Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's Tuesday!

Good morning peeps! (What does that mean anyway?)

It's Bible study time!! Every Tuesday morning I am going to post a passage and, through the comments, we will apply it together. This is just another way for us to push one another on to greater levels of obedience and service to Jesus.

Our very first passage is one that the Gs (General Superintendent) of the Wesleyan Church used in the ordination service at District Conference. It has stuck with me ever since He shared it. I am going to post just a couple verses but i recommend that you read not only the whole chapter, but the previous chapter as well to be able to pull as much meaning out as possible. Here are a couple of good resources for getting as much out of it as possible:

Inductive Bible Study Cheat Sheet

Same idea, different ministry site

There is plenty there to keep you busy for a long time. Too often we glaze over a passage and take the most obvious application (or the one we've always heard) and move on. So, let's take a week and let one passage really sink in, and see what we get from it. ok, here is the passage:

So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, "First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!" Elijah replied, "Go on back, but think about what I have done to you." So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.
(1Ki 19:19-21 NLT)

Ok, I'm anxious to hear your comments and applications - I better not hear crickets! I will add my thoughts on Friday.


charles said...

Good evening Peeps!

Elisha was working in the field. With the twelth team. We was working with his bare hands. In that day it probably was very hot, his hands most likely where bleeding from the driving of oxen, and I can only imagine how is back felt!
God comes to him thru Elijah for his replacement. Elijah and Elisha are an example of doing everything we can to remain in his will. God did not choose Elisha because of his education, as evidenced by his hard work in the field. It seems that this man did not even second guess his calling, but at the same time was willing to work the field if that is what God called him to do. Immediately Elisha drops what he is doing, wants to say goodbye to his parents, and radically amputates what he now knows is not Gods will for him. Ploughing the field physically should transform to plowing the field for Gods kingdom. The act of permantely destroying the labor of what used to be his life, has now become the old. He has been born into a new life in Gods field. My application is this:
If Gods calls us to work by the sweat and blood of our hands, or as an educated biblical scholar, or as a Dr., none of it matters unless I am willing, to listen to Gods call, drop everything that would interfere with that call, and follow him. So the next time I am influenced by worldly pressures (tv,movies,co-workers,commercials, etc) and I know that the influence of such would interfere with Gods call. Then those pressures should be left behind, not looking back, but looking forward at his call. Setting us apart for his kingdom.

Charles said...

One more thought, as I have mulled this over the last day or so.
When praying for direction from God, or having a willingness to follow him as a true set apart Christian, what would our choice be when the door to your prayer or calling is actually opened? Would we open the door and run thru it like Elisha, or would we hesitate, procranstinate and any other, "nate" that comes to mind.
May the Lord bless you,

john m said...

OK, I finally had a chance to look at some commentaries on 1King 19:19-20. They did shed some light on things for me.One point that I thought was interesting was that Elijah was the messenger but the call on Elisha was from God. Elijah ask him "what have I done to you?" Implying that it is not him he needs to answer to. Elijah then leaves not even waiting for Elisha, allowing him to make his decision without the pressure of Elijah standing over him.
Also interesting that the disciples in the new testament had similar response, they dropped everthing as Chas mentioned. Matthew also had a feast to celebrate. Elisha's initial call is to serve the prophet Elijah, not a very glamorous calling.

Phil said...

Good thoughts guys, thanks for participating. As a follow up to your second post, Charles, I wonder if many people even hear God's call because His voice is drowned out by the world in their lives.

The one thing that strikes me over everything is that Elijah destroys any chance of going back to his old life.

I think of those in our church that feel God's call to ministry. There are several, including Charles, who are mulling it over. These same people are in ministry already, serving in various areas of the church. Most of them are older, having worked in the world for several years now. Is the call to holy living as strong in them as their call to ministry is?

I don't take the application to mean that Charles should burn all the furniture in his store so that he can't go back again. Bi-vocational ministry is a good thing. For us, I think a more relevant application would be, have I left all of the world behind so that I can follow God and hear his voice and not be distracted?

I think that is what the church needs today - men and women who burn their bridges to the world as they answer the call to ministry. I could see how working along side people who don't give a rip about God or his ways would make it hard to be set apart yourself. You wouldn't have to change much to be better than they are. But God doesn't want just a little more of us than He has of them - He wants total consecration and obedience! It stinks, because we don't have many people leading the way for us in that department as an example, so it makes it easy to settle for less of a commitment. There aren't very many people pushing us to do what Elijah did. Are we willing to do it anyway?

Oh, and by the way by "burning bridges to the world" I don't mean cutting off contact - we know we are going to have to be in world to influence it.