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The Defective General (Part C)

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

The Defective General (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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July 6, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

This life is not where the wealth is. God will reward us if we hold. That's what he's telling him and he did not hold fast.

It'd be worth it if you just hold on. 2 Chronicles 15 verse 7. But you, but you be strong and do not let your hands be weak for your work shall be rewarded. I remember God bringing that verse up to me when I was just like, oh man, this is just so much worse.

So little reward and God gently bringing that verse to mind. This is Cross Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of 2 Kings. Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio.

Specifically, how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Now, here's Pastor Rick as he concludes his message called The Defective General in 2 Kings chapter 5. 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 and the prophet is 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 barbershop next to a barbershop? 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 worshipping 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. Well, 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 Rehman to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow down in the temple of Rehman. When I bow down in the temple of Rehman, 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 worshipping it. Oh man, what am I going to do with this? I've got to burn all that.

I've got to 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, Rehman 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 Raman, something similar, and they deliberately change it to pomegranate. And because Raman 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. You know, 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 got to, I mean, 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 we have, 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 Ahab and Jezebel.

You don't get any worse than that. And yet, he's this great man of God. He used his position to save lives. So, I love this story, this story of grace. And when we get to Gehazi, almost all the commentators pile up on Gehazi. I think he was wrong, it was very bad what he did, but I have learned not to shoot the wounded so quickly. Sometimes, sometimes you have to because they're shooting back, but it just wears to grace. And so, when we get to Gehazi sometime this evening, I hope it's a gracious but not a compromised grace as we discuss his sin.

There's three of them. He violates three commandments of the ten in one single swoop. Anyway, then he said, Elijah is speaking now, he says, Shalom, that idiomatic phrase, go in peace.

So, he departed from him a short distance. He does not make an attempt to have him circumcised, to lay down for him the dietary code, to convert him to Mosaic law, remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy. He doesn't do any of this. He was cleansed and he was given grace and he's sent home. He knows who God is. And it was such a wise prophet because how do you undo all of the misconceptions on your doorstep? Our God is not a petty God. That does not give us license to do wrong, but there is a reality that we are forced to face.

Life is defective and God knows it. Verse 20, but Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the man of God said, he catches up to him, look, my master has, did I miss a verse? Because I can do that just to keep you on your guard. Okay, back to verse 19 before we redo 20. Then he said, go in peace, so he departed from him a short distance, verse 20, but Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the man of God said, look, my master has spared Naaman the Syrian while not receiving from his hand what he brought, but as Yahweh lives, I will run after him and take something from him. So this is the rationale of Gehazi. So looking at verse 20, but Gehazi is ominous, is it not? But Gehazi, the music goes there.

Jesus said, take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses. Well, Gehazi didn't get that. The three commandments he breaks, first he's going to take the Lord's name in vain, as when he says, as the Lord lives, but as the Lord lives, I will run after him. Well, why is he mentioning the covenant name for that? Now he's got to tell this story and I think that's part of his confession in the end. But anyway, coming back to this, he takes the Lord's name in vain, this covetousness, he's desiring something that does not belong to him and he's trying to lay his hands on it, and then there's the false witness, my master said, and it's not happening.

And so he's lying. The servant of Elijah, the man of God, he's dragging down the prophet into the story, that makes this a high profile case, because now Elijah is attached to this lie. And if he doesn't get himself separated from it, then he goes down with it, and then the whole thing about sending the wealth to buy the prophet's spiritual powers would be true in the eyes of the unbelievers. So Elijah's going to come down heavy on this sin, because it is such a high profile sin. He said, look, my master has spared Naaman here in verse 20. This Syrian, how he's justifying it, while not receiving from his hand what he brought. And so he says, the pastor made a mistake. He had a chance to go ahead and get that building up, and he didn't take the money, or something like that. He knew he was wrong, because when we get to verse 24, he's going to sneak in and hide the stuff, so he knows he's trying to fly beneath the radar.

And I go back to, at some point in the future, he tells the story with a spirit of regret. I don't believe that these things are magically done. I think that there's a human element to it, because that's how God works. In spite of the miracles that are done, they're specified when they are imparted, or that there's divine activity. He says, but as Yahweh lives, I will run after him and take something.

So there's the vanity. He's telling you, and I told you, he's covering it with religion. Coupled with his actions in chapter 8, when he's applauding the prophet, telling about his miracles, which ends up blessing the widow, who we believe she was a widow by that time. I just don't see this Gehazi as some of these other characters in scripture, like Saul and Amnon, and just other ones that are monsters.

