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Msindisi Newsletter #85

October 3, 2011

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

NUMBER:      85       Oct 2011

PO BOX 1481
VRYHEID 3100
KWAZULU NATAL
SOUTH AFRICA

+27 (0) 728311008

Email:  msindisi@gmail.com ,
salv.di@gmail.com

KwaZulu Mission Website: http://www.kwazulumission.com

Personal Website: http://msindisi.googlepages.com

 

 

Dear Friends and family,

 

This month saw some necessary time taken out of our routine to sort out home affairs stuff for Di’s Visa extension and Salvi’s permanent residence. We started the month with Bianca Roux staying with us. She was a great help to Di and Di really loved having another girl around the place. We always seem to have guy visitors and hardly ever any ladies so it was great to have her to pitch in with Di’s routine. At kids club Bianca shared her testimony which Thabi, Phumlani’s wife, translated into Zulu and Di taught on Joshua and the battle of Jericho. That evening we were coming round the word together. Generally when we are at home Phumlani and Thabi will come round in the evening and we will sing a few choruses and read scripture together. One of the many blessings of not having a TV is that you have time to have group devotions. We had been going through Job together, a couple of chapters a night with Phumlani, Salvi, Di, Thabi and Bianca but while we were singing Salvi felt the Lord tell him that he had to speak to Thabi about her baptism. So after we sang Salvi pointed at Thabi and said “I need to speak with you about your baptism” and then Bianca spoke up and said that she and Thabi had just been speaking about that very same thing that day. This lead us into a whole study on baptism and the understanding that it is co-burial with Christ. We die to the old life and so we need to be buried in baptism. For Zulus the event of Burial is very real, very important and very graphic. A funeral is one of the most important events. When Thabi was asked whether we leave a dead body 5 months before we bury it she exclaimed that we can’t because it will rot and the body will smell. As Thabi had given her life to the Lord at the end of last year she had the graphic idea that she needed to bury the corpse and stop stinking the place. So the next day she obeyed the command of Christ and got baptised in the local river by Phumlani and Salvi. Di prayed a special prayer for her and there was rejoicing all round. What was also nice was that Kim Mentz from our Louwsburg Bible Fellowship brought some Zulu ladies from Louwsburg to visit the church. What a testimony for them!

Bianca attended the Care Bear creche with us at the beginning of the month. Di taught the kids and it is always so lovely to see the kids. Di also taught these kids about Joshua and Jericho. We had to visit home affairs in Newcastle (in KwaZulu Natal, SA not in the north of England) as there has been a mistake with Di’s visa application which she had to rectify. When we arrived we found that there was no electricity in the whole building so they could not help us. So we spent the morning in Newcastle before heading back. When they eventually saw us we found out that Di’s application had been declined because not all paper work was submitted and neither had the fee been paid. It was disheartening because the lady in Vryheid told us that we didn’t have to pay the whole fee and that our documentation was complete. We were shown a slip of paper that Di had to sign but fortunately she didn’t sign it because that form would have given us ten days to get all the paper work together to resubmit the application. So we started the process of getting police certification and this meant we had to take a trip up to Pretoria to get it ordered and paid. Sadly it meant that Bianca’s trip had to be cut short which she was really sad about as we couldn’t do a return trip to Gauteng the week after. We did not spend long enough in Gauteng to visit people but it was good that we went for when Salvi applied for his police clearance certificate and paid with a postal order we found out in Pretoria that they don’t take postal orders and so Salvi was able to pay over the counter and pick his up there and then.

Salvi has found that every avenue to apply for permanent residence through conventional means is closed to him but there was one small way that may possibly work. Salvi has put together an application with evidence of his unusual situation and with letters of recommendation from people of various ministries and walks of life, including the Chief of the whole area where we live, about 26 letters in all plus a petition with 156 names and has submitted it to the highest office of home affairs. One of the ladies who signed the petition remembered Salvi, she was one of the first people he had witnessed to in that area. She exclaimed that she was still in the Zionist church as her husband is Zionist but she wanted nothing more to do with ancestral spirits. The following week Salvi got her a Zulu bible as he asked her if she had one which she answered that she hadn’t. He is seeking the minister to make an exceptional case of him. If nothing else it will be such a testimony of the Lord for her to see and reminds us of Jesus’ words where we will stand before kings and princes to bear testimony to them. But we are praying for a miracle in this regard and we will see what the Lord does. A few obstacles have kept cropping up and it is as if all the doors close and then the Lord opens a tiny door to walk through. Salvi took two weeks of ministry time and study time out to work on getting all documentation together, only to lose everything, but fortunately to have gotten certified copies of everything needed and then to find all the originals 2 days after the certified copies and application were posted for submission. So now Salvi’s application is in the hands of home affairs. Please also pray for Di’s documents all to come in so we can resubmit her application.

Sadly this month an old friend of the area, Amos passed away. Salvi felt very sad because he had desired to represent the gospel to Amos yet another time (he has already had the gospel explained to him) and did not get the opportunity to do so. Amos had been a friend of Salvi’s since Dec 2002 since Salvi came with Caleb and Sophie Massey, supporting them as they started the KwaZulu Mission. Amos was a source of great help, selfless service and he kept an eye on us. It is so sad that he died without us knowing if he, last minute, gave his life to Christ.

