Wednesday, October 26, 2022

2022.10.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 5:15–27

Read 2 Kings 5:15–27

Questions from the Scripture text: Where does Naaman go in 2 Kings 5:15? With whom? Who stand before Elisha? What does Naaman say that he knows? What does he ask Elisha to do? How does Elisha begin his response in 2 Kings 5:16? What does he say that he does in front of Yahweh? What will he receive/accept? How does Naaman respond? How does Elisha keep responding? For what does Naaman then ask in 2 Kings 5:17? What will he no longer do? To Whom alone will he sacrifice? What does he ask for from Yahweh (2 Kings 5:18)? For what does he want pardon—where will he still go? Why, to do what? How does Elisha answer in 2 Kings 5:19? Who speaks to himself in 2 Kings 5:20? To Whom does he swear? What does he plan to do? What does Gehazi do in 2 Kings 5:21? Who sees him? How does Naaman respond? What does he ask? How does Gehazi answer in 2 Kings 5:22? What story does he spin? What does he ask for under the guise of this story? What does Naaman offer instead (2 Kings 5:23)? Who helps him give the gift? To where does Gehazi arrive in 2 Kings 5:24? What does he do there with the silver and the garments? What does he do with the servants? Where does Gehazi go in 2 Kings 5:25? What does Elisha ask him (2 Kings 5:26)? How does Gehazi answer? What does Elisha say went with Gehazi? What does Elisha ask Gehazi about timing? What does Elisha say will cling to whom in 2 Kings 5:27? Where does Gehazi now go? In what condition?

Where is God? 2 Kings 5:15–27 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these thirteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the true God is everywhere and sees everything, so we must aim at pleasing Him in all of our actions in every place.

Only one God in all the earth. Naaman’s Damascus-pride (2 Kings 5:12) (and Rimmon-pride, 2 Kings 5:18) has now been humbled. Now, he recognizes that Israel is the only land that has an actual God (2 Kings 5:15). Naaman wants to give something to the prophet who was this God’s mouth to him, but Elisha acknowledges himself to be a mere “standing servant” (2 Kings 5:16) just as Naaman himself is in Syria (cf. 2 Kings 5:18). Unable to recognize Yahweh as God by gift, Naaman wants to recognize Yahweh by taking a piece of Yahweh’s land with him.

A gracious God, with gracious servants. Naaman’s theology leaves much to be desired. He doesn’t seem to understand that Yahweh is God in and over Syria (cf. the error in 1 Kings 20:23). He seems to think that he needs some Yahweh-dirt in order to offer Yahweh-sacrifice (2 Kings 5:17). And though he understands that enabling his master’s idolatry requires pardon, he already plans on doing so anyway (2 Kings 5:18).

But notice the difference between Elisha’s response to Naaman’s weakness (2 Kings 5:19) and to Gehazi’s (2 Kings 5:27). Naaman is wrong about himself, but he isn’t wrong to think that Yahweh is a merciful, gracious, and longsuffering God (cf. God’s own self-description in Exodus 34:6). The spiritual work done in him is not nothing, and the Lord has regard for the work of His hands. We ought to have the same hope for mercy that Naaman had, and with those who are new to faith we ought to show the same patience as Elisha.

The God Who sees us always, everywhere. For his part, Naaman at least knows that even back in Syria Yahweh will be seeing him and responding to him. Gehazi? He’s swearing by Yahweh’s Name (2 Kings 5:20), but still thinking he can pull the wool over Yahweh’s eyes—hiding the goods (2 Kings 5:24) and lying about the trip (2 Kings 5:25). As Yahweh’s servant, Elisha’s heart had gone with him (2 Kings 5:26). But even if Elisha had missed it, shouldn’t Gehazi have cared more about what Yahweh saw?

Yahweh sees the heart, and Elisha highlights this by naming all the things that Gehazi’s heart craved to buy with that silver. At the end, we have two flawed believers: Naaman and Gehazi. The way Elisha states the curse in 2 Kings 5:27 demands that we note the comparison/contrast. Gehazi has been given more, but is bearing less fruit. Of him to whom much is given, much is required. If you’re reading and using this devotional, it’s likely that much has been given to you. Don’t seek comfort in sin by looking away from God; rather, seek to resist your remaining sin by looking to the God Who sees you and helps you.

In what situations are you tempted to forget that the Lord sees you? For you personally, what does your heart desire that is in competition with desiring to please the Lord? With whom, specifically, do you need to be more understanding? From whom, specifically, should you have higher expectations?

Sample prayer: Lord, You see us and You know us. We thank You for Your longsuffering and mercy with us, but of us to whom so much has been given, certainly much is required. Forgive us for enabling the idolatry of others like Naaman did with his master. Forgive us for desiring riches more than desiring to please You. Forgive us for watching out for what men see, and disregarding the fact that You see us. As You did with Elisha, conform us to Your own character we pray, in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH273 “Break, Thou the Bread of Life”

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