1 Kings 19:16, 19-21; 2 Kings 2:1-25; 2 Kings 3: 1-14; 2 Kings 4:1-42; 2 Kings 5:8-25;
2 Kings 6:1-32; 2 Kings 7:1; 2 Kings 8:1-14; 2 Kings 9:1; 2 Kings 13:14-21
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. 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, he left the oxen ran after Elijah, said, “Please let me kiss my father, my mother, then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” 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.
…To contextualise the argument, I would want to explain two or three fundamental words – SERVANT, ATTENDANT & APPRENTICE… key words that we all need to understand if we are to appreciate LIFE and all its mysteries to a large extent….
….A SERVANT is…one who is hired to perform regular household or other duties, and receives compensation…as opposed to a slave….He is also one who serves another, providing help in some manner;..
…AN APPRENTICE is…a trainee, especially in a skilled trade…one who is bound by indentures or by legal agreement to serve a tradesperson, or other person, for a certain time, with a view to learn from the art, or trade, in which his master is bound to instruct him…or one not well versed in a subject; a tryo, novice, rookie, recruit, amateur, freshman, tenderfoot or newbie…..such a person is also put under the care and supervision of a master, for the purpose of instruction in a trade or business…
….AN ATTENDANT is…one who attends; one who works with or watches something….or going with; associated or concomitant….or depending on, or owing duty or service to….
….Prophet Elijah was a great servant of the Lord God of Hosts…who performed great feats….he stopped rains for years and later called rains back, called fire from the heavens to demonstrate the power of the Lord of Lords against the priests of Baal…and yet in his moment of great triumph…killing the priests of Baal, he suddenly realized he was just a mortal like anybody else…he was afraid of death like you and me…he forgot all the impossible exploits he had done before in the name of the Lord God of Hosts…and just ran when Jezebel threatened to kill him…so the Lord directed him to ANOINT Elisha…the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah as prophet in his place…because he Elijah was coming to the end of his tenure…..
..The presumption is that this Elisha might be another prophet….or if he wasn’t, then he had the calling over his life… he had all the capabilities and talent and skills…to replace him, Elijah…the mighty prophet of valour…it meant Elisha was known by the Lord as a great prophet even though at that point he was just a farmer!!….it is worth emphasizing that no matter our humble beginnings…we have no idea what we have been predestined to become…and most times we miss our unique opportunities by our attitudes…
….It’s also important to appreciate the link to his father….son of Shaphat…do you remember ‘HONOUR YOUR FATHER’? …you can’t claim what you don’t honour or recognize such as one’s parents …especially as the matter of ‘GENEALOGY’ is very important in all matters of our life here on earth….
….Many a time we miss the opportunities ordained for us before the foundations of the universe were formed…because there are some fundamentals we miss or don’t recognize…and also realize that ‘Elisha didn’t come with airs’ …he did not do as some of us would and say …’Aaaah!!! Look at this prophet paaa…throwing his mantle to me…..he was just a common farmer plowing with twelve yoke of oxen…
….Remember, Elijah was to anoint him his successor…as a prophet of the Lord…and yet look at even how Elijah went about it….he didn’t walk up to Elisha and tell him that the Lord has directed me to come and anoint you my successor…especially when Elisha wasn’t prepared for the mission…he, Elijah just passed by him, Elisha and threw his mantle on him…
…Imagine if it was you…you would have thrown it back and ask ‘Who does he think he is?’….but he, Elisha isn’t like the typical Ghanaian who is so full of himself…to understand and appreciate the workings of the Lord…at worst, the Ghanaian that he is…he will rather go and refuse to serve as a servant or attendant or apprentice…and miss his destiny….
….First…Elisha…left the oxen…or his comfort zone…He was not aware of even the remuneration associated with the position…not even when he hasn’t negotiated his employment package before…nor did he ask if the position went with a brand new car and a fully-furnished house with servants and a cook…with another Land Cruiser V8 to pick his children to school and another to run errands for the house…he didn’t ask nor negotiate all these…nor carry any airs…but just ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother…(first, to honour my parents and bid them farewell…) and then I will follow you, Elijah…
….However, consider Elijah’s response…”Go back again, for what have I done to you?”…
…’HUMILITY’ is a great ‘weapon of life’…not a show of weakness…if you don’t know this…then you need to go back to the ‘classroom of life’…back to class one and start all over again…
….Now note Elisha’s subsequent reactions and responses….he turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them…boiled their flesh and gave it to the people and they ate…a ‘sacrifice offering’ for the benefit of his co-workers or colleague farmhands… and as a ‘thanksgiving offering’ for the journey into the unknown he was about to undertake…he did not know the risks nor the remuneration or what was ahead of him….but obedient to the calling…do you now remember a similar incident concerning a young rich young man, who went to Jesus Christ of Nazareth and asked how he could be saved?…and when he was told the conditions, he felt so sad, for how on earth can anybody supposedly in his right senses tell him to go and sell his riches and come follow Jesus…sell everything for a Kingdom he couldn’t see or fathom?
