S1E6: How to Work Without Toiling – Allow Others

From a corporate perspective, we refer to allowing others as delegating.  Wikipedia defines delegating as the act of entrusting a task or responsibility  to  another  person,  (typically  one  who  is  less  senior  than  oneself).  Merriam-Webster states that the word made it to the English dictionary  around 1700. From the Scriptures, we see God originating this concept  at the Garden of Eden.

BECAUSE: IT’S NOT GOOD FOR MAN TO BE ALONE

Now the Lord God said, 

It is not good (beneficial) for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper  [one who balances him—a counterpart who is] suitable and complementary for him.

Genesis 2:18

From this passage, we see the power of working with others. God found  it not good for man to be alone. In the assignment He had for man to  cultivate and keep the Garden of Eden, man needed to work with another  person. God called her Helper – one who balances and compliments him.

While this Scripture passage is usually applied in marriage, I would like  to borrow this concept for us to apply in the assignments that God  has given us. What God has called you to do is bigger than you and  will require other suitable helpers. These are men and women who will  balance and compliment you in your ministry, business or job role at  your place of work. God always sends other people to participate and  share in the vision.

BECAUSE: YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY  ONE

Also, take heart that you are never the only one that God’s using in your  time. Elijah told God that twice – I am the only one in verses x and x.  However, God tells him that there were seven thousand others whose  knees had not bowed down to Baal and whose lips had not kissed him. 

Another good illustration is that of Elijah at Mt. Carmel in 1 Kings 18  where he puts to the test what was at the time perceived as the most  supreme and powerful of all the gods – Baal. There are many lessons we  can draw from this epic story.

EXAMPLE: ELIJAH AT MT. CARMEL – THE SUMMARY

The period of this story was during the First Temple partly a time when  Ahab was king of Israel. Historically, most of the kings who ruled the  state of the Ten Tribes (known as “Israel’’) were far from virtuous. Ahab,  however, took this to an unprecedented low: “Ahab did more to anger the  Lord, the God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who had preceded him.”  Ahab’s behaviour was influenced in no small measure by his wicked wife,  Jezebel. As a princess of the neighbouring kingdom of Sidon, she led  both her husband and his kingdom into the thick of the pagan culture in  which she was so immersed. Upon marrying her, Ahab fell entirely under  her spell. It was Elijah who single-handedly undertook the opposition to  Ahab and Jezebel. Given Ahab’s terrible conduct, Elijah came before the  king and swore in the name of G-d that rain would cease to fall in the  entire region. This decree would remain in place until he, Elijah, would  revoke it.

Sure enough, after some time a fierce drought raged in the region. Elijah  went into hiding, as Jezebel was bent on killing him as well as all the  other prophets of God. Three years had passed, and God spoke once  again to Elijah. This time he was to appear again before Ahab, in the  hope that the time would be ripe for the harsh decree to be rescinded.  The situation had grown so desperate that Ahab had personally joined  his chief of staff, Obadiah, in a search for animal fodder. They divided  the territory between themselves, and each of them continued alone in  the field. Now, Obadiah was a very righteous man: under the very noses  of Ahab and Jezebel, he hid one hundred prophets of God and took  responsibility for their sustenance.

While on the search, Obadiah met Elijah as he came towards him. Elijah  instructed Obadiah to tell Ahab that he had arrived. Seeing how terrified  Obadiah was to do this, Elijah swore to him that he would indeed appear  before Ahab and not disappear as he had done before. Obadiah conveyed  to Ahab that Elijah was in the vicinity, and Ahab made his way towards  Elijah. After an initial sharp exchange between the two, Elijah said that  if the king wanted any rain to fall, he was to gather the entire people  on Mount Carmel. Joining them were to be the entire cohort of eight  hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and Asherah (another one of the  primary gods/goddesses of the time).

Having no choice, Ahab conceded. The people gathered in excitement  and anticipation. As for the cohort of prophets that Elijah spoke of, only  the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal made it to the gathering. The  four hundred prophets of Asherah were actually supported by Jezebel,  and she, in whichever way, made sure they would not be in attendance.

Elijah stepped forward and began haranguing the people: “How long  will you be dancing between two ideas? If the Lord is God, go after Him,  and if the Baal—go after him!” The scene was utterly surreal, the people  were quiet and torn. In their heart of hearts, they knew who was the true  God – the God of their fathers, whom they had forsaken. On the other  hand, the influence and lure of popular culture were so immediate and  powerful. Could it all be just tossed away as nonsense?

