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Far Reaching Ministry (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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July 17, 2023 6:00 am

Far Reaching Ministry (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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July 17, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston

Talk is cheap in the face of temptation. You know, a lot of us don't sin because we don't get the opportunity to. And thus we pray, lead us not into temptation, deliver us from the evil one. Because we are up against strong, wicked forces in the spiritual realm and we have a sinful nature that provides a port of entry for them.

When it comes to sin, the flesh has no customs agents. And so you shall bring it all in. Now here's Pastor Rick in 2 Kings chapter 8 as he continues his message, Far Reaching Ministry. Here's the king sitting at the gate.

They're kind of bored. He says to Gehazi, you used to serve Elijah, tell me a story about him. Because I saw him at work in the desert, but I know there's a lot more.

I mean, look at you. You smote you with name as leprosy. Verse 5, now what happened while he was telling the king how he, that is Elijah, had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, my lord, oh king, this is the woman and this is her son whom Elijah restored to life. This is, talking to Sarah and deputy, this is amazing.

I had a similar thing happen. I went on a hospital visit locally and I'm coming down the steps into the lobby. Our sister's not here tonight. I told her that I'm going to tell this story as many times as I can from the pulpit because it's funny. As I'm walking down the stairs, I see her at a distance in the lobby talking with another lady. And she looks up and she sees me and she goes, oh, speak of the devil. There's no way to address your pastor. Speak of the devil?

What are you doing? So she was telling the lady about the church and her pastor and here I come walking down the stairs. I don't think the lady ever came to the church.

Why should she? Her pastor was called a devil. It's just one of those things. You all probably have such stories of God setting up things that only he could have done as it is here. Gehazi said, let me tell you about the time he raised his boy from the dead because I ran.

I put the staff on him and nothing happened. Elijah gets there. This was a battle. Oh, there she is. That's the woman. It was her son. Now, that was at least seven years, more than seven. The kid is probably 10, 14 years old at this point. And it's happening at the city gate where the kings conducted business.

There were markets there and shops and beggars, a lot of activity here. And so the hand of God has her arrive just at the time Gehazi is telling the story to the king. Gehazi, does he know what he's doing? Does he know that God is using him? I think he's not a stupid man.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the ancients were idiots because they were not. He's got to reason when he sees this woman blessed by the king because of his story. He's got to say, God used me. Verse 6, and when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, restore all that was hers and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now. Well, years ago, her son died.

Of course, the prophet brings him back to life. Little did she realize that one day that bitter experience would save the day for them. She's just being a faithful servant. We have no reason to think that her gracious heart stopped because of hardship. She was no longer great. She became bitter. It's not the impression the scripture leaves us with about her. Gehazi, part of this whole thing, God using that bitter experience to restore to her her lost property with a check.

Well, amazing. She didn't see this coming. She's probably on her way to the king's gate worrying. What's the king going to say? Will I get my land back? What happens if I don't? I don't have a husband anymore.

I'm on my own. How am I going to survive if they don't give me my land back? She doesn't know the outcome. Now, the communists, if they heard her, she got her land back from the government or from whoever, they would protest because all land is the government's land, according to communism.

The individual is secondary to the state. The socialists would insist that she share the proceeds and the land and whatever comes out of it with everybody, no matter how lazy and good for nothing they are. What form of government is best? It certainly isn't communism or socialism. The Bible preaches neither one of those. The kingdom of God is the best.

That's the best. That's why Jesus said, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. Not some regime of man, it's the kingdom of God. And we serve. There's this meta verse that everybody talks about, like the internet world. Well, that's a man-made tower of Babel. For us, we serve a kingdom.

That's another dimension that has something to do with this one. Well, again, verse 5. Well, verse 6 now. We did verse 6, didn't we? Verse 7. So that's that part. But verse 7 says, Then Elijah went down to Damascus, and Benhaddad king of Syria was sick, and it was told him, saying, The man of God has come here. Again, with the then. This time it's the new King James, not other translations too.

And it's misleading because it looks like it's connecting it or following right after it. However, the fact that Elijah is going to Damascus may suggest this is at the beginning or sometime at that famine. She went to the area of the Philistines. Maybe, though we're not told explicitly, maybe the prophet says, Well, I'll go into Damascus. Because, you know, why else is he going outside of the Promised Land?

This Syrian ruler might be the same one that besieged Samaria. And of course, you know, the lepers, they're desperate. Why don't we have the loos?

Let's venture out. I mean, if he kills us, he kills us. Better than dying of starvation. And they get to the camp, and everybody's gone, and they gorge themselves. And you can just see them stuffed, yet still running around with the loot. And then, of course, their conscience comes to life.

That was last session. Anyway, the king, when he heard Elijah had come to Damascus and to Syria, he knew Elijah was a walking army of God. This was, to him, ministry coming his way, verse 8.

And the king said to Hazael, Take a present in your hand, and go to meet the man of God, and inquire of Yahweh by him, saying, Shall I recover from this disease? Now, remember, he's not submitted to God. They believed in the local, you know, our God is the God of Damascus, or Syria, the Jewish God is Yahweh. He excels in this area, but our gods, you know, do well here.

The Greeks took it to another level. You had the God of War, the God of Love, the God of Theater, the overruling God, you know, the Zeus, and then the Romans just absorbed all of that and changed Zeus to Jupiter. So this is nothing new, this misconception about a deity, and we're supposed to help people with the truth from the word when they will allow us. So anyway, it wasn't uncommon for someone to consult a prophet. Balak consulted Balaam, and Naaman, of course, came to Israel to be healed by Elijah. So, Elijah, so none of this is consistent with scripture and human behavior. Elijah's miracles had this effect.

It caused people to take note of who he was and greatly respect him. And so they regarded him, this king, regards him as a true prophet of Yahweh. It does not mean that he regards him as a true prophet of Yahweh, and Baal and all the other gods are false. He believes they're still gods. This was common, and the prophets had to deal with this and with the Jewish people throughout the Bible. They're just constantly trying to get people, God's people, to stop mingling in or leavening the lump. And to this day, you will find Christians trying to justify prohibited practices into Christianity. Horoscopes, I don't, you know, not to, I haven't come across anyone like this in a long time, but years ago I did. There were Christians, I love the Lord, and I can't wait to read my horoscope. Are you crazy?

So anyhow, this is not uncommon. Back to this, the superstitions that the people held was muddled by the people of God. The other people, the other, the foreigners like the Syrian king, it wouldn't have, it probably wouldn't have had this opinion of Yahweh had the Jewish people been faithful.

It would have been a black and white kind of a thing. You either follow Yahweh or you follow false gods. Because the Jewish people were mixing everything up, the unbelievers just had all sort of weird information. It comes out in many stories in the Bible.

Well, it's true today. How many people do you know claim Christ muddled everything up? They're prosperity teachers. Why aren't they giving the winning numbers to Lotto from the pulpit every Sunday? If they, you know, money's so big and God wants everybody rich. They mess it all up and then you come along with the truth and that person you're speaking the truth to has got all these misconceptions in their head. And sometimes they don't want to give up those misconceptions because they don't want to be convicted. Other times it's just too much for them. Look at the Roman Catholic Church.

Look what they've done. People actually call them Christians. They think the Pope's a Christian. Well, I think you've got to follow the Bible to be a Christian.

I don't, you know, you might take me a gas with it. I'm not. I wouldn't even call him Pope.

What's your last name? I'll call you Mr. Because I don't respect that. I do not respect what you have done to Christianity, having people use beads to pray to Mary and stuff like that. That's anathema. And someone needs to call you out on it. If I had said this several hundred years ago in Europe, they'd burn me at the stake. Well, anyway, nowadays they've got to get past my hardware.

I didn't know he was packing. Anyway, that's just a joke. A little bit. It's, Lord, at what point? Okay, never mind.

Coming back to this. This should get your dander up because I don't know if you've ever tried to witness to some people who are determined to be against the Bible because of the Roman Catholic Church. You're trying to preach to Christ to them and they're just your enemy because you believe in the Bible. And yet they insist they're Christians.

I don't go for it. Anyway, verse 9. So Hazael went to meet... Now, let me pause there. Now, that doesn't mean every person that's a Roman Catholic is...