This month we visited our friends Olaf and Charnel while they were in Vryheid. They have had a big baby boy called Nathan and Nathan is such a mini version of Olaf. We thank the Lord for their continued faithfulness to him. They will be getting Nathan dedicated at Elijah Ministries. They feel sad that they are so far away from us as they miss the Louwsburg Fellowship meetings that we have. Also that day on the supermarket we were stopped by a Zulu guy called Muzi who wanted to talk to us. We found out that Salvi and Phumlani had visited him one Sunday a year back and witnessed to him. At the time we saw that the Lord had was calling Muzi. Muzi had exclaimed that he had been a Zionist from his mother’s womb so he couldn’t change. Salvi exclaimed that it was true, he had been born a Zionist and that is why he needs to be born again. Muzi in the supermarket wanted to know what was going on in the world from a biblical viewpoint. He was concerned that the world is in a state of flux. Salvi gave him a short answer and tried to arrange to visit Muzi but he said he had moved to Boksburg. Salvi got him the number of Dave Newman who lives in Benoni for Muzi to call and get more questions answered. We have been praying for Muzi since. That day we also went to a thanksgiving service at Louwsburg for a family that wanted to thank the Lord for keeping them there for a year. They were originally from Durban and their Durban pastor came up. We had to leave at the end anyway but we left 2 minutes before we had to because the pastor started preaching the word of faith heresy saying that faith is to speak positively and that you mustn’t say I am ill. You must not say I am poor or struggling but you must say, I am rich. What false faith! I wonder if we could claim that Paul was without faith when he confessed realistically the negative aspects of his service to the Lord in 1 Cor 4: 6 – 13 or in 2 Cor 12: 7 – 10 where Paul is content with and boasts about his weaknesses! How could Paul do so? Did he not realize that faith is to minimize weakness and rebuke ones own weakness and to glory in that we are only strong? But Paul’s faith was not vain fantasy but was borne out in the rigors of unhumanly controlled reality seeing God’s power at work according to His will and not according to our fancy. We had to leave earlier so that we did not partake of such heresy as there was no opportunity to be a voice and the Lord was not impressing it upon our hearts to stay. We did visit the family but they sadly have had this false teaching entrenched in them for a long time.

In the evening we visited a family whose daughter was celebrating her 21st birthday with family friends. Salvi was encouraging a young man who had committed his life properly a year ago and trying to unlearn false teaching he had held to. Salvi gave him some websites of bible teachers including http://www.moriel.org, http://www.ariel.org, http://www.understandingthetimes.org, and a couple of others. Salvi also challenged an elder of the local Assemblies of God about the unbiblical nature of the contemporary ‘slain in the Spirit’ manifestations this elder was defending.

Di has been teaching Tholakele from church how to read in Zulu. Tholakele is illiterate but with a great desire to learn to read so she can read the bible. It is a wonderful gift that Di is giving to her and a gift that will bear eternal fruit.

Di also has discovered that she has cardiomegaly with suggestion of left ventricular hypertrophy, which in lay man’s terms means that the left chamber of the heart that pumps blood round the body has been enlarged. Di has slightly high cholesterol and has high blood pressure which has probably been the cause. Di is now on a course of meds to lower her blood pressure. Please pray for her.

Last Wednesday we did another session at Care Bear pre-school and Salvi taught on how not every ‘Christian’ or ‘pastor’ will go to heaven. Salvi put on his acting skills and played the part of the pastor, Pastor Sellby, Sellby Date. (because he is not so fresh). The pastor’s view of the gospel was that God is promising that if we become a christian God will give everything that we want and that God is there for our needs and to please us, isn’t He? One kid called Luthando said, no! Salvi asked him why and Luthando answered “Because He is the King!” Salvi then said that therefore God is not there to do want we want but we are to do what, and Luthando interjected, “Jesus want”. What an amazing kid. This 6 year old showed more understanding than 90% of TBN preachers combined!

On Fridays we have started doing a bible study with the Zulu ladies who visit our church once a month from Louwsburg. We were rained off this last Friday but the week before we had 11 ladies who thoroughly enjoyed the study. Salvi spoke on the story of how Jacob became Israel as a picture and type of the born again experience. We look forward to what the Lord may do as we continue meeting them.

At Church Salvi is teaching through Deuteronomy again and at the Bible Study we have started studying Jude interactively with Salvi facilitating. Salvi will tell us all to study a couple of verses at home during the week and we discuss it in the meeting.

Our friend Mark Van Niekerk is going to Israel on Monday morning for a 3 week mission trip. To learn more about the work please visit the website http://www.hazorim.org .

Thank you for your prayers, friendship, support and encouragement. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

 

Shalom aleichem baShem Yeshua, Salvi and Di

 

 

 

ELIJAH AND ELISHA
THE APPOINTING OF ELISHA
PART 6
1 Kings 18: 15 – 19: 21

Elijah desired a revival. He took on the 450 prophets of Ba’al. We saw that on Mount Carmel fire came down from heaven and burned up the offering. Every body chanted “the LORD is God”. Elijah slew the false prophets and Ahab obeyed and celebrated. Elijah had prayed that God would turn back the hearts of the people back to Him. Everything seemed to be in place for revival and then, instead of revival there comes death threats and Elijah wants to give up. God had to show him that the revival would not come through the wind, the earthquake and the fire but through the still small voice of Holy Spirit conviction. Thus what Elijah did and accomplished was only a foreshadowing of what was to come. God would grant Elijah his request of taking his life but in a much grander and wonderful way then Elijah could ever wish for. Elijah felt like a failure and that it was impossible for him to fulfill God’s purposes to bring Israel back. He had been very zealous for the Lord but his zeal accomplished nothing. That might be true but God will always bring to pass what He has promised. It does not matter what ever is thrown in God’s way, God has already accounted for it.

