Elisha models for us a core strategy for this season of turbulence.
Phase 1. When Elijah called him to the ministry, he was plowing with 12 yokes of oxen. In other words, he was running an agribusiness. It is impressive that they had many servants, plows and cattle after three years of drought. Obviously, it was an extremely well-run agribusiness.
Phase 2. He served Elijah and saw a lot of interesting things stemming from the power of God Elijah had. Elisha ended up acquiring a measure of that asset.
Phase 3. He used that divine power as a one-man spy agency to utterly frustrate King Ben-Hadad of Syria and to maintain some border security for Israel by limiting Ben-Hadad’s depredations.
Phase 4. God switched off the power for an extended period of time, shut down the schools of prophets, unleashed the fury of Ben-Hadad, and left Elisha trapped inside the city of Samaria, while it was under siege, and starvation had reduced the people to familial cannibalism. The King of Israel whom he had served so well turned against him, blamed him for the siege, and gave orders to assassinate him.
This sequence is quite common today. Someone has good secular skills. They acquire a measure of the power of God and blend the two together in highly significant, legitimate, holy, Kingdom work.
Then the power of God gets switched off and they lose their platform and credibility, and those who used to be close to them, turn against them savagely.
What to do?
There is a key in Elisha’s story.
2 Kings 6:32 NIV Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Don’t you see how this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?”
Here is the principle: When the power is switched off, and the culture turns against you, and you are playing field is no more, KEEP BEING YOURSELF.
Elisha could not be a circuit rider anymore. He was stuck in his house in the city, facing death from famine, plague or from the sword.
But he was still teaching. There were a few people – leaders/elders – who still valued what he had to say, as he taught the old stuff he knew. There were few enough they could fit into his living room. So, with no fresh manna from God, no signs and wonders, no young prophets interning under him, he kept on being himself – teaching the few who still believed in him.
In that place, where he had little left other than his life and a tiny audience, and where the civil government was coming for his life, the power was suddenly switched on. He had a prophetic word about the executioner, and another about the war, and another about the economy and another of judgment for someone who mocked him.
I doubt there was any inkling that morning that today would be a day of power returning, a turning point in his life/ministry.
But during the long dry spell, when all he had built was stripped away from him, he kept downsizing, smaller and smaller, but kept on being who he was – a voice for the Almighty, the Covenant God of Israel.
And because he never flickered from his design, he was in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, when the power of God flicked on again.
Focusing on design, not fighting for justice, made all the difference for him.
In this season, many people have experienced significant losses. The most cutting loss is the disconnect from God at a time when we need His presence, His power and His perspective more than ever.
If that has happened to you and the social capital you have built over time is being stripped away from you, it is OK to hurt. The pain of having what you built stripped from you is real and it is not wrong to feel it intensely.
But after the pain management, focus in on one thing. Who are you designed to be?
If you are designed to be a Bible teacher and absolutely no one wants to listen to you, study deeply with all your discretionary time so you have something new to say, when God gives you an audience of one again.
If you are designed to be an intercessor and no one wants to have you pray, because the power of God has left and you are utterly discredited, pray for strangers who don’t know you are praying for them.
If you are a businessman who has lost his business and has zero start-up capital, walk your town, looking for business ideas and build them out in your head, even though you have lost all your resources.
If you are a worshipper but your worship team imploded and you have no friends anymore, worship God alone, in your home, every single day, with the same intensity you would worship in front of 5,000 people.
If you are a grandmother to the core, and your grandkids are not allowed to be around you, find some kids in the neighborhood who have no grandmother and pour into them as though they were your own.
Be who you have always been, through the dark period, while you wait for God to turn the power back on.
Copyright by Arthur Burk
Used with Permission – Sapphire Leadership Group
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