Knowing what was going through their minds, Elijah continued. He  asserted the fact that he alone had publicly remained faithful as a prophet  to God, while standing right there were hundreds of prophets of Baal. 

But he was ready to go to the test. Elijah proposed that two sacrifices  should be brought, and the God who would answer the call by sending  fire  to  consume  it,  He  would  be  deemed  the  true  God.  The  people  eagerly agreed.

Regardless, what remains incredible is that they all sheepishly followed  every proposition of Elijah, even as he made them a total laughingstock.  It is readily demonstrable that Elijah, with nothing but the power of the  faith that he projected, took command of the entire event, even though  quantitatively he was totally outnumbered. A lesson for all generations!

The bull for Baal was slaughtered, cut in pieces and placed on the altar.  Throughout  the  entire  morning,  the  prophets  paced  up  and  down,  calling and praying that Baal answers them. As noon came, Elijah began  poking fun at them: “Call with a loud voice… Perhaps he is talking, or  he is pursuing enemies, or he is on a journey; perhaps he is sleeping and will  awaken.” The Baal prophets whipped themselves into a frenzy, lacerating  themselves with swords and spears—anything to get Baal to respond.  But nothing came.

Now it was Elijah’s turn. He called all of the people close, and began by  mending “the torn-down altar of the Lord.” Saul, the first king of Israel,  had built an altar for God on Mount Carmel after returning from his  war with Amalek. The kings of Israel had destroyed every altar that had  been built for God, replacing them with altars for idol worship. Elijah  now went about repairing this altar.

In building the altar, Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the  twelve tribes of Israel. Around it, he dug a trench, 100 by 50 cubits  – equivalent to at least 1200 square feet. After slaughtering the bull,  cutting it up and setting it on the firewood, Elijah instructed that four  pitchers of water be filled and poured over the sacrifice. He repeated this three times, making a total of twelve pitchers-full (gain corresponding  to the twelve tribes). Not only was the sacrifice drenched, but the entire  trench was also filled with water. This was all so that the spectacle of the  consuming fire should be magnified all the more. Elijah stepped forward  and prayed that he now be answered and that through this, the people  would know the true God.

In his prayer, Elijah adds a request that through the miracle, the people  will know that he is indeed the agent of God and that God had instructed  him to do all this. Elijah’s prayer was answered. A Godly fire came down  and consumed the entire offering, including all the water, and even the  stones and earth of the altar. The people fell on their face and cried out  “The Lord, He is the God! The Lord, He is the God!” After the fire came  down, Elijah immediately instructed that the Baal prophets be seized.  The people, led by Elijah, dragged them down to the Kishon Brook and  killed them on the spot.

Now that Baal and its prophets had been dealt with, it was now time  for another prayer. Elijah told Ahab that he could go, eat and drink, for  rain would soon come. Elijah himself ascended to the summit of Mount  Carmel, crouched to the ground, and put his face between his knees;  another miracle had to happen, and it had to happen now. He sent his  attendant seven times to look to see if any cloud had appeared over the  sea. Finally, by the seventh time, a tiny cloud was spotted. Elijah knew  he had been answered. He sent a message to Ahab that he should rush  home so that the rain would not hinder his travel. Soon after this, the  skies greyed, and a downpour of rain descended on the land of Israel.  Ahab arrived home and related the entire episode to his wife. Jezebel,  however, was not to be fazed by this. On the contrary, she was incensed  at the slaying of the Baal prophets and swore to take revenge upon Elijah.  Now again, the faithful and courageous prophet had to flee.

Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me,  and even more, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like the life  of one of them.” And Elijah was afraid and arose and ran for his life, and he  came to Beersheba which belongs to Judah, and he left his servant there. But  he himself travelled a day’s journey into the wilderness, and he came and sat  down under a juniper tree and asked [God] that he might die. He said, “It 

is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”  He lay down and slept under the juniper tree…

1 Kings 19:2-5a

A THORN IN THE FLESH THAT ONLY  OTHERS CAN HELP US REMOVE

Think of all the achievements that Elijah had up to this point. He had  stopped the rain for three and a half years. He had slain four hundred  and fifty prophets of Baal and called back for the rains, and it fell on the  land again. This is very characteristic of our lives. For some people, they  have scaled through challenging times to get their business or ministry  to this current level. For others, they have had to defend their faith and  not compromise to go up the corporate ladder and finally they made it to  a higher level without bribing, corrupting or sleeping with the boss. It’s  an excellent place to be!