Verses 15 – 17 God’s appointing

Just because Israel had not turned back their heart back to the Lord properly does not mean that the ordeal and testing at Carmel was of no effect. We sometimes wonder about the sovereignty of God and think that if we can resist his purposes in our lives that He is a failure and His efforts were all in vain. Some people think God failed in Eden when He did not want Adam to take of the fruit but was powerless to stop Adam from taking it. Firstly we forget that in God’s eternal nature He has declared the end from the beginning and has accounted for it all. But secondly and more profoundly to the text, when ever God does something like He did at Carmel and God’s hand of invitation to repent has been spat at and rejected, that heaps a greater judgment on those who resist.

God has done one of the greatest miracles and signs since the time of Moses and it is discarded by the leaders. Their punishment would be great. And there are three vessels of judgment that God tells Elijah to appoint. They are Hazael, Jehu and Elisha. Some people show concern that God told Elijah to appoint Hazael before he asked him to appoint Jehu and he asked Elijah to appoint Jehu before He appointed Elisha. Also we see that Elijah is commanded to go to Damascus and on his arrival to anoint Hazael. But Elijah is never recorded in scripture to have anointed Hazael or Jehu though Elijah was the one told to do it. This means one of two things. It either means that Elijah did as we would think he did and anointed Hazael and Jehu years before they got their second anointing by Elisha. This may well have happened as we remember David was anointed twice to be king over Israel, firstly by Samuel and secondly by the men of Judah. (1 Samuel 16: 13, 2 Samuel 2: 4). But secondly it is a question of authority. When a messenger is delivers a message, it is not the messenger who is speaking but the one who sent him. Thus in John 4: 1 it says that Jesus was baptising more disciples than John but then it qualifies it by saying that physically the baptising was done by the hands of the apostles. In Matthew 8: 5 we see Centurion approaching Jesus to heal his servant, but then in Luke 7: 3 we see that actually the Centurion sent some Jewish leaders to ask Jesus to heal his servant. Which gospel account is right? They are both right because Matthew works from the view point that even though the Centurion did not physically approach Jesus, it was still him approaching Jesus because the messengers are under his authority. Thus even though Elijah may not have physically anointed Hazael and Jehu, he would have still have been considered as doing it yet through the hands of Elisha. Elisha would have done it under the instruction of Elijah.

Hazael, Jehu and Elisha are the vessels of judgment but just because they are spoken of in this order does not necessarily mean that this is the order they were to be anointed in. This order has in it a level of severity and of submission to the Lord. In other words, firstly judgment would come through the hands of Hazael, and then Jehu would cover those people that Hazael would miss and finally Elisha would cover people that Jehu would miss. We will look at Elisha in the following studies. We see judgment with Elisha, not in widespread fashion but in individual situations. Hazael would be harsh and brutal, setting strongholds on fire, killing young men with the sword and cutting open pregnant women and smashing babies to pieces. (2 Kings 8: 12) Hazael would take away portions of the land of Israel after defeating them. (2 Kings 10: 32) He would thresh the lands of Israel. He would be a wind. (Amos 1: 3 – 5) Jehu would trick the worshippers of Ba’al to revealing themselves and then slaughter them all. (2 Kings 10: 15 – 25). We also see that Jehu destroyed the house of Ahab and brought judgment on them. (2 Kings 9: 1 – 37) He would be the earthquake that would shake the foundations of the house of Ahab, causing it to crumble. (2 Kings 9: 6 – 10) But also look at the succession of people. Hazael is spoken of first by the Lord but he was a heathen, gentile king who cared nothing about the Lord. He was a vessel of judgment who would go further than was needed in the judgment of God’s people. (Zechariah 1: 15). But Hazael did not care to worship the Lord or to get rid of any of the false gods. Then there was Jehu who was zealous for the Lord. He got rid of Ba’al worship. He cleansed the land of Ba’al worship but then he still allowed the golden calves to remain at Bethel and Dan; that Jeroboam had originally set up. (2 Kings 10: 29). But then finally there was Elisha who followed the Lord whole heartedly. Hazael was for threshing, Jehu was for shaking but Elisha was for consuming. Elisha would bring Judgment even to the inhabitants of idolatrous Bethel.

Verse 18 God’s remnant

However, though God’s judgment loomed over Israel, God would remember the covenant that He made with Abraham in Genesis chapters 12, 15 and 17. He would not completely dispense with the Nation of Israel even though most of the nation had been unfaithful but He promises to leave Himself a remnant. Note a few things about this issue of the remnant. Firstly, God is faithful to the promises He has made and because of His faithfulness to unfaithful Israel we can be assured of His faithfulness towards us. Secondly, this remnant was not at the expense of His holiness. This remnant was not a mixed multitude or some people arbitrarily chosen to be preserved but it was made up of those who did not worship Ba’al. Apparently bowing the knee was an action denoting worship or reverence according to Matthew Poole and it is likely that people would kiss the statues as has happened in greek worship, where a statue of Hercules was considerably worn by the kissing of his worshippers and as happens today with the veneration of Marion shrines or the worshipping of Hindu idols. These people were going to be preserved because they did not bow the knee or kiss the statues. Thirdly, God’s choice of them was not arbitrary in choosing only 7,000 of them based on only wanting 7, 000 people but the text says that He would preserve all who had not gone after the worship of Ba’al. The remnant of 7,000 was made up of all who had not bowed their knee to Ba’al. There was much benefit in personally going against the flow of the whole society. Think of Lot. God would take drastic measures to preserve 4 people such as by sending angels and blinding many of its citizens in order to spare them from the coming judgment. Even though one of them looked back God still preserved 3 of them. Even if there was only one who was faithful to the Lord, I still believe that God would have went to those lengths for just one.

