The Call of Elisha
“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. 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?’ 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.” (1 Kings 19:19-21)
Elijah, a prophet of God, was commanded to anoint several kings as well as anoint Elisha as his protégé and successor. Until that time, Elisha was a farmer plowing his family fields, driving a team of oxen behind the plow; just living his life. In an instant his life was transformed when Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. At that time a man’s cloak was a prized possession; it served as his protection from the weather and many other uses. However in this instance the cloak denoted the office of prophet. The act of Elijah covering Elisha with his cloak was to show that he would become Elijah’s successor. Elisha dropped what he was doing and ran after Elijah. But he stopped him and asked to be allowed to go back and say goodbye to his parents, to which Elijah agreed.
However, in addition to Elisha saying goodbye to his parents, he also took the time to kill the cows and burn the plow. Elisha knew the weight of Elijah’s cloak on him; He knew that he was being called by God for His purpose. He knew the weight of that mantle that would one day be placed on him.
He also knew that he could not fully commit to the call that God had placed on his life, if he did’n’t close out his old life. So he burned his old life. With nothing of his old life remaining, Elisha had no choice but to trust God with his future. With no plow and no cows, he had nothing to fall back on. Elisha knew that if he didn’t burn the plow and kill the cows that he wouldn’t be all in. He knew that he would always have something to fall back on in case the prophet of God thing didn’t work out the way that he thought it should. Without his cows and his plow, there is no turning back.
Do I have plows yet to burn? Do you?
Are there vices, habits, behaviors, memories, people, circumstances, immoralities or unrepentant sins that we continue to carry with us? Are there circumstances of our old life that continue to pre-occupy and consume our time and thoughts? If there are, then take them to the Cross. Ask Jesus to reveal the truths of these areas of your life that need forgiveness, wholeness, and healing. Then ask Him to guide you into repentance. Finally and gratefully receive His healing and forgiveness; and walk upright and unburdened in His Glory.
We can only burn our plows by completely cutting ties with our old life. We need to walk away from any toxic, sinful behavior, circumstances, and opportunities for our old fleshly behavior to once again rear its ugly head. Just as you cannot pour new wine into old wineskins…
You cannot fully embrace a new life in Christ while continuing to live in your old lifestyle.
Before you say, “but my sins were forgiven.” Yes, we receive our new life in Christ the moment we repent of our sins.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
We became a new creation in Him. Make no mistake… Yes you are a new creation and nothing can take that away. However, as my late-husband used to say… “You cannot live with one foot in the world and one in the Kingdom”.
Personally, I want more. I want to know – without a doubt – that I am walking in His divine will, firmly on the path He set for me. I want to know that I am doing all that He called me to do. I want to be all in. I want to leave no chance of backsliding. I don’t want my old life, habits, circumstances, or behaviors to ever have the chance to reappear. I am heaping all of them up onto my plow and setting it off in a blaze of glory.
At this metaphorical bonfire, I am closing the door on my old life.
There was a time in my life when I used to pray… “Lord, show me what You want me to do, tell me what You want me to say, show me where You want me to go and I will do, say and go where You tell me.” That sure sounded good. Rather pious I think. Sadly, I think that it was just words. Either that or I was so spiritually deaf that I never heard an answer. That makes me sad. My prayer now: Lord… I am Yours. My life is yours. Show me Your will.
I urge you to think about your own cows and plows. Have you burned them, or are they still tucked away in the barn just in case. Pray for guidance and He will show you your truth.