TODAY’S READING: II KINGS 5-8
Healing of Naaman; miracles of Elisha; a great famine and deliverance; further decline of Israel and Judah.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
The healing of a leprous Gentile is one of the best known stories of the Old Testament. All of the great things about Naaman in verse one, mean nothing after reading the last phrase of the verse: “but he was a leper.” None of these things could overcome or heal leprosy, the picture of sin. None of our accomplishments or greatness can overcome sin, either. The cure is a gift from God, revealed by a servant of God.
After Naaman is told of healing in Israel, he packed up his great possessions, assembled his entourage and departed for the places of power and influence. But there was no remedy there. If Elisha had not called Naaman to his house, Naaman would have had no hope. Though Naaman’s pride initially rejected the remedy offered to him, his obedience brought healing. Naaman went home in peace. Romans 5:1 tells us: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The rest of the story reveals the heart of the servant Gehazi. Compare two words in chapter 5 and verse 20: “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.” His heart is revealed when he says he will take it from him. After the deception and lies of Gehazi, the judgment of God came on him. The Word and Work of the Lord are still today tarnished by greed, deception and lies of some “servants” of the Lord.
II Corinthians 4:18 reminds us that if you can see something, it is temporary. Eternal things are seen through spiritual eyes. Though we often only think in terms of the things we see, we are in the middle of a real, eternal spiritual battle. Spiritual beings live and work on this earth. Job chapter one tells how they can cause physical effects and influence people. But I John 4:4 assures us: “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” The Lord Jesus Christ has conquered all. Now in II Kings chapter 6, Elisha and a young servant are in a city surrounded by bands of Syrians. Elisha had previously warned King Jehoram of the locations of the Syrians multiple times. The Syrians had now compassed the city, terrifying the young man. Without fear, Elisha tells him, “They that be with us are more than they that be with them.” With his eyes opened, the young man saw the reality of the battle that Elisha had already seen. The attackers are drawn into the c!
ity, blinded, and led to the middle of Samaria. The Syrian bands are surrounded by Israel, given provisions, and sent back to Syria.
A famine comes to the kingdom of Israel and is blamed on Elisha. King Jehoram blamed Elisha, just as his father Ahab blamed Elijah for the troubles in Israel. But in chapter 7, the Lord will cause the Syrians to hear noises of a great army and flee, leaving a surplus of food and provisions. God provides plenty for all the people of a nation, but judges the one man who rejects Elisha’s prophecy in unbelief. Note that the Lord can deal with groups and individuals simultaneously.
Chapter 8 continues with the decline of both Israel and Judah. Benhadad, the king of Syria, is murdered by Hazael. Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, begins a short, evil reign. The chapter ends with Ahaziah, the son of Jehoram, over Judah; and Joram, the son of Ahab, over Israel. As promised in I Kings 19:15-17, judgment is coming! The wicked house of Ahab will soon be destroyed. God’s judgment is sure.
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As ONE SENT TO THE GENTILES – II Kings 5:1-14 (Luke 4:27).
As HEALER OF LEPROSY – II Kings 5:10 (Matthew 8:2, 3; Mark 1:40, 41).
As POWERFUL PROTECTOR – II Kings 6:16 (Luke 12:7; I John 4:4).