Verses 19 – 21 God’s call

The next thing we read about in this account is the calling of Elisha. Elisha is not praying, or fasting or studying but he is working. The calling of Elisha matches the calling of Jesus’ disciples, especially of Peter, Andrew, James and John. They were fishing when Jesus called them but Jesus said follow me. Remember in the first session we saw the similarity that Elijah and Elisha had with Moses and Joshua and with John the Baptist and Jesus. Like Moses and John, Elijah came out of some form of obscurity to lead up to the ministry of someone else. And like the name Joshua, meaning YHWH is salvation, Elisha means God is salvation and Jesus means YHWH is salvation. There is a similarity between all three. Joshua spied out the land, Elisha ploughed the land and Jesus would sow the seed of the word in the land. Elisha was ploughing with twelve pairs of oxen and according to John Gill; Abel Meholah was a ground that was very hard, clayey and stiff. The hard ground needed breaking up for the seed to penetrate. We will see that with Elisha there was more grace, people were helped and there was healing but the judgment was heavier also. During Elisha’s ministry there would be Hazael and Jehu bringing hard judgment. This would be in anticipation of the greater judgments of Assyria and then Babylon bringing about the dispersion. The dispersion would bring Israel back to the Observance of the Law. Elisha’s ministry would see the start a process of breaking up the fallow ground in Israel’s heart. Just as Jesus’ message was not heeded and after 70 AD Jerusalem was besieged within 37 years of His death, so about 73 years after Elisha’s death, the Assyrians came against the northern Kingdom of Israel.

The other significance of Elisha having 12 pairs of oxen is much more practical. It showed he was a man of wealth. They had servants and the oxen must have belonged to him because he burns them. He had a lot to give up joining the ministry. Elijah had nothing to offer, he had slept by a brook, eaten food brought by ravens. No home, no stability and definitely no luxuries. Elijah’s mantle is thrown onto Elisha. This is what Elijah has to offer Elisha. Now Elijah does not say anything to Elisha by way of interpreting this act. Instead it would seem that Elijah walks on. Elisha has to run after Elijah. Elisha perceives what this means and runs after him. It was simply a matter of obedience. There are certain people that God has borne with in scripture, such as Moses and Gideon. He has understood their weaknesses and still held out his hand of invitation. With Elisha it was a matter to be decided on the spot. Elijah was not waiting, he was walking on. Just like Jesus, walking on the water, seemed to be going on. God chooses us and he uses us but we are not the centre of the whole plan. He can replace a Judas with a Matthias. Just as much as God can raise up He can also abase. This is not to say that God was going to abase Elisha. Elisha was going to be God’s instrument, but it is to say that Elisha was not the most important aspect of God’s plan. Elijah was not waiting for Elisha but Elisha had to chase after Elijah. When God’s call comes your way, you must respond in some way and not expect that God is going to chase you all the time.

However, Elisha has one request. To say goodbye to his father and mother. Now, notice that he does not demand to say goodbye, he says, ‘please let me’. This is not the situation of the man who asked Jesus if he could first bury his father, so that he could gain an inheritance. This was counting the cost and forsaking all. Elijah tells him ‘Go back again, for what have I done to you?’ All Elijah did was to throw his mantle on Elisha but he did not command him to do anything. The calling had not come from Elijah but it had come from the Lord. No person can truly ordain anyone. It is the Lord who ordains. All leaders and churches can do is to recognise the Lord’s calling on another person. It happened with Joshua (Num 27: 18ff). The same happened with Saul, the same happened with David and the same happened with Barnabas and Saul in Acts 13: 2. It was not down to Elijah whether Elisha could perform this last act, the call had come from the Lord. And the Lord would give leave for Elisha to say goodbye to his parents. Elisha was not shirking the call or looking for a way to by pass the necessity for forsaking all and as such God showed him grace and understanding.

Elisha sacrifices the pair of oxen (presumably the pair that he had driven) and their implements and boiled the flesh of the oxen and the people ate of it. His sacrifice was willing and with joy. He was taking away any opportunity that he had to return his hand to the plough. Once his hand left the plough it would leave for life. There is no going back with the Lord. Any one that puts his hand to the plough and looks back is not fit for the kingdom. The problem with Israel is they looked back to Egypt and hungered for it. Lots wife looked back. We are to look forward to where God is leading us. There was no way that Elisha could go back. But he did it with a joyful disposition, with a glad heart. 1 Peter 5: 1 – 4. 2 Cor 9: 7. So whether we give, or whether we serve we are to do it willingly and cheerfully. We are to count the cost but as Peter says, if elders do so in a right manner, they will receive an unfading crown of glory. And for all of us, if we do what God has set us to do with a right mind and we do it biblically, then we will see our work withstand the trials that come our way and we will all get a reward. A reward that lasts forever.

