A Survey (continued)
Everything of Spirit
The next thing in the case of Elisha follows closely upon the intimation that he was called. Elijah threw his mantle over him. Then it looked as though Elisha drew back; it looked as though he might be numbered with certain in the New Testament who said: "First suffer me to bid farewell to them that are at my house"; "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father"; and soon. But there is the fact that something deeper had been registered in Elisha, which did not allow him to do the thing he had contemplated doing. We do not read of any he had contemplated doing. We do not read of any farewells in the way he suggested them to Elijah; but what we do read is that he went and rid himself of all that was behind. He burned his bridges, cleared up things straightway, distributed the proceeds, and went after Elijah. Again, the marks of thoroughness!
Here is a man who is not saying: "Well, in case things go wrong, and I do not get on very well in my new sphere of work, I had better keep these oxen alive, so that I can come back to this!" The thing had gone to his heart. He knew the hour had struck; he knew God had touched him; deep down in his being there was something which had made him a prisoner, from which he found no release; so he simply cleared up everything, and went in the way of that inward call.
The point is mainly this, that it was not Elijah's call that did it. On the strength of Elijah's word alone Elisha could look back; that is, he could contemplate going to have a valedictory; but there was something deeper than Elijah's word. Something had come through from God into his inner being, which put away all that was merely sentimental or earthly, and made him do a thorough work of breaking, and going out for the Lord. It is important for us to hear something deeper than the voice of man when we move into the work of the Lord. We must have something more than the outward appeal. We can have many appeals, strong urges, in meetings arranged for that purpose, to appeal for workers. We can have the appeal from the outside. We can have the urge. We can even have people tell us that we ought to go, that God has really called us. But that is never enough. What we must know is that God has spoken more deeply than any kind of outward appeal. We must know that God has done something, and that because of this there is no question for us whatever of keeping in reserve the old relationships, the old associations, the old interests; that deeper challenge has settled everything, and the only thing we can do is to make a complete break, and go out with the Lord.
(continued with # 6)