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The Call of Elisha - Part 2

22nd May 2015

A few weeks ago, we looked at this story:

1 Kings 19v19
So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him.
Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. "Let me kiss my father and mother good-bye," he said, "and then I will come with you."
"Go back," Elijah replied. "What have I done to you?" So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the ploughing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.

We've already looked at various aspects of this passage, but surely its most important application is what it says about the call that we receive to become a Christian - a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Many years ago, I was, so to speak, ploughing my own field just like Elisha (although my "field" was computer software). I wasn't really interested in the kingdom of God. Sometimes, I laughed at Christians. Sometimes, I abused Christ's holy name. I avoided church as much as possible. I never read the Bible. I just got on with my life, doing my job and providing for my family. Like Elijah, Christ threw His cloak over me. He let me know that He wanted me to be His disciple, His companion, His servant.

And if you're a Christian, there was a day when He threw His cloak over you (although this experience is much more dramatic for some of us than for others).

If Elijah symbolises Jesus Christ, and Elisha symbolises you and me, then it seems to me that the cloak symbolises the Holy Spirit. When God met you in Christ Jesus, He poured out His Holy Spirit over you. He made you alive in a whole new way, made you completely different. Just as Elisha went from ploughman to prophet, you and I have been changed from servants of darkness into servants of God, from people of this world into people of God's eternal kingdom. We are now stamped with His identity. We're learning to be like Christ, as Elisha learnt to be like Elijah.

As I wrote the last time we looked at this passage, the question is: Have we cooked our oxen yet?

Have we said goodbye to our old life completely, so we can live in our new life completely? Have we destroyed all our old security, our old way of living, in order to find our security in Christ, and live in Him?

2 Corinthians 5v17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come!

Have we thrown away everything that pertains to the old person, so we can be completely free to be the new person that God wants to make us?