Homeheading | Lesson 3, Part 2

Greetings MOL Family!

Welcome back to class! As we study through each of these lessons, we encourage you to not only read through that which is posted online, but to also follow along in your own Bible and Spirit of Prophecy books. “Man’s words, if of any value, echo the words of God” {CT 423.3}. Please search for and highlight God’s words, with us.


Learning By Participation


Last week, we gained some insight into the experience of the sons of the prophet. We’re looking at something very interesting here. What did the prophet Elisha say when they came up with their plan? (2 Kings 6:3) They had said, “We want you to go with us.” What did he say? “I’ll go.” Was it a good thing, as it turned out? Oh, yes.

I want you to, through this window, get a glimpse of the beautiful spirit of cooperation that there was in this school home, the school of the prophets. Teacher and students, leader and disciples, counseling together; the students free to make suggestions, but the leader free to make decisions. Those decisions are respected and honored.

They made a suggestion of going to Jordan, cutting down the trees, establishing a branch school, we might say. He decided, “That’s a good thing. Go ahead.” They came with the additional suggestions, “We’d like to have you go with us.” He made the decision, “I’ll go.” The 4th verse, those first five words:

So he went with them… – 2 Kings 6:4

Five syllables. What a picture!

Now, the ideal in the home and in the school that is patterned after the school of the prophets is for parents and children, teachers and students, masters and disciples, to be working together, praying together, eating together, and living together all the time.

For various reasons, we don’t always make that ideal. One good reason is that few of us have the all-around development that enables us to lead in all those lines. And so students may get a more balanced education by being exposed now to one teacher and now another, now to one department head and now to another. But remember Elisha’s example; and as homeheads, as teachers, seek to develop as all around people. Seek to develop as leaders in the home, in teaching, in the classroom if God so arranges it, in the evangelistic field, in soul winning, in work whether in the sanitarium, or in some other department, or working in the home and teaching other people to lead in those various activities. And always included in that ideal is the thought of somebody with you learning by participation. That’s the picture.

Well, you remember the rest of the story. They got down there to Jordan and what happened to one of the axes? Came apart right by the river and the prophet worked a miracle. Another interesting sidelight: What was it that the student said about that ax? It was borrowed. That tells me two things. They weren’t rich. But it tells me something else. What do you catch in the attitude of that student? — Concern, responsibility. He said, “Alas, master, for it was borrowed.” Oh, what a beautiful spirit, and God took cognizance of it.

Notice another thing and all this is so full of meaning. The prophet didn’t say when they said to him, “Well, that’s too bad, but what are you crying to me about it for? Better be more careful next time.” He took hold of the problem.

Well, you might say, “If I could work miracles I would too.” It might be the other way around. It could be that God is more ready to work miracles for us than we are to become involved. God loves to do things for us, sometimes in a spectacular, miraculous way, as on this occasion, but oft times in other ways, solving problems. Here we have this glimpse of the schools of the prophets.


The Tried & True


Let’s take a look at how Elisha got to be in this job; 1 Kings 19. Here’s the story of Elijah after the victory at Carmel. He got discouraged, you remember, and ran away from Jezebel and went way down in the desert. The Lord didn’t forget him. He met God at Mt. Sinai. Finally, God got him calmed down and tamed a bit, and sent him right back where he had come from. God does that with us sometimes.

It was at this time that God directed him to reestablish the schools of the prophets. The work of reformation that he had begun was now to be broadened, and as a major part of that program, Elijah was to anoint a successor. Last part of the 16th verse:

…Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shall thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. – 1 Kings 19:16

The 19th verse:

So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him and cast his mantle upon him. – 1 Kings 19:19

What was this young man, Elisha, doing that God selected? He was plowing. Where was he plowing? — On his father’s farm. I want to read a comment on this in the book Prophets and Kings:

Elisha’s father was a wealthy farmer, a man whose household were among the number that in a time of almost universal apostasy had not bowed the knee to Baal. – Prophets and Kings, pg. 217

Were they Baal worshipers? Who were they worshiping? — The true God. They were among those 7,000 that God told Elijah about. Seven thousand were not very many for the whole nation of Israel, but it was a lot more than Elijah knew about. And, my dear friends, thank God, He has people today, individuals and families that are not bowing the knee to Baal. And God is interested in getting young people from such surroundings and such upbringing, and training them to help give the loud cry.

Theirs was a home where God was honored and where allegiance to the faith of ancient Israel was the rule of daily life. In such surroundings the early years of Elisha were passed. In the quietude of country life, under the teaching of God and nature and the discipline of useful work, he received the training in habits of simplicity and of obedience to his parents and to God that helped to fit him for the high position he was afterward to occupy. – Ibid

Now, I’m about to share something, and before I do, I have to share something else so you won’t misunderstand me. The preliminary thing I want to share is that God has salvation for everybody in this world no matter what their background, and He has a place in His work for everybody in this world.

But having said that, I want to say something else: There are thousands of people in the world today that though they are subjects of salvation (they can be saved), they are not people that God can use in a leading way in His closing work. There are people who have damaged themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually until it would take a miracle of God just to save them. And there’s a danger in the remnant church of seizing hold of people like that, and urging them into public notice, giving them responsibility. Then they faint and fail under it, to their own loss of salvation, and have an unfortunate influence.

