This Earthen Vessel

When Elijah disappears mysteriously from planet Earth, Elisha, his appointed successor, feels thrust into his new role prematurely.

During his mentoring period with Elijah, nothing could have prepared him for this moment. After all, this had been less about learning a trade or an art and more about being with a man, a prophet, at times an enigma, and with a growing understanding that the only thing that stood between him and Elijah was the presence and power of God.

Without God, Elisha was just another voice among many would be prophets in Israel.

In the years BC, those words “the Lord was with him” appears to have been a highly selective phenomenon, reserved mainly for kings and prophets who held and discharged this responsibility with varying degrees of competence and integrity.

The ‘double portion of Elijah’s spirit’ Elisha had begged for came in an unexpected way. Elisha’s anointing by God was born in grief. With a heavy heart, Elisha picks up Elijah’s garment, all that is left of his trusted father figure and spiritual guide after he has been taken up into Heaven in fire and whirlwind. Likely in some internal anger and emotional turmoil he ‘practices being prophet’ in the safe environment of solitude. A forlorn figure, feeling the weight of office and his own inadequacies, Elijah receives God’s anointing. No thundering words from Heaven or deputation of dignitaries was involved, just a simple, but joyful, realisation that God had given Elijah His power and His presence as he watched the waters of the Jordan part beneath his own hand and Elijah’s cloak.

Since Jesus’s times and because of Him, God’s presence and power is available to all Jesus followers. As it was with Elisha, God investing in human beings today carries privilege for us but risk for God. Within days of his anointing, God used Elisha to reverse a humanitarian disaster but immediately afterwards Elijah misuses God’s power to ‘curse’ some youths who were calling him names!

The world sees God primarily through the lives of Jesus followers. How are we presenting Him?

Acts of kindness, forgiveness and compassion to the poor?

Acts of kindness, forgiveness and compassion to our nearest and dearest?

Integrity of mind and heart in our workplace?

Integrity of mind and heart in our homes and individual lives?

Blessings or cursing?

Love or hatred?

Truth or lies?

Hypocrisy or Transparency?

No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. Brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be so.

James 3:8-10. English Standard Version (ESV)

 Rest assured, God won’t allow His name or His reputation to fall into disrepute. Following Jesus is a choice, an honour, a responsibility, a blessing, a privilege to hold reverently with both hands. If we won’t honour Jesus in our lives, others will.

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