(August 04, 2022) S. Sam Selva Raj challenges Christians to determine their destiny…
Everyone has a unique calling from God; He leads each of us in different ways. Our callings may be different – but the decisions we make determine our destination.
Take Elijah and Elisha for example… and Gehazi, Elisha’s helper.
God called Elijah to serve as His prophet, and to challenge an evil king (1 Kings 17:1). His decision not to hold back determined his destination.
God’s choice is not necessarily based on one’s educational qualifications, financial standing or family background. Elijah’s qualification was that he was always ready to listen to God’s voice and do what He said.
Now Ahab, Israel’s king, was eviler than any king before him. He had God’s people worshipping Baal, a pagan god (I Kings 16:30-32)!
But God dealt with him through Elijah who was –
Someone whose faith on God was very great, Elijah didn’t fear the consequences of presenting the Lord’s word to this evil king.
Boldly he declared: ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word’ (1 Kings 17:1).
And, just as he prophesied there was no rain for three and a half years!
Then God told Elijah, ‘Leave here… and hide in the Cherith Ravine’ (I Kings 17:2-3). Obediently Elijah went there and as the Lord promised, ravens miraculously brought him bread and meat in the morning and evening (v 4-7).
Eventually the brook there dried up because of no rain but again God guided Elijah: ‘Arise, go to Zarephath… stay there with a widow.’ Elijah obeyed to this command also. There he didn’t lack provision as God worked miracles through him… the widow’s baking needs of flour and oil never dried up, and when her son died, Elijah restored him to life (1 Kings 17:15-24)!
God then sent Elijah to Mount Carmel before Ahab, hundreds of pagan-worshipping false prophets, and all Israel (1 Kings 18:18-39). There Elijah challenged, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him, but if Baal, follow him.’
When there was no response he dauntlessly issued another challenge to those false prophets… to prepare a bull sacrifice to their god but not set fire to the wood, that he’d do the same… to his God.
Then he boldly dared them, ‘Call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire – he is God’ (v24).
Those prophets were to call on Baal from morning until the evening sacrifice hour. They danced around the altar, shouting so loud, slashing themselves, blood flowing, and frantically prophesying. But there was never a response, no god answered (v 28-29).
Then, verse 30ff, Elijah challenged all the people over to the Lord’s altar which had been torn down. Repairing it, and making a trench around it, he added wood.
Boldly he dared four full waterpots be poured on his sacrifice and the wood, not once but thrice! Water ran all around the altar, filling the trench!
Then Elijah prayed, ‘Lord… let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command’ (v36).
Fire of the Lord fell, burning up sacrifice and wood, and also licking up the water in the trench! When the people saw this, they fell prostrate, crying, ‘The Lord – He is God!’ Elijah proved before the half-minded people of Israel that the Lord is God, and they killed the false prophets of Baal (v38-39).
The prophet’s heart in all this? That… ‘these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again’ (v37).
In our day, not every servant of God honours Him as Elijah did. When miracles happen, or a prophetic word is fulfilled, we observe certain ministries making it a business, claiming that it happened by their prayer, and no glory is given to God.
Let us remember it is God who works miracles, not some ‘minister’ alone.
Elijah met Elisha while he was working and threw his cloak around him, anointing and calling him! Elisha farewelled family, affluence, and friends to follow Elijah, having decided to be his attendant (I Kings 19:19-21).
Training under Elijah would have been tough, very humbling! But after Elijah was taken up to heaven, Elisha became a great miracle-working prophet.
Whoever willingly commits to hard work can become a good servant of God. Nothing great can be achieved by people who refuse to submit to such… and to right activities.
People who think they are greatly sacrificing to God by attending Sunday services only won’t become great servants of God. Elisha became one with the person who called him to ministry. He was –
While ministering in Gilgal, Elijah suddenly told Elisha, ‘Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel.’
Elisha, definite in his resole not to leave his mentor, responded ‘No’ (2 Kings 2:4,6). He followed Elijah wherever he went –to Bethel, to Jericho, to Jordan. In all these places, Elijah suggested his right-hand man stay behind, but Elisha wouldn’t, not even for a little while. Where Elisha went, he went!
At Jordan, Elijah intended crossing over the river alone. Elisha insisted that he cross the river too. His determination to stick close to his leader meant that he was always learning, always experiencing the miraculous God in action… such as what happened next.
Elijah rolled up his cloak and struck the water with it. The river divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over (v8)!
