Shaphat of Abel Meholah and Elisha

R. Penney, Gosport

Shaphat of Abel-meholah was one of those men who had not bowed to Baal or kissed his image. The country was ruled over by Ahab and corrupted by his wife Jezebel. None of the corrupting influence of Israel's king or his consort had been "...

Shaphat, meaning "judge", may be a name connected with

Since he had named his son Elisha "my God is salvation", it is obvious that Shaphat's godliness was no mere outward

The occasion of Elijah's Visit was to be the crowning honour in the life of Shaphat. His son Elisha was to be called to represent God as His prophet and as the great Elijah's successor. Thus the result of faithful living is a clear testimony for God and a rebuke to evil and dissolute rule.

Elisha. The occupation in which Elijah found his successor has a lot to teach us. Elisha was "faithful in that which is least"; he was "faithful in the unrighteous mammon". The visit of Elijah marked the time when God was about to entrust "much" to him-to commit to his trust "the true riches", Luke 16. 10-12. What Elisha was not doing should also be noted. He was not among the sons of the prophets who were

We have noted that Elijah found Elisha "plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth". Here we see the son honouring and obeying his father, con­cerned with his father's well-being and that of his father's farm. Such concern is rewarded by the call to God's service that might display itself by work in His ground. Scripture is full of illustrations of God as the proprietor of land where His servants work, Isa. 5. 1-7; Matt. 21. 33-41. "For we are labourers together with God; ye are God's husbandry (tillage)", 1 Cor. 3. 9. The tasks that Christians are given are in propor­tion to their faithfulness in carrying out smaller and meaner

Having seen what Elisha was and was not doing, we may conclude that the best training for the Lord's service, whether as a missionary or at home in our district, is to be diligent in our work and faithful in our assembly, neglecting neither our

Unlike another who expressed willingness to follow the Lord but who withdrew his hand from the plough, Luke 9. 57-62, Elisha had waited to be called. His desire to bid farewell to his mother and father was not a veiled excuse to avoid the rigours of true service, but a genuine love for parents whom he had served faithfully from youth. Thus he displayed the feature so

Elijah's reply to his successor is interesting: "Go back again: for what have I done to thee?", 1 Kings 19. 20. Elijah knew the ha2ards of being God's representative and naturally sympa­thized with this man who was to share his life and to succeed him. He would not blame him for hesitancy; God's service in

In his next acts, Elisha demonstrated the qualities which God had seen in him, and which had marked him out as His prophet after Elijah. Elisha "took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen,

Truly the path of the servant of the Lord is a humble one, he "must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient", 2 Tim. 2.24. For Elisha there was not the spectacular, not yet a public ministry attended by dramatic demonstrations