"But the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake: but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out, and stood in the entering of the cave." I Kings 19: 11-13.
He wrapped his face in his mantle. His face was his flesh. What was his mantle? His mantle was prophetic authority. The authority of someone who not only walks closely with his God but is His mouthpiece too.
He covered his face, his flesh with that which the Lord had called him to, had commissioned him to. He covered it with what God had brought him into and had made him into.
What makes up a prophet's mantle? I think a part, and no small part, is suffering. T Austin-Sparks knew it. He wrote:
"He baptises a soul into an anguish; He throws upon someone - or some little company - the mantle of His own terrible disappointment, dissatisfaction, and grief because of things as He sees them spiritually amongst His own people. That is how God brings things into being. Men do it in other ways, but that has always been God’s way. It has cost the instrument its life every time (not necessarily that it has died a sudden death, or even laid down its life in martyrdom, but it has cost the instrument its life)."
But with the suffering comes something else. And that is the power and authority that come from God alone. Elijah cast his mantle upon Elisha after the Lord told him to anoint Elisha to function in his stead. Later, the Lord intended to take Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind. God sends him first to Bethel, then to Jericho and then to Jordan. Each place has a significance. Throughout the journey, Elisha is determined to stick with Elijah.
When they got to the Jordan River, Elijah took his mantle, wrapped it together and smote the waters, and they were divided, so that the two went over on dry ground. II Kings 2:8.
After Elijah and Elisha passed over, Elijah asked Elisha what he wanted him to do for him before he was taken away. Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah's spirit. Elijah said that if Elisha saw him when he was taken, his request would be granted. Elisha did see it. He saw the horsemen and the chariot of Israel. Then he rent his clothes and put on the mantle that had fallen from Elijah.
Elisha went back and stood by the bank of Jordan; 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 and Elisha went over.
There are many Jordans to cross. Oh for the faith and authority to ask "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" and to expect an answer.