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The Defective General (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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July 5, 2023 6:00 am

The Defective General (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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July 5, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Submit yourselves to your elders.

Yes, all of you be submissive to one another and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. And it's hard when you have to submit into something you don't like, but it's part of the processes of development. And when you break out of that, you break. You break things. Things go wrong.

And there's a whole world of people who violate this. And now here's Pastor Rick in 2 Kings 5 with his continuing study called The Defective General. Defective views of God and His ways is a very serious thing. And that's why Jesus said, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. They shall be filled.

It doesn't say, and your life will be, you know, just wonderful after that. In fact, it may even have more attacks to it because the evil is aggressive. We have to study, we have to pray, we have to try to just obey the Lord, exercise grace and love and truth. What does evil have to do? Just show up.

It doesn't even have to practice its moves. We're working all the time. Well, this is a defective life. We are, all of us are, we have this great defect of leprosy, of sin. And we are supposed to and expected to overcome, and they overcame Him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, not loving their lives to the death. Well, verse 7, and it happened when the king of Israel read the letter that he tore his clothes and said, Am I God to kill and to make alive that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore, please consider and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.

Well, this is Jehoram, King Jehoram, one of the three stooges. And he's a pessimist. I mean, God has brought us out here. He always brought us to the desert to die. No, this man wants to start a fight. He's just always the bleakest outlook he can find. So his first response is unbelief.

He's breaking down. But that's how clumsy the letter was. It does read as though he's expected to do it.

It's almost as though in Syria they didn't want to send the letter. Just write, just heal the guy and leave out the facts. We'll come back to some of the scribal banter in a little bit. Anyway, Am I God to kill and make alive, he asks the question. And in this question, he admits that deity is not a theory, that there is God and God is superior.

But of course, that's as far as it went in the right direction. Everything else about God with him went in the wrong direction, as is the case with so many. So the king, helpless, but the prophet was not, because the prophet is the chariot of Israel. He is the military force. And we're going to see a lot of this as we move through the chapters with Elijah.

He's just going to be cleaning house. He's just spiritually, he's just a dynamo. Not to take away from the other prophets, it's just that this was his ministry. Verse 8, and so it was when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes that he sent to the king saying, why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. Now of course you want to just make all sorts of jokes like, why did you tear your clothes you nitwit and stuff, but I'm not going to do that anymore than I just did. But anyway, things have improved a bit between this prophet and this king because of that episode in the desert when they ran out of water.

But they're not, they're still not the best. Elisha still knows who he's dealing with. Elisha never leaves his house to deal with this situation. Here he sends his servant, maybe Gehazi, maybe another. The king did not send for the prophet. He doesn't even think, God it was in none of his thoughts, not to appeal to God.

But when Elisha volunteers to take this on, he's happy to get rid of this hot potato. Aggressive ministry is never to exceed the direction of God and the resources given. You can be, let's just go into there and preach the gospel, let's do all this, yeah well you better make sure that this is the Lord because many, it's so easy, it's such an amateur move to want to do something for God without God doing it.

And the next thing you know you're in debt or you're disillusioned and you become an apostate even at the worst of it because you thought God forsook you when you never sought him. And the lesson from here is that Elijah is giving, he is informed of this, he is brought into this. In verse 9, and Naaman went with his horses and chariot and he stood at the door of Elijah's house. It's profound the way that reads, he stood at the door of Elijah's house. And if it was just all happy after that it would make a nice clip on the refrigerator.

But it's good that he's there but it's not going to be an easy fit. Elijah does not venture out to see him, he does not touch the leper, it would have defiled him. Our Lord on the other hand, on the way to touching them they were cleansed. Then Jesus put out his hand and touched him and I'm telling you that man was cleansed before he was touched.

I am willing be cleansed, immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And God does things different ways to force us to examine them and think of things that we otherwise would not think of. That's what the Bible does, it forces us to consider things that we would otherwise pass by or miss altogether. And the more you read it, the more you will think. And the more you think, the more your faith will be challenged because in much wisdom is much grief says the Bible.

