April 22, 2007
II Kings 4-5
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- Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
- And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.
- Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.
- And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
- So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.
- And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.
- Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
- And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread.
- And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.
- Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.
- And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there.
- And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him.
- And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.
- And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old.
- And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door.
- And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.
- And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.
- And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers.
- And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother.
- And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.
- And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out.
- And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.
- And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.
- Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee.
- So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite:
- Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.
- And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.
- Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?
- Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child.
- And the mother of the child said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.
- And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked.
- And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.
- He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD.
- And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.
- Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
- And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son.
- Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.
- And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
- And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.
- So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.
- But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.
- And there came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.
- And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.
- So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD.
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- Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.
- And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife.
- And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.
- And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.
- And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
- And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.
- And 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.
- And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
- So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.
- And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
- But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
- Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
- And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
- Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
- And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.
- But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.
- And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD.
- In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.
- And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.
- But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.
- So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well?
- And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.
- And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him.
- And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.
- But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.
- And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? 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 cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
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II Kings 5 contains a marvelous picture of salvation. Naaman was a captain in the army of Syria. He was an important and decorated officer, but he had the dreaded disease of leprosy. There was nothing that anyone in Syria could do for him. Fortunately for him, a little Jewish girl had been taken captive by the Syrians and had been put to work in Naaman's house. She told his wife that there was a prophet in Israel who could help him. Naaman decided to go to Israel to meet this prophet. He first sent gifts to the king, but the king had no solution for his problem. Elisha intervened, and had Naaman sent to him. Naaman came expecting Elisha to do some marvelous work, but all that happened was that Elisha sent his messenger out, and he told Naaman to wash himself seven times in the Jordan River. Naaman was upset by this, and decided to return home, but his servants stopped him with this question:
" My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?"
With that, he returned to the Jordan, did what Elisha had told him to do, and was immediately cleansed of his disease.
How clear the principle of salvation is shown here! Naaman was a foreigner; not a member of the children of God. This is a picture of the unsaved who are referred to in
Ephesians 2:19 as "strangers and foreigners". Before an individual receives Christ as Savior, he is not a child of God, but rather a child of the Devil, (
John 8:44). Not only is he outside of God's family, but he has been overtaken by a deadly and destructive disease known as sin. Humanly speaking, there is not cure for it, and it will ultimately take away his life. In the meantime he will be separated from those who are clean, and not able to fellowship with them. Thank God that when we were in that condition, someone came and told us that there was a solution to our problem! Notice that the one who brought Naaman the message was not someone of great importance in the community. She was not well educated, nor did she have extensive experience. All she did was understand that someone she knew had a problem, and she guided him towards the one who could help. Surely we all know of individuals who are plagued by the sin problem and do not know the Biblical cure for their ailment. Yet we so often refuse to point them towards the solution because we feel somehow inadequate to do so. The little servant girl might not have had all the answers to life's problems, but I'm certain that Naaman was thankful that she shared with him what she did know!
Naaman goes to Israel. He starts out by looking for help from the wrong person: the king. Spiritually speaking, people may realize that they have a sin problem, but they don't always go to the correct source for help. They may try to find a solution in the government. They may try to find their solution in morality or reformation. They may even seek out a religious system that they hope will bring them salvation. However, just like the king of Israel couldn't help Naaman, so these other organizations can not help the unsaved. What he needs is the message from God. Elisha was not God, but he was referred to as the "man of God", and he proclaimed the Word of God. This is what the unsaved need: the plan of salvation as explained in the Scriptures. Naaman finally goes to the right person, but he has a personal problem that must be dealt with first: pride. He expected Elisha to fall all over him because he was a big shot from Syria, but Elisha didn't do that. Elisha was so unimpressed that he didn't even talk to him directly, but rather sent his messenger out. To an important man like Naaman, this was an insult. The message was even worse - Go wash in the Jordan. There would be no miraculous display, and no "magic show". Just believe what you are told, and humble yourself, and wash yourself. Naaman turns for home angered. However, the statement of his servants brings him to his senses. See, for may people the idea of salvation simply by faith is too humbling and too simple. Naaman would have been willing to do some great thing, but he had to be persuaded to simply believe what he had been told. Many folks will go through all sorts of difficult situations in hope of earning Heaven, and yet refuse to come to God in child-like faith and simply believe and receive. Naaman does what he is told. I believe that there was no change in his condition after the first dipping, nor after the second. He did not get gradually cleaner. Perhaps after a couple dips he felt that this might be a waste of time. Yet he continued to act in faith upon what Elijah had told him. Finally as he came up the seventh time, he was instantaneously cured.
When a man realizes his sinful condition, and sees that there is nothing that he can do for himself to solve the problem, and then seeks out the Word of God for his answer, and then believes that what It says is true, and then by faith accepts the Christ that It speaks of, then he is saved. Salvation can come no other way. Many people have never heard this truth. They have been blinded by traditions and false teachings. We need "little servant girls" who will proclaim the message of salvation to all that they come in contact with.
Are you saved from sin? Are you proclaiming the truth to others?
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery