1 Kings 19:19
“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.”
Elijah has always been the symbol of a man of God. One can only imagine the young men of Elijah’s day looking to him as an example to follow. They wanted to be like Elijah, not because he proclaimed himself to be someone, but because God had done something through him. Elijah did not ask young men to follow him, but they naturally followed him because of God’s hand on his life.
After Elijah had gotten over his pity party about Jezebel putting a contract on his life, he went and found Elisha and “cast his mantle upon him.” You can only imagine what Elisha must have thought as the mantle of the man of God was the symbol of God’s hand and power. What is interesting after the mantle was cast upon Elisha was that he left the oxen, said his goodbye’s to his family, and followed Elijah by faith. It was the next few months after Elisha had forsaken all by faith to follow the man of God that he learned how to be a man of God himself. Had Elisha stayed in the comfort of sight-living after Elijah cast his mantle upon him, he would have never become the man of God that he became, and Israel would have never seen the great works that were done through Elisha’s life.
We often wonder where all the men of God are today, and my answer to this is that we don’t have a lack of young men who could become men of God, but we have a lack of young men who are willing to do what it takes to become men of God. Let me share a few actions that resulted in God’s hand being upon Elisha.
First, he found a man of God to follow. We live in a generation of egotist men of God who try to make it sound as if it is bad to follow a man of God. If it is bad, then why did God put this story in the Scriptures and bless Elisha to the degree that He blessed him? Certainly, you must keep your perspective right that men of God are just men, but God gives them to us as an example to follow. God never turns a young man into a man of God who follows the world instead of the man of God. When I was a young man, I desired to be like the men of God of that day. Two men in particular were great influences on my life to motivate me to want to be used by God mightily. Every young man needs to find a man of God to follow, and learn everything that he can from him.
Second, Elisha followed closely while others followed afar off. When it came time for Elijah to be taken to Heaven, Elisha would not leave the man of God’s side. You will never learn what you can from God’s man by following at a distance. Stop worrying about being popular in your peer crowd, but do everything you can to stay close to God’s man. God’s hand will never be upon you if you always have to be accepted by your peers. God’s hand often falls on the young man who is not afraid to follow the man of God by himself.
Third, Elisha copied the faith and works God’s man. Stop trying to make a new path, and just do what you learned from the man of God. Elisha took the same mantle that Elijah used and smote the waters as Elijah had done, and it resulted in the waters parting as they did for Elijah. The old paths and methods still work today. God can use you mightily if you copy those paths and methods in your own ministry.