By Thomas Cosmades
Elisha had a promising attendant, Gehazi by name
(cf. II Kings ; ; 8:4, 5).
His assistance to the mighty prophet draws riveting attention.
Nevertheless, a very disturbing incident overshadows his zealous behavior.
The marring disrepute may have thwarted him from inheriting the
indomitable Elisha’s mantle.
Naaman, commander of the Syrian army, was afflicted with leprosy.
When he heard about the prophet from a Hebrew slave girl, he traveled
with imposing gifts to seek healing.
Elisha’s hydropathic formula struck him as being extremely
simplistic, stirring unbounded anger.
When his servants prudently reasoned with him, his fury calmed down.
Following the directions given by Elisha he dipped seven times into
One definition of corruption in the Hebrew language implies wickedness and profanity. At the present time corruption at every level shocks us with its tentacles stretching in every direction: politics, business with its conglomerates, corporations, price-fixing multi-nationals, various contractors, dealers in weaponry, etc. Corruption in medicine, media, sports, education, the judiciary, military, religion and so on, blows the mind. Not left out, the United Nations Organization also took its share in the chicanery. During a talk show in a highly industrialized country one of the panelists cried out, “There are parliamentarians giving five per cent of their time and energy to the task they were elected to do and then go on investing ninety-five per cent of their time to pursuing personal interests.” Other parliamentarians write inflated expense figures for personal advantage. It exercises the soul to see that many professionals tip the scale in favor of gain for grandiose living rather than pursuing noteworthy conduct. The stalwart prophet Amos, champion of justice, faithfully transmits God’s unrelenting message: “For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins—you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate.” ().
In the time of the Prophet, as now, corruption was at its apex. This is how Amos, i.e., ‘burden bearer’, is indicting the heartless exploiters to whom corrupting their society made no difference as long as their pockets were full. Every year fresh contrivances of unprincipled scoundrels are exposed: “They do not know how to do right,” says the Lord, “those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds” (). Amos knew well the helplessness of those who cared: “Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time; for it is an evil time” (). As the Koheleth puts it, “There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). But Amos dared to speak caustically to miscreants before whom the rest were standing in awe (cf. Psalm 12:1). The Psalmist reaches a point at which he questions the worth of having kept his heart clean. He is deeply exercised: “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence” (73:13). However, his consternation does not disturb him for too long. After remarking, “…it seems to me a wearisome task,” he voices the solution of his distress, “…until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.” (73:17).
The unjust, greedy and dauntless adventurer has rid him/herself of the thought of being swept away by the sands of time. He/she belongs to the ‘now’ generation. In the physical realm, corruption works its way to decomposition. Let the person who allows the germ of decadence to take its course be careful! Peter said to self-aggrandizing Simon, “Your silver perish with you!” (Acts ). The crisis of dishonoring timeless ethical principles is world-wide. And yet, the actualization of adopting ethical axioms in family, society, business, politics, medicine, sports, education, religion, etc., is disavowed. How to implement ethics into these and other spheres is talked about. But is there any residue of allegiance to ethics in this presumptuous mindset?
The post-modern, post-Christian person has jettisoned God, the Incarnate Christ, His unrivaled Word—guidance for life—and everything else having to do with divine guidelines. As Christ alludes in one of His parables, “We do not want this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14b). What are the remaining ethics, and which principles can be applied to the many areas of distressing events daily buffeting us? The passengers on the reeling ship who have rejected Christ’s reign over them are left without a captain in turbulent waters. They’ve already lost their battle with corruption. The extraordinary experience touching the chief tax-collector Zacchaeus is a case in point of how Christ is able to transform a corrupt life. Being aware of his reproachful practices this physically short man ran to see Jesus. He climbed up into a sycamore tree, visibly expressing his longing for transformation by Christ who was aware of Zacchaeus’ need of the divine touch. Jesus offered to visit him, and then led this unscrupulous money-handler to joyous salvation. He also put into his heart and mind the necessity for generous contribution and unrestrained restitution. On that day Christ’s salvation came into the house. Zacchaeus was a transformed person (cf. Luke 19:1-10). To obtain a commendable glimpse regarding the handling of funds entrusted to his confidence, study carefully Paul’s and his fellow-workers’ conduct in II Corinthians -24. This scrupulous practice becomes a coherent structure in the area of custodianship. “Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy” (I Corinthians 4:2).
The onslaught of corruption is evident on every front: “…children have come to birth and there is no strength to bring them forth” (Isaiah 37:3). The prophet’s agonizing cry is more pertinent today than it was twenty-six hundred years ago: “Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not defend the fatherless, and the widow’s cause does not come to them” (). Such an indictment could appear in the lines of today’s newspapers, but few seem able to diagnose this crying malady of our time. It is increasingly being replaced by some fresh innovation of decadence not unlike the heads of the legendary Hydra (cf. Isaiah 64:6). Is mankind combating a lost cause? Perhaps. Christ ought to be honored as the wellspring of sanctified wisdom (cf. I Corinthians ). This alone is God’s agenda for the application of justice and fairness. The Scriptures refer to Christ’s reign—scorned by post-modernists—when “…He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:3b, 4). Let everyone repulsed by injustice and corruption invite Christ into his/her dislodged lifestyle. Seek his supreme reign which ushers in the clear perception of lasting integrity and purity (cf. Hebrews ). It could be that this detailed exposure touches some off-tune chord in a muddled course of life. If so, allow Christ the Savior to take over, altering your abasement to extolment.