June 23 – The “Uncool” River that Cleanses!

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 ultimately 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 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 also be seen in Naaman (2 Kings 5:22).

  1. No relationship with his ministries (2 Kings 4:26). Yes, the Shunamite woman wasn’t talkative (2 Kings 4:13 and 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 ministries (2 Kings 4:27). Yes, the Shunamite woman ignored him and physically approached his boss, the one Gehazi was called to protect. Gehazi didn’t protect Elisha because he was trying to thrust away one of his ministry’s key donors!
  3. No reward from his ministries (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 for herself and the other captive Israelites in Syrian bondage, but to be a witness as a faithful slave to Naaman’s wife. She was able to use her unfortunate situation just like Joseph did – to bring blessings to a heathen nation. Her testimony was evident within the household of Naaman, and so much so 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 through political entreaty, but the king of Israel could not heal him. Nor could healing come through religious ceremony (2 Kings 5:11). Nor could it come through financial inducement (2 Kings 5:16). It came through washing in the dirtiest river imaginable. It was not a difficult thing – it was quite 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 made 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), was repealed in Acts 10:15, and was expounded in Acts 10:45.

Acts 15:20 — What were these laws that were commanded to be followed by the Gentiles?

  • Abstaining from meats offered to idols. Wait until we get to Paul’s discussion on whether we can eat meats offered to idols!
  • Abstaining from fornication. The New Testament Church takes a harder line than the Old Testament 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 New Testament, Jesus has increased our duty – we’re not just expected to follow the bare minimum requirements needed for the functioning of an orderly society of free citizens, but we have an increased duty to our fellow man that requires the full obedience of a bound servant to his master.
  • Abstaining from things strangled. Again, the life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:10-12).
  • Abstaining 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 not read about someone taking a gift today, and as a result, someone’s view of God was perverted?

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

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