Then this one thing happens, Jezebel sends a word that she will kill you  – the servant of the most high. Just one challenge in your ministry or  business, just one accusation at work, just one – and we get to the same  place as Elijah did. And Elijah was afraid and arose and ran for his life… 

He even became suicidal. “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am  no better than my fathers.” He goes ahead to tell God how he (Elijah) was  the only one serving God.

He said, 

“I have been very [c]zealous (impassioned) for the Lord God of hosts (armies) [proclaiming what is rightfully and uniquely His]; for the sons of  Israel have abandoned (broken) Your Covenant, torn down Your altars,  and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, only I, am left; and they  seek to take away my life.”

God then tells Elijah the people he needed to appoint to continue with  the purposes of God at that time.

The Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of 

Damascus; and when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over 

Aram (Syria); and you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over 

Israel; and anoint Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in  your place. It shall come about that Jehu shall put to death whoever escapes  from the sword of Hazael, and Elisha shall put to death whoever escapes the  sword of Jehu. Yet I will leave 7,000 [survivors] in Israel, all the knees that  have not bowed down to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

We see that Elijah anoints these three people – Elisha, a prophet in  his stead; Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. This is the Jehu  who would later bring down Jezebel; and Hazael as king of Syria. This  means that, as much as Elijah was so instrumental in God’s plans at this  time, there were other people that God had allocated and desired to use to continue with His plans. It does not matter the uniqueness of your  assignment; you can never do it alone – all by yourself.

SOLUTION ONE: ANOINT ELISHA AS  A PROPHET IN YOUR STEAD

In verse 19 – 21 So Elijah departed from there and found Elisha the son  of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him,  and he with the twelfth. Elijah went over to him and threw his mantle  (coat) on him. He left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Please let  me kiss my father and mother [goodbye], then I will follow you.” And he  said to him, “Go on back; for what have I done to [stop] you?” So Elisha  left him and went back. Then he took a pair of oxen and sacrificed them  and boiled their meat with the implements of the oxen [as fuel], and  gave the meat to the people, and they ate. Then he stood and followed  Elijah, and served him.

Elisha became a faithful disciple of the prophet Elijah, and his successor.  He followed his master from the moment they met in the above passage,  when  Elisha  was  a  young  man,  ploughing  his  father’s  field  near  the  ancient town of Abel-mecholah in northern Israel. Later, Elisha would  see his master disappear in a fiery chariot, going up to heaven, without  dying first. At that moment Elisha cried: “My father, my father, the  chariot of Israel…!” and rent his clothes. He knew then that he was to  carry on the great work of Elijah, to spread the knowledge of G-d, to  bring relief and blessing to his people, and teach them to be kind and  charitable.

Elisha picked up the mantle which Elijah had cast off when he went up  to heaven. He felt the spirit of Elijah within him, and when he had to  cross the Jordan to return home, he waved Elijah’s mantle water, and they parted suddenly and made way for the divine prophet to  cross the Jordan on its dry bed.

There was now hardly a man, king or slave, who hadn’t heard of Elisha’s  miracles and divine powers. It didn’t take a long time before three kings  came together to Elisha to ask for his help. Every Word Elisha said came  true. He did many miracles, including separating the waters of Jordan  river after Elijah was taken up; blessing the bitter water; the pot of oil  that turned into a well for the widow whose prophet husband, Obadiah,  was in debt; the Shunammite woman’s miracle of birthing a son and his  raising the boy from the dead; turning the poisonous wild gourds into  a meal for his prophets at Gilgal near Jericho; multiplying twenty loaves  of bread to feed two thousand prophets at Mt. Ephraim; and floating an  axe’s head that had fallen in the water when the prophets were cutting  trees to build new living quarters at Jordan because the Samaria quarters  had become small for the company of prophets. Everybody knew that  Elisha was kind and generous to all, even to men who did not belong to  his own people. Thus, he cured leprosy a great Syrian prince, Naaman,  who next to the king was the greatest man in Syria).