Elisha’s life would never be the same again. He would forever be a prophet but not yet a prophet. Elijah did not leave his home and family behind with the mindset that great things lay ahead for him but he went with the knowledge that he was to be a servant. What does the end of verse 21 say? He followed Elijah and ministered to him. His role to start with was to wait upon Elijah. No great ministry to start off with. Just humble service. This speaks a lot for our mindset and SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

NUMBER:      85       Oct 2011

PO BOX 1481
VRYHEID 3100
KWAZULU NATAL
SOUTH AFRICA

+27 (0) 728311008

Email:  msindisi@gmail.com ,
salv.di@gmail.com

KwaZulu Mission Website: http://www.kwazulumission.com

Personal Website: http://msindisi.googlepages.com

 

 

Dear Friends and family,

 

This month saw some necessary time taken out of our routine to sort out home affairs stuff for Di’s Visa extension and Salvi’s permanent residence. We started the month with Bianca Roux staying with us. She was a great help to Di and Di really loved having another girl around the place. We always seem to have guy visitors and hardly ever any ladies so it was great to have her to pitch in with Di’s routine. At kids club Bianca shared her testimony which Thabi, Phumlani’s wife, translated into Zulu and Di taught on Joshua and the battle of Jericho. That evening we were coming round the word together. Generally when we are at home Phumlani and Thabi will come round in the evening and we will sing a few choruses and read scripture together. One of the many blessings of not having a TV is that you have time to have group devotions. We had been going through Job together, a couple of chapters a night with Phumlani, Salvi, Di, Thabi and Bianca but while we were singing Salvi felt the Lord tell him that he had to speak to Thabi about her baptism. So after we sang Salvi pointed at Thabi and said “I need to speak with you about your baptism” and then Bianca spoke up and said that she and Thabi had just been speaking about that very same thing that day. This lead us into a whole study on baptism and the understanding that it is co-burial with Christ. We die to the old life and so we need to be buried in baptism. For Zulus the event of Burial is very real, very important and very graphic. A funeral is one of the most important events. When Thabi was asked whether we leave a dead body 5 months before we bury it she exclaimed that we can’t because it will rot and the body will smell. As Thabi had given her life to the Lord at the end of last year she had the graphic idea that she needed to bury the corpse and stop stinking the place. So the next day she obeyed the command of Christ and got baptised in the local river by Phumlani and Salvi. Di prayed a special prayer for her and there was rejoicing all round. What was also nice was that Kim Mentz from our Louwsburg Bible Fellowship brought some Zulu ladies from Louwsburg to visit the church. What a testimony for them!

Bianca attended the Care Bear creche with us at the beginning of the month. Di taught the kids and it is always so lovely to see the kids. Di also taught these kids about Joshua and Jericho. We had to visit home affairs in Newcastle (in KwaZulu Natal, SA not in the north of England) as there has been a mistake with Di’s visa application which she had to rectify. When we arrived we found that there was no electricity in the whole building so they could not help us. So we spent the morning in Newcastle before heading back. When they eventually saw us we found out that Di’s application had been declined because not all paper work was submitted and neither had the fee been paid. It was disheartening because the lady in Vryheid told us that we didn’t have to pay the whole fee and that our documentation was complete. We were shown a slip of paper that Di had to sign but fortunately she didn’t sign it because that form would have given us ten days to get all the paper work together to resubmit the application. So we started the process of getting police certification and this meant we had to take a trip up to Pretoria to get it ordered and paid. Sadly it meant that Bianca’s trip had to be cut short which she was really sad about as we couldn’t do a return trip to Gauteng the week after. We did not spend long enough in Gauteng to visit people but it was good that we went for when Salvi applied for his police clearance certificate and paid with a postal order we found out in Pretoria that they don’t take postal orders and so Salvi was able to pay over the counter and pick his up there and then.

Salvi has found that every avenue to apply for permanent residence through conventional means is closed to him but there was one small way that may possibly work. Salvi has put together an application with evidence of his unusual situation and with letters of recommendation from people of various ministries and walks of life, including the Chief of the whole area where we live, about 26 letters in all plus a petition with 156 names and has submitted it to the highest office of home affairs. One of the ladies who signed the petition remembered Salvi, she was one of the first people he had witnessed to in that area. She exclaimed that she was still in the Zionist church as her husband is Zionist but she wanted nothing more to do with ancestral spirits. The following week Salvi got her a Zulu bible as he asked her if she had one which she answered that she hadn’t. He is seeking the minister to make an exceptional case of him. If nothing else it will be such a testimony of the Lord for her to see and reminds us of Jesus’ words where we will stand before kings and princes to bear testimony to them. But we are praying for a miracle in this regard and we will see what the Lord does. A few obstacles have kept cropping up and it is as if all the doors close and then the Lord opens a tiny door to walk through. Salvi took two weeks of ministry time and study time out to work on getting all documentation together, only to lose everything, but fortunately to have gotten certified copies of everything needed and then to find all the originals 2 days after the certified copies and application were posted for submission. So now Salvi’s application is in the hands of home affairs. Please also pray for Di’s documents all to come in so we can resubmit her application.

Sadly this month an old friend of the area, Amos passed away. Salvi felt very sad because he had desired to represent the gospel to Amos yet another time (he has already had the gospel explained to him) and did not get the opportunity to do so. Amos had been a friend of Salvi’s since Dec 2002 since Salvi came with Caleb and Sophie Massey, supporting them as they started the KwaZulu Mission. Amos was a source of great help, selfless service and he kept an eye on us. It is so sad that he died without us knowing if he, last minute, gave his life to Christ.

