2 King 4:38 – 2 Kings 5 by Pastor Don
Pastor Don continued in 2 Kings. I am grateful I get to sit under his teachings, for there is so much I come away with from the Bible studies. I still chuckle when I remember that I couldn’t understand why people went to Bible studies, read the Bible once and move on to the next book. Little did I know the incredible depth that God put into His Word, and the interconnections between passages of Scripture that give even more insight. Truly if I were only allowed to take one book to a deserted island, the Bible would be that book.
2 Kings 4:38-41 And Elisha returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land. Now the sons of the prophets were sitting before him; and he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” So one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered from it a lapful of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, though they did not know what they were. Then they served it to the men to eat. Now it happened, as they were eating the stew, that they cried out and said,, “Man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it. So he said, “Then bring some flour,” And he put it into the pot and said, “Serve it to the people, that they may eat.” And there was nothing harmful in the pot.
Pastor Don pointed out that when there is a problem, God knows the solution, even if that solution does not make sense to us. That He can tell us how to fix the problem, and if we do what He tells us, it is fixed perfectly. Pastor Don mused (speculated) that there must have been some sort of chemical reaction between the flour and whatever caused the poison. That one thing neutralized the other. This passage also shows how the prophet takes care of those who are under him.
2 Kings 4:42-44 Then a man came from Baal Shalisha and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley bread, and newly ripened grain in his knapsack. And he said, “Give it to the people that they may eat.” But his servant said, “What? Shall I set this before one hundred men?” He said again, “Give it to the people, that they may eat; for thus says the LORD: “They shall eat and have some left over.” So he set it before them; and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD.”
(Heather’s musing, was this servant Gehazi who later shows more of his true colors? He sort of reminds me of Judas in this.)
Pastor Don told us that this passage should ring a bell with us (Jesus feeding the multitude). That we need to remember when Jesus was on earth He was a man, and every miracle Jesus did He did as a man. So we too can perform miracles with the Power of God. What Jesus did, we can do too. If we honor the principles of God, and apply them, God will honor them.
With the following passages I am combining Wednesday’s and Friday’s Bible studies together. That is another cool thing about Bible studies, the same passages taught by the same teacher still elicits new and exciting information. You can never, ever get too much Bible study.
2 Kings 5:1 Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.
(Heather’s note, this reminds me of my studies in Daniel, that God is sovereign over the affairs of all on earth. Here is a pagan commander, and GOD is giving him the victory, it isn’t Naaman who brings on the victory, but the LORD.) Regarding this kind of leprosy, this is not the kind that isolated the person, for Naaman was able to be around people, but it was some kind of skin disease that was noticeable.
2 Kings 5:2-3 And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.”
Pastor Don pointed out that the servant girl cared enough about her master to tell him about Elisha. If her master was not a man of character, if he was cruel, the servant girl would have not said anything.
2 Kings 5:4-5 And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus said the girl who is from the land of Israel.” Then the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So he departed and took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing.
The king thought Naaman would have to bribe for the healing.
2 Kings 5:6-7 Then he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which said, Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy. And it happened, when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.”
The king of Israel made a mistake here and misread the intent of the king of Syria. The king of Syria was honoring the king of Israel by sending Naaman to him first before having Naaman seek out the prophet. The king of Israel thought that the king of Syria was asking an impossible task of him so that he could accuse him and bring war to Israel. But this was not the intent. The king of Syria was not trying to pick a fight with Israel or to discredit the king of Israel. The tearing of the clothes was symbolic of disgust, anguish, despair, blasphemy.
2 Kings 5:8 So it was, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”
Elisha did not think the leprosy was such a big deal, and was going to use this to show Syria that there is a prophet of God in Israel.
2 Kings 5:9-11 Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.'”
Naaman went to Elisha with preconceived ideas of how Elisha was going to heal him. It was presumptuous to come to the man of God and tell God what to do and how to do it. God does in His own way and His own time. Naaman felt that Elisha should come out to him – a prophet of God should never go to a ruler. The ruler should come to the prophet. When pastors go to the president when the president calls them to his office they are in error, reality the president should go to where the pastors are. Pastor Don pointed out that verse 11 is why we don’t see many miracles in the church, people put God into a box of their preconceived notions. They want to reduce God to a formula, a program, and if God acted one way in the past, they assume that that is how God will act in all similar circumstances. Preconceived ideas short circuit the power of God. With God it is THY WILL BE DONE.
Regarding methods, God will pick a method that will make sure that He gets the glory. We want God to do it the way we think it should be, but God always knows the better way.
Pastor Don says there are times when new people come to our church from other churches where they held a position of honor in the church – teacher, music minister, deacon, etc. When they come to our church Pastor Don does not immediately recruit them to work. He has them sit in the pews for a time and watches their character first. Many do not stick around because they thought they would be fawned over, but for Pastor Don it is not who you were, but what you are that matters. Usually they stay a few weeks and move on. Jesus also would point out shortcomings of those who followed him or wanted to follow him. An example is the rich young ruler.