Nabal, Gehazi goofed big, but I don't think that's the whole story, and he paid for it. So close, and yet so far away. My master as Yahweh lives, if he had only lived by that. And so while the prophet, Elisha, met Naaman's needs, he did not meet Gehazi's greed. You know, it's not really greed, you know, in the sense that greed wants too much. He doesn't want too much, he just takes a lot. So I don't know if that's still greed, you know, it depends on the definition you want to stick by. But, I mean, there were, he takes only 20% of the garments in the silver, and doesn't touch the gold.

So, you know, that's admirable. It's a thief that is just, I'm going to leave some for the guy. Alright, so the deception, that's the big false witness here. Why do people lie? Well, because they want something. Whether it is to be perceived as, you know, some hero or something, people lie for a lot of reasons. They always want something when they lie.

And some liars are very good, and it helps to be able to detect who they are. Having seen so many miracles, you would expect more from Gehazi. Verse 21, So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw him running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and said, Is all well? And so Gehazi pursued Naaman. He's going after this. Galatians, I want to, I have a file of sermons that I want to do.

Maybe when I get to heaven I'll get to do them. You know, the runners of the Bible. And here's one of them. This is not a good one.

Some of them are good, this one's not. David ran to engage Goliath. He couldn't wait to kill that giant. But here, Naaman is running to get the loot. He couldn't wait to get the money. Galatians 5, 7, we have some other runners.

You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? Well, this applies to Gehazi. It applies to so many Christians and churches that start off in the Spirit, trusting God, and then the next thing you know, who needs God, we have this great plan. They won't tell you that, but they're doing that. That's a scary thing.

I try so hard not to do these kind of things. Anyway, 1 Peter. As free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Well, Gehazi didn't, he lost sight of that. Because he was free. But he used his freedom as a cloak to do wrong. He was supposed to be a bond, a willing servant. Bondservant versus servant, the difference is the bondservant is willing. And in the New Testament, the word is slave, but the New Testament writers are connecting it to the Old Testament bondslave, the slave that is willing versus a slave that is looking to escape. Verse 22, And he said, All is well. My master has sent me, saying, Now that's a lie. Indeed, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the mountains of Ephraim.

Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of garments. Well, there's poison in the pot and the intentions of this man. He deceives in the name of Elijah's ministry. He's bringing down the whole ministry potentially. But at the same time, he's trying to shield Elijah. He's trying to say, Well, Elijah, you know, he's a good guy. He wants to help these other guys.

Why don't you give me those garments back and some of the silver and we can help. So he's using religion to do it. He's just making a mess. He's wrong through and through. But he is making it look like the prophet is considerate of other religious men.

It's all a lie. Verse 23. Well, Elijah is considerate when he needs to be because otherwise he wouldn't have healed Naaman. Verse 23, So Naaman said, Please take two talents. And he urged him and bound the two talents of silver in two bags with two changes of garments and handed them to two of his servants and they carried them on ahead of them. So the two to two to two keeps coming up because he's getting twice as much than what he asked for. And it's a little haggling.

He has to urge him. Take two. No, I can't take two. No, take two. No, come on. Take two.

Okay, I'll take two. It's like, come on. Who are you kidding, man? Well, he's kidding Naaman.

That's who. So he gets 20%. Going by verse five, we're told what Naaman brings. He gets 20% of the silver, 20% of the garments, but he leaves the gold alone. He takes the loot. It's more than he could carry. So Naaman says, Take two of my servants to do the heavy. You take the garments and they'll take the silver. Gehazi is saying to himself, Jackpot, jackpot. Man, jackpot.

I'll be at the beach in the Mediterranean by Tuesday. Anyway, so I think it's not so much greed in that sense, in the strict sense of I want more than my share, but then it is more than his share. So you can figure that out for yourselves. I'm not going to read the differences in the two verses.

I think it's already been established. Verse 24, When he came to the citadel, he took them in his hand and stored them away in the house. Then he let the two men go and they departed. So the citadel, Samaria was a natural fortification.

This is why Omri left Terza as the capital and came to Samaria because the landscape made it difficult to attack. And so this is probably a high ground there. Anyway, verse 25, And he went in and stood before his master Elijah and said to him, Elijah said to him, Where did you go Gehazi? And he said, Your servant did not go anywhere. So he's lying again. He's lying to the prophet in the prophet's house. Back to work. He's got this tingling feeling inside that, Man, when I get off, I'm going to buy everything on eBay. Or whatever.

You get it in like two days. So Elijah said to him, Where did you go Gehazi? What if Gehazi said, Okay, you got me. I did it.