Then Elijah, who knew that he would be leaving this world, said to Elisha, ‘Tell me, what I may do for you before I am taken from you.’
Elisha decided, ‘Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit’ but was told: ‘You have asked a difficult thing… yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours – otherwise not’ (v9).
Believing and expecting, Elijah stayed close! Verse 11 records: ‘As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.’
Elisha lamented his leader’s departure, but he had done what Elijah told him… he had stayed close and witnessed the prophet’s rapturous exodus! And now he picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and headed back to the Jordan river (v12-13).
Though Elisha had been tested many times by his leader’s words, he was determined, never disheartened.
God is able to help those who suffer… whatever that suffering may be. They will never be put to shame. You may think that something in your life should never have happened. Or that your prayers seem unanswered; days and money are spent for nothing. That although you have served the Lord, everything seems to be headed for a failure. You may even question, ‘Is there really a God?’
Are you disheartened? Don’t lose heart; be brave. God will surely perform an unexpected miracle in your life! Although situations may change, our Lord doesn’t! Although when Elijah was taken away, and Elisha had cried, he didn’t lose faith or hope. He didn’t neglect his anointing or calling!
Elisha could have thought that instead of his requested double portion he got only Elijah’s cloak. But he was determined to take that shawl whole-heartedly! Back at the Jordan, he struck the water with that cloak as Elijah had – and the river divided, and he crossed over (v14)!
No wonder when he reached the nearby company of prophets, they proclaimed, ‘The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.’
How is your attitude towards God’s answers to your prayers? Sometimes we pray and expect an answer as our mind dictates – but God answers His way, and we must be prepared to accept how He works things out! Follow your leader’s examples and journey on with God.
Though Elisha would perform more miracles than his spiritual father, he remained humble and faithful to God, even denying monetary gain. Be determined as Elisha was.
Gehazi was Elisha’s servant… but not a particularly good role model for anyone who would be a servant of Jesus! He was –
2 Kings 5 tells of one of the miracles worked through Elisha… healing Naaman, a great Syrian army commander who had leprosy.
Receiving his miraculous healing after washing seven times in the Jordan river, a happy Naaman confessed to the prophet, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.’
Elisha had answered, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.’ Looking on, Gehazi was desirous of what Elisha had refused.
Gehazi thought, ‘My master has not received anything from Naaman. I will run after him and take something from him. So Gehazi pursued Naaman and lied, saying that Elisha had asked for help: “Just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the mountains of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of garments.”’
A grateful Naaman insisted on him having two talents of silver along with the clothing. When Gehazi got back home, he stored them.
When he went into his master, Elisha asked, ‘Where did you go, Gehazi?’ Telling yet another lie, Gehazi said, ‘Your servant did not go anywhere.’
But Elisha knew what his servant had done and told him, chastising Gehazi for acquiring money and goods for himself, especially as God had worked the miracle.
Sadly Gehazi was struck with disease when the prophet pronounced, ‘“Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you…” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous’(V27).
Ruined by greed, Gehazi was no longer Elisha’s servant, nor one of God’s servants.
Who is your role model?
Personally, I want to become like Elisha. I greatly desire an anointing like his, so that I may be doubly blessed and lead a victorious life in this world.
Are you called to serve the Lord? Choose a nearby worthy mentor and learn from that leader, even if it means hard work.
If encountering problems yet achieving much through God’s power, glorify the Lord! There are some servants of God today, instead of Bibles and gospel tracts in their bags have only promotional papers for some ‘pet project.’
When we fulfil our ministry in an honest way, we need not have doubts about meeting our expenses. The Lord who called us is faithful, never letting His children down. He won’t ignore any of His ministries. But He will observe the motive behind our activities.
- Are you , like Elijah and Elisha, living a faith of life, obeying God, moving in your calling whether it’s great or small, seeking God’s blessings and provision?
- Or like Gehazi, deceivingly collecting money in the name of some good work or ministry? If so, it’ll will lead to you losing out.
Future? Your destiny is determined by your decision!
Dr S Sam Selva Raj founded Echo of His Call Ministries, Chennai. For over 50 years he has established and overseen many community outreaches blessing thousands. (NOTE: This month celebrates the ministries’ 54th year). Ably assisted by son Alex Samson Raj are the Chennai church, Nehemiah Bible College, St Paul’s Matriculation School, Echo of His Call – India’s National Spiritual Newspaper printed monthly in 16 languages, and post/online Bible correspondence and theological courses. Links: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com