Daily Thought for: 14th June

ELISHA’S CALL

1 Kings 19. 19-21

Elisha was ploughing when he was called by Elijah. God does not call to His service those who love their ease. Moses was keeping sheep, Exod. 3. 1, Gideon was threshing corn, Judg. 6. 11, Elisha was ploughing, v. 19, the disciples were mending nets, Matt. 4. 21, and Matthew was at the seat of custom, Mark 2. 14. God calls into His service those who are faithful in the everyday duties of life and the service of Christ has no room for idlers. 

Elisha was a farmer in a big way for he was ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen. He must have had labourers working with him. When he decided to follow Elijah he relinquished good prospects; a sacrifice was involved. What God wants are those who are ready to follow the path of His beloved Son who ‘sold all that He had’, Matt. 13. 45, 46. For Elisha it also meant breaking away from home and natural ties; cf. Luke 9. 59, 60; Matt. 10. 37; Luke 14. 26. He had one petition only—he would take leave of his parents and receive their blessing, and then he would follow. Elijah agrees, but Elisha must return soon, considering the greatness of the project before him. The exigencies of the divine call supersede human duties. 

The Lord Jesus also called men to follow Him, Matt. 4. 18-21; John. 1. 43; Matt. 8. 19-22. Here the difference between the Master and the servant is apparent. The Lord’s call to immediate obedience is more peremptory than that of Elijah. He commands directly, ‘Follow Me’, whilst Elijah suggests it by the symbolic action of his cloak. The Lord allows of no delay even to perform the last duties to a parent’s memory, whereas Elijah allowed Elisha to take farewell of his parents before entering upon the prophetic life. The greater urgency of the Lord is proportional to His unspeakably higher and more imperative claim, and to the essential difference between the person of the prophet and the Redeemer. Elisha’s response was wholehearted. Like Levi he celebrated his call by a feast, Luke 5. 29. In so doing he destroyed the temptation to go back to his former life. Just as the disciples left nets and boats, so he slays ‘a yoke’ of the oxen with which he has been ploughing, makes the feast for his friends, and then leaves all to become the servant of Elijah. 

 

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