Tuesday – October 29, 2019 – Passing the Mantle
1 Kings 19:16-17, 19-21 (NIV) Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu.
19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”
“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”
21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
Elijah was not only a prophet of God; he was also a miracle worker. He accomplished things that without the intervention and direction of God would never have been accomplished. Life would have been wonderful for him if it wasn’t for fickle people. He served in a nation where the citizens had two opposing opinions. They wavered one day to the next whether they should serve God or the Ba’als. There were some devout people who served only God, but they were in the minority.
He was a man of conflict, not just with those who rebelled against God; but also, within himself. There were times when he took on the enemy where the odds were astronomical against him. He did outrageous things to antagonize his opponents only to gain the victory. (Read 1Kings 18:16-40). He once outraced a chariot to a destination. However, even after a great victory, he would cower in fear and flee for his life when threatened. He became depressed to the point that he wanted to die. He was able to display God’s power in front of King Ahab, a renowned warrior, only to recoil and retreat at the threat of a woman. He was so fearful of God, he thought he was going to die. Ancient Hebrews feared that if they ever saw the countenance of God, they would die. When God encountered him on Mount Carmel, he saw an awesome display of power. There were great winds and fire, even an earthquake. God wasn’t speaking to him through those events, he was only getting his attention. He spoke to him with a gentle whisper. There’s nothing like a soft answer to calm a distressed person. See 1 Kings 19:13. When God called him out of his hiding place, he covered his head with his cloak so he would not see God and die, or at least that is what he feared.
When God spoke to him, He questioned what he was doing there. He sent Elijah back the way he came on a mission that would play out in the future. He was to appoint the next King of Aram, the next King of Israel and his successor, Elisha.
When he met Elisha, he wrapped his cloak around him and called him to come alongside him for training. He was cautious in his assignment because he knew what challenges awaited him. He knew that Elisha would have to face and overcome the same obstacles he had overcome. What Elisha did next is frightening and heartening. He left no lane of retreat. He gave up his previous life with abandon. He was all in; ready to take on the enemies of God.
Prayer: Lord, help me to leave no lane of retreat from Your call on my life. I want to be brave, but sometimes I’m not and that is when You strengthen me.