There are Roman Catholics that love the Lord and I think that many of them are going to be in heaven. As for the leaders, I don't know. I want to make that clear. Anyway, so Hazael, verse 9, went to meet him and took a present with him of every good thing of Damascus, 40 camel loads. And he came and stood before him and said, Your son Benhaddad, king of Syria, has sent me to you, saying, Shall I recover from this disease? Well, Nebuchadnezzar does something like this, you know, wants to get all of the magicians and the holy men together to find out what his dream was and this and that.

So again, it's not uncommon. But this, the king said, Send him a gift. He gives him 40 camels. Now, looking at the ancient writings and the reliefs, you know, the brass hammerings of pictures of these things, we find that there are kings giving gifts, loads of gifts. But it's, you know, two guys carrying maybe two clusters of grapes. So this long procession of gifts really don't add up to that much.

I mean, it still has some value to it. Sometimes it's a lot, sometimes it's not. My point is that, you know, they could use 50 people to carry a single gift. It says that the 40 camel loads. Well, they weren't packed to the point where they, you know, man, we've got 40 camels to capacity.

The idea is likely that each camel had a few gifts and they had this long procession because they were, the kings, the oriental kings were flamboyant that way in showing that, hey, I'm giving a gift. I have all this wealth. You know, it used to be, I don't know if it is still in this country.

It hasn't been in one in a while. Banks had a policy of always having expensive furniture and well-to-do lobby to give you the appearance that they were, you know, very wealthy. And if they were wealthy, then you could be wealthy by investing with them.

When I was a kid, all the banks had marble and everything was like, boy, this is a nice place, I could hang out here. So I think some of that showmanship is going on here. I do not think they sent Elijah 40 camel loads, fully loaded camels. It would be like a pickup truck with a few boxes in each one.

Anyway, where am I? Now, if you insist that, no, there were 40 camel loads, you would just have some explaining to do. Coming back to verse 9, and he came and stood before him and said, your son Benhadad, king of Syria, has sent me to you saying, shall I recover from this disease? Well, Benhadad showed off this deference. Your son, you know, they respected some of the people, respected the religious people. We're not told whether Elijah received the gift. He likely did, because it's coming from a king. And to say, I don't want your gifts in front of public after you parade these camels through town, probably just would not have been the better thing to do. Remember Jacob?

Jacob sent those in procession, his gifts to his brother to appease him. Hopefully he wouldn't get killed by Esau. Well, there's some of that without the intensity happening here.

So it's not far-fetched. Anyway, verse 10, and Elijah said to him, go, say to him, you shall certainly recover. However, Yahweh has shown me that he will really die.

Oh, great a paradox. Yes and no. Elijah, will I recover from this sickness?

Yes and no. Verse 11, then he set his countenance in a stare until he was ashamed, and the man of God wept. The man that's ashamed here is the messenger, Hazael, the servant of the king. So Elijah tells him the message to take back.

Tell him he's going to survive, but he's not going to live. And he just stares at this guy. And the guy is like, stop it. Stop staring at me. What an awkward thing.

Try that in the lobby after. Just stare at the other person. And so that's what's happening here. Elijah's not ashamed. Elijah breaks down and starts weeping.

That is pretty interesting. Christ wept over Jerusalem because he wanted to reach Jerusalem. The prophet is, he's saying, you know, we don't know which Ben had added. There's probably a title for the king, like Pharaoh, like Caesar. Which, you know, the chronology is all over the place in kings.

A little detective work going on there. But anyway, evidently the prophet cared. And he's looking at an assassin who is pretending to be the assistant to the king in the time of his sickness. He saw, the prophet saw, a cold-blooded killer in front of him. Verse 12. And Hazael said, why is my Lord weeping? He answered, because I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel.

They're strongholds. You set on fire. You will set on fire. They're young men you will kill with the sword. And you will dash their children and rip open their women with child. So the prophet breaks down weeping, really not so much for the king, Ben had added. Though that may have been some, it was this disappointment that, well, we know what we've got with Ben had added. But when you come to power, we also know what we're going to get.