And you learn things, the wisdom builds up but then you have a reality that's defective. And you're wondering where's the God of Elijah? And you say I'm right here and we say well why don't you do more? He says more what?

Well stop the problem, well the problem is stopped, you just haven't gotten to the end yet. Well when's it going to end, when do you get to heaven? That's the truth, well verse 10, and Elijah sent a messenger to him saying go and wash in the Jordan seven times and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be clean. He sent a messenger, this is the king of the army, the general of the army. This is the top dog and Elijah's treating him like a top dog. He sends a servant and you know he's steaming. It's like what, where's the prophet?

He doesn't bother to answer the door. Etiquette of the palace meant little to this prophet, this man of God. I mean some of the prophets were very savvy in the palace. Isaiah, one of the greatest, very savvy with the court of the kings without ever compromising his ministry. Naaman came full of his own importance and his own ideas.

We run into this all the time. This is the beginning of a humbling process that this man needs if he's going to benefit from God. He needed to learn that healing would come and it would come on God's terms. So Elijah will allow Naaman to speak to him later after the leprosy is removed and after he's learned his lesson and he will learn his lesson.

So he says to him, go, go bathe. He comes to the house with all of his money and his robes and he's waiting for, you know, Elijah to wave incense over him or something and Elijah has a servant go tell him, go bathe into Jordan seven times because you're that dirty. Seven times, no more, no less, don't read too much. The number is just, it's symbolic of, this has to be completed.

This is, this is it. And he has to do it literally seven times and that is the number that is the number of completion. Verse six, the number six in scripture is the number from man to eight in proper context is the new beginning. The eighth day of the week is the next week, the next day of the week. Seven is the end of the week. Well, coming back to this, and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be clean.

Take it or leave it. Well, God is going to cleanse this leper inside and out. Luke chapter five, then he put out his hand and touched him saying, I am willing again, Christ, dealing with leprosy, that emblem of sin. Verse 11, but Naaman became furious and went away and said, indeed, I said to myself, he will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of Yahweh, his God, and wave his hand over the place and heal the leprosy. So he already made up a script for God to follow and the prophet had to follow this script. This Naaman became furious. That is the face of self, hating being not followed, hating being told, no, it's this way, not your way. And so he is furious in his pride.

Now you can understand it, which is not acceptable. Did he lose sight of why he came over 100 miles if he left from Syria? It could have been further, it could have been a little less.

It was still a long trek. He got a lot of folks with him. No big general like that is going to travel on the road and subject himself to a raid. So here he is, another dictator to God. He's not a dictator over people, though he may rule that way, as expected in those days, but he's dictating to God. He's specifying how God is supposed to conduct himself.

You're supposed to have your man come out, say a few words, chant a few things, ask a few questions like um, um, and then I'm supposed to be clean. And he went and said, indeed, I said to myself, he will surely come out. Preconceived notions that a human being can have to keep God in his place, get God to conform. If God has to conform to ideas, the ideas of people, if they can say, listen, this is how blessings will work, okay, then you're not going to get to heaven.

1 Peter, chapter 5. Likewise, you younger people, now he's talking about me, but it's you two, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. And it's hard when you have to submit into something you don't like, but it's part of the processes of development. And when you break out of that, you break, you break things, things go wrong. And there's a whole world of people who violate this.

And so likewise, you younger people, submit yourself to your elders. He says, and wave his hand over the place and heal the leprosy. So there's a signal that the leprosy was local, but again, likely spreading, or maybe just staying put, but doing its damage nonetheless. Verse 12, and so he's fussing about, you know, I thought he was going to do this, and now he's going to bash the Jordan. Jordan is not that great. Well, a lot of rivers aren't. I mean, the time of the year, I've seen the Mississippi a few times. I wasn't too impressed with it.

I know somebody was, oh, you've got to come in this season. The Hudson River up north is very beautiful. So, I don't know, I've not been to these places in Syria. You can stand in Israel in the north and you can look at Lebanon and Syria at the same time, but not see the rivers. Anyway, he's thinking, of course, the healing comes from the water. So logically, the better the water, the better the healing. That's probably part of his thinking, and so he's arguing. Verse 12, are not the Abna and the Farpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?

