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6 July 2013

Extracted from the 1st book of Kings: 1 Kings 19:16,19-21

The Lord said to Elijah, ‘You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and to anoint Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel Meholah, as prophet to succeed you.’

           Leaving there, Elijah came on Elisha son of Shaphat as he was ploughing behind twelve yoke of oxen, he himself being with the twelfth. Elijah passed near to him and threw his cloak over him.

Elisha left his oxen and ran after Elijah. ‘Let me kiss my father and mother, then I will follow you’ he said.

Elijah answered, ‘Go, go back; for have I done anything to you?’

Elisha turned away, took the pair of oxen and slaughtered them.

He used the plough for cooking the oxen, then gave to his men, who ate.

He then rose, and followed Elijah and became his servant.

 

Who is ELISHA?

(Extracted & summarized from approved Church Document)

(ELISHA; Hebrew ’lysh‘, God is salvation).

A Prophet of Israel. After learning, on Mount Horeb, that Elisha, the son of Shaphat, had been selected by God as his successor in the prophetic office, Elijah set out to make known the Divine will. This he did by casting his mantle over the shoulders of Elisha, whom he found "one of them that were ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen". Elisha delayed only long enough to kill the yoke of oxen, whose flesh he boiled with the very wood of his plough.

 

After he had shared this farewell repast with his father, mother, and friends, the newly chosen Prophet "followed Elijah and ministered to him". (1 Kings 19:8-21) He went with his master from Galgal to Bethel, to Jericho, and thence to the eastern side of the Jordan, the waters of which, touched by the mantle, divided, so as to permit both to pass over on dry ground.

 

Elisha then beheld Elijah in a fiery chariot taken up by a whirlwind into heaven. By means of the mantle let fall from Elijah, Elisha miraculously re-crossed the Jordan, and so won from the prophets at Jericho the recognition that "the spirit of Elijah hath rested upon Elisha". (2 Kings 2:1-15) He won the gratitude of the people of Jericho for healing with salt its barren ground and its waters.

 

Elisha also knew how to strike with salutary fear the adorers of the calf in Bethel, for forty-two little boys, probably encouraged to mock the Prophet, on being cursed in the name of the Lord, were torn by "two bears out of the forest". (2 Kings 2:19-24) Before he settled in Samaria, the Prophet passed some time on Mount Carmel (2 Kings 2:25). When the armies of Judah, and Israel, and Edom, then allied against Mesa, the Moabite king, were being tortured by drought in the Idumćan desert, Elisha consented to intervene. His double prediction regarding relief from drought and victory over the Moabites was fulfilled on the following morning. (2 Kings 3:4-24)

 

That Elisha inherited the wonder-working power of Elijah is shown throughout the whole course of his life. To relieve the widow importuned by a hard creditor, Elisha so multiplied a little oil as to enable her, not only to pay her indebtedness, but to provide for her family needs (2 Kings 4:1-7). To reward the rich lady of Shunem for her hospitality, he obtained for her from God, at first the birth of a son, and subsequently the resurrection of her child (2 Kings 4:8-37). To nourish the sons of the prophets pressed by famine, Elisha changed into wholesome food the pottage made from poisonous gourds (2 Kings 4:38-41).

 

By the cure of Naaman, who was afflicted with leprosy, Elisha, little impressed by the possessions of the Syrian general, whilst willing to free King Jehoram from his perplexity, principally intended to show "that there is a prophet in Israel". Naaman, at first reluctant, obeyed the Prophet, and washed seven times in the Jordan. Finding his flesh "restored like the flesh of a little child", the general was so impressed by this evidence of God's power, and by the disinterestedness of His Prophet, as to express his deep conviction that "there is no other God in all the earth, but only in Israel". (2 Kings 5:1-19) It is to this Christ referred when He said: "And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet: and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian" (Luke 4:27).

 

In punishing the avarice of his servant Gehazi (2 Kings 5:20-27), in saving "not once nor twice" King Jehoram from the ambuscades planned by Benadad (2 Kings 6:8-23), in ordering the ancients to shut the door against the messenger of Israel's ungrateful king (2 Kings 6:25-32), in bewildering with a strange blindness the soldiers of the Syrian king (2 Kings 6:13-23), in making the iron swim to relieve from embarrassment a son of a prophet (2 Kings 6:1-7), in confidently predicting the sudden flight of the enemy and the consequent cessation of the famine (2 Kings 7:1-20), in unmasking the treachery of Hazael (2 Kings 8:7-15), Elisha proved himself the Divinely appointed Prophet of the one true God, Whose knowledge and power he was privileged to share.

 

Mindful of the order given to Elijah (1 Kings 19:16), Elisha delegated a son of one of the prophets to quietly anoint Jehu King of Israel, and to commission him to cut off the house of Ahab (2 Kings 9:1-10). The death of Jehoram, pierced by an arrow from Jehu's bow, the ignominious end of Jezebel, the slaughter of Ahab's seventy sons, proved how faithfully executed was the Divine command (2 Kings 9:11-10:30). After predicting to Joash his victory over the Syrians at Aphek, as well as three other subsequent victories, ever bold before kings, ever kindly towards the lowly, "Elisha died, and they buried him" (2 Kings 13:14-20). The very touch of his corpse served to resuscitate a dead man (2 Kings 13:20-21). "In his life he did great wonders, and in death he wrought miracles" (Ecclesiasticus / Sirach 48:15).

Psalm 16:1-2,5,7-11

O Lord, it is you who are my portion.

 

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.  I say to the Lord: ‘You are my God.

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup; it is you yourself who are my prize.’

 

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel, who even at night directs my heart.

I keep the Lord ever in my sight: since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.

 

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; even my body shall rest in safety.

For you will not leave my soul among the dead, nor let your beloved know decay.

 

You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence,

  at your right hand happiness for ever.

Extracted from the letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians 5:1,13-18:

When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

My brothers, you were called, as you know, to liberty; but be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence.

Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself.

If you go snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces, you had better watch or you will destroy the whole community.

           Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions.

If you are led by the Spirit, no law can touch you.

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