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Title: The Call of God to Old Testament Characters


1
The Call of God to Old Testament Characters
2
Lesson 10
3
Lesson TextI Kings 1919-20
I Kings 1919-20 19 So he departed thence, and
found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing
with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with
the twelfth and Elijah passed by him, and cast
his mantle upon him.
4
Lesson TextI Kings 1919-20
20 And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah,
and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and
my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he
said unto him, Go back again for what have I
done to thee?
5
Lesson TextI Kings 1921
I Kings 1921 ?And he returned back from him, and
took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled
their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and
gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he
arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered
unto him.
6
Lesson TextII Kings 211-13
II Kings 211-13 11 And it came to pass, as they
still went on, and talked, that, behold, there
appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire,
and parted them both asunder and Elijah went up
by a whirlwind into heaven.
7
Lesson TextII Kings 211-13
12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my
father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen
thereof. And he saw him no more and he took hold
of his own clothes, and rent them in two
pieces. 13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah
that fell from him, and went back, and stood
by the bank of Jordan.
8
Focus VerseI Kings 1916
I Kings 1916And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt
thou anoint to be king over Israel and Elisha
the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou
anoint to be prophet in thy room.
9
Focus Thought
God makes long-range plans for our lives that
include choosing our successors.
10
I. God Controls Our Future
Culture Connection Timing Is Everything
Recently, I was thinking about the importance of
timing in life, especially with regard to the
continuing ministry of the church. Whatever God
has called a person to do within His church, the
timing of ones entry into that ministry, as well
as his or her departure, is vital. Further, one
must plan for both that departure and for
recognizing the God-appointed successor to
continuing that ministry effectively.
11
I. God Controls Our Future
In my contemplation, I discovered the website
everythingistiming.com. On the introductory page
to that site, Wayne Warrington writes,
Throughout our lives we spend way more time
thinking about where we have been than where we
are going. Do you find yourself sitting in
contemplation at times wondering What If! What
if I had chosen this path vs. the one I am on?
What if I had made this change, married this
person, finished my degree, left that job? .
. .
12
I. God Controls Our Future
For several years, I have focused on Timing is
Everything when in fact a truer statement may be
Timing is Everything when you ACT! When you
take action! When you remember that the past no
longer exists in life, it is just what it
is....The Past! Try living your future, one day
at a time, one step at a time, one action at a
time. Leave your past in the hands of God and
focus on the future, continuing to give your best
both in plans and action for continuing ministry
within the church.
13
I. God Controls Our Future
Contemplating the Topic
The call of God on His children and the work of
God are two very important and long-lasting
aspects of the kingdom. They do not cease at the
close of one mans ministry, but they continue on
in the heart and life of a successor. In these
troubling times as we rapidly approach the
catching away of the Bride, the smooth
continuance of the work of the Lord is of
paramount importance.
14
Transparency 1
15
I. God Controls Our Future
The baton of responsibility must be handed
carefully to a successor. The person responsible
to execute this transferring of the mantle should
not take it lightly, but prayerfully and
seriously. The ministry of Jesus was to train
men who would continue the work of the Kingdom
after their upper room experience. Jesus took
time and effort to mentor men who were already
busy in the growing and demanding work of the
Lord.
16
Matthew 51-2
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a
mountain and when he was set, his disciples came
unto him and he opened his mouth, and taught
them (Matthew 51-2).
17
I. God Controls Our Future
The successor who assumes responsibility for the
work of the Lord can become stabilized in his new
venture through prayer, study, and the help of a
mentor.
18
I. God Controls Our Future
Searching The Scriptures God Controls Our Future
The psalmist David expressed the sentiments of
the heart of a man of God Teach me to do thy
will for thou art my God thy spirit is good
lead me into the land of uprightness (Psalm
14310). It is a privilege to place ones future
in Gods hands.
19
A. God Decides When Our Work Is Finished
  1. God Decides When Our Work Is Finished

