Morning Light – August 21st, 2015

MLToday: [2 Kings Chapter Five]: Dip in the Jordan – Receive Your Miracle. In this chapter Naaman the Syrian comes to Elisha to be healed of leprosy. Elisha deals with his pride and arrogance by having him dip in muddy Jordan. At first Naaman refuses then later obeys and is completely cleansed. When this meeting was arranged for the king of Syria sent a gift to Elisha of $50,000 dollars in gold and silver. After the miracle Gehazi attempts to extort more money from Naaman and as a result is struck with leprosy himself.

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[2Ki 5:1-27 KJV] 1 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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 And [one] went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that [is] of the land of Israel. 5 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. 6 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. 7 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. 8 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. 9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. 10 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.

In this chapter we find Naaman a Syrian warlord suffering from leprosy. He was a notable military man because the Lord had given him many victories over his enemies. It is interesting he is a captain over Syria because Syria means “exalted”. In this account Naaman is a very angry, self important and prideful man yet he sufferings from a terrible disease. The king of Syria – sends to the king of the Northern Tribes in Israel and commands him to send a prophet to heal Naaman of his disease. Notice that the word of about this prophet who heals came from a captured servant girl from Israel itself. So while Naaman had been given by God many military victories he still felt at his leisure to attack Israel at will and bring away slaves in defiance of the God who made him great.

The king of Syria includes with his request a large gift of silver and gold valued in our day at around $50,000 sent along as a gift because the accepted protocol in the land was that you do not appear before the Lord empty. The king of Israel sees this as a trap. He has no expectation that anyone in Israel let alone a prophet can cure leprosy. He has no faith. Here is an example of God doing in one country that which was not done in Israel itself. Jesus made the following statement about this:

[Luk 4:27 KJV] 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

Missionaries and ministers often report going to foreign lands and seeing great miracles and yet in the US these things do not happen. As is the king of Israel who has no faith so a stronghold of unbelief in the land coming through the leader suppresses the miraculous in the whole country. The leader of a country profoundly affects that country spiritually even in regard to his personal beliefs or lack thereof. The prophets and ministers who strongly supported Mitt Romney a devout Mormon had no idea the spirit of falsehood and deception that would have been unleashed on this country had Romney been elected. President Obama would not be confuses as being a devout Christian but contrasted by spiritual implications of the opposite choice he was God’s mercy on our land.

The king then thinks that the king of Syria is seeking an occasion to come against him laments the situation and Elisha hears about it and promises to solve the problem and heal the leper. How did Elisha hear about this? Through the king’s servants. Here we should see the difference between those in positions of power and those in positions of influence. In Syria a servant girl influences the king to send for Elisha. In Israel the servants of the king inform Elisha and as a result God is on the scene. People in positions of power at all levels are gripped by demonic strongholds that immerse them in unbelief, pride and arrogance. Jesus said “the poor are rich in faith…” The working class, the grass roots generation has more insight and understanding and faith than those that sit at the pinnacles of authority in our culture.

The king of Syria sends word to Elisha and includes a generous accompanying gift. Naaman shows up with his entourage and stands outside Elisha’s house expecting something to happen. Why doesn’t he go inside Elisha’s house? He is too proud. Hebrews are dogs to the Syrians. They would no more go into Elisha’s house than you would crawl into a dog house. Elisha deals with this when he commands the Syrian to go dip in muddy Jordan seven times. Jordan represents the place of humility. It means “the going down place”. Seven is the number of completion and covenant. Naaman mighty have been willing to humble himself to a degree – in fact he thought that just coming to Elisha in lieu of the huge financial gift already given would have been enough but God will accept nothing less than a full response of humility.

There has crept into the church since the 90’s an approach to the things of God referred to as being “seeker sensitive”. The idea is that the leaders are the producers of the ministry and the people are the consumers of the ministry. One of the problems with this is the stronghold of thinking in this paradigm that “the customer is always right”. Therefore the expectation is that the people are in the position to demand to ministered to on their terms and on their time table. That is a Naaman mentality and God will accept nothing less than a response of humility. Just recently one of prophets who serves God in a Communist country responded to a request of a woman who described herself in deep torment from physical problems. He gave her a detailed and anointed response but she didn’t like it. It didn’t meet her expectations in terms of how it was presented. God sent her exactly what she needed and she regarded it like a dress she bought a dress barn that didn’t fit as she wished and wanted to return it with her complaints.

11 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. 12 [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. 13 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? 14 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. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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. 18 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. 19 And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.

Naaman was angry and leaves. He would rather die a leper than submit himself. I heard one minister tell a story after giving a strong message to a group on discipleship. One of the attendees, a fellow pastor came up and complained “you are teaching ‘shepherding error’” referring to an abusive authoritarian movement from the 1970’s and 80’s. The minister retorted “no I’m not – because none of your church people are that submitted!” I heard the same thing when I have gotten complaints over referring to myself as “Prophet Russ”. It is perfectly acceptable to say “pastor Joe” but if you call yourself prophet or apostle you are chided by the people who call themselves pastor yet claim you are being pompous or title conscious. This thinking was very prominent in the casual environment of the 1980’s when leadership was not strong and pastors were only seen as facilitators and not disciplers and the standards were exchanged for a very lax and laid back paradigm of leadership. The Lord told me very clearly “this is not the 80’s”. We are in a warfare – a cultural conflict for the soul of the church and our leaders need to stand up and identify themselves in the call of God over their lives for the sake of the people. Not everyone will get this but it is important for the sake of those who do that we choose not to be people pleasers but to obey God in all things.

Naaman goes and dips in the Jordan and comes away totally healed. He returns to Elisha’s house but still in his pride will not go inside or submit himself. This is common today. People may go to the prophet but when you ask “who is the prophet in your life?” there is a disconnect in their thinking. This is in part understandable when you look at the character of the prophetic today. Given the harsh and judgmental attitudes that prevail among the prophets the idea of having a prophet in your life is as suggestive as sleeping with a porcupine – who wants to? Nonetheless Elisha speaks to the Syrian and Namaan wants to pay Elisha. Elisha refuses. Why? Naaman’s master the king of Syria has already given a large and generous sum before he every prayed for Naaman. Notice that the gift that Elisha rejects is the one that is given AFTER the miracle but he did without mention accept the gift given BEFORE the miracle. Throughout the scriptures from Samuel on forward the people never came before the prophet empty but the gifts were always given beforehand and not after. Why? Because God wants us as Jesus told Thomas to believe without seeing. There is no faith attached to the gift that is given after the fact. He is more interested in us giving in expectation of a miracle that giving afterwards in deference to a miracle. He wants us to get into faith before hand and not after.

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. 21 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? 22 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. 23 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. 24 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. 25 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. 26 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? 27 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.

Naaman leaves after requesting to take two loads of dirt from Elisha’s house so he can set up a shrine to the Lord in his home country. Elisha agrees with this and Naaman departs. Gehazi – Elisha’s servant however follows after Naaman and seeks an additional financial reward. This will have disastrous consequences. The gifts of God are not for sale. Gehazi was expecting to be able to make merchandise after the fact over something that God did. The gift given before the miracle was accepted. The ploy of Gehazi is contemptible and as a result the leprosy that lifted off of Naaman fell on Gehazi. Why? Because Gehazi was proud of heart just like the Syrian who had to get over his arrogance before he could receive his miracle.

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