Devotional Week 29 Tuesday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“’I will visit you and keep my good promise to you…for I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘thoughts and plans for welfare and peace, not for evil, to give you hope in your outcome.’”
Jeremiah 29: 10, 11
“Is the pathway dark and dreary?
God’s in His heaven!
Are you broken, heart-sick, weary?
God’s in His heaven!
Dreariest roads shall have an ending,
Broken hearts are for God’s mending.
All’s well! All’s well!
Today’s Study Text:
“And Elisha said, ‘I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me’…(Elisha) took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan: And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah?’ and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, ‘The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.’ And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.”
II Kings 2: 9, 13-1
“The Ten-Year Waiting Time”
“Waiting can be the most intense and poignant of all human experiences which, above all others, strips us of our needs, our values and ourselves.”
V. H. Vanstone
What am I waiting to happen in my life?
Have I considered the thought that the waiting time I dislike may be heaven’s “preparation time” in my life?
“God can grow a mushroom overnight, but He will take time to grow an oak or a giant sequoia.”
God Isn’t In A Hurry
“Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of spiritual life.”
Often I have received notes from Transformation Garden readers that ask me how many hours a day I read. With all the quotes that I use each day and the preparation time it takes to thoroughly study the lives of the individuals in the Bible whose lives we are exploring, in-depth, it must appear sometimes that I do spend a great number of hours reading, which is a hobby, by the way, that has been a huge blessing to me throughout my life.
One thing I have found is that by eliminating much of my television viewing in the evening and on weekends, I’ve opened up some wonderful free time to explore the pages of a wide-variety of books, both spiritual and what some might refer to as secular.
Several years ago, I read a book review that really heightened my curiosity about a volume I had seen advertised and so I decided to purchase the book, Outlierswritten by the New York Time’s best-selling author, Malcolm Gladwell. In this book, which kept my attention from beginning to end, while every chapter gave me some new and interesting idea to ponder, it was Chapter 2, entitled: “The 10,000-Hour Rule” which captivated my thoughts the most. On more than one occasion, since I first read the book in 2008, I have taken a trip back to these words on page 41 noted by Malcolm Gladwell in doing research for his book: “And what’s ten years? Well, it’s roughly how long it takes to put in ten thousand hours of hard practice. Ten thousand hours (10 years) is the magic number of greatness.”
Gladwell goes on to share what I thought to be a very fascinating bit of information, about his ten-year idea, and this had to do with the great classical composer Mozart. The information was drawn from the book by Michael Howe, Genius Explained:
“By the standards of mature composers, Mozart’s early works are not outstanding. The earliest pieces were all written down by his father, and perhaps improved in the process. Many of Wolfgang’s childhood compositions, such as the first seven of his concertos for piano and orchestra, are largely arrangements of works by other composers. Of those concertos that only contain music original to Mozart, the earliest that is now regarded as a masterwork (No. 9, K. 271) was not composed until he was twenty-one: by that time Mozart had already been composing concertos for ten years.”
You may wonder why I’ve taken time to share these details with you today. Well, it is for this reason. Biblical scholars have come to the conclusion, that the young Elisha, who left the wealth of his family and his rather “laid-out” future, ended up spending 10 years as an apprentice to the older prophet Elijah. One author even referred, in rather common terms, to the fact that Elisha was at Elijah’s side to draw water and be his “house-aide,” performing daily mundane tasks. I don’t know if this was exactly the case for the Bible doesn’t spell out in so many words all of Elisha’s duties. But what we do know is that for 10 years, Elijah went throughout the land, from Jericho to Bethel to Gilgal, raising up the Schools of the Prophets – God’s –ordained educational system which at that time prepared young men for future leadership.
As I have taken time in the past year to study the lives of Elijah and Elisha, I’ve come to the firm belief that God’s hand was on these two individuals in a most “amazing” way. And just so that the over-used word “amazing” doesn’t get lost in our modern language, the words “amazed” and “amazement” are used 5 times in the Old Testament and 18 times in the New Testament. I’d like to share a few of the Hebrew and Greek meanings of this word to help us expand our view of this oft over-used word in the 21st Century. In Hebrew, the word “amaze” means: “to shock, to make one marvel, to astonish or stun.” In the New Testament Greek, we find that the meaning is: “to stand out and astound, to surprise or greatly surprise.” The reason I want to clarify this word is that in the New Testament, the works of Jesus often were an “amazement” to those around Him. This fact lead me, in my studies, directly back to the ministry of Elisha who spent 10 years under the mentorship of Elijah, a man whose life on earth never ended as he was taken to heaven without “seeing death.” Under the 10-year “preparation time” with Elijah, we read in our study text today that when Elisha came to the river and “smote the waters” just as Elijah had, they parted and the sons of the prophets, who bore witness to this event declared: “The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.”
I’ve spent a great deal of time with Elisha the past few months, reading about his life, thinking about his ministry, and praying for divine help in sharing with each of you the miracle working power of God which was exhibited in his life on earth. And as I learned, other than Jesus, Himself, there is no other individual in Scripture, who performed more miracles than Elisha. Not Moses. Not Elijah. Not Peter. Not Paul. It’s Elisha. The 10-year man. And this got me to thinking a lot about the “spirit of Elijah,” the heavenly power that was poured out on the ministry of Elisha in such great power that those around him recognized God’s power at work in his life. So I asked myself, “If I want those around me to know that the “spirit of God” has filled my life, where would I begin?” The answer I found is really quite obvious and simple for it is a reality that when we recognize that if we enjoy something, if we love something, if we spend time doing something – we become like what we allow to touch us…to surround us…to fill us, then if I want God’s power in my life, I need to take time to be in contact with Him.
Oh, it may come from a secular idea that those that succeed in a given capacity, be it music, art, engineering, medicine, you name it, are those who go the extra mile, as they study long hours, working extra time and experience their field of personal endeavor to the maximum.
However, I would contend that what to some may be a new idea for the 21st Century is really an old idea, recorded in Scripture. That when one spends time within the presence of Jehovah, those they meet will witness a transformation in their life of such great proportions that they will say, “The spirit of God is upon them.” The Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, whose detailed volumes of commentaries, the great London pastor, Charles Spurgeon said should be required reading, once per year, for those who really wanted to know and study God’s Word, leaves us with this guidance as we spend time with our Father in heaven: “God will some way or other, direct the steps of those who acknowledge Him in all their ways and seek unto Him for direction with full purpose of heart to follow it.”
“He’s guiding me now – this moment,
In pathways easy or hard,
Perhaps by a door wide open,
Perhaps by a door fast barred,
Perhaps by a joy withholden,
Perhaps by a gladness given;
In ways that I know and know not,
He’s leading me up to heaven.
He’s using me now – this moment,
And whether I go or stand;
Perhaps by a plan accomplished,
Perhaps when He stays my hand,
Perhaps by a word in season,
Perhaps by a silent prayer,
In ways that I know and know not,
His labor of love I share.”
Annie Johnson Flint
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus