1. “FAITHFUL IS HE THAT CALLETH YOU”
a. How did the divine call come to the prophets of God? 1 Kings 12:22; 1 Chronicles 17:3; Luke 3:2. Explain the difference between the true prophets and the self-appointed ones. Jeremiah 14:14, 15; 23:21, 32.
b. How did the prophetic call come to Elisha? 1 Kings 19:16. What attributes had he revealed before this call? 1 Kings 19:19.
“The prophetic call came to Elisha while, with his father’s servants, he was plowing in the field. He had taken up the work that lay nearest. He possessed both the capabilities of a leader among men and the meekness of one who is ready to serve. Of a quiet and gentle spirit, he was nevertheless energetic and steadfast. Integrity, fidelity, and the love and fear of God were his, and in the humble round of daily toil he gained strength of purpose and nobleness of character, constantly increasing in grace and knowledge. While cooperating with his father in the home-life duties, he was learning to cooperate with God.
“By faithfulness in little things, Elisha was preparing for weightier trusts. . . . He learned to serve; and in learning this, he learned also how to instruct and lead. The lesson is for all. None can know what may be God's purpose in His discipline; but all may be certain that faithfulness in little things is the evidence of fitness for greater responsibilities.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 218.
2. THE CERTAINTY OF GOD’S CALL
a. As with every servant of God, what factors did Elisha have to consider when the divine call came to him? 1 Kings 19:20, 21; Luke 14:28.
“Elisha must count the cost—decide for himself to accept or reject the call. . . .
“The call to place all on the altar of service comes to each one. We are not all asked to serve as Elisha served, nor are we all bidden to sell everything we have; but God asks us to give His service the first place in our lives, to allow no day to pass without doing something to advance His work in the earth. . . . God accepts the offering of each. It is the consecration of the life and all its interests, that is necessary. Those who make this consecration will hear and obey the call of Heaven.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 220, 221.
b. What was Elisha’s only request at the end of his association with Elijah? 2 Kings 2:9.
“Elisha asked not for worldly honor, or for a high place among the great men of earth. That which he craved was a large measure of the Spirit that God had bestowed so freely upon the one about to be honored with translation. He knew that nothing but the Spirit which had rested upon Elijah could fit him to fill the place in Israel to which God had called him.”—Ibid., pp. 226, 227.
c. What can we lose by neglecting our duties, our abilities, and our opportunities? Matthew 25:28, 29 (last part). What will happen, on the other hand, if we are diligent in the faithful and honest use of the “capital” we already have received from God? Matthew 25:29 (first part).
“Jesus has pointed out the way of life, He has made manifest the light of truth, He has given the Holy Spirit and endowed us richly with everything essential to our perfection.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 218.
3. ELISHA’S WILLINGNESS TO LEARN
a. What should we learn from Elisha’s willingness to perform menial duties? 2 Kings 3:11 (last part).
“It was no great work that was at first required of Elisha; commonplace duties still constituted his discipline. He is spoken of as pouring water on the hands of Elijah, his master. He was willing to do anything that the Lord directed, and at every step he learned lessons of humility and service. As the prophet’s personal attendant, he continued to prove faithful in little things, while with daily strengthening purpose he devoted himself to the mission appointed him by God.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 222.
b. What must a servant of God demonstrate before he can be promoted to carry higher responsibilities? Luke 16:10–12.
“None can know what may be God’s purpose in His discipline; but all may be certain that faithfulness in little things is the evidence of fitness for greater responsibilities. Every act of life is a revelation of character.”—Ibid., p. 218.
c. How does the thinking and acting of many resemble the attitude of the slothful servant who had received only one talent? Matthew 25:14, 18, 24–28.
“Because they are not connected with some directly religious work, many feel that their lives are useless, that they are doing nothing for the advancement of God’s kingdom. If they could do some great thing how gladly they would undertake it! But because they can serve only in little things, they think themselves justified in doing nothing. In this they err. A man may be in the active service of God while engaged in the ordinary, everyday duties—while felling trees, clearing the ground, or following the plow. The mother who trains her children for Christ is as truly working for God as is the minister in the pulpit.”—Ibid., p. 219.
4. MINISTRY INCLUDES TRAINING YOUNG MEN
a. What is one of the most important duties of a competent and faithful minister? 2 Timothy 2:1, 2.
“Ministry comprehends far more than preaching the word. It means training young men as Elijah trained Elisha, taking them from their ordinary duties, and giving them responsibilities to bear in God’s work—small responsibilities at first, and larger ones as they gain strength and experience. . . . Young, inexperienced workers should be trained by actual labor in connection with these experienced servants of God. Thus they will learn how to bear burdens.
“Those who undertake this training of young workers are doing noble service. The Lord Himself cooperates with their efforts. And the young men to whom the word of consecration has been spoken, whose privilege it is to be brought into close association with earnest, godly workers, should make the most of their opportunity. God has honored them by choosing them for His service and by placing them where they can gain greater fitness for it, and they should be humble, faithful, obedient, and willing to sacrifice. If they submit to God’s discipline, carrying out His directions and choosing His servants as their counselors, they will develop into righteous, high-principled, steadfast men, whom God can entrust with responsibilities. . . .
“For several years after the call of Elisha, Elijah and Elisha labored together, the younger man daily gaining greater preparedness for his work.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 222–224.
b. What points did the apostle Paul stress in the training of Timothy? 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14–17.
“The piety and influence of [Timothy’s] home life was not of a cheap order, but pure, sensible, and uncorrupted by false sentiments. The moral influence of his home was substantial, not fitful, not impulsive, not changeable. The Word of God was the rule which guided Timothy. . . . His home instructors cooperated with God in educating this young man to bear the burdens that were to come upon him at an early age.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 918.
5. TEACHING AND LEARNING; LEARNING AND TEACHING
a. How was Elisha’s faith tested while traveling with Elijah? 2 Kings 2:5, 6.
“The schools of the prophets, established by Samuel, had fallen into decay during the years of Israel’s apostasy. Elijah re-established these schools, making provision for young men to gain an education that would lead them to magnify the law and make it honorable. Three of these schools, one at Gilgal, one at Bethel, and one at Jericho, are mentioned in the record. Just before Elijah was taken to heaven, he and Elisha visited these centers of training. The lessons that the prophet of God had given them on former visits, he now repeated. . . . He also impressed upon their minds the importance of letting simplicity mark every feature of their education. Only in this way could they receive the mold of heaven and go forth to work in the ways of the Lord. . . .
“As Elisha accompanied the prophet on his round of service from school to school, his faith and resolution were once more tested. . . . And now the tried servant of the man of God kept close beside him.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 224, 225.
b. What lesson can we all learn from the successful collaboration of these two faithful and diligent workers of God? 1 Corinthian 3:8, 9.
“The angels of God will be much better pleased and will be attracted to us when the servants in the field can come together, and bow down together, and pray with tears and contrition of heart; when they can talk about the work, no matter whose that work will be.”—Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, p. 15.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What did Elisha ask Elijah immediately before his ascension?
2. Explain the peril of neglecting opportunities.
3. How much can we gain by using well what we have already?
4. What must we reveal before receiving greater responsibilities?
5. What can we learn from the collaboration of Elijah and Elisha?