… Elisha did all that…left the oxen and his parents…arose and followed Elijah and became his ‘SERVANT’….not his successor, not Elijah’s ‘deputy prophet’, not his equal, no car, no negotiations or terms of engagement or house to lay his head…but straight into an unknown future…
…we always ought to remember that on all the several ‘roads of life’, where we meet the people who help us reach our various ‘destinations in life’ how we turn up finally are not determined by the beauty of location or how we are dressed or who our parents are or where we come from, especially as times and opportunities are available to us all…what makes the difference has everything to do with our attitudes and sense of humility…
…you know, Elisha had no inkling that the happenstance was part of his anointing process as another prophet to succeed Elijah….he just followed him as his SERVANT….noting that it did not matter all his degrees of modern education if he was living in modern settings…than to become a ‘servant’ to the prophet…to follow wherever he went and to ‘serve’ him as in ‘attend to the needs of another’ or ‘be a servant to’ or ‘serve under the instructions of another’…
…you know, Elisha was not selected by a political party or society or club or elected in all of Israel to become a ‘servant of Elijah’…except that he was ‘predestined for greatness’ before the foundations of the earth were laid and for as long as he served under the tutelage of another, Elijah….
…you know, most of us have missed the ‘roads’ to our greatness in life because when the opportunity presented itself, we thought we were more intelligent than our perceived ‘master’; how can we serve such a person considering his or her tribe, parents, standard of education or outright illiterate or not a-been-to…
… the ‘Elisha Spirit’ is available for us all to do exploits far greater than ‘Elijahs’ of this world….only if we accept to serve and do menial work that sometimes people of the world would consider or think it unbecoming of who we are and our education and family background and schools we attended and how rich our parents are…but for his HUMILITY, a weapon which we should all learn how to apply same in our walk here on this earth… we should imbibe this spirit of ‘humility’ in all senses of the word…as well as become it so that we can rule this world…
…this humility is akin to ‘meekness’, a humble, submissive spirit; suffering injury tamely on behalf of the general good; piously gentle in nature…such spirited people go far in any field of endeavour you place them or they find themselves as a matter of course or by mistake…
….we need to appreciate and understand that the greatest amongst us will always be the ‘servant’ amongst many, who is ready to put his life down so that the rest of us would prosper and survive… this is the type of person, an ‘Elisha’ is what we need as the ‘New Ghanaian’,…he or she should be ready to serve and learn from the forebears, the ‘EDIKANFO’ and not for a moment harbour the thought that because of his or her education laurels, he or she should be carried in a palanquin…
…we need to teach our children not to boost on the laurels of our fathers or mothers or uncles or forebears, thinking the rest of us owe them for who their parents or relatives or college-mates or classmates are or were, and especially where if you strip them of these relationships, they are nothing than deadwoods or nonentities… by themselves, they cannot boast of anything else than their abject, miserable, wretched, self-abasing, despicable failures…and worse, demanding of us to carry them on our backs…
….we ought to be mindful of the fact, what faces us as a nation and a people is tantamount to a ‘CROSSROADS’, requiring a new kind of selfless leadership, ready to place the interest of the nation and her people first than family and friends… we need a new kind of leadership who has served as an ‘ELISHA’ to understand and appreciate the needs, hurts, anxieties, or wants in all aspects of national discourses… definitely, not the type whose primary concern is how to benefit or profit from the woes and needs of the people… refusing to understand what ‘CONFLICT OF INTEREST’ means in the ordinary understanding of the word and yet appear as pious, sanctimonious, hypocritically virtuous or deception with the intention to benefit those being deceived as in pious fraud…
….we definitely have a ‘New Ghana’ to build going forward, a ‘new’ nation of equal opportunities for all irrespective of who our descendants or parents are…knowing that it doesn’t matter where you are born and which village you come from, you are equally predestined as another ‘Elisha’…serving as an apprentice, a servant or an attendant…
…years back, we all thought the political landscape was the best place for a ‘School of Elisha’, where young students could learn the art and science of ‘APPRENTICESHIP’ not only towards a service for the nation but from the community, village, town, or city or political party; and that for as long as one stays the course, equal opportunities will open for us all or to each, irrespective of parentage…and yet over sixty years since Ghana’s Independence, we are still grappling with basic definition or tenets of nationhood….’DID WE GO, OR DID WE COME?’…
….truth be told, our political leadership has failed us and why we need a new ‘Ghanaian’, a new ‘Ghana’ and a new mentality or mindset…to rebuild this nation and change the way we all see national politics…
…we cannot fail ourselves or much more those who have gone ahead of us, but surely not the supposed ‘FOUNDERS’, especially when their bankroller had been relegated to the ‘dustbins of history’…we need a ‘NEW’ Ghana, a ‘NEW’ Ghanaian and a ‘NEW type or style of leadership’ who will understand, appreciate and live by the life of ‘ELISHA’ and where all those who have gone before us as ‘true martyrs’ will all be celebrated equally and not the ‘divide-and-rule’ style…
…when the rain falls or the sun shines, they do not fall or shine on only the supporters and or sympathizers of the New Patriotic Party because they are in power in now (2017 – 2024) to the disadvantage of the supporters of all the other parties or bystanders, but we all benefit or suffer by their performances – this is a real lesson for us all.
This article was written by Magnus Naabe RexDanquah, the ‘Ghanaian’
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