Could I not wash in them and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. And he's saying this, it would have been fair if he were asking the question, but he is barking. He is mad about this. Donald Gray Barnhouse was a pastor from years ago along with the Lord. He's got some books out there.

They're not bad. He has a quote here I want to share. Everybody has the privilege of going to heaven God's way or going to hell their own way. Actually, he got that from me even though he died before I ever entered ministry.

He did not get it from me in case. Like I got to tell you that. Anyhow, it is a profound, you know, you go to heaven God's way, you go to hell your way, and that's what we're seeing unfold right here. There are no substitutes for putting faith in Jesus Christ. He is the Lord and he is the Savior. Titus chapter 3 verse 5, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us through the washing of the regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. It's the work of God, not me earning it, and yet how many churches are out there preaching that you've got to earn your salvation?

And they do it in a very sneaky way. They'll say, no, we don't believe that, but then they put requirements on you to get saved other than faith alone in Jesus alone. Verse 13, and his servants came near and spoke to him and said, my father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more when he says to you, wash and be clean. So he told you to take a bath. I love this, that this servant is comfortable enough to approach the general in days when people just weren't that nice to subordinates, and he's just comfortable enough to say, come on, we want you healed.

And think about this. And Naaman doesn't say, shut up, get out of my face. He listens to him. His friends care for him. And that tells you about the character of the man. Going back to in the household where his wife on the same page as him when it came to not being arrogant. How many people have we come across in the scripture that were arrogant and you just want to see them get hit by a bus or something?

We come across these unbelievers, and here they are being very nice people. So he says, what do you have to lose? He refers to him, my father. It's a term of endearment.

And it's the note of submission in it and love, and it's just so, you know. So we've got four witnesses to Naaman's character. We have the king of Syria that's willing to do anything to have him healed, his real-life girl, his wife, and this unidentified servant. Meanwhile, what's Elisha doing? I wonder what he was doing in the house. There's no television. What was he doing?

Anyway, he's probably whittling a cane to hit the guy or something if he comes back. Anyway, going back to this, where am I? Wash and be clean. It was an imperative. That's your order, General.

Wash and be clean. Revelation chapter 1, And from Jesus Christ, a faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth, to him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. So we have to maintain these truths. Otherwise, we're just reading a story. But it's not.

It's more than a story. This is supposed to arm us for the work of the king. Verse 14. I have more verses, but we just got to move forward.

It's too much. So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. So again, the cleanliness is associated with leprosy, removing it, and sin, removing sin, and cleanse, washed by the blood. New skin, new faith, and a new life.

And that's it. Mark's gospel, chapter 18. Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven, and his skin here is made.

It says, flesh of a little child. What if Naaman quit? What if he said, I don't want to hear it? I'm going back to 200 miles. I've come 200 miles round trip for nothing. How many Christians give up over absolutely nothing? And that's what it would have been.

Like, you couldn't dip seven times, and it's disappointing. And I just say that because we're all susceptible to it. Verse 15, and he returned to the men of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him, and he said, indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel, and therefore please take a gift from your servant. Well, he is humbled now. This entourage likely took up the neighborhood. If they came to my neighborhood, they would be standing on my lawn.

I'd be pretty angry. Get off my lawn. All right, back to this. So he stands again before the man of God. This time, he is before Elijah. Now, it's 25 miles. Elijah's in Samaria, which is about 25, 30 miles from the Jordan. So there you go.

There's a 50-mile round trip at least just to the Jordan and back. So he goes out of his way to come back and thank Elijah. He's very grateful.

He's a decent man. It's a profound confession. And within this confession is included the exclusion of fake gods, and he has got to love this because he's probably, you know, you don't get to be a commander, a real commander of an army like this by enjoying lies.

And in a religion, you want your religion to be true. Naaman is cleansed, and he stands in front of the prophet, and he's just grateful in verse 16. And he said, As Yahweh lives before whom I stand, I will receive nothing. And he urged him to take it, but he refused. So the king, of course, he still has much to learn. He's probably heard some things about Yahweh in his country.