There are exceptions to every rule. What I’m telling you is the truth and I could read you a lot of references on it. If you have any responsibility in the home and in committees in choosing people for responsibility, remember this. People need to be tried and true. And when God had Elijah get ready a helper in this work of establishing the home training plan in the schools of the prophets, He didn’t say, “There’s a man who has been worshiping Baal all his life, but he has just turned to God last Friday night. Take him now and train him to have charge of all this work.”

God didn’t do anything of that kind. He said, I want you to go up to Abel-meholah and there you’ll find a farmer whose family for years all through this apostasy has been true to God, and you’ll find a young man who is steady and sober. He hasn’t been out with the drug scene. He hasn’t been out painting the town red. He hasn’t been out living it up in the life of Sodom. No.

…under the teaching of God and nature and the discipline of work… – Ibid., pgs. 217-218

Had Elisha learned to work? Oh, yes. Was he responsible? His father turned that plowing job over to him. There’s something interesting about that. Look at your verse again. How many yoke of oxen were there? — Twelve. And he was with the what? — The twelfth. That indicates he was the director. That’s what those who understand the customs tell us. Elisha, though a young man, was already under his father in charge of the servants. He had learned not only to work, but to manage.

Now, this is the kind of young people that God is looking for to bring into this program. And don’t misunderstand me. As I said, there’s salvation for anybody and everybody. If there’s somebody going through this study that says, “I’m afraid that’s me, I’m afraid I have just burned up my brain cells.”

Listen. God loves you and there’s a place in God’s work for you. But still don’t forget what I’ve been drilling away at. God is looking for steady, sober, industrious, dependable young people that can be trained in these principles. That’s what the schools of the prophets are for. It is to give those young people a training that will fit them to be leaders. Now, some of these others can fit in as helpers. There’s a place for everybody.

Many young men who have had the right kind of education at home are to be trained for service and encouraged to lift the standard of truth in new places by well-planned and faithful work. By associating with our ministers and experienced workers in city work, they will gain the best kind of training. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, pg. 119

Elisha was trained by associating with Elijah. God has young people in farm homes that have learned to work, and in other places where they’ve learned lessons of reliability, dependability, obedience, cooperation, spiritual life. He wants to gather them into places where they can be trained to become leaders and counselors to help give the loud cry.


Lessons of Humility & Service


Now I want you to turn to 2 Kings and I want you to see what Elisha was called in to do, what he began to do, 2 Kings 3:11. What glimpse do you get of Elisha’s life here? What does it say he did? He poured water on whose hands? Elijah’s, Alright, now tell me, where would you have to live to be pouring water on Elijah’s hands? You don’t suppose that Elijah got on the telephone and said, “Elisha, I need somebody to pour water on my hands this morning. Please come over.”

Incidentally, that was quite a plumbing system, wasn’t it? But what a privilege it was for Elisha to be that close to Elijah. He poured water on his hands. Now watch: From being the manager under his father of a great farming activity, he’s promoted to be the personal servant to the prophet. Would you think it so? Listen, if you’re a homehead, God wants you to be such a homehead that it’s a privilege for a student to pour water on your hands.

Elijah didn’t say, “Oh, Elisha, you mustn’t do that. No, no, I’ll do it. I’ll take the pitcher with one hand and pour the water in this hand, and then I’ll put the pitcher in this hand and pour the water in that hand.” No. That was part of the program.

Let your students help you. And remember, as I say, if you’re the man, the woman that God intends you to be, and God has put a student with you, it’s a privilege for that student to serve you, to serve with you.

It was no great work that was at first required of Elisha; commonplace duties still constituted his discipline. He is spoken of as pouring water on the hands of Elijah, his master. – Prophets and Kings, pg. 222

What are commonplace duties? Would dish washing be a commonplace duty? Yes, I suppose a lot of people would rather pour water on the prophet’s hands than to wash his dishes, but he needs both, doesn’t he? Would laundry work be commonplace? Sweeping the floors? Sweeping the porch? Bringing in wood, if you are so fortunate to have a place to burn it these days? — Commonplace duties.

It was no great work that was at first required of Elisha; commonplace duties still constituted his discipline. He is spoken of as pouring water on the hands of Elijah, his master. He was willing to do anything that the Lord directed, and at every step he learned lessons of humility and service. As the prophet’s personal attendant, he continued to prove faithful in little things, while with daily strengthening purpose he devoted himself to the mission appointed him by God. – Ibid

He stuck with it his whole life. He stayed with Elijah that day when the prophet threw the mantle on him until he saw Elijah taken off in the chariot of fire and he took over.

And my dear friends, it’s a blessed thing, a precious thing, when somebody you’ve trained takes over and goes ahead, and perhaps does it better than you ever could. That’s one of the joys of getting some white hairs in this world. There’s nothing more rewarding.

But let me come back and emphasize what I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again. Never undertake a work of this kind either in general or specifically unless you know God has called you. This is not playhouse. No, no. This is a divine commission; a divine call. If God has called you, with the call comes enabling. Oh, what a blessing we have.


Next week, we’ll be continuing on with our class rotation. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then… 

-Continue on to the next study-


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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.


  1. Bro. K

    Hi, MOL Family! thank you for another opportunity to participate in learning more precious gems from the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. I love this lesson of who and how to choose discipleship. First, God always should be consulted in spiritual matters, which concern his people. I love the way, preferably a young man untainted from a life in the city as well, brought up with certain disciplines as did Elisha is an excellent example of an candidate.

    Thanks, again for more helpful lessons…
    :) Enjoy


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