A Survey (continued)
1. The Test of Faith and Perseverance (continued)
Elisha went through the test; on the one hand, his own master being the occasion of the testing, and on the other hand, those who were in a spiritual position, sons of the prophets - supposed to be the people who had spiritual knowledge - being anything but encouraging, rather being discouraging factors. Very often those who ought to be helpful by reason of their spiritual position - officially, at any rate - are anything but encouraging; they would put us back. All that we are left with is: "The Lord has called me; I know that in my heart. The Lord has led me this way. The Lord has caused me to take this step that I have taken. I have burned my bridges; I have cut all my ties; I have stepped out on the Lord. Now, although I have done that, the Lord is testing me, seeming to give me very little confirmation and encouragement, and the Lord's representatives - officially - are by no means helpful: "Nevertheless I stand to it, I am going on with God." A man or a woman who can go on like that is going to count for God. Elisha had nothing whatever to fall back upon save his inward knowledge of the Lord. He went through on that.
It is a very nice thing when we get encouragement from every direction in the way of our conceived call; when the Lord comes along and confirms it in all sorts of ways, and then everyone else, and everything else, says: "We are with you; we will stand by you; we are going to support and uphold you." We can get on all right that way. But if the Lord gives us no special conspicuous providences, sovereign acts; if He hides Himself, so that what we do see is rather discouragement from going on, even from the Lord's side - and one of the most difficult things is the hiding of the Lord, though He is there hiddenly doing things, and marvelously carrying through unto enlargement and enrichment, while allowing nothing that the flesh can take hold of - then it is a matter of faith going on wit God, even when the Lord seems to be hiding Himself, and allowing much of discouragement to remain on our horizon. At such a time no one else can enter into it. Everybody else to whom we might look, and from whom we might expect something, is of no use to us at all. All that they have to say is something that is melancholy: "Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day?" Elisha seems to be a little impatient with that. It might have been expressed in this way: You are a morbid crowd, and I would sooner you kept quiet if you have nothing better to say! They are not inspiring at all. And that is very often how we find the people to whom we look for encouragement. They see the difficulties, they see the dark side of things, they tell us of what we are running our heads into, of the calamities that will overtake us. The question is: "Will you go on with God?" Elisha went on! The statement is: "They two went on." There is something in that which leads to a large place, which means much for the Lord.
(continued with #8 - "2. Learning the Secret of Power From on High")