The Jews, of course, religion was a conversation. And he's trying to pay the prophet, and Elijah says, No way, I didn't do the healing. I can't take anything for this. This is remarkable because, of course, the king is saying, No, come on, take something. I can't just receive this. I have to give you something in the prophet's adamant.

No way. Verse 17, and this is another feather in Naaman's cap to leave it and not, you know, just try to, well, just leave it on the steps, something petty like that. Verse 17, So Naaman said, Then if not, please let your servant be given two mule loads of earth, for your servant will no longer offer either burnt offerings or sacrifice to other gods, but to Yahweh. This is, again, he said, Okay, you won't take what I'm trying to give.

Then I'm going to try to take something, and would you give it to me? And this request confirms that his heart has changed. Previously, his disparaging remarks about, you know, the dirty Jordan, and now he wants to take a load of soil back to his land. He wants to spread promised land into the unpromised land, sort of like us taking the gospel where it isn't. This is one of the problems of building on another man's foundation.

There's plenty of other places to go. Why would you do that? Why would you open a barber shop next to a barber shop? It'd be kind of, you know, rude and provocative. Anyway, this is powerful to me. I think we all love this. Consider his insight in not wanting to stand on unpromised soil while worshiping Yahweh. I mean, it's just, he's like, Well, you know what? Yahweh is God, and I've got to go back to the pagan land. When I come to God, I'm going to stand on soil that he has blessed. It's crude, but it is honored, and it is honorable, and there's more to the story, verse 18. Yet, he's still speaking to the prophet. Yet in this thing, may Yahweh pardon your servant. When my master goes into the temple of Rimon to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow down in the temple of Rimon, may Yahweh please pardon your servant in this thing.

Well, he's had 25 miles to think this through as he's coming back from the Jordan. So he's thinking about his new life and worshiping it. Oh man, what am I going to do with this? I've got to burn all that.

I've got to get rid of this. This is conversion. As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, how you turn from idols to God, full of grace and truth. Now, I mentioned the scribes earlier, how they probably, when the king said, send a letter to the king to heal name, and they're fine, just send a letter and not give any details. Here, Rimon means in the Hebrew pomegranate, and it is believed that this is a deliberate corruption on the part of the scribes, that the name of the god is Ramon, something similar, and they deliberately change it to pomegranate, because Ramon means thunderer, the god who thunders, and it's their version of Baal. And it's like when they write this story, don't write thunderer, write pomegranate.

And I believe that because there's so many little sarcastic spots. Ezekiel being one of the poster boys for his use of the word idol. Anyway, God is not impractical. This is a profound section, because he's saying, look, I have to go back to my land. It would be worse, it would be a bad thing if I'm fired, and it's just I have to go into the temple with my boss. I don't mean the word, I don't worship his god anymore, but I have to be there.

Can I get a pass on this? And the prophet's going to grant it. We don't have a petty god. Oh, no, no, no, no.

You've got to, I mean, it's what's in the heart, not on the outside. And in his heart was, these gods are fake, and I turn from all of them. But I still have a duty to perform. And I think, imagine if you work in a government building and you have to type up a new disgusting law. Well, you don't believe that, but it's your job to type it. What are you going to do?

Okay, I quit. You know, I don't know that God always requires that of us. We have to be careful how we judge people in difficult situations. We remember Obadiah the servant. He's working with the king and Ahab and Jezebel.

You don't get any worse than that. And yet, he's just a great man of God. He used his position to save lives. Thanks for joining us for today's edition on Cross-Reference Radio. This is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.

We trust that what you've heard today in the book of 2 Kings has been something to remember. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series, go to crossreferenceradio.com. Once more, that's crossreferenceradio.com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too so you'll never miss another edition. Just go to your favorite podcast app to subscribe. Our time is about up, but we hope you'll tune in again next time as we continue on in the book of 2 Kings. We look forward to that time with you, so make a note in your calendar to join Pastor Rick as he teaches from the Bible right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-05 06:17:17 / 2023-07-05 06:27:39 / 10

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