You know it is hard enough reading some of these names in the Old Testament. I mean Tiglath-Pileser? Who names their child that? And then there is Nebuchadnezzar, who I had different professors pronounce different ways. Yeah, the names are difficult; but even with simpler names, it can be confusing. Hence the title and content of this article, “Jah or Sha.”
Now names that are similar aren’t unusual, the naming was different than today. For instance, my brother, the third of three children, had his name influenced by my older sister and a guy she was kinda fond of. I’m not sure how influencing our parents to name a child after someone she liked was going to benefit her as a ten year old, but in her mind it did. Even a hundred years ago names were put together differently. Holly is named after her grandfather who lived his life in America as Charles Holly Joseph. The customs officers could not always understand these people coming in from different countries, so I’m not sure what his original name was. His brother also traveled through Ellis Island and he was given the surname of Ollie, so we don’t know if they were saying Ali or Ollie or Holly.
Now, back to ‘Jah” or “Sha”. Both were prophets, one the understudy of the other, hence where the confusion comes in. If you haven’t figured it out by now, we are talking about Elijah and Elisha two well-known prophets of our Heavenly Father. We know Elijah from the time he stood up to the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. We also know of him from the New Testament, the prophet that would come before the Messiah. Then Jesus saying that he had come. We know him as John the Baptist (Matthew 17:11-13). Elijah is mentioned thirty times in the New Testament, Elisha only one (Luke 4:27). So, though the names are similar there seems to be quite a difference between the two.
Now as already mentioned there was a connection between the two, more than the first three letters of their name. Elisha was out plowing a field with oxen when Elijah approaches and throws his cloak around him (1Kings 19:19). I am sure there must be more to this than just tossing your cloak on someone, because Elisha left everything and followed Elijah. Thus, Elisha was the understudy, the disciple, the apprentice under Elijah.
Now I don’t want to take anything away from Elijah. We know of the great things he did in the name of our Heavenly Father. How he was mentioned by Jesus and as it turned out was John the Baptist. He was a true servant of God. But I want to focus on the lesser-known guy, the guy that actually preformed, in number, more miraculous things for God than Elijah did. Lesser-known doesn’t mean less of a servant, just different service.
We may not all be able to be Elijahs, but we are all called to serve. What we do may not always make the front page of the paper, the news feed or even a mention from the front of the auditorium on a Sunday morning. But what you do for God is important! We will take the next few weeks and look at some of Elisha’s service to God, and hopefully get some encouragement as we go forward in our service.
“sha”, “jah”, or just Randy