May 2, 2004
Read II Kings 4 – 5
In Today's Reading:
Widow's oil; Elisha and the Shunammite woman; Elisha's miracles; Elisha feeds 100 men; Naaman cured of leprosy; Gehazi's leprosy
Desperate to be healed of his leprosy, Naaman, Syria's military leader, appeared before King Jehoram in Israel with ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. And . . . the letter (from King Ben-hadad of Syria that read) . . . I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may recover him of his leprosy (II Kings 5:2-6). Jehoram had no faith in God and thought that King Ben-hadad was seeking an excuse to declare war. When Elisha the man of God had heard . . . he sent to the king, saying. . . . let him now come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel (5:8). When Naaman obeyed the words of the prophet, he was miraculously healed. Elisha refused the huge reward that Naaman offered him. But his greedy servant Gehazi persuaded himself that God had blessed him with the opportunity to be wealthy. He probably did not think it was much of a sin to gain wealth that he didn't deserve from someone who was a Gentile and didn't need it.
When Naaman saw him running after him, he . . . said, Is all well? (5:21). Gehazi then told him this lie: My master has sent me, saying . . . there be come to me . . . two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray you, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments (5:22). The schemer thought he could rush back before Elisha discovered he was missing. However, after Gehazi's return, Elisha asked: Where were you, Gehazi? And he said, Your servant went no where. And he (Elisha) said to him . . . Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cling to you, and to your seed (descendants) for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow (5:25-26).
Gehazi forfeited any opportunity he may have had to be the next honored prophet of God. Instead, he became a leper! When Gehazi was tested, he exposed his true character as a covetous hypocrite.
Ask yourself the question Elisha asked Gehazi: Is it a time to receive money? — meaning: "What is your goal in life?" How do you respond to Christ, who said: Seek you first the Kingdom of God? (Matthew 6:33).
By the meal that took the poison out of the pot (II Kings 4:40-41). Meal, made of crushed corn, speaks of Christ, who was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised (crushed) for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5) thereby removing the poison of sin from the lives of those who are His followers. Also, in the multiplying of the bread and corn to feed 100 men with an abundance left over (II Kings 4:42-44). This foreshadowed Jesus multiplying food to feed the 5000, and then the 4000, hungry people with an abundance left over (Matthew 14:15-21; 15:32-38).
4:3 borrow not a few = get as many as you can; 4:6 stayed = ceased flowing; 4:10 candlestick = oil lamp; 4:27 vexed = deeply distressed; 4:29 Gird up thy loins = Fasten your loose, flowing garments with a belt.
The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Bett Brown · Country: Australia (19 million) an island continent between the Indian and Pacific Oceans · Major languages: English and native languages · Religious freedom · 40% Protestant; 27% Roman Catholic; 3% Orthodox; 2% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice over and pray for those who share the Good News (Nahum 1:15)
Optional Reading: Romans 5
Memory Verse for the Week: John 8:31