June 23 – The “uncool” river that cleanses!

June 23
2 Kings 4:18-5:27
Acts 15:1-35
Psalm 141:1-10
Proverbs 17:23

2 Kings 4:28 – The honest cry of a woman to the prophet comes out in this verse. She did not ask for a son, but she was given one that she loved. Now her son is taken from her, and God brings her son back to life.

2 Kings 4:31 – I heard a great message from a Devon Swanson on Gehazi the unfaithful servant. We met Gehazi yesterday (2 Kings 4:12) and he was intelligent enough to know how to help the woman (2 Kings 4:14). A good worker – but he had a fatal flaw that will be seen with Naaman (2 Kings 5:22) and got him leprosy (2 Kings 5:27).

  1. No relationship with his ministees (2 Kings 4:26). Yes, the Shunamite woman wasn’t talkative (2 Kings 4:13, 16), but Gehazi who had been often in her house (2 Kings 4:10), didn’t have a relationship that allowed her to freely open up to him.
  2. No respect for his minstees (2 Kings 4:27). Yes, the Shunamite woman ignored him and then physically approaches his boss that he must protect, but he was trying to thrust away one of his ministry’s key donors!
  3. No reward from his ministees (2 Kings 4:31). Our reward in ministry is seeing lives changed – some thirty-fold, some sixty-fold, some one hundred-fold (Matthew 13:8). Obviously Elisha felt that Gehazi could be used by God to work a miracle, but Gehazi’s fatal flaw cost him his reward.

2 Kings 5:1 – Did you catch the phrase – “by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria.” God cares about the political affairs of heathen nations! How much more so does he care about nations that claim to trust in God? But what is the political agenda of God?

2 Kings 5:2 – The captured Israelite maid, would be used of God not to get political deliverance of herself and other captive Israelites in Syrian bondage, but to be a witness as a faithful slave to the Naaman’s wife. She was able to use her unfortunate situation just like Joseph did – to bring blessings to heathen nations. Her testimony was evident within the household of Naaman, and such that it moved the king of Syria!

In the background of this picture from the VCY Israel Trip, you can see the dirty waters of Jordan.

2 Kings 5:6 – Ah Naaman. He thought healing could come thru political entreaty. But the king of Israel could not heal him. Nor could it come thru religious ceremony (2 Kings 5:11). Nor could it come thru financial inducement (2 Kings 5:16). It came thru washing in the dirtiest river imaginable. It was not a difficult thing – it was simple. But it was not easy. Pride almost kept Naaman from being clean. Yes his servants had to beg him – “Wash, and be clean!”

Today, we can wash and be clean in a river that is not too appealing – this river is the blood of the Lamb! (Revelation 7:14, Hebrews 9:14, Hebrews 13:12). Yes the blood of the Lamb is not the river that most people go to for cleansing, they prefer the “prettier” waters of good works. Like Naaman they try political activity, religious ceremony, and financial inducement. But they still are cursed with an incurable, fatal disease like Naaman (2 Kings 5:1). But like Naaman, though our sins be as scarlet, they can be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18, 2 Kings 5:14).

Acts 15:1 – Ah one of the “prettier rivers” – circumcision. Circumcision was initiated in the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 17:10) and repealed in Acts 10:15 and expounded in Acts 10:45.

Acts 15:20 – What were these laws that were commanded to the Gentiles? 1) Abstaining from meats offered to idols (wait until we get to Paul’s discussion on whether we can eat meats offered to idols!) 2) Fornication – the NT Church takes a harder line than the OT Israelites on fornication. In Exodus 22:16-17 we see one of the “hardness of heart” passages (Mark 10:5, Matthew 19:8). In the NT Jesus has increased our duty – not just the bare minimums for an orderly society of free citizens, but an increased duty that requires full obedience of a bound servant to his master. 3) From things strangled. Again the life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:10-12). 4) From vampirism. Yes – today we have made vampires cool and exciting. No – we are not to glorify this anti-Biblical behavior. Some may say these things are cultural, but these are from the Holy Ghost (Acts 15:28).

Psalm 141:8 – The foundation for our national motto – “in thee is my trust.”

Proverbs 17:23 – Hmm – did we read about someone taking a gift today, and as a result someone’s view of God was perverted?

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