For over 65 years, Elisha stood at the head of the prophets of his time,  among whom was also the prophet Jonah. He saw many kings reign and  fall in Judah and Israel. Fearlessly, like his master the prophet Elijah, he  fulfilled his divine mission, until his last day came. As he was lying ill,  king Joash of Israel came to his bedside and wept. “My father, my father,  the chariot and horsemen of Israel!” he cried. Indeed, the people of Israel  came to rely upon their great and beloved prophet more than they ever  relied upon their chariots and horsemen. Elisha’s last prophecy was an  encouraging one. He told the king that he would defeat Syria three times  and that the people of Israel would then see better and happier days.

SOLUTION TWO: ANOINT JEHU AS KING OF ISRAEL – HE WILL DESTROY  JEZEBEL FOR YOU

God will always bring other people to connect with your assignment.  Elijah  put  to  death  450  prophets  of  Baal,  but  it  was  not  his  God- ordained place to put Jezebel to death. That was Jehu’s part, according  to God’s plans. Are there areas of your assignment that you are really  struggling in? Is there this one thing that is continually persecuting you  and making you afraid for your life? Is this area seemingly not allowing  you  to  continue  with  your  God-given  assignment?  Is  everything  else 

working apart from this one area?

I wish to submit to you that there is a Jehu appointed by God to sort that  area for you. Spend your time in prayer and in seeking guidance from  God to open your eyes on who these appointees for your assignment are.  That’s the only way that you will be able to advance forward, in peace  and rest.

SOLUTION THREE: ANOINT HAZAEL  AS KING OF SYRIA

Hazael became king after the death of Ben-hadad I, under whom he  was probably a court official. Ben-Hadad, who was ill, sent Hazael to  the prophet Elisha to look for a remedy of leprosy in which the king  had and to inquire concerning his chances of recovery. Elisha prophesied  that Ben-hadad would die and that Hazael would succeed him. Elisha  cried while explaining to Hazael that he was to be the perpetrator of  the brutality to the Israelites. Hazael objected to the very thought of  it but was rest assured that it was all part of God’s plan. Hazael, on his  return, smothered Ben-hadad – he got a coverlet, dipped it in water and laid it out on the king’s face. As prophesied, Hazael earned the throne  ultimately  due  to  the  king’s  death.  He  ruled  for  many  years,  during  which time he fought the kings of Judah and Israel with some success,  capturing all Israel’s possessions east of the Jordan.

Was Hazael an appointee of the Lord? The nations of Israel and Judah  had become unfaithful to the Lord. This caused the wrath of God. With  this,  Syrian  King  Hazael  became  the  Lord’s  instrument  to  discipline  these  treacherous  nations.  In  his  reign  of  thirty  seven  years,  he  led  the Arameans into battles against the troops of King Jehoram of Israel  and King Ahaziah of Judah. This was to gain ownership of the City of  Ramoth-Gilead. He revolted against Assyrians’ attacks. The king held  in custody the territory of the Israelites east of Jordan, also known as the  Eastern Tribal Lands. He also conquered Philistine, which was located in  Gath City. The King of Syria, wanting to take over Jerusalem threatened  the  people  of  Judah.  This,  however,  was  prevented  as  Judah’s  King,  Joash, bribed King Hazael with gold and treasures from the temple and  royal palace. In effect, the forces of King Hazael were withdrawn from  Jerusalem.

The Syrian Kingdom was at its peak of power. King Hazael’s reign (842  B.C.-805 BC) proved to be long and victorious. This was a noteworthy  achievement considering that in the early days, elections were done in  the form of assassinations. King Hazael died in about the year BC 840  and was succeeded by Benhadad, his son. Ironically, Hazael named his  son after the king in which he killed.

He was eventually conquered by Shalmaneser III (859–824 BC), king of  Assyria, who defeated Hazael’s forces in battle, the first time taking an  enormous toll in lives and equipment and driving Hazael into Damascus  and  the  second  time  capturing  several  Syrian  cities.  Damascus  itself,  though besieged and its oasis devastated, was not conquered.

Find all the Episodes in this Series

A journey of recovery from toiling (modern day workaholism) to working (as God intended)

Too Busy for Worship Episode 1 - 15

S1E0: Market Place Talk – Are You Working or Toiling?

S1E1: God is the First Worker

S1E2: Toiling is a Curse from the Fall!

S1E3: How to Measure Busyness

S1E4: The Workplace As An Idol

S1E5:Working Without Toiling

S1E6: How to Work Without Toiling – Allow Others

S1E7: What’s the Sabbath Rest?

S1E8: Taking Up the Easy Yoke

Pause: How Are You Doing?

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