NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.
Bible Passage: 1 Kings 19:19-21; 2 Kings 2:6-14
- How would you summarize Elisha’s response to Elijah?
- How did Elijah demonstrate discipleship?
- How can we prepare others for our eventual departure?
Food for Thought:
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
So said Nelson Mandela, political activist and South Africa’s first democratically elected president. His legacy was built on what benefitted others. After spending 18 years of a 27-year sentence behind bars, Mandela was offered release under the condition that he not engage in political activity. He refused because he felt that his freedom and the freedom of others were inseparable. Elijah similarly looked beyond his own life to a greater mission.
Read 1 Kings 19:19-21 and 2 Kings 2:12-14.
Not everyone on a mission recognizes their need for the help of others. Some think, “If I want the job done right, I’ll have to do it myself.” Elijah wasn’t like that. When God told him to enlist Elisha to carry on his mission, Elijah didn’t hesitate.
Elijah found Elisha busy working his land. Why would Elijah disturb Elisha in the middle of his work to call him to the difficult job he was doing? Why would Elisha be interested? Simply because God told Elijah to do it. To disobey would be to rob Elisha of the opportunity to fulfill God’s calling on his life.
Elijah made his invitation to Elisha with an unspoken gesture. “His mantle” symbolized that he was a prophet of God. Putting his mantle over Elisha’s shoulders meant he was selecting Elisha as his successor, transferring his prophetic power to the younger man.
At every opportunity we get to pour into others’ lives, we must ask:
- “What wisdom can I give?”
- “What tools and resources can I provide?”
- “How can I train you?”
- “How can I encourage you?”
- “How can I pray for you?”
- “How can I model servant leadership for you?”
By mentoring Elisha to replace him, Elijah left a legacy that ensured a great prophet would still be calling God’s people to obedience. Because of Elijah’s preparation, Elisha was able to carry on his work. As Elijah was swept up in the whirlwind, his mantle fell near Elisha. Elisha had to pick up Elijah’s mantle and make it his own. He assumed Elijah’s responsibilities and stepped into his new role as Israel’s prophet. It takes a self-sacrificing leader to consider building God’s Kingdom over building his or her own reputation. Elijah is a model for us in seeing beyond ourselves.
YOU is committed to providing a complete Bible study experience for small groups and classes. Every session is written through an urban and multiethnic lens that provides relevant, engaging and applicable studies that not only encourage and equip people, but also motivate them to mission. This flexible, non-dated, all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional downloadable online teaching resources, visit You.Lifeway.com.
Other ongoing Bible study options offered by Lifeway for all ages can be found at Lifeway.com/SundaySchool.