Summary: The proper way to respond to God when He is calling you to serve Him.
EMBRACING GOD’S CALL
What will you do with your life? That’s a mind-blowing question. As a graduating senior, it is like a freight train coming at you in a tunnel. Don’t fret, though, because it’s good practice for you. It seems I’ve spent most of my life in front of that freight train bearing down on me.
1. ANSWERING GOD’S CALL.
A. The Call.
1 Kings 19:19 So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.
* In vs 16, God had instructed Elijah to anoint Elisha the farmer to be the next prophet in the land, but God had not yet told Elisha.
* Elisha is a farmer, not a preacher. He’s doing what farmers do. He is plowing in the field. Working hard. Minding his own business. Who is this hairy man that walks by and throws his coat on Elisha’s back? Elisha knew full well. Elijah the Prophet was known by all.
* Elisha immediately knew what it meant. God was anointing him to go and serve Him and Elijah.
B. The Commitment.
1 Kings 19:20 He left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?”
Elisha’s commitment is immediate. Let me go and kiss my family good-bye. I am going with you! No doubting. No struggling. God has called, I am answering God’s call.
C. The Sacrifice.
1 Kings 19:21 So he returned from following him, and took the pair of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the implements of the oxen, and gave it to the people and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah and ministered to him.
Elisha slaughtered his oxen and offered them on a fire made from his plowing equipment. He was not going back, only forward with Elijah.
** Burn the Ships. In 1519, Hernando Cortez took 600 men to Mexico with plans to conquer the Aztec nation that had a multitude of soldiers. Cortez, though, was committed to conquer them and take their gold. He knew the men would be afraid and likely to run away, so he burned all their ships so they had no place to run. They would either attack and conquer or they would all be killed.
If you are going to be successful in your life, it requires that same kind of commitment.
(1) Realize what the call of your life is all about.
(2) Commit yourself to do what is necessary to accomplish that call.
(3) Burn the ships. Determine what God’s will is and forsake everything else to see it thru.
2. SEEKING GOD’S ANOINTING.
We pick up Elisha’s story in 2 Kings 2. He has been serving Elijah for about 7 years. Elijah’s ministry is winding down and he has been training Elisha to take his place. Now, the time has come for Elijah to leave and Elisha to take over.
A. Obstacles to Ministry.
2 Kings 2:1-8 1 And it came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here please, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 3 Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” And he said, “Yes, I know; be still.”
4 Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. 5 The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be still.” 6 Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” And he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on.
7 Now fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.