I'm sorry. I lied about you. I took the... What if he did that? He wouldn't be a leper. But he doesn't. He said, Your servant did not go anywhere.

Well, he said it like this, Why do you ask? Your servant didn't go anywhere. Balaam, Achan, Gehazi, Ananias, they coveted all four for financial gain. All four stole from God.

All four were confronted, given that opportunity. In Balaam's case, it was a donkey that spoke to him, trying to just like, What are you doing? Come on, you're hitting me. Just stop it. You would think the prophet would say, I'm going back home.

I'm just going to lie down. Donkeys talking to peoples. That's got to be divine. But he doesn't do that.

He's just so blinded by greed. That just, that's such an enigma. Anyway, and all four were exposed and judged by God.

Balaam, Achan, Gehazi and Ananias. Verse 26, Then he said to him, Did not my heart go with the man when he turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? Well, this means that God gave the knowledge to Elijah. God told him what had taken place. Well, it wasn't the two servants that came and said, Hey, we just took the whole over for Gehazi.

They beat it back to Naaman. There is, in the original Hebrew, there is no with you. There is did not my heart go when the man of God turned. And I think that is, there's a pain in that. There's a great hurt. Elijah is not happy about this. He's broken hearted. He's going to execute judgment. It's like, Son, this is going to hurt you. My mother is going to hurt me.

Kind of a thing, which is always debatable, right? All right. Anyway, my dad spanked me once and I said to myself, I'm not going to give him another chance to do that. I got to work on not getting caught. And I was, I mastered it. Anyhow, my brother just never figured it out. Just never figured it out. He's older than me.

He deserves it. Anyway, back to this. To receive money, to receive clothing, olive groves, vine yards, says some British might say it.

Sheep, oxen, male, female servants. The good life. Is it time for the good life? Is it time for us to enrich ourselves?

This life is not where the wealth is. God will reward us if we hold. That's what he's telling him. And he did not hold fast.

It'd be worth it if you just hold on. 2 Chronicles 15, verse 7. But you, but you be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded. I remember God bringing that verse up to me when I was just like, oh man, this is just so much work, so little reward. And God gently bringing that verse to mind. Then there's 1 Corinthians 5. Paul, talking about salvation, he says, if you hold fast that word which I preach to you, unless you believe for nothing.

If you hold it. So much for, you know, Calvinistic theology, which is just a big disappointment. Anyhow, we come back to the, oh and so later, are we out of time? Where are we?

We got a little time. Later in chapter 8, Ben-Hadad the king is going to bring a lot of gifts to the prophet Elisha. It doesn't say he takes them home, but he probably did. We'll get that in chapter 8.

It's just so many intense stories surrounding this man's ministry to come. He's going to stare at the guy and start, burst out crying, staring at him because he knows he's a killer, a murderer. I'm not, I'm not, I would never do such, and he goes back and does it. Human people are messed up.

Man, they're defective. Anyway, verse 27. Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever. And he went from his presence leprous as white as snow. Non-lethal judgment. He got off, he got off better than Ananias. So this is intergenerational consequence. Now it doesn't tell us he went and had children.

In fact, it may have been a deterrent. We have no indication that he is a family man. He's serving the prophet. And it seems like those men were not always, some of the prophets were married. We know that they can do that.

It was Elisha who helped one of the wives. But as we read this, he may have said, this is a, I'm struck, smitten with this, and who's going to like me anyway after this to show up at the party. Hi, what is that? That's leprosy? You know, what's your phone number?

Give them the number to dial a joke or something. I don't know. Anyway, this is not, I think that is the strength of what is going on here. This, again, these generational curses that some people try to hide behind is not biblical, this misunderstanding of the context of scripture. If it were such a thing, then we would all be cursed forever because we all mess up.

And how does that work? Who gets filtered out from the curse? Anyway, and he went out from his presence, lepers as white as snow. So Elijah now separates his ministry from the wrongdoing of Gehazi. Gehazi comes back in chapter 8, when the leprosy of Naaman, as we mentioned, was just that part of his body.

Maybe it is similar, or maybe he just got the fuller dose. But I close with this verse. 2 Corinthians 6, verse 3.

This was Paul's concern, and it was Elisha's concern. We give no offense in anything that our ministry may not be blamed. When you find people blaming a ministry, the New Testament tells us, back it up with truth. Don't accept an accusation against a pastor on the strength of one witness. And just, every story's got two sides.

Sometimes they're both foul, sometimes it's just one that's all messed up. Sometimes it's just like that. 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 Once more, that's 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 / 2023-07-06 07:29:28 / 2023-07-06 07:40:04 / 11

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