Study 5 A PROPHET’S FURNITURE
Studies in the Life of Elisha
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: 2 Kings 4: 8-10; Luke 10: 38-42)
This study is based upon 2 Kings 4:10, which might well be entitled, “The well-furnished Christian life.” Some lives are badly and sparsely furnished, just as some houses are, but God’s plan is that we should be “furnished throughout” - look up 2 Timothy 3:17. There are four essential pieces of furniture that we all need - a bed, a table, a stool and a candlestick. These were all necessary for the prophet’s comfort, and unless we possess what these articles typify we cannot possibly be well-furnished, successful workers for the Lord.
1. THE FIRST ESSENTIAL FOR A WELL-FURNISHED LIFE IS A BED, THE SYMBOL OF REST.
In Matthew 11:28-29, we read of two kinds of rest: a rest that is a gift and a rest that is a discovery. What kind of rest do we all need?
- 1. Rest from the heavy burden of sin. The only place where we can get this is at the cross of Calvary. Look up Colossians 1:20. Do you possess this rest? - or is your heart like the tossing sea (Isaiah 57:20)?
- 2. Rest from a condemning conscience. This rest comes when all is well in our relationship with God and with men - look up Acts 24:16. How great to know that as the Lord looks at us He is well pleased! - look up 1 John 3:22.
- 3. Rest amid the unrest of the world. On every hand men’s hearts are filled with fear, anxiety and doubt, but the child of God may have rest and release from these - look up and compare Psalm 119:165; Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:6-7. As you hear of all the terrible things happening in the world you may experience rest in the midst of the storm - look up Mark 6:50.
- 4. Rest from the subtle strivings of self. The self-life within us is our deadly enemy, but we may have complete deliverance - look up Romans 7:24-25. This deliverance comes by the reckoning and the rest of faith - look up Romans 6:11.
- 5. Rest from the responsibility of service. There is a difference between working for God and letting Him work through us. To work for Him involves fatigue and strain, but to let Him work through us means joy and fruitfulness. The servant of God experiences rest when he realises that God Himself is the worker and that his responsibility in the matter is only to respond by quiet trust and obedience to His ability!
2. THE SECOND ESSENTIAL FOR A WELL-FURNISHED LIFE IS A TABLE, THE SYMBOL OF COMMUNION.
Daniel 11:32 in the King James’ Version beautifully expresses God’s will for each one of us. One of the first pictures we get in the book of Genesis is that of perfect, unspoiled fellowship - Genesis 3:8; but that fellowship was broken by sin, and only in a few cases was it restored and enjoyed. We are told about one such case in Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5. This holy, happy fellowship with the Lord is His plan for every one of His children, and it is an essential element in a well-furnished life. If a boy says of his father, “I don’t have much to do with him if I can help it!” surely that boy is out of fellowship with his father. Is it like that with us and our heavenly Father? Are we so busy or preoccupied that we spend little time with Him? What our Lord wants most of all of each one of us is not our service but ourselves. Thus in Revelation 3:20 the picture is of the Saviour and the sinner eating together in holy, happy fellowship and intimate communion.
3. THE THIRD ESSENTIAL FOR A WELL-FURNISHED LIFE IS A STOOL, THE SYMBOL OF INSTRUCTION.
We can never become the men and women God would have us be unless we know what it is regularly to sit at His feet and receive His instruction - look up Deuteronomy 33:3 and Luke 10:39. One of the most significant names given to our Lord’s followers is that of “disciples”. What is a disciple? A disciple is a disciplined Christian - one who has come to the Lord Jesus, has found rest, has ‘taken His yoke upon him’ and his passion in life is to learn of Him and do His will (Matthew 11:28-30). All this involves stern discipline. Some Christians are not disciplined; they are not really “disciples”, for they are careless, self-willed and untaught. Others are well-furnished; they are disciplined and controlled, and they are all the happier for it. Children are much happier when they are kindly disciplined. Do we really know what it is to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn of Him (Luke 10:39); to meditate upon His Word (Psalm 1:2); to study His Word (2 Timothy 2:15); to obey His Word (2 Corinthians 10:5) and to submit to His control (Romans 6:13)?
4. THE FOURTH ESSENTIAL FOR A WELL-FURNISHED LIFE IS A CANDLESTICK, THE SYMBOL OF TESTIMONY.
A candlestick speaks of a life that shines forth. The Lord Jesus made two very important related statements: (1) “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12); and (2) “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). The Lord wants to shine through us, and Matthew 5:14-16 tells us that He wants us to shine in the home, the business and the world. Our whole duty, so far as testimony is concerned, is just to let the Lord Jesus Himself shine out through us in our actions and in our words. When, because of our surrender to Him, He is able to do this He makes us as lights shining in dark places - look up Philippians 2:14-16.
In conclusion, notice that these four essentials for a well-furnished life all have to do with our relationship with the Lord Himself.
- 1. REST is found IN Christ.
- 2. COMMUNION is enjoyed WITH Christ.
- 3. INSTRUCTION is received FROM Christ.
- 4. TESTIMONY is given FOR Christ.
Notice also that not only are these the four essentials of a well-furnished life, but their order is significant: rest must come first, followed by communion, instruction and testimony!
Closing Thought: 2 Timothy 3:14-17.