This month we visited our friends Olaf and Charnel while they were in Vryheid. They have had a big baby boy called Nathan and Nathan is such a mini version of Olaf. We thank the Lord for their continued faithfulness to him. They will be getting Nathan dedicated at Elijah Ministries. They feel sad that they are so far away from us as they miss the Louwsburg Fellowship meetings that we have. Also that day on the supermarket we were stopped by a Zulu guy called Muzi who wanted to talk to us. We found out that Salvi and Phumlani had visited him one Sunday a year back and witnessed to him. At the time we saw that the Lord had was calling Muzi. Muzi had exclaimed that he had been a Zionist from his mother’s womb so he couldn’t change. Salvi exclaimed that it was true, he had been born a Zionist and that is why he needs to be born again. Muzi in the supermarket wanted to know what was going on in the world from a biblical viewpoint. He was concerned that the world is in a state of flux. Salvi gave him a short answer and tried to arrange to visit Muzi but he said he had moved to Boksburg. Salvi got him the number of Dave Newman who lives in Benoni for Muzi to call and get more questions answered. We have been praying for Muzi since. That day we also went to a thanksgiving service at Louwsburg for a family that wanted to thank the Lord for keeping them there for a year. They were originally from Durban and their Durban pastor came up. We had to leave at the end anyway but we left 2 minutes before we had to because the pastor started preaching the word of faith heresy saying that faith is to speak positively and that you mustn’t say I am ill. You must not say I am poor or struggling but you must say, I am rich. What false faith! I wonder if we could claim that Paul was without faith when he confessed realistically the negative aspects of his service to the Lord in 1 Cor 4: 6 – 13 or in 2 Cor 12: 7 – 10 where Paul is content with and boasts about his weaknesses! How could Paul do so? Did he not realize that faith is to minimize weakness and rebuke ones own weakness and to glory in that we are only strong? But Paul’s faith was not vain fantasy but was borne out in the rigors of unhumanly controlled reality seeing God’s power at work according to His will and not according to our fancy. We had to leave earlier so that we did not partake of such heresy as there was no opportunity to be a voice and the Lord was not impressing it upon our hearts to stay. We did visit the family but they sadly have had this false teaching entrenched in them for a long time.

In the evening we visited a family whose daughter was celebrating her 21st birthday with family friends. Salvi was encouraging a young man who had committed his life properly a year ago and trying to unlearn false teaching he had held to. Salvi gave him some websites of bible teachers including http://www.moriel.org, http://www.ariel.org, http://www.understandingthetimes.org, and a couple of others. Salvi also challenged an elder of the local Assemblies of God about the unbiblical nature of the contemporary ‘slain in the Spirit’ manifestations this elder was defending.

Di has been teaching Tholakele from church how to read in Zulu. Tholakele is illiterate but with a great desire to learn to read so she can read the bible. It is a wonderful gift that Di is giving to her and a gift that will bear eternal fruit.

Di also has discovered that she has cardiomegaly with suggestion of left ventricular hypertrophy, which in lay man’s terms means that the left chamber of the heart that pumps blood round the body has been enlarged. Di has slightly high cholesterol and has high blood pressure which has probably been the cause. Di is now on a course of meds to lower her blood pressure. Please pray for her.

Last Wednesday we did another session at Care Bear pre-school and Salvi taught on how not every ‘Christian’ or ‘pastor’ will go to heaven. Salvi put on his acting skills and played the part of the pastor, Pastor Sellby, Sellby Date. (because he is not so fresh). The pastor’s view of the gospel was that God is promising that if we become a christian God will give everything that we want and that God is there for our needs and to please us, isn’t He? One kid called Luthando said, no! Salvi asked him why and Luthando answered “Because He is the King!” Salvi then said that therefore God is not there to do want we want but we are to do what, and Luthando interjected, “Jesus want”. What an amazing kid. This 6 year old showed more understanding than 90% of TBN preachers combined!

On Fridays we have started doing a bible study with the Zulu ladies who visit our church once a month from Louwsburg. We were rained off this last Friday but the week before we had 11 ladies who thoroughly enjoyed the study. Salvi spoke on the story of how Jacob became Israel as a picture and type of the born again experience. We look forward to what the Lord may do as we continue meeting them.

At Church Salvi is teaching through Deuteronomy again and at the Bible Study we have started studying Jude interactively with Salvi facilitating. Salvi will tell us all to study a couple of verses at home during the week and we discuss it in the meeting.

Our friend Mark Van Niekerk is going to Israel on Monday morning for a 3 week mission trip. To learn more about the work please visit the website http://www.hazorim.org .

Thank you for your prayers, friendship, support and encouragement. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

 

Shalom aleichem baShem Yeshua, Salvi and Di

 

 

 

ELIJAH AND ELISHA
THE APPOINTING OF ELISHA
PART 6
1 Kings 18: 15 – 19: 21

Elijah desired a revival. He took on the 450 prophets of Ba’al. We saw that on Mount Carmel fire came down from heaven and burned up the offering. Every body chanted “the LORD is God”. Elijah slew the false prophets and Ahab obeyed and celebrated. Elijah had prayed that God would turn back the hearts of the people back to Him. Everything seemed to be in place for revival and then, instead of revival there comes death threats and Elijah wants to give up. God had to show him that the revival would not come through the wind, the earthquake and the fire but through the still small voice of Holy Spirit conviction. Thus what Elijah did and accomplished was only a foreshadowing of what was to come. God would grant Elijah his request of taking his life but in a much grander and wonderful way then Elijah could ever wish for. Elijah felt like a failure and that it was impossible for him to fulfill God’s purposes to bring Israel back. He had been very zealous for the Lord but his zeal accomplished nothing. That might be true but God will always bring to pass what He has promised. It does not matter what ever is thrown in God’s way, God has already accounted for it.

Verses 15 – 17 God’s appointing

Just because Israel had not turned back their heart back to the Lord properly does not mean that the ordeal and testing at Carmel was of no effect. We sometimes wonder about the sovereignty of God and think that if we can resist his purposes in our lives that He is a failure and His efforts were all in vain. Some people think God failed in Eden when He did not want Adam to take of the fruit but was powerless to stop Adam from taking it. Firstly we forget that in God’s eternal nature He has declared the end from the beginning and has accounted for it all. But secondly and more profoundly to the text, when ever God does something like He did at Carmel and God’s hand of invitation to repent has been spat at and rejected, that heaps a greater judgment on those who resist.

