Read 2 Kings 4 -- 5
In Today's Reading:
Widow's oil; Elisha and the Shunammite woman; Elisha's miracles for the prophets; Elisha feeds 100 men; Naaman cured of leprosy; Gehazi's leprosy.
Verse for Today:
It came to pass, when the King of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me (2 Kings 5:7).
The Syrians had . . . brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. And she said [to] her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet [who] is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. . . . The King of Syria said (to Naaman, the chief captain of his army) . . . go, and I will send a letter [to] the King of Israel (2 Kings 5:2-5).
Desperate to be healed of his leprosy, Naaman appeared before King Jehoram in Israel with a letter from King Ben-hadad that read: I have . . . sent Naaman my servant to [you], that [you may heal] him of his leprosy (5:6). Jehoram, who had no faith in God, rent his clothes (5:7), (a sign of deep distress), assuming that King Ben-hadad was seeking an excuse to declare war. Like his brother Ahaziah, Jehoram refused to see the hand of God in his circumstances. Elisha the man of God . . . sent to the king, saying . . . let [Naaman] come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel (5:8). After Naaman's initial refusal to go and wash in the Jordan seven times (2 Kings 5:10) to be healed as Elisha had said, his servants persuaded him to obey the prophet, and he was healed. He then confessed: Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel (5:15). Naaman promptly urged the prophet to accept a huge reward but [Elisha] refused (5:16).
But his servant, Gehazi, exposed his greed. He was convinced that all he had to do to make himself wealthy was to invent a believable lie.
You can imagine how delighted Gehazi was when Naaman showed him high honor by stepping down from the chariot to meet him (5:21). Gehazi then told him this lie: My master [has] sent me, saying, Behold, even now there [has] come to me from Mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray . . . a talent of silver, and two changes of garments (5:22). The deceiver thought he could rush back with his treasures before Elisha discovered he was missing, but Elisha was neither deceived nor surprised. After Gehazi's return, Elisha said: [Where have you been], Gehazi? And he said, [your] servant [didn't go anywhere] (5:25). It was truly a sad day for Elisha, who replied: [My heart went with you]. . . . Is it a time to receive money . . . garments . . . oliveyards . . . vineyards . . . sheep . . . oxen? (5:26). Gehazi probably did not think it was much of a sin to gain wealth that he did not deserve since it was from someone who didn't need it and who was not even an Israelite. We see how one lie often leads to another.
Gehazi, the servant of Elisha (5:20), forfeited his opportunity to be the next honored prophet of God. Instead, he became a leper! When Gehazi was tested, as we all are from time to time, he exposed his true character as a liar and a hypocrite.
Let us ask ourselves the question Elisha asked Gehazi: Is it a time to receive money? -- meaning: "What is your goal in life?" We all have but one short life to live. God has said: Having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:8-10).
By the meal that took the poison out of the pot (2 Kings 4:40-41). Meal, made of crushed corn, speaks of Christ, who was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5) removing the poison of our sin.
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 your loins = Fasten the loose, flowing garments with a belt.
Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: Comoros (563,000) in the Mozambique Channel of the Indian Ocean · Major languages: Shaafi Islam (Swahili dialect) and Malagasy · Limited religious freedom · 99.7% Muslim; .2% Roman Catholic/Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to make you willing to go wherever He wants to send you (Isaiah 6:8).
Optional Reading: Romans 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Jeremiah 15:16