THE great object for our souls to seek after is our God. We love His house; the place where prayer is wont to be made is very dear to us; but the courts of the Lord’s house are dull and dreary if the Lord Himself be not there. Our question is not so much, “Where are His courts?” as, “Where is Jehovah Himself? Brethren, we love beyond expression the ministry of God’s Word, it has been unspeakably precious to our spirits; by it we were called into spiritual life, and by it our life is fed and nourished; but, still, if God Himself be not in the Word, and with the Word, what does it avail us? Our spirits must be sustained by the Holy Spirit, or else they faint and die.
I wish that we were always in this state of mind, that our continual cry might be, “The Lord God of Elijah, — we must have Him; we cannot live without Him, we cannot be strong without Him, we cannot rejoice without Him. We would not wish even to be in heaven without Him; ‘Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.’”
Elijah has been taken away by a whirlwind into heaven, and now Elisha has to be the prophet of Israel in Elijah’s stead. A great weight of responsibility has fallen upon him. He has to be successor of the prophet of fire, — the man of God, Elijah. “Well,” you say, “he has Elijah’s mantle.” Yes, he has his mantle, and there is something in that. If ever I could feel any great reverence for relics, I should like to have Elijah’s mantle. Elisha had it; but what was the use of having the mantle of Elijah unless he could also have his God? Though he be called to take the mantle, and with it to smite the waters, yet he knows where his strength must lie, and his prayer, his cry, is, “Here is the prophet’s mantle; but where is Jehovah, God of Elijah?” If he can get Elijah’s God, then the mantle will mean something. Men will see that he has Elijah’s mantle, but they will ask, “Where is Elijah’s power?”
This question also comes in most appropriately when some great difficulty lies in your way. Before Elisha, the Jordan is flowing, a deep and rapid stream; how is he to cross it? He takes the mantle which those waters knew before, when Elijah passed that way, and striking them with it, he cries, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” and the waters at once divide, and the prophet walks through. Have you come to a great difficulty, my dear friend? Cannot you get over it? Are you in trouble about it? Now, if this is a difficulty that ought to be removed, the shortest way to have it removed is to go to God about it.
The best thing we can do, in all times of trouble and trial, is to lay the matter before the Lord. Here is a church in difficulty; it does not know what to do, or which way to look. This is the question for its members to ask, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” Here is a Christian man in great difficulties; he has not brought himself into them, but the pressure of the times has brought him into a very sad condition; what is he to do? Why, look to his God, and see what God will do; let him also cry, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” I do not think that we shall ever find that any man truly trusted in God, and yet was confounded. No difficulty which was ever propounded to the Most High, and left in His hands, ever remained a difficulty long. He has the solution of all our problems, the answer to all our riddles. He can work out to a blessed result all our difficulties. There is nothing which can possibly be beyond the power of Him whose name is Jehovah, the I AM, God all-sufficient.
So, then, we learn from Elisha’s question that we must specially ask after God when we are beginning any new work, or when there is some great difficulty in our way.
Elijah’s mighty power in prayer. A man of like passions with ourselves was this Elias. This was the man who, in his chamber, prayed back the spirit of a child. This was he who could have anything of God that he listed, like Luther of old. Do not some of you say, “Would God I had his power in prayer! How am I to get it?” Why, where he got it, — of his God. The Lord God of Elijah can help you to pray prayers like his; and He will give you answers like to his. Let us go straight to God in prayer, with simple confidence in Him, and we shall prove that He still answers prayer even as He did in the prophet’s day.
As God provided for Elijah at the brook Cherith and at Zarephath, so can He provide for us. “My store of meal is running very short, my flask of oil is almost empty. ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah?’” Why, He is with His Elias still, and He is with such widows as the widow of Zarephath still. Do you think that He is dead? That God will no more provide for His own? Oh, think not so! You will get nothing of the Lord if you waver; but if you keep strong in faith, you shall find that Jehovah Jireh is still His name, — “the Lord will provide.” “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” God can help us to put such confidence in Him that we shall find the Lord God of Elijah supplying our daily wants, and feeding us until we want no more.
Excerpted from the sermon titled “Where is the God of Elijah?” (1 Kings 2:14) by CH Spurgeon dated 24 June 1883. You are encouraged to read the full text of the sermon from The Spurgeon Library | Where is the God of Elijah?