Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - July 25, 2017

Today's Reading:

1 Corinthians 11:17-34

2 Kings 5

Obadiah 1

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading  

In 2 Kings 5, we find the tragic story of Gehazi.

Gehazi was Elisha's trusted servant as we read in various places in 2 Kings (2 Kings 4:31 ; 5:25 ; 2 Kings 8:4 2 Kings 8:5). Gehazi was with prophet Elisha through the Shunammite experience (2 Kings 4:14 2 Kings 4:31). Gehazi
had been a first-hand witness that a double-portion of Yahweh's Spirit was upon prophet Elisha. The sick were made whole before his eyes, armies were defeated when they tried to arrest his godly master, and even the dead were brought to life again! 

But none of it did Gehazi any personal good. For when Naaman the Syrian came for healing and was healed by dipping seven times in the Jordan River, Gehazi's greed overtook even basic common sense! The man was being an absolute fool in trying to deceive a true prophet of Yahweh! 

When Naaman gratefully tried to pay prophet Elisha for healing his leprousy, Elisha refused to accept the payment. He simply explained that Yahweh, God of Israel, had healed Naaman - and God alone should get the glory and the gratitude.

As Naaman was leaving, Gehazi found an opportunity to sneak out and chase after him. When Naaman stopped to see what he needed, Gehazi lied and said that Elisha had sent him to take a few things for some guests who just arrived. Naaman in gladness and innocence gave all that Gehazi requested.

But it was all a terrible lie! Gehazi's greed had caused the glory of Yahweh to be eclipsed a bit in Naaman's eyes, and in Syria. This was a crime which caused Elisha to confront him as soon as he returned to the prophet's house.

"Where were you, Gehazi?" the prophet asks.

"No where," is Gehazi's astounding reply.

Really? It is no surprise that Gehazi is unable to pull one over on the prophet Elisha! This man has the Spirit of Yahweh with him - big time! The surprise is the Gehazi is foolish enough to even attempt it!

But Gehazi had now tainted some of what God had done to draw the Syrians to Him. The cost to the mission was serious, effecting generations of individuals. And Gehazi's punishment was also serious. Elisha denounced Gehazi's crime with righteous severity. Then he judged the greedy servant, by passing on him the leprosy of Naaman. From that day forward, Elisha said that leprosy would cleave to Gehazi and his seed for ever (5:20-27). 

How can a man, who was a first-hand witness to so many mighty miracles, finish in such a manner? It is tragic, almost beyond belief.
But, sadly, Gehazi was like so many Christians today. He was around the people of God, witness to the power and works of God, and a was even a participant in the worship of God. But Gehazi was just going through all the right motions. Nothing, which he saw or experienced, changed his heart!

I love the story of Corrie ten Boom and her wonderful father, Casper. When the Nazi's took over Corrie's native Holland, a few righteous resistors arose. Corrie and her family were among these. They helped hide Jewish people, protecting them even in their own home, and aiding them in escaping to safer ground. 

One refugee who was brought to them for sanctuary was a precious Jewish baby. Corrie's home had little to offer an infant. Thus, when her Christian pastor (who had children) stopped by for a visit, she brazenly asked him to help her by taking the child. Normally, Corrie wouldn't risk revealing to an "outsider" that she had anyone Jewish in her care. But she was so confident that her pastor of many years was true Christian that she was certain he would help. The man did not!

After the cowardly pastor left, Corrie expressed her shock to her father. How could a Christian turn away anyone in need - especially a helpless baby? 

Casper's response was wise and unforgettable. He said, "just because a mouse is in the cookie jar doesn't necessarily make him a cookie!"

How true! And just because we go to church on the right day and go through all the right motions doesn't necessarily make us true followers of Christ. Let's heed the warning in the story of Gehazi. Let's seek the love of God to reach our hearts. May we be cookies - not mice!