Are You All In? The Call of Elisha
Inside: To what has God called you? What has He laid on your heart to accomplish? Whatever it is, are you all in? Learn from Elisha what it means to be all in and what it can mean for your life.
To what has God called you? What has He laid on your heart to accomplish? Whatever it is, are you all in?
1 Kings 19:15-21 (ESV)
15 And the LORD said to him [Elijah], “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
The Call of Elisha
19 So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” 21 And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.
Digging into God’s Word
- A college-age man spoke of God’s miraculous intervention as he smuggled hundreds of Bibles into Asian countries.
- My 70-year-old cousin, heart filled with the Lord, has sold her home and leaves for the mission field in Malawi, East Africa, in a few weeks.
- 50 years ago, a couple troubled by the lack of education in Guatemala took in one child and supported her education. Through that experience, they later founded an organization that provides Christian education for thousands of children worldwide.
- The young man who carried Bibles into Asia? He told of people who were risking their livelihoods and lives to get God’s Word into waiting hands.
All in. These people are all in. So was Elisha. Catch the context and the sacrifice:
God had proven himself the one true God by consuming with fire Elijah’s water-soaked sacrifice of a bull on Mount Carmel in front of the prophets of Baal. In fear for his life, Elijah had fled to Mount Horeb and hid in a cave. There the LORD appeared to him and assured him he was not the only believer in God.
In fact, God asked him to anoint three people–two kings and one prophet-to-be: Elisha.
It’s not that Elisha didn’t have much to give up. On the contrary, he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen. That’s a lot of oxen, proving that his family was very wealthy. Notice the extent of Elisha’s commitment to entering God’s service:
- He slaughtered all of his animals.
- He burned the plowing equipment and used that as the wood over which to cook the meat of the animals.
- He kissed his father and mother goodbye.
That Elisha killed all of the animals and burned the equipment tells us that the farming equipment belonged to him. In essence, he gave up his entire livelihood to serve the Lord by apprenticing under Elijah. This was not going to be a 9-to-5 job with the weekends off. He did not take any of the meat with him as sustenance for his journey. He was all in. Are you? (Let me mumble a meek “eek” with you!)
You will never regret making time for God. As you are able, spend time with God, reflecting on these questions or journaling your thoughts.
- To what has God called you? What has He laid on your heart to accomplish? Has He placed you in a hard role of parenting or grandparenting? Is there a ministry or community service He has put on your heart? Are you studying or learning something new? Whatever it is, are you all in? In what ways do you need to recommit to it?
- Ponder 1 Thessalonians 5:24: “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” In context, Paul is speaking about God’s faithfulness in sanctifying us–to make us holy or set us apart. Notice that He is the one doing the work. Ahhh, relief! Let go of your failings and let God take over and do the work!
- Just when Elijah couldn’t take the pressure anymore, God provided an assistant for him. Thank God for His grace to us! Take some time to thank God for His goodness in your life. In what ways has He brought relief or support to you?
You can investigate a few interesting points related to this account:
- In 1 Kings 19:15-16, God asked Elijah to anoint three people. In fact, he only physically anointed one of them: Elisha. Later, Elisha actually anointed Hazael king over Aram and Jehu king over Israel. The most common interpretation is that these were extensions of Elijah’s anointing. A less common interpretation, but a possibility nonetheless, is that the lack of anointing was disobedience on Elijah’s part.
- The number of pairs of oxen as 12 could be interpreted as significant. For example, Elijah built the altar on Mount Carmel using 12 stones, “one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob” (1 Kings 18:31).
- There are also some interpretations about the fact that Elisha was plowing the 12th pair. You could go all sorts of directions with this. At the very least, it shows us Elisha’s already-servant heart.
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