Friday, April 15

Where is the God of Elisha?

For many years now I have been blessed by the writings of Maurice Smith's Parousia Letters. The following article by J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma Magazine was quoted in one of the Parousia mailouts and worthy of reflection...

We've faked the power of Pentecost long enough. Let's set aside the imitations and reclaim the real deal.

Shortly after Elijah was carried to heaven in his fiery chariot, a group of  young prophets asked Elisha to go with them to build new living quarters near  the Jordan River. While one of the young men was cutting down a tree, the  blade of his axe fell in the water and sank into the murky depths of the  riverbed (see 2 Kings 6:1-7).

The construction project came to an abrupt stop. This was before the days of  flashlights and sonar devices. These guys were in trouble.  Knowing that his friends could not replace this expensive iron tool they had  borrowed, the young prophet cried to his mentor Elisha for help. The wise  prophet threw a stick in the water where the axe head had sunk. Immediately  the heavy iron blade floated to the surface—defying the laws of physics and  proving that nothing is impossible with God. Elisha's faith saved the day. We can gain so much comfort from this story. It reminds us that God has power  over the natural world. It also proves that He cares about the seemingly  trivial details of our lives—and that He is even willing to bail us out of the  messes we make.

As I have meditated on this passage in recent days I've also applied it to our  current situation in the American church. It illustrates how desperately we need to recover what we've lost. Perhaps you've noticed that our blade is missing. I don't know exactly when it  fell off the handle, but it seems as if we've been trying to build God's house without the sharp edge of His genuine anointing. We've traded the real for the  phony. We've cheapened Pentecost to the point that it's been reduced to dry  religious programs and circus sideshow antics.

We've mastered the art of hype. We know how to fake the anointing. We push  people to the floor during our altar times. We know how to manipulate music  and crowds so that we can create the atmosphere of the anointing. But in so  many cases the real anointing isn't there. In its place is a hollow imitation. Some charismatic leaders today are even selling specially handcrafted oils  that promise the Holy Spirit's power. Others sell scented candles that claim  to bring God's presence. And last year one brother was traveling the country  with feathers in a jar— claiming that these belonged to an angel with healing  powers.

Lord, forgive us for our charlatanism. We need the blade back! We must cry out  to the God Who has the power to raise iron from the bottom of a river.  We are not going to advance Christ's kingdom, or build His victorious church,  using scented oils, fake charms, ear-tickling prophecies and goofy charismatic  gimmicks. This is all wood, hay and stubble destined for the furnace. What we  need today is the sharp blade of the Word that is empowered by the Holy Ghost  and fire.

In my world travels during the past few years I have met humble Christians who  carry the genuine anointing of the Spirit. I've spent time with Chinese  believers who see miracles inside their prison cells. I've met an Indian  evangelist who has seen six people raised from the dead. I've met a Pakistani  apostle who regularly sees Muslims healed during outdoor gospel meetings. Last week I interviewed an Iranian church leader whose ministry is leading 5,000 Iranians to faith in Christ every month. In the midst of persecution and  political upheaval, a New Testament— style revival is erupting in that Shiite  Muslim stronghold - all because the church in Iran is weilding the axe head of  genuine Holy Spirit anointing.

Where is the God of Elisha? There is a cry in the American church today that  resembles the cry of the desperate young prophet in 2 Kings 6. We have not been good stewards of the Holy Spirit's gifts, and now  the precious power of God has eluded us. We dropped it. Yet we are beginning  to acknowledge our blunder.

Let's fully humble ourselves. Let's repent of fakery and fraud. Let's ditch our counterfeits and our cheap substitutes, and ask the Lord to restore the  axe blade. Let's cry to Him for a pure, unadulterated, genuine, life-changing, planet-shaking revival.

2 comments:

BParsons said...

Baptists, of course, don't have this problem, since we didn't think the power existed to begin with.

We put all out eggs in the basket of music. For most Baptists right now, "God-anointed" music means "music that entertains me," whether it's modern rock with the high volume and the air guitars, or it's Southern Gospel with its foot-tappin' rhythm.

I love Christian music, but I think we often think that "God is among us" when the real story is "We are being entertained." Worship is not how loud you clap, how good the bass is, or whether the organist uses all six registers.

I fear that much of our own music is not God-directed, and we often have a much better time in the "worship" service than God is having.

Hope I'm not too off-topic, but I got tired of hearing the crickets chirping on this one.

And I really do like the comments in your post. Mr. Grady's observations can be applied to all of us, even "dull" Baptists...

GuyMuse said...

Bruce,

It isn't much different here. More and more the churches have to compete with one another to see who can put on the best show in town. One of the biggest problems we have is the distraction the constant stream of events, concerts, workshops, guest speakers that keep everyone preocupied. We simply don't have time for much of anything else!