So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. ~1 Kings 19:19
Among the many topics the Bible addresses, one of the important ones is leadership succession. Leadership succession is when the leader of a ministry carefully selects and develops his eventual replacement. Leadership succession is critical for making sure the ministry continues to move forward for many years to come. In our devotion this morning, we see how Elisha is selected for his preparation to be Elijah’s successor.
We see Elisha, the son.
“Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee.” Elisha was the son of a man named Shaphat. The passage implies to us that Shaphat was a large landowner with many crops that he grew. Elisha was part of this family business. Elisha demonstrated that he was a devoted son. He loved his father and mother. He was also a diligent son. He worked in the family business and held a place of responsibility. Strong parental guidance and a stable, loving family are great contributors for God to call a young man into the work of God.
We see Elisha, the servant.
We see Elisha plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, with him being behind the twelfth oxen. Elisha was working hard when Elijah called him. In II Kings 3:11, he is described as the man who poured water on the hands of Elijah. God uses men who work hard. There is no place in the ministry for someone who is lazy or who only does the minimum. Hard work gave him endurance and the desire to do more. His diligence testifies to the proverb that says, “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule.”
We see Elisha and his surrender.
“And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah.” From a financial and family perspective, he had a lot to give up. However, he left all of this behind and ran after Elijah. He had faith in God’s calling and God’s care for his life. He knew little about the ministry, but with enthusiasm ran to God’s calling in his life.
We see Elisha and his sacrifice.
“And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat.” Elisha demonstrated his call publicly by making a sacrifice of a yoke of oxen and the instruments. He was testifying that he was giving up his prior livelihood for God. He wanted people to know that he was committed to his decision 100% and had no regret about it.
We see Elisha’s schooling.
“Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.” Elisha spent ten years in the shadow of Elijah. Those ten years forged him in the fire of spiritual preparation to be a prophet of God. He learned to be a servant, to pray like a prophet, to train other prophets, to stand for God, to preach like a prophet, to be ready at all times for God to work, and to learn how to get God’s power in his life.
Ultimately, we see Elisha, the successor.
The day came when the mantle of Elijah would permanently be his to wear and use. He filled the shoes of Elijah and was used of God in an even greater way for years to come.
God is still calling and developing Elishas. Let God use you for His glory!
Have a committed God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 2 Kings 15-17