God has done one of the greatest miracles and signs since the time of Moses and it is discarded by the leaders. Their punishment would be great. And there are three vessels of judgment that God tells Elijah to appoint. They are Hazael, Jehu and Elisha. Some people show concern that God told Elijah to appoint Hazael before he asked him to appoint Jehu and he asked Elijah to appoint Jehu before He appointed Elisha. Also we see that Elijah is commanded to go to Damascus and on his arrival to anoint Hazael. But Elijah is never recorded in scripture to have anointed Hazael or Jehu though Elijah was the one told to do it. This means one of two things. It either means that Elijah did as we would think he did and anointed Hazael and Jehu years before they got their second anointing by Elisha. This may well have happened as we remember David was anointed twice to be king over Israel, firstly by Samuel and secondly by the men of Judah. (1 Samuel 16: 13, 2 Samuel 2: 4). But secondly it is a question of authority. When a messenger is delivers a message, it is not the messenger who is speaking but the one who sent him. Thus in John 4: 1 it says that Jesus was baptising more disciples than John but then it qualifies it by saying that physically the baptising was done by the hands of the apostles. In Matthew 8: 5 we see Centurion approaching Jesus to heal his servant, but then in Luke 7: 3 we see that actually the Centurion sent some Jewish leaders to ask Jesus to heal his servant. Which gospel account is right? They are both right because Matthew works from the view point that even though the Centurion did not physically approach Jesus, it was still him approaching Jesus because the messengers are under his authority. Thus even though Elijah may not have physically anointed Hazael and Jehu, he would have still have been considered as doing it yet through the hands of Elisha. Elisha would have done it under the instruction of Elijah.

Hazael, Jehu and Elisha are the vessels of judgment but just because they are spoken of in this order does not necessarily mean that this is the order they were to be anointed in. This order has in it a level of severity and of submission to the Lord. In other words, firstly judgment would come through the hands of Hazael, and then Jehu would cover those people that Hazael would miss and finally Elisha would cover people that Jehu would miss. We will look at Elisha in the following studies. We see judgment with Elisha, not in widespread fashion but in individual situations. Hazael would be harsh and brutal, setting strongholds on fire, killing young men with the sword and cutting open pregnant women and smashing babies to pieces. (2 Kings 8: 12) Hazael would take away portions of the land of Israel after defeating them. (2 Kings 10: 32) He would thresh the lands of Israel. He would be a wind. (Amos 1: 3 – 5) Jehu would trick the worshippers of Ba’al to revealing themselves and then slaughter them all. (2 Kings 10: 15 – 25). We also see that Jehu destroyed the house of Ahab and brought judgment on them. (2 Kings 9: 1 – 37) He would be the earthquake that would shake the foundations of the house of Ahab, causing it to crumble. (2 Kings 9: 6 – 10) But also look at the succession of people. Hazael is spoken of first by the Lord but he was a heathen, gentile king who cared nothing about the Lord. He was a vessel of judgment who would go further than was needed in the judgment of God’s people. (Zechariah 1: 15). But Hazael did not care to worship the Lord or to get rid of any of the false gods. Then there was Jehu who was zealous for the Lord. He got rid of Ba’al worship. He cleansed the land of Ba’al worship but then he still allowed the golden calves to remain at Bethel and Dan; that Jeroboam had originally set up. (2 Kings 10: 29). But then finally there was Elisha who followed the Lord whole heartedly. Hazael was for threshing, Jehu was for shaking but Elisha was for consuming. Elisha would bring Judgment even to the inhabitants of idolatrous Bethel.

Verse 18 God’s remnant

However, though God’s judgment loomed over Israel, God would remember the covenant that He made with Abraham in Genesis chapters 12, 15 and 17. He would not completely dispense with the Nation of Israel even though most of the nation had been unfaithful but He promises to leave Himself a remnant. Note a few things about this issue of the remnant. Firstly, God is faithful to the promises He has made and because of His faithfulness to unfaithful Israel we can be assured of His faithfulness towards us. Secondly, this remnant was not at the expense of His holiness. This remnant was not a mixed multitude or some people arbitrarily chosen to be preserved but it was made up of those who did not worship Ba’al. Apparently bowing the knee was an action denoting worship or reverence according to Matthew Poole and it is likely that people would kiss the statues as has happened in greek worship, where a statue of Hercules was considerably worn by the kissing of his worshippers and as happens today with the veneration of Marion shrines or the worshipping of Hindu idols. These people were going to be preserved because they did not bow the knee or kiss the statues. Thirdly, God’s choice of them was not arbitrary in choosing only 7,000 of them based on only wanting 7, 000 people but the text says that He would preserve all who had not gone after the worship of Ba’al. The remnant of 7,000 was made up of all who had not bowed their knee to Ba’al. There was much benefit in personally going against the flow of the whole society. Think of Lot. God would take drastic measures to preserve 4 people such as by sending angels and blinding many of its citizens in order to spare them from the coming judgment. Even though one of them looked back God still preserved 3 of them. Even if there was only one who was faithful to the Lord, I still believe that God would have went to those lengths for just one.

