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, the Syrian commander of King Ben-hadad's army, appeared before King Jehoram in Israel with a large amount of silver and gold and 10 sets of clothes. He also brought a letter from Ben-hadad stating that his servant Naaman was a leper and that he expected him to be miraculously healed. But, Jehoram had no faith in miracles and thought that Ben-hadad was simply seeking an excuse to declare war. When Elisha heard about the letter and King Jehoram's reaction, he told the king to send Naaman to him. When Naaman reluctantly 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 become 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 Gehazi running after him, he stopped his chariot and went to meet him and asked him if everything was all right. Then Gehazi lied to him and said that the prophet Elisha had sent him to ask for some money and clothing for two young prophets who were in need. The schemer thought he could rush back before Elisha discovered he was missing. But, after Gehazi's return, Elisha called to him and asked where he had been. He denied going anywhere. Knowing from the Lord what had taken place, Elisha asked him if this was the way to get wealth to purchase the things he coveted. As a result of Gehazi's greed, he was cursed with leprosy.
When Gehazi was tested, he exposed his true character as a covetous hypocrite. He forfeited his opportunity to be the next prophet of God. Ask yourself the question Elisha asked Gehazi: "Is your goal in life to gain material wealth or is your primary concern to please the Lord?" How will you respond to Christ, who has told you to make the Kingdom of God your primary concern in life?
Devotional commentary also refers to: Matthew 6:33.
By the meal that took the poison out of the pot (see II Kings 4:40-41). Meal speaks of Christ, who is the Bread of Life — the only means of removing the poison of our sin (see John 6:33-35).
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.
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Optional Reading: Romans 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Jeremiah 15:16