Archive for June 14th, 2016

About Elisha: Elisha, son of Shaphat of the tribe of Issachar, was the prophet of God to the Northern Kingdom of Israel around 849-786 BC. Upon seeing hismentor, Elijah, taken up into heaven, Elisha assumed the prophetic office and took up the mantle of his predecessor. Like Elijah, Elisha played an active role in political affairs. He also performed many miracles, such as curing the Syrian army commander Naaman of his leprosy (2 Kings 5) and restoring life to the son of a Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:8-7). A vocal opponent of Baal worship, Elisha lived up to his name, which means “my God is salvation.”  

“He brought aid to a widow and poor orphan vexed by creditors with a never-ending flask of oil, and he raised the son of the Shunammite.  He made the bitter waters healthy by sprinkling salt in Jericho; by this image he at the same time showed that the roots of doctrine and virtue are bitter, but when God blesses and the salt of wisdom seasons, the fruits are most sweet.  He provided for one hundred scholars in Gilgal at the time of famine, with the meager provisions of herbs of the field and wild gourds, whose bitterness he took away by pouring in the flour of the Word and divine promises.  He cleansed Naaman the Syrian from his leprosy and punished his greedy and lying servant Gehazi with the same misfortune.  He made the iron of the ax that fell into the Jordan river to float on the surface of the water.  Finally, in sickness he prophesied concerning the victories of Joash, king of Israel, and he died.  When the body of a traveler who was killed by robbers was cast into Elisha’s grave, the traveler came back to life” (Author:Sixteenth century Lutheran reformer and coauthor of the Formula of Concord, David Chytraeus; Treasury of Daily Prayer, 14 June).

A good sermon on today’s Commemoration of Elisha, Prophet, Pr. Scott A. Mierow, St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, IN and is found here.

Reflection:  Elisha salted bitter water and it became fresh so that, “…neither death nor miscarriage” came from it again (See 2 Kings 2: 19-22).  As Elisha’s Lord would say upon earth one day is applicable to Elisha: “You are the salt of the earth”.  The water became fresh by the “word” Elisha spoke which was the Word of God.  He also spoke “truth to power” but not by his own opinions, polling numbers or his “team” but  by the salt of the Word of God…alone.  It is a sad thing when Christian denominations no longer preach and teach the very salty Word of God to those in authority regarding the Commandments in order to get along with the world by spouting forth human wisdom which is folly.  When the church only gives warmed up psychologisms, political slogans and the like with a Christian veneer, the devil is encouraged. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, the church used to say, Thus sayeth the Lord, and it used to be thermostat setting the temperature, but not it is only a thermometer taking the world’s temperature.  Why does the church do such?  Answer:  to go along with the world and stay wealthy.  “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies” (Proverbs 14: 5). Elisha, as Elijah, as John the Baptist and all the prophets sent by the Lord,  risked their lives and many were martyred.  The salt of God’s Word of Law and Promise, of the Commandments and of the Christ fulfilling the commandments keeps your life fresh and sweet to eternal life and to serve our neighbors in a dying and dead world, as did the prophet Elisha.  

Lord God, heavenly Father, through the prophet Elisha, You continued the prophetic pattern of leaching Your people the true faith and demonstrating through miracles Your presence in creation to heal it of its brokenness. Grant that Your Church may see in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the final end-times prophet whose teaching and miracles continue in Your Church through the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

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