ELISHA ACCEPTS GOD’S CALL
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Memory Verse: Ecclesiastes 12:1
Further Study: 1 Kings 19; 2 Kings 2; Prophets and Kings, 160-189, 217-237; The Bible Story, vol. 5, pp. 38-43, 55-65
Our family knows someone who is enthusiastically encouraging all the time. When my girls were in grade school, this individual became aware that one of them was unsure of something. The resulting response was: “YOU can do it. You CAN do it. You can DO it. You can do IT.” Since then, this has become a family saying. Whenever someone might be discouraged, someone will start the mantra, beginning with “YOU can do it. . . .” It generally brings either a smile or an eyeroll.
Elijah stood in victory against 850 false prophets and brought Israel back to God. Yet, when one woman, Jezebel, threatened his life, he ran. This was no small run. He ran toward the wilderness and after being refreshed by an angel, he ran another six weeks until he reached Horeb. God met him there and asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
God met him there and asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah gave God a direct answer—one that revealed a great amount of self-pity. God responded with His own version of “You can do it.” He presented wind, earthquake, and fire, and then a still small voice that brought Elijah to the mouth of the cave with his face covered as he sensed the presence of God. You would think everything had changed, but when God repeated the question, Elijah’s response was identical.
God didn’t leave Elijah there in the cave. He didn’t offer more reassurance. God simply put Elijah back to work. God would use Elijah in spite of his response. A relationship with God isn’t always found at the mountaintop, but sometimes in quiet reflection found from the darkness of a cave.
A relationship with God isn’t always found at the mountaintop, but sometimes in quiet reflection found from the darkness of a cave.
We all have challenges. We all get discouraged. We all at some point experience the feeling we’re the only one doing all the work. Yet the question lingers: “What are you doing here?” Are we following God’s leading, or are we running the other way? Are we doing what God has asked or are we focused so much on the problems, we’ve lost sight of God?
Elijah in the midst of running, was refreshed by an angel. Although God saw where Elijah was, including where he was going, He didn’t stop him. Instead, He sustained him. When Elijah arrived at Horeb (Sinai), he didn’t climb to the highest height, but hid in a cave. Yet God continued to call him. We may run from God. We may look to ourselves more than to Him, yet God doesn’t abandon us. God meets us where we are. When we listen to the still small voice, we will hear: “You can do it. I’m still here. Let’s go on together.”
Are you where God wants you to be? God is ready and waiting to refresh and renew as we journey together with Him.
Elijah called Elisha by throwing his mantle over Elisha’s shoulders. A mantle is a cloak typically made of coarse fabric like camel’s hair. This might be compared to a gifted conductor placing his baton into an ordinary musician’s hand. Or a famous surgeon placing a scalpel into the hand of a young resident. To have the cloak of Elijah placed upon your shoulders would not be unlike wearing someone else’s clothes. While the mantle would fit Elijah perfectly, the size and scope of all that it represented would be oversized as well as overwhelming.
The Hebrew word for “mantle” is aderet (ad-deh-reth). Its meaning goes beyond “mantle,” to include glory, splendor, magnificence, large, or wide. Thus, the overpowering feeling for Elisha is understandable. It would take years of mentorship by Elijah for Elisha to feel remotely comfortable in Elijah’s mantle.
Each of us also has a calling. Maybe it’s to teach, preach, raise children, or conduct business. The initial call may feel strange and unnatural. But as God leads us to where He has called, slowly the mantle thrown on our shoulders will fit and become comfortable so that we will represent Him in glory and splendor and magnificence.*
*This concept was originated by Jonathan Cahn, The Book of Mysteries, FrontLine Publishers, 1982, Day 201.
Making it Real
Think about your call. Can you remember the first time you recognized it? What have you learned since that time? Does your mantle fit better today than it did then?
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.