One of the most difficult decisions one in
ministry will face is when to pass the mantle of
responsibility to his successor. It requires
proper discernment to know when it is time to
step back and allow another to step forward, and
it requires foresight since the leader must
prepare his successor in advance of the
transition. Moreover, it requires spiritual
sensitivity since it ultimately is the Lord who
chooses successors.
20
I. God Controls Our Future
When Moses perceived that his responsibility of
leading the people of Israel would soon come to a
close, he charged Joshua, his successor Be
strong and of a good courage for thou shalt
bring the children of Israel into the land which
I sware unto them and I will be with thee
(Deuteronomy 3123). And Joshua the son of Nun
was full of the spirit of wisdom for Moses had
laid his hands upon him and the children of
Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord
commanded Moses (Deuteronomy 349).
21
I. God Controls Our Future
The Lord also powerfully confirmed Joshuas new
responsibility. Now after the death of Moses . .
. the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun,
Moses minister, saying, Moses my servant is
dead now therefore arise, go over this Jordan,
thou, and all this people. . . . There shall not
any man be able to stand before thee all the days
of thy life as I was with Moses, so I will be
with thee I will not fail thee, nor forsake
thee (Joshua 11-2, 5).
22
I. God Controls Our Future
In his letter to Timothy, Paul made it clear
that his own ministry was drawing to a close I
have fought a good fight, I have finished my
course, I have kept the faith (II Timothy 47).
He issued a charge to this young minister whom he
referred to as my own son in the faith (I
Timothy 12). I charge thee therefore before
God, and the Lord Jesus Christ . . . Preach the
word be instant in season, out of season
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering
and doctrine. . . .
23
I. God Controls Our Future
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions,
do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of
thy ministry (II Timothy 41-2, 5).
24
B. God Chooses Our Successor
  1. God Chooses Our Successor

God sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint
the next king of Israel. This king would accede
to the throne of Saul who had reigned forty years.
25
I Samuel 1611-12
And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy
children? And he said, There remaineth yet the
youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And
Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him for
we will not sit down till he come hither. And he
sent, and brought him in. . . . And the LORD
said, Arise, anoint him for this is he.
26
I Samuel 1613
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed
him in the midst of his brethren and the spirit
of the LORD came upon David from that day
forward (I Samuel 1611-13).
27
I. God Controls Our Future
Some onlookers are surprised when they see whom
the Lord chooses to step into the position of
leadership. The family of Jesse certainly did not
believe God would choose the youngest son to be
the next king of Israel. Jesse himself apparently
thought Samuel would choose one of his three
eldest sons. The possibility the prophet would
choose his youngest son was so remote he did not
even send for David when Samuel asked to see
all of Jesses sons.
28
I. God Controls Our Future
It is often difficult for us when God overrules
our idea of whom the successor should be.
29
Romans 1133-34
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and
knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his
judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who
hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been
his counsellor? (Romans 1133-34).
30
Isaiah 559
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so
are my ways higher than your ways, and my
thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 559).
31
I. God Controls Our Future
Gods choice will always be the one who will
bring the greatest benefit to the kingdom of God.
32
A. Elijah Was Known in Israel
God Gave Elijah a Ministry of Miracles
  1. Elijah Was Known in Israel

Elijahs ministry spanned the reigns of Ahab and
Ahaziah. As a spokesman of God, Elijahs first
mission was to confront King Ahab and announce an
impending drought. As the Lord God of Israel
liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be
dew nor rain these years, but according to my
word (I Kings 171).
33
I. God Controls Our Future
Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel had slain many
of the prophets of Jehovah and troubled Israel
by diverting their worship to Baal, thus reaping
the judgment of God. Three years later as the
land baked like pottery in a kiln, Elijah stepped
up to Ahab who said with scorn, Art thou he that
troubleth Israel? (I Kings 1817). Even before
Elijah uttered a word, his very presence galled
Ahab who blamed the prophet for the drought.
34
I. God Controls Our Future
Without fear or favor, Elijah countered that
Ahab and the kings who had preceded him were the
troublers of Israel. Their wickedness and
idolatry had incurred the drought. Elijah
challenged the king to arrange a confrontation
between the prophet of God and the prophets of
Baal.
35
I. God Controls Our Future
Recipients of the words of a true prophet do not
always appreciate or even believe them. However,
on Mount Carmel when Jehovah answered by fire,
the people fell on their faces and cried, The
Lord, he is the God (I Kings 1839). Although
Ahab resisted doing so, the people acknowledged
the leadership and authority of the true God and
his prophet Elijah.
36
B. Elijah Was Honored by God
  1. Elijah Was Honored by God

