Series Code: TWH
Program Code: TWH180901A
00:32 Our scripture
00:35 that I have chosen to be read at this time
00:40 is found in the Book of Ecclesiastes.
00:47 That's right after Proverbs,
00:51 written by the wisest foolish man that ever lived.
00:59 And it's Ecclesiastes 12, that's the last chapter,
01:03 and it's the conclusion of the whole matter,
01:06 the last couple of verses.
01:10 I'll give you a moment there to find
01:13 that particular text in your Bible.
01:17 Ecclesiastes 12:
01:20 13, 14.
01:24 "Now let us hear
01:26 the conclusion of the whole matter:
01:31 Fear God and keep His commandments,
01:36 For this is man's all."
01:39 I think King James has it, the whole duty of man,
01:44 something like that.
01:46 "For God will bring every work into judgment,
01:51 including every secret thing,
01:53 whether good or evil."
01:58 At the conclusion of our study this morning,
02:01 we are gonna come right back to this text again.
02:05 So you want to just kind of keep that in mind
02:10 and see how
02:11 our study
02:14 ends up at its starting point.
02:18 Excuse me, just a second.
02:26 I spoke here last
02:29 on the first Sabbath of March.
02:33 It's five months ago.
02:36 It's the first Sabbath of September today.
02:40 And I know all of you remember
02:47 what I spoke upon in all the detail points
02:51 of my sermon, right?
02:55 Well, you know, I would expect
02:59 you would forget some other people's preaching
03:01 but I just can't hardly fathom and imagine
03:04 that you would forget mine.
03:07 But in case your memory is like mine,
03:09 really good but really short,
03:12 I brought my first sermon here with you,
03:14 this is going to be part two today.
03:16 So I'll have to preach the first one an hour
03:20 and then we'll go into the sec...
03:23 No, I won't do that.
03:25 But I do want to quickly review with you.
03:30 I entitled it
03:33 a story to ponder
03:36 or a story worth pondering.
03:39 And the story is found in the Book of 2 Kings.
03:45 If you want to turn there,
03:47 2 Kings chapter 5,
03:53 and chapter 5 records the story
03:57 of the healing of captain Naaman,
04:03 of the Syrian army.
04:08 And, of course, the story
04:11 wouldn't be completed without also the little maid,
04:16 the unnamed servant girl
04:20 to the wife of captain Naaman.
04:26 She is prominent in the story.
04:31 Let's bow our heads for prayer.
04:32 Father in heaven,
04:35 it's such a privilege to be able to open Your Word,
04:41 and spend some time