Power, or One's Might for Duty
2 Kings 2:14
And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah?…

I was riding one night in the late winter on the elevated road through the Battery Park in New York City. As I looked out of the window I saw that the electric lights were blazing with almost the brilliancy of the sun. Their sharp scintillating beams fell on the branches of the trees that filled the park. But as those beams fell upon them I noticed that not a single leaf-bud stirred. I saw, too, that all the leaf-buds and all the twigs were eased in ice, and the imprisoning ice flashed back haughty gleam even to the powerful electric light. I began to think, if those trees were never to be touched by any other light there could never hang upon them any beautiful wealth of summer foliage. There is no force in that shining to push into movement the latent energy folded in those leaf-buds. There is only one force which can stir the trees to energy, and that is the marvellous power of the spring sun. Do you not think that Christians are often very like the folded dormant buds and the icy branches? Much light and various falls on them — light of knowledge, of worship, of Sabbaths, of preaching, of harmonious song, of culture; all the wonderful light of our Christian civilisation. But often they do not seem to stir much; they do not greatly grow; some churches, if they have a prosperous time financially, are not much discontented if there are no conversions. After all, is a tree with its leaf-buds folded snugly in and its branches ice-covered so bad a symbol of many a Christian, many a church? Is there any power that can stir them, as in the spring-time the wonderful sunlight stirs a tree, sending the life-currents thrilling through all its substance, swelling the leaf-buds till they must push out their folded banners, piling on to each least twig the succulent growth of another season One cannot believe the Scripture and say anything but yes to such a question.

1. There is the old gospel. Paul calls it the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). What a power it was in the city of the Caesars! What a power it is!

2. There is the living Christ. The powerful hand of Him who is death's victor is on the helm of things.

3. There is the abiding Holy Spirit. The reason why Christianity is not a history merely, like the reigns of the Caesars, is because the abiding and vitalising Holy Spirit is in the world, charging the historic truth of Christianity with present energy. There is the power of the Spirit.

4. There is for Christians the promise of power. To such as have already become the sons of God, there is a promise given of still greater attainment, the power of the indwelling Spirit. But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me. Plainly, such power will make duty easy and triumphant.The conditions of the gaining of such power are well illustrated in our Scripture and its surroundings,

1. Determination to have it. Elisha would not leave Elijah (vers. 2, 4, 6).

2. Determination to have it notwithstanding dissuasives. The sons of the prophets could not put sufficient obstacle in Elisha's way (ver. 5).

3. Such determination to have it as to dare to ask for it. "And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me" (ver. 9).

4. Such purpose to have it as keeps us in communion with Christ at all hazards. When Elijah went beyond the Jordan Elisha would go over with him (ver. 8).

5. Such determination to have it as makes us resolutely obedient to the conditions of its reception. Elisha would see the rapture of Elijah (ver. 12). Brave use of what power we have, sure that in the using more power will be imparted. "And Elisha took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and smote the waters." Christians or churches need not be like trees in winter with folded buds and branches ice-incased. There is melting, energising power for them.

(W. Hoyt, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and struck the waters, and said, "Where is Yahweh, the God of Elijah?" When he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha went over.

Man's Cry and God's Response
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