1 Kings 19:15-18
“And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
This is a very interesting passage of scripture. Now that the Lord has Elijah’s attention, he simply tells Elijah to get back to work. After all the drama that has transpired since Elijah ran away in fear from Jezebel, God simply gives Elijah a job to do. The Lord seems to be saying, “OK, are you done with the running away and feeling sorry for yourself? Good, because I have an assignment for you. Now, here’s what I want you to do …”
When we face adversity and difficulty, we often want answers. We want an explanation. We want to know why. But God’s response to Elijah’s situation teaches us something very important. The Lord doesn’t always tell us the why for what we are experiencing; sometimes He simply wants us to trust Him and do what He tells us to do.
Note also that the job God gives to Elijah involved intervening with political leaders: anointing Hazael to be king of Syria and Nimshi to be king of Israel. This would again expose Elijah to the wrath of these idolatrous kings. The Lord is sending Elijah back into the kind of environment that Elijah was seeking to escape!
This was a huge test of Elijah’s faith and courage.
The Lord does one other thing here: He gives Elijah a companion and successor. God tells Elijah to anoint Elisha to be prophet in his place. As we shall see, this succession — this transition of prophetic ministry from Elijah to Elisha — will be a process, not an event. Elijah would mentor Elisha for nearly ten years.
“So he departed from there …” (1 Kings 19.19)
Finally, Elijah gives up his self-centered fear and despondency. He departs the physical place, but more importantly he departs the spiritual and emotional place where he had allowed himself to get trapped. Elijah trusts God and goes back to work.
The Lord is calling. What is He calling you to do?