And that is this monster. And Hazael will do these things that the prophet is talking about. And you have to say, well, why would God tell the prophet this and allow it? Because the people were so idolatrous and in apostasy, besmirking the name of Yahweh. Just messing up everything with their brand of homemade religion. It was judgment on them. God is saying, I warned you that if you fell away from me, that the enemy would come in and just do what enemies do to people. And this is it.

He itemizes it. This is how warfare was conducted. Nowadays we'd be saying they're going to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles on you and wipe out whole villages. And then you'll have famine and you'll have disease and you'll have, you know, this is what the prophet is saying. So again, this gift of knowledge and prophecy, he knows things that only God could tell him. And in addition, he's telling future events that are going to take place. Truly there is an assassin right there in front of him who is going to deny it. Verse 13, so Hazael said, but what is your servant, a dog? That he should do this gross thing? And Elijah answered, Yahweh has shown me that you will become king over Israel.

Yeah, by killing his king. That's clearly the implication. So when Hazael says, but what is your servant, a dog, that he should do this gross thing? The prophet is saying, yes you are.

You know, I didn't call you a dog, you called yourself a dog. You admit that this is inhuman. Now that word gross in the New King James is again misleading.

You know, we don't try to pick on the translators. The Old Testament is difficult for them. But anyway, it's closer to this exceptional thing because gross is sort of our vernacular.

You know, if you dye mashed potatoes blue and serve it to somebody, they're going to say gross, I'm not eating that. But that's not what is being said here in the Hebrew. It is, he is saying that I should do such an exceptional evil?

That is, gross is not inaccurate, but just kind of clarified I think. Anyway, when the opportunity to take the throne of Syria arises, he will become this dog that he refers to here. He will have motive and he will have opportunity and that creates the crime. And Elijah answered, Yahweh has shown me that you will become king over Syria. So Elijah sticks to what God has told him. He says, I don't care if you disagree with me, God has shown me.

I'm not debating it with you, I've announced it. Too bad, we need to have more Christian youth that go off to our universities to have this response. When they're faced with these atheists and anti-Christ, they need to stand up. Yeah, well God has shown me. And look, I signed on for biology, I didn't ask for you to give me a religious dissertation on anything.

Stick to biology, tell me about cells. For I call my pastor who's got that hardware. Anyway, wouldn't that be funny?

He could make cartoons out of this. Anyhow, back to this. So this man, either he couldn't see his own evil heart or he was unwilling to look. But even though he's lying or ignorant, it's going to happen. Point, talk is cheap in the face of temptation. You know a lot of us don't sin because we don't get the opportunity to. And thus we pray, lead us not into temptation, deliver us from the evil one. Because we are up against strong, wicked forces in the spiritual realm and we have a sinful nature that provides a port of entry for them.

When it comes to sin, the flesh has no customs agents. I says, you're bringing it all in. Coming back to this, verse 14. Then he departed from Elisha and came to his master who said to him, what else did Elisha say to you? And he answered, he told me, you would surely recover. Well, that's not only a half truth, it's a lie.

He doesn't get a chance to recover. Haziel tells his king on behalf of the prophet what was said. He has had a hundred miles to think about this.

That's how far from Samaria to Damascus they're about, give or take. So verse 15. But it happened on the next day that he took a thick cloth and dipped it in water and spread it over his face so that he died and Haziel reigned in his place. Well, he got to thinking about that. You may have evil people in your life. So did the ancients.

Never been a shortage of them. Satan has never said, where are we going to find somebody wicked? He's like, can you go to the shelf and bring one over here?

Maybe the Lord won't block me from using this evil person. Anyway, Ben-Hadad on his deathbed, well, it became a deathbed, probably too weak from the illness to resist and he suffocates under the cloth. This would, you know, he couldn't get, you know, crime investigators there, forensics, to say, hey, this is foul play. He was alive and this is what happened. Everybody just felt that he just breathed his last and now the obvious choice for his successor would be Haziel. When Haziel becomes king, he does a lot to make Damascus a beautiful city. And the people loved him. They worshiped him pretty much for over 800 into the days of the apostles. They still held Haziel in high esteem. Did they find out that he murdered or was it just Elijah's word against his?

I don't know, but I know that he may have gotten away with it with men, but not with God. 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 / 2023-07-17 06:09:01 / 2023-07-17 06:18:55 / 10

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