2 Kings 5-8
Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20kings%205-8&version=NIV
If you have been reading the blog since we started we are now on DAY 184….that is a little more than half the year!!! WOO HOO!!!
Goodness…today we covered a lot of territory, names, cities, and events….just in 4 chapters.
So let’s recap some of our reading!
CHAPTER 5–The story of Naaman was such a good read, lots of meaning here, and he is sooooo like most of us if we are honest with ourselves…..AUTHENTIC with ourselves and others!!! A good way to read some of the Bible is to pretend you are a reporter for “The God Times” and ask yourself the questions: “WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, WHEN, and HOW.” The theme of this story is SALVATION, SALVATION for ALL!! (John 3:16 –“For God SO loved the world that He gave HIS son that WHOSOEVER would believe in HIM should not perish but have everlasting life.”) Although Jesus had not entered the world…Naaman’s story is a story of a WHOSOEVER believing in the ONE TRUE GOD. So, let’s check out Naaman:
Who: Gentile (not a Hebrew)
Where: Jordan River
When: Before Christ
Why: He believed in One true God
How: Humbled that God is God and He is dead without Him
Those of you have been reading since we started, I know you have heard me say that Jesus is on EVERY page of our Bibles….EVERY page. We really may have to HUNT to see HIM, because the portrait of Christ may be less obvious…..but HE IS THERE!!. Today’s reading was so obvious!! I like obvious, because somedays I am simply not “getting it” and do have to pray, read, reread, hunt, research, etc asking that The Lord will show me….and HE does.
In order for Naaman to be cleansed of leprosy and healed he had to HUMBLE himself and be the same as a servant. Back in this time frame leprosy was one of the most feared diseases of the time. Some forms were extremely contagious and in many cases incurable. In it’s worst forms , leprosy led to death. Many lepers were forced out of the communities and into leper colonies where they were quarantined from the major population. During this time the name leprosy in the original Hebrew could convey one of many skin diseases which varied in type, contagion, and intensity. Either way at this time Naaman either had a mild case of it or was in the beginning stages of the disease since he was still in commander of the Syrian army.
Naaman was the COMMANDER of the army for the King of Aram (also known as Syria, the people are known as the Arameans), a strong, smart, powerful man. He thought the Power of Healing would be in something Majestic, something BIG for a man of his station, or complicated, or a deed he would have to do, BUT it wasn’t. The Jordan River was dirty and was where the poor would wash. WHY should he be expected to “wash” in THIS RIVER seven times. It was so “simple”, so “plain”….. ALL he HAD to do was wash 7 times in the Jordan River (and GOD did ALL the work). He became angry, outraged!! His pride and ego thought it would all be grander. HE TURNED AROUND AND WENT BACK HOME!!In order to be cleansed from Jesus we need to humble ourselves. It seems too simple, our minds want to complicate the simplicity of the Scriptures (I said simplicity…not that anything is easy!!).
Did you happen to notice that Naaman’s servant girl for his wife was an Israelite. This young Israelite servant girl recommended that Naaman go to Elisha to be healed of leprosy!! When he returned angry, in a rage refusing to do what Elisha had recommended, his servants encouraged him to return to what Elisha recommended. Naaman finally humbled himself and was HEALED because an young Israelite girl BELIEVED.
By the way this is the same river that the man was healed in John 9:7 when he healed the blind man.
Naaman became a true believer in the Lord. Most of the people of the day didn’t deny that the Lord existed, but had fallen to believe that there were many gods, and the Lord was just one of them. After his healing he KNEW in his heart that there were no other gods but The ONE TRUE GOD.
And then we have Gehazi (I’ll call him the “G”etting man!!) — HEAVENS!! He was Elisha’s servant. You KNOW he had seen things…GOD things!!! Yet somehow money became more important to him than God. naughty…naughty….naughty…. Naaman came prepared to pay Elisha LOTS of money for healing him. However, Elisha REFUSED because he did NOT want ANY one to receive the wrong message. What was the message? The favor, mercy, grace, and healing of God can NOT be purchased…never could be…never will!!! THIS was why Elisha refused the money….it was ALL about GOD. Then Gehazi must have bumped his head or SOMEthing!!! Because he goes running after Naaman, says Elisha has sent him for a little money and clothing for servants!! (LIAR LIAR pants on fire!!) Then he returns to camp and HIDES the goods (Bad boy, bad boy …..whatcha gonna do…!!) OH man…. then when Elisha, his master asks where he was and he says …oh you know …just hanging out…. (BOLD faced LIE!) Elisha KNEW where he had been. OUCH!! So sad…. bad choices…and really bad consequences….Gehazi ends up with SEVERE leprosy!!!
