 2011 was a short one and I hope to build upon that post and perhaps share more on what I believe the Lord is doing amongst His people in 2011 and beyond.

To many believers today, the season we are in is akin to the Biblical time when Elijah was to be taken away. It is a time of the revealing of the true sons of Elijah. Elisha wanted to be affirmed as the true son of Elijah when he asked for the "double portion of Elijah's spirit". There were many other trainee prophets from the school of prophets who were also aware of the impending departure of Elijah - the prophet who stood in the Presence of God, but only Elisha pursued after what Elijah himself described as "a hard thing". Elisha stands for an entire generation who would pursue after God even though it is perceived to be a difficult venture. It is the faceless and nameless generation that God has been preparing and raising as His end-time army. What are the lessons we can learn from Elisha's example?

Following hard after the Lord
It is recorded in the Scriptures that Elisha followed hard after Elijah. From Gilgal to Bethel and onward to Jericho and Jordan. Indeed, there is much to learn from the names of these places but we will look at the themes of what these places represent. What does it mean to follow hard after the Lord? Firstly, walking and following our Lord Jesus begins from a place of consecration (Gilgal). We may be in the world but not of the world. As a priesthood of believers, we are called to be set apart unto Him. A divorce from the world and its values must be evident in our lives without which we cannot enter into communion with the Lord. It is in Bethel, we learn to commune with Him. Leaning upon His breast, we listen to His heartbeat and enjoy the warmth of His embrace. From times of intimacy with the Lord, we are equipped to enforce His victory in the battles that we face in life (Jericho). When we experience His victories through enforcing His authority in our lives, the Lord our God would lead us to a transition into a new realm of possessing our inheritance (Jordan). A crossing-over takes place wherein we are ushered into a new dimension with the Lord. These summarized themes would sound familiar to many who have taken the path of walking and journeying with the Lord in obedience. Sometimes, we are led to re-visit these places in different order and in different degrees and sometimes we missed the way and stumble and fall. But, in weakness, we continued to cling on to Him and in His faithfulness, He has never left us nor forsaken us.

Secondly, if we were to look at the geographical layout of these places, it makes no sense to our logical minds for Elijah to be "leading" Elisha from one place to another to reach the ultimate destination of Jordan when he could have opted for a shorter and simpler route. This has been also a hallmark of our journey of following hard after the Lord. We do not seem to understand the long, tiresome and sometimes illogical paths we take. Sometimes we questioned whether we have heard correctly or like John the Baptist who sent his servants to ask Jesus whether He was the Messiah or not. These are unfruitful times for the flesh yet certainly we are making progress spiritually. Be it valleys or mountaintop experiences, Elisha held on closely to Elijah and never lost sight of his master.

The greatest blow for Elisha must be Elijah's apparent cold treatment towards him. When Elisha pursued after Elijah, it seemed the Elijah was not too pleased and kept asking Elisha to maintain a distance and to stop following Him. When we thought we have done something to please the Lord to deserve a special attention from Him and His response is the opposite - our faith may begin to crumble and our mouth begin to grumble. The greatest temptation is to give up and say, it's useless or it doesn't work or to be offended by Elijah. But, Elisha prevailed. He was persistent and his hunger and pursuit was not superficial. Do we likewise desire God beyond the superficial level to be able to overcome rejection, offense and adversity?

I remember a man of God who shared that he saw something about the relationship between Elijah and Elisha that he never saw before. Most of us when we think of the great event of Elijah being taken away - we have a mental picture of Elijah sitting on a chariot and bidding farewell to Elisha. But, upon closer look Elijah was actually taken up by a whirlwind instead of a chariot. But, you ask, what about the chariot? Well, God has to send a chariot to separate the close bonding between Elijah and Elisha! Yes, could you imagine that level of intimacy?

The passing of the mantle
Undoubtedly, this was the most awaited and exciting part. Elisha picked up the mantle and he began to walk in the office of the "true son". The rest, we would say, is history.

In the same way, the birth of the church was marked by the great release of the Holy Ghost at the upper room. The true church of God is going to walk as the true sons of the Most High God. Undoubtedly, we are entering into the finest times of the church despite the darkness around us. Even this year, we are stepping into a season of abundant grace, favour and breakthrough (mark this). Yes, I believe we are possessing our inheritance in a greater way than before and also it is a time of rest and liberty for us. God has taken our shame and has broken every curse of debt in our lives. I believe the season of debt-cancellation is manifesting in greater measure this year. Believe it and begin to proclaim and declare a season of jubilee over your lives, families, cities and nations. Isaiah 61 (NIV) sums up pretty well the description of the Lord's promise for His true sons for this season and this year. Read it and declare it aloud: -

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.

7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.

8 “For I, the LORD, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”

10 I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.

How do we position ourselves?
Needless to say, the key lies in the intimacy between us and our Elijah, the Beautiful Saviour - Jesus Christ! Elijah said to Elisha, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” How did Elisha position himself to receive that which He asked for? What is the key to "seeing" Elijah when he was taken up? How do we begin to step into this marvellous year of revelation?

Elisha did not lay down a set of formulaes but his motto was "I will not leave you, Elijah!" This speaks volume of his commitment and bonding to Elijah. Likewise, may this be our motto each and every moment of the day - Lord, I will not leave you - the key of stepping into and possessing what God has prepared for us this year and the days to come.

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