Meadow of Dance
Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17 It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. 18 Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 19 So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” 21 So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant. 1 Kings 19:15-19 NKJV
When Elijah was hiding out in a cave in the wilderness fearful, discouraged, isolated, and feeling depressed, God asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 9, 13). Have you stopped to ask yourself the same question? Are you obeying and serving God with joy like dancing? Or, are you feeling sorry for yourself and making excusing and thinking nobody’s right but you? God is raising up believers with the spirit of Elisha, the spirit of Abel-me-holah–the meadow of the dance.
Abel-me-holah means the Meadow of Dance; it was the birthplace and residence of Elisha; a place of low-lying moist grassy land (Psalm 23:2). It was a place where its people were known to dance with joy. Elijah struggled fearfully, emotionally and self-righteously, so God decided to anoint a successor–someone who danced with joy, i.e., Elisha—a man who would serve God in his prophetic ministry with the joy of dancing.
Elisha had a servant’s heart. Notwithstanding his wealth and substance (he plowed with 12 pair of oxen), he readily accepted the call and prophetic mantle of God. He ran and joyfully “danced” after Elijah. Because Elisha understood the price to be paid of dedication and sacrifice, he returned home to kiss his parents goodbye, he sacrificed his oxen and burned his plough. Is there someone or something you need to kiss goodbye? Is there a “plough” that you need to burn? You can’t serve God with joy when you’re still stuck with someone or something in your past (see Luke 9:62; Heb.10:38). Serving God necessitates the “meadow of the dance.” You must follow Christ and also follow, and serve with joy, those who God has set over you as they follow Christ (Matt. 4:19; 1 Cor. 11:1).
Joshua followed and served Moses. Samuel served Eli, and Elisha followed and served Elijah in the spirit of the “meadow of the dance.” And, the apostles that followed Jesus, He taught them that, “if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? The way up in God is sometimes down in humility—the humility of serving another in joy.
The “meadow of the dance” can be summed up in the words of Apostle Peter, 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Serve God like you’re dancing with joy!