During the drought God had instructed Elijah to
go to Zarephath and reside with a widow who would
provide for him. This seemed illogical with no
one to scratch out a crop from the hard-baked
earth and with the meal barrel nearly empty, this
lady and her son thought they had reached their
final days of existence. Elijah arrived on the
scene and asked the woman to bake a cake for him
before making the last one for herself and
her son.
37
I Kings 1713-15
Elijah said unto her, Fear not . . . make me
thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto
me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For
thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of
meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of
oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth
rain upon the earth. And she went and did
according to the saying of Elijah and she, and
he, and her house, did eat many days (I Kings
1713-15).
38
I. God Controls Our Future
This unnamed widow found that when she honored
the prophet of God and the work of God, the
provider and giver of life Himself remembered her
in her hour of need, even after her son became
gravely ill and died. She did not accept his
death. If God could miraculously feed her and her
son throughout the famine, He also could help her
now. She went to Elijah who prayed, O Lord my
God, I pray thee, let this childs soul come into
him again (I Kings 1721). God restored her
son to life and health.
39
I. God Controls Our Future
On Mount Carmel when Elijah confronted the 450
prophets of Baal, the people crowded around to
watch. Before any preliminaries, Elijah plunged
into his reason for challenging Baal. He demanded
of the people, How long halt ye between two
opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him but if
Baal, then follow him (I Kings 1821). When the
people did not answer, Elijah pitted Baals power
against the power of Jehovah. They would see
which deity answered by fire.
40
I. God Controls Our Future
The prophets of Baal built an altar and cried all
day to their god. They cut and contorted
themselves, prophesied, and leaped upon the altar
to no avail. At the time of the evening
sacrifice Elijah called a halt to the
foolishness. He invited the people to come closer
while he repaired the altar of the Lord and
placed on it the sacrifice. He asked that the
altar, the sacrifice, and the wood be soaked with
water. Elijah offered a simple prayer.
41
Transparency 2
42
I. God Controls Our Future
Divine fire swooped down and ignited the
sacrifice. It consumed everything the sacrifice,
the wood, the altar, and the dust, and even
licked up the water in the trench at the base of
the altar. The people bowed to the earth and
exclaimed, The Lord he is the God! (I Kings
1839). God honored Elijah by answering his
prayer for fire, and shortly after, for rain.
43
III. Gods Call Requires Sacrifice
Gods Call Requires Sacrifice
So Elijah departed thence, and found Elisha
the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve
yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth
and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle
upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after
Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my
father and my mother, and then I will follow
thee. And he said unto him, Go back again for
what have I done to thee?
44
I. God Controls Our Future
And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of
oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with
the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the
people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went
after Elijah, and ministered unto him (I Kings
1919-21).
45
A. Elisha Burned His Plow
  1. Elisha Burned His Plow

The call of God requires sacrifice. Elisha was
willing to sever the past to ensure the success
of the future. A person cannot receive the mantle
and be an effective servant if he will not let go
of ties to the past. It is hard to pack up the
tent to follow the Lord if the tent stakes are
embedded too deep.
46
I. God Controls Our Future
For example, Lot at first merely pitched his
tent toward Sodom. Then he moved his family into
Sodom. Just before God rained down fire and
brimstone on the wicked city, the angels had to
drag the family of Lot away to safety. His wife,
who could not pull her heartstrings away from the
city, looked back. God judged her by transforming
her into a pillar of salt.
47
I. God Controls Our Future
Following the call of God and becoming a
successor requires much more than a casual
commitment. Just as casual commitments did not
suffice in Elishas day, they will not please God
in these last days. We need men and women who are
sold out, totally committed to the cause and
willing to separate from their past so they can
focus on their future in the work of the Lord.
Burning our plows in this twenty-first century
is not a popular subject.
48
I. God Controls Our Future
We cling to the successes of yesterday, but we
find the weight of them bogs down the success of
the future. The Bible is clear Let us lay
aside every weight, and the sin which doth so
easily beset us, and let us run with patience the
race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus
the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews
121-2).
49
I. God Controls Our Future
Moses left his sheep to become the one to lead
the people of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.
Peter left his boats and his business to become
the speaker at the inauguration of the church on
the Day of Pentecost. The Lord honors individuals
who are willing to sacrifice on behalf of the
kingdom of God.
50
B. Elisha Traded His Inheritance
  1. Elisha Traded His Inheritance

So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son
of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of
oxen before him, and he with the twelfth and
Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon
him (I Kings 1919).
51
I. God Controls Our Future
Dictionary.com describes the word inheritance as
something that is or may be inherited property
passing at the owners death to the heir or those
entitled to succeed legacy. The word also
implies the act or fact of inheriting by
succession, as if by succession, or genetically
to receive property by inheritance. Until
Elijah appeared, Elisha thought his future lay in
the farming business.
52
I. God Controls Our Future
Apparently his father was well-to-do, judging by
the number of oxen that pulled Elishas plow. As
the young man worked in the field, Elijah
approached and cast his mantle over Elishas
shoulders. This act placed Elisha at a crossroads
since it signified that the old prophet was
transferring his power and authority to Elisha.
The younger man had to choose whether to stay and
work the farm with his father or to sacrifice his
inheritance and follow in the footsteps of
Elijah.
53
C. Elisha Gave Up His Family
  1. Elisha Gave Up His Family