Verses 19 – 21 God’s call

The next thing we read about in this account is the calling of Elisha. Elisha is not praying, or fasting or studying but he is working. The calling of Elisha matches the calling of Jesus’ disciples, especially of Peter, Andrew, James and John. They were fishing when Jesus called them but Jesus said follow me. Remember in the first session we saw the similarity that Elijah and Elisha had with Moses and Joshua and with John the Baptist and Jesus. Like Moses and John, Elijah came out of some form of obscurity to lead up to the ministry of someone else. And like the name Joshua, meaning YHWH is salvation, Elisha means God is salvation and Jesus means YHWH is salvation. There is a similarity between all three. Joshua spied out the land, Elisha ploughed the land and Jesus would sow the seed of the word in the land. Elisha was ploughing with twelve pairs of oxen and according to John Gill; Abel Meholah was a ground that was very hard, clayey and stiff. The hard ground needed breaking up for the seed to penetrate. We will see that with Elisha there was more grace, people were helped and there was healing but the judgment was heavier also. During Elisha’s ministry there would be Hazael and Jehu bringing hard judgment. This would be in anticipation of the greater judgments of Assyria and then Babylon bringing about the dispersion. The dispersion would bring Israel back to the Observance of the Law. Elisha’s ministry would see the start a process of breaking up the fallow ground in Israel’s heart. Just as Jesus’ message was not heeded and after 70 AD Jerusalem was besieged within 37 years of His death, so about 73 years after Elisha’s death, the Assyrians came against the northern Kingdom of Israel.

The other significance of Elisha having 12 pairs of oxen is much more practical. It showed he was a man of wealth. They had servants and the oxen must have belonged to him because he burns them. He had a lot to give up joining the ministry. Elijah had nothing to offer, he had slept by a brook, eaten food brought by ravens. No home, no stability and definitely no luxuries. Elijah’s mantle is thrown onto Elisha. This is what Elijah has to offer Elisha. Now Elijah does not say anything to Elisha by way of interpreting this act. Instead it would seem that Elijah walks on. Elisha has to run after Elijah. Elisha perceives what this means and runs after him. It was simply a matter of obedience. There are certain people that God has borne with in scripture, such as Moses and Gideon. He has understood their weaknesses and still held out his hand of invitation. With Elisha it was a matter to be decided on the spot. Elijah was not waiting, he was walking on. Just like Jesus, walking on the water, seemed to be going on. God chooses us and he uses us but we are not the centre of the whole plan. He can replace a Judas with a Matthias. Just as much as God can raise up He can also abase. This is not to say that God was going to abase Elisha. Elisha was going to be God’s instrument, but it is to say that Elisha was not the most important aspect of God’s plan. Elijah was not waiting for Elisha but Elisha had to chase after Elijah. When God’s call comes your way, you must respond in some way and not expect that God is going to chase you all the time.

However, Elisha has one request. To say goodbye to his father and mother. Now, notice that he does not demand to say goodbye, he says, ‘please let me’. This is not the situation of the man who asked Jesus if he could first bury his father, so that he could gain an inheritance. This was counting the cost and forsaking all. Elijah tells him ‘Go back again, for what have I done to you?’ All Elijah did was to throw his mantle on Elisha but he did not command him to do anything. The calling had not come from Elijah but it had come from the Lord. No person can truly ordain anyone. It is the Lord who ordains. All leaders and churches can do is to recognise the Lord’s calling on another person. It happened with Joshua (Num 27: 18ff). The same happened with Saul, the same happened with David and the same happened with Barnabas and Saul in Acts 13: 2. It was not down to Elijah whether Elisha could perform this last act, the call had come from the Lord. And the Lord would give leave for Elisha to say goodbye to his parents. Elisha was not shirking the call or looking for a way to by pass the necessity for forsaking all and as such God showed him grace and understanding.

Elisha sacrifices the pair of oxen (presumably the pair that he had driven) and their implements and boiled the flesh of the oxen and the people ate of it. His sacrifice was willing and with joy. He was taking away any opportunity that he had to return his hand to the plough. Once his hand left the plough it would leave for life. There is no going back with the Lord. Any one that puts his hand to the plough and looks back is not fit for the kingdom. The problem with Israel is they looked back to Egypt and hungered for it. Lots wife looked back. We are to look forward to where God is leading us. There was no way that Elisha could go back. But he did it with a joyful disposition, with a glad heart. 1 Peter 5: 1 – 4. 2 Cor 9: 7. So whether we give, or whether we serve we are to do it willingly and cheerfully. We are to count the cost but as Peter says, if elders do so in a right manner, they will receive an unfading crown of glory. And for all of us, if we do what God has set us to do with a right mind and we do it biblically, then we will see our work withstand the trials that come our way and we will all get a reward. A reward that lasts forever.

Elisha’s life would never be the same again. He would forever be a prophet but not yet a prophet. Elijah did not leave his home and family behind with the mindset that great things lay ahead for him but he went with the knowledge that he was to be a servant. What does the end of verse 21 say? He followed Elijah and ministered to him. His role to start with was to wait upon Elijah. No great ministry to start off with. Just humble service. This speaks a lot for our mindset and attitude. Jeremiah 45: 5. We must have a mindset of obedience, regardless of what God would have us do or lead us through. We are servants whether we are recognised by man or not. We are servants in the mundane as well as in the spectacular. Servants that are usable to the Lord. As someone once said, ‘we often pray ‘Lord use me’, but rather we should be asking ‘Lord, make me usable.’ May we too be like Elisha.

attitude. Jeremiah 45: 5. We must have a mindset of obedience, regardless of what God would have us do or lead us through. We are servants whether we are recognised by man or not. We are servants in the mundane as well as in the spectacular. Servants that are usable to the Lord. As someone once said, ‘we often pray ‘Lord use me’, but rather we should be asking ‘Lord, make me usable.’ May we too be like Elisha.

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