Pastor Don spent some time talking about a video and book one of the members gave him called “The Secret.” He said that the secret -that you can command the universe is a recipe for disaster. It is not OUR power, but that God gives us the authority that allows us to have any power over the universe. The Secret talks about how every rock, stone, plant, etc. has life force in it – that is true, but the life force is put there by the Creator. The secret wants to have all the power with God stripped out of the mix. God set the universe into play and He controls it by His Word, and He permits us to be instruments of His purpose. What happens is that the techniques of the secret, stolen from Biblical principles, do work – but without God, the way is left open for satan to come in and manipulate results. When we remove God from the mix, we leave ourselves open for the enemy, and he will come in and permit things to happen until a person is so far removed from God, then the enemy will take back his “benevolent” attitude and knock a person down.
We can speak things into existence when they are in line with God’s will. When the prophet says no rain for 3 1/2 years, it won’t rain, but the prophet would not utter those words without the prompting of God. God did give us dominion over the earth, but He signs the check. Without the backing of God, satan will have a hey day.
Romans 10:17 So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When we speak things into existence, when we speak in faith, it is the WORD OF GOD that we speak and hear. That is the true power. You can’t access the power of the secret without the author of the secret, God. Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
The secret is to focus on God, and He will place those desires, and delights in giving them to us. Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
The secret is teaching half truths, and making them sound so biblical, but when taken out of context, or not including all that the Scripture is saying, it then becomes dangerous. The universe does not obey us if we are ordering it around, unless we are in obedience to God, and then the universe is working in line with God’s will.
The secret tells us to know what we want and then we can create it. If we are not acting in God’s will, obeying the Creator, it is smoke and mirrors. The problem with all of these self-help secrets and books is that most of us do not have the self control to implement them. When you are seeking success, there is also the aspect of character. Your success can sometimes take you to places your character cannot support.
So Naaman decided that the prophet needed to come out and meet him (not just send a word), and that the prophet needed to wave his hand over the area. But that was not what was needed, and we are going to see the depth of Naaman’s pride with the next few verses.
2 Kings 5:12-13 Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more than, when he says to you, “Wash and be clean?”
At least Naaman was teachable, and listened to his servant. His servant also must have thought Naaman was a man of character, and was willing to listen to his servant’s good advice. It also showed that Naaman had different ideas of how God was going to heal him, and God and the Holy Spirit had other plans. The Jordan was a little river, and not all that clean either.
2 Kings 5:14-15 So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.”
Elisha achieved the purpose stated in verse 8, that he would know that there is a prophet in Israel.
2 Chronicles 20:20 …”Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”
When Naaman came to Elisha, he was a pagan, a nonbeliever, who was desperate. He sought out God because of desperation, the leprous condition of his body. We, who want to reach people, also have to realize that many who are hurting come to church desperate, having tried all other things and it hasn’t worked for them, so they have to go to church. (Heather’s note: Kind of in the same category of having to go to the dentist or some other distasteful activity.) They are not coming to church because they want to be like you. In fact, in their eyes we are a motley crew – we bicker, jockey for position, and are not always nice, pleasant, or act in the way that their preconceived notion says about how a Christian should act. They come with a condition of a hardened heart, and God meets their need. They get a response that changes them. The greatest tool that a righteous Christian has will blow them out of the water, the Word of God. Out of desperation they come to church with a HOPE, and God’s word will turn that hope into faith. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
Pastor Don said, for example, you don’t seek prosperity and tell God how you want Him to manifest it. We have to have faith in God, not faith in faith, not faith in a technique, or a certain way of doing things. God is the one who gets the Glory, not our methods or preconceived notions.
In verse 15, we see a change in Naaman’s attitude, no longer is he the proud commander, but he has realized that he is a servant of the prophet.
2 Kings 5:16 But he (Elisha) said, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing.” And he urged him to take it but he refused.
Elisha decided not to take any reward for the healing, He wanted to show that God could not be bought, and that the services of the prophet cannot be bought. This is a good lesson to the church, that it should not be controlled by money or gifts. There is a fine line between gratitude and profit. There is no price for a miracle, and so often many of the ministries are putting pressure to have people pay money into them. Of course, ministries do need money to run, and it is good to give money to ministries who reach out to other people, but it is not giving to get something, but giving to God and God’s ministry. God will bless the gifts, but the gifts are not buying the response from God. God’s gifts are free. In this case, Elisha wanted to give a powerful message to Naaman that God and his prophets cannot be bought, and we will see that Gehazi will ruin that message with greed. God seeks to give to us, and some of his ministers also ruin the message of God’s love freely given with their greed.
I am going to leave the rest of this chapter for tomorrow so that the post is not super long.
Have a blessed day. We are looking “forward” to a major Nor’Easter not sure if it will be snow, floods, or what. Of course, the kids are hoping for a snow day on Monday.
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