This decision must have pulled at his
heartstrings. He asked Elijah to give him a
little time so he could go home to kiss his
mother and father and say proper goodbyes. Then
he would quickly join the old prophet.
According to the customs of the East, this was
a reasonable request. History reveals that
oriental farewells sometimes occupied several
days.
54
I. God Controls Our Future
The prophet Elijah permitted Elisha a brief
opportunity to bid farewell to his family. They
provided a feast and butchered a yoke of oxen,
using Elishas wooden plowing equipment to build
a fire to simmer the meat. After everyone had
feasted, Elisha reported to Elijah and began
ministering unto him.
55
I. God Controls Our Future
Jesus said, Every one that hath forsaken
houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or
mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my
names sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and
shall inherit everlasting life (Matthew 1929).
The Lord calls for total commitment in His
servants. Jesus confirmed this when he declared,
No man, having put his hand to the plough, and
looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God
(Luke 962).
56
I. God Controls Our Future
We can only imagine the mixed feelings of
Elishas family as they watched him go. They
would miss their beloved son but felt privileged
that he would be ministering to Elijah. As
parents and leaders in this end-time church, the
most important thing for which we could ask is
that our children walk in truth in His perfect
will for the advancement of the work of the Lord.
57
A. Elishas Values Were Correct
God Honored Elishas Request
  1. Elishas Values Were Correct

And it came to pass, when they were gone over,
that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do
for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And
Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of
thy spirit be upon me (II Kings 29).
58
I. God Controls Our Future
Elisha traveled with Elijah for a short period
of time, during which he witnessed the Lord
working miraculously through Elijah. This
inspired Elisha to desire the same anointing of
God upon his own life, and he asked for a double
portion of Elijahs spirit. It is not wrong to
desire good things from the Lord. Paul instructed
us to covet earnestly the best gifts (I
Corinthians 1231).
59
I. God Controls Our Future
Elijah said to his successor, Thou hast asked a
hard thing nevertheless, if thou see me when I
am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee but
if not, it shall not be so (II Kings 210). With
such a promise, one can be sure that Elisha made
up his mind to stick to Elijahs side like a bur.
It seemed Elijah tried to discourage the
fulfillment of Elishas desire. Elijah said unto
Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee for the Lord
hath sent me to Beth-el.
60
I. God Controls Our Future
And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and
as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So
they went down to Beth-el (II Kings 22). But
Elisha was not deterred easily. Ruth showed the
same kind of determination when Naomi urged her
to return to Moab. Ruth said, Entreat me not to
leave thee, or to return from following after
thee for whither thou goest, I will go and
where thou lodgest, I will lodge thy people
shall be my people, and thy God my God
61
I. God Controls Our Future
where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be
buried the Lord do so to me, and more also, if
aught but death part thee and me (Ruth 116-17).
We should endeavor to follow our Master
closely. Opportunities to quit may arise, and at
times we might even want to. Certainly, Elijah
gave Elisha several opportunities to step aside.
Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow
Him. We must always keep our Master within our
scope of vision. We cannot afford to lose sight
of the blessing of eternity.
62
B. Elishas Vision Was Clear
  1. Elishas Vision Was Clear

And it came to pass, as they still went on, and
talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of
fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both
asunder and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into
heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My
father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the
horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more and he
took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in
two pieces (II Kings 211-12).
63
I. God Controls Our Future
The two prophets had just crossed the Jordan
when suddenly a chariot of fire caught Elijah
away. Elisha had never seen anything as glorious
as the fiery horses and chariot ascending to
Heaven on a whirlwind. He bent to pick up the
mantle that had fallen from the prophet and
surely he must have stood there holding it,
sensing the incredible anointing of God on his
life.
64
C. Elishas Victory Was Certain
  1. Elishas Victory Was Certain

He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell
from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of
Jordan . . . and smote the waters, and said,
Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also
had smitten the waters, they parted hither and
thither and Elisha went over (II Kings 213-14).
65
I. God Controls Our Future
When Elisha prayed, Where is the Lord God of
Elijah? he was asking God to affirm his
appointment as the successor of Elijah. He strode
immediately to the waters to test the mantle and
when he struck the waters, they rolled back (II
Kings 214). This began a miracle ministry in the
life of Elisha. The church of today must feel
the weight of the mantle of the Holy Spiritnot
to flaunt it as a showpiece, but to use it to
further the kingdom of God.
66
I. God Controls Our Future
Paul declared to the church at Ephesus, Now unto
him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above
all that we ask or think, according to the power
that worketh in us (Ephesians 320). The sons
of the prophets recognized immediately the spirit
of Elijah on Elisha.
67
II Kings 215
And when the sons of the prophets which were to
view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of
Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet
him, and bowed themselves to the ground before
him (II Kings 215).
68
I. God Controls Our Future
Internalizing the Message
Elisha determined that the call of God on his
life was more important than position or power.
He would make himself available to serve Elijah,
performing every task as the prophet asked. When
the mantle of Elijah fell upon the young prophet,
God used him in performing twice as many miracles
as Elijah.
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