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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Elijah's Spirit of Obedience

Then take another scene in the life of Elijah, namely, his last journey in company with Elisha, the record of which we have in 2 Kings 2. Elijah said to Elisha, "Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me as far as Bethel." Elisha refused to remain and they went to Bethel. Again Elijah said, "Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho." Elisha again refused to be dismissed and they two went to Jericho. Then the same acts are repeated in the last step. Now in all that you have a further mark of Elijah's abandonment to the Lord's interests. He comes before us in the terms of a servant of "... the Lord hath sent me ...,"  " ... the Lord hath sent me ...". He is moving on steadily by a progressive, spiritual advance. He is moving on by his abandonment to the Lord's will, the Lord's command, the Lord's orders as to a servant.

The point is that as a result of his obedience and perfect response of heart to every repeated, consecutive, progressive command of the Lord he eventually reached heavenly fullness. "The Lord hath sent me ..." Well, he will take that part of the journey. The Lord has said nothing beyond that, but He has made it clear that for the present so-and-so is His will. When that is accomplished the Lord says again, Now the next step is so-and-so. Nothing is given beyond that, but when that step is taken then the Lord is able to reveal the next step, and once revealed, in the obedience of a true servant, it is immediately followed. Each step leads to something else. Each step of obedience makes fuller revelation and deeper meaning possible. Each response to the Lord leads into a greater fullness of the Lord. Thus, in that way of instant obedience to the will of the Lord as it is revealed bit by bit, step by step, course by course, Elijah at last reaches the point where he is caught up by a whirlwind into heaven, he reaches heavenly fullness.

Do you want to know the way to heavenly fullness? That is the way. It is abandonment to the Lord in unquestioning obedience, the Lord having His place. If the Lord says He wants a thing, then He has a right to what He wants; His rights are bound up with my giving Him that. If the Lord wants me here or there, wants me to do this or that, then the Lord has some interest in that, the Lord is going to secure something by it. It is not a question as to whether it is convenient for me to go to Jericho, or Bethel, or Gilgal today, or how it serves my interests, but solely of the Lord's pleasure. If the Lord has something invested in that, the only consideration for me is that the Lord should have my obedience to get what He is after.

That is jealousy for the Lord: and how that leads to ever growing fullness, to the heavenly fullness at last! The Lord does not ask us to take the whole course in one bound. He graduates His requirements: today so much, tomorrow so much. But as He makes known His will we must remember that He is no doing it, in the first instance, for our good, but for His Own ends, to get His Own rights, and our good is always bound up with the Lord coming into His place.

You may take any spiritual crisis in your life and, if you analyze it, you will prove that to be the principle. When you have come to a place with the Lord, where a crisis has been reached, and in that situation have pleaded with the Lord to do something, asked the Lord, prayed to the Lord for something which would be for your good, am not I right in saying that you have not found the Lord answering in the way you expected. His power has been restrained until you have come to the point where you have said, Nevertheless, not my will but Thine. If this cannot be for Thy glory, I am content, do not grant it; Thy glory is to govern this hour. It is in that way that you have got a clear path through with the Lord. But that principle is wrought into us. It is not a pretense, it has to be a very real working law, by which all self interest is brought to death and the Lord becomes the sole object of our desire. Then we get a clear way through. Is that not true? How often we have been held up on that very thing. We have been praying with our own interests and ends in view, and the Lord has not come in on that ground at all. He has waited until we have changed the position and come on to His ground. So you see that Elijah right through his life embodies this principle of jealousy for the Lord's interests.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

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