CHAPTER 6 — the company of prophets (kind of like a school where the prophets could learn) — they wanted to build a place for them to live and Elisha says go ahead. The axhead seems like such a small thing, but the first thing that caught my attention was the fact that these men were very concerned that the axhead came off of the ax because they had borrowed the ax. Good guys!! Then we see that God cared/cares about even the smallest of things in our lives!! Miraculously, the axhead FLOATED so they could find it and get it back!!! God cares about the “little” things in our lives too!! Elisha was known by kings by this point. He was known for being a prophet. He could have allowed all this to go to his head, yet he did not. Elisha cared about the everyday people that came into his life. He NEVER forgot to care for the faithful.
Next we read about the King of Aram being at war with Israel….no shock there!! Elisha kept sending the King of Israel messages so Syria could not attack him….the King of Aram hears about what is happening, gets angry, and comes after Elisha. OF COURSE Elisha knows about it… I mean he has a CLOSE relationship with God!! The King of Syria shows up with many men sitting in their chariots with their horses sitting on the tops of the mountains with they eyes on Elisha. They were ominous and ready to attack to get this prophet Elisha OFF this earth!!! I LOVE these next verses 15-17:
“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “OH MY LORD, what shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then The Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills FULL of horses and CHARIOTS OF FIRE ALL AROUND ELISHA.”
I have to tell you reading that statement this year was no different from my reading it last year….. it simply brings me to tears. WHAT a MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE!! WHAT a LOVING GOD WE HAVE WHO CARES SO DEEPLY FOR US!!! In my mind here is a more up to date scene that occurred in my head—
Elisha’s servant — “Ummmm…. Elisha…..sir….you may want to hurry out of your tent and look around us…. we are….we are gonna DIE!!”
Elisha — Moving slowly, straightening his robe, putting down his breakfast, coming out of the tent…. “Oh yeah, it’s kewl….there are many more with us than are against us.”
Elisha’s servant — “Ummmmmm….sir….have you been drinking?? Do YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?? WHAT have you been smokin in that tent? Maybe we should move the camels OUT of the tent if we survive tonight!!….Like there ain’t nuthing there but the enemies’ army with lots of horses and men sitting in their chariots and there are LOTS of them….Ummmm sir…. do you see that?
Elisha –“We’re kewl!!! You have no need to worry, but I will pray that your eyes will be OPENED so that you can see what I see.”
Elisha’s servant — “GLORY TO GOD IIN THE HIGHEST!!! I SEE ALL the angels sitting on chariots of FIRE who out number our enemies!!! My eyes have been opened ever so widely!!!
I simply LOVE that scenerio. God’s Word tells us HE has given HIS angels charge concerning us!!! Can you imagine on a bad day at work peeking around the corner and seeing angels sitting on chariots of fire….there for you and only you because you asked for God’s protection!! They are there you KNOW???!!!
OH YESSSSS!! I am doing a praise dance right now!!
Interestingly…. the very thing Elisha asked for his servant (for his eyes to be opened)…he asked the opposite for the Syrias. (for them to be blinded). As the blinded army was led into Samari (to the King of Israel)….can you IMAGINE when they opened their eyes. YOU KNOW they must have thought….. “WE ARE DEAD!!” Yet Elisha tells the King of Israel do not kill them…. feed them, give them water, then let them go back to their master. OH YEAH…. there were stories in the Syrian camp when they returned!! The result…. “So the bands from Aram (Syria) STOPPED raiding Israel’s territory.”
The next part is pretty gross…the famine and people eating their children. The King of Israel became so disgusted and overwhelmed at the famine and the results that went along with it…..that he wanted to kill Elisha. OBVIOUSLY… all this was Elisha’s fault. It could NOT have been anything Israel did (like worshiping false gods, building idols, marrying people outside their faith and following the wrong gods, etc.) Let’s talk about the Famine and the fact that they ate their children? Look back at Deuteronomy 28:49-57. Go ahead…I’ll wait <<smile>>> I KNOW you are saying…. “oh yeah, I remember this chapter.” This chapter is titled: Blessing for Obedience and Curses for Disobedience. A famine is one way the Lord used to cast judgement. The nation was idolatrous and this chapter predicted this cannibalism: “Because of the suffering that your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the LORD your God has given you.” Heavens… more prophesy coming to pass!!! We end chapter 6 with the king wanting to kill Elisha saying “This disaster is from The Lord. Why should I wait for The Lord any longer?”
Isn’t it easy for us to blame God for circumstances in our lives. Isn’t it easy to focus on our circumstances rather than on our God who WANTS the best for us. Do bad things happen to good people? Yes! Do good things happen to bad people? Yes! Is life “fair”? Nope! However, when circumstances in our lives are not what we hoped and prayed for and we have done all we can possibly do to be faithful before our God — we simply have to continue to stand, and believe in HIM. I know I have to personally write out things from the past where God has brought me through very difficult situations. Sometimes it has become clear that I made the wrong choices and there are consequences that will play out. However, other times…..it may be a test of my faith so I may let go of things that are keeping me from being all HE has for me to be. Either way… God wants us to maintain a strong relationship with HIM, depend on HIM, call on other believers to encourage us, ask for others to pray, READ HIS Word, meditate on it, sing praise songs (even when you don’t feel like it.) And sometimes…I simply have no words, no explanations, and I cry out to my Abba Father and ask for HIM to give me what I need to get through “this season.”
CHAPTER 7 — Did you notice the prophesy in verse 1 that comes to pass by the end of this chapter?
This next scene is precious to me. The lepers who enter into the Syrian camp….and EVERYONE is gone. They go into a couple (maybe 3) tents …eating what they can find and packing their cloaks with “booty”. They were happy little campers. Then they wonder if they are in a trap, OR maybe they are doing the wrong thing. So they return to the royal palace to report what they found. Did that not just touch your heart?? As the scene first played out in my head, it made me laugh….couldn’t you just see these lepers (outcasts of society) finding food in a famine, eating, and going from tent to tent to eat and collect goodies??? Then it dawns on them… “rut row….this is not right.” Makes me think of how I process some things!!
CHAPTER 8 — Oh man!! Some of this may be confusing because some history is being repeated that we have already read. In my Life Application Bible the comments suggest that Chapter 8 was most likely written BEFORE the recorded events in Chapter 5 because the seven year famine must have ended before Gehazi (the getting man) was struck with leprosy. The thing that stuck out most to me in this chapter were
verses 5-7: ” Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” The king asked the woman about it, and she told him.
Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “GIVE BACK EVERYTHING THAT BELONGED TO HER, INCLUDING ALL THE INCOME FROM HER LAND FROM THE DAY SHE LEFT TH COUNTRY UNTIL NOW.”
This verse had me in tears as well……it just touched me so deeply. It reminded me of the Scripture in Joel where it says The Lord will return the years the locusts have eaten away (my paraphrase).
As you can tell today’s reading just had me in tears all the way around. SO MUCH to see here!!! Where did you see Jesus on these pages? Did you hear The Lord speaking to you and if so which verses? Did you see anything you had not seen before? I’d love to hear how God is touching you as you remain faithful in reading HIS Word.
I KNOW HE is speaking to you…..so keep reading. Let’s see how the book ends!! Isn’t this exciting!!! I am definitely working on EXPECTING the BEST rather than worrying about things I have no control over!! I’m EXPECTING my eyes to be opened like the servant of Elisha….for my husband’s job to be replaced to even better than before …and sooooo much more <<<smile>>>>
Sharing HIS love,
P.S. If you write in your Bible always try to look for the Covenants repeated. For example 8:19 is a repeat from the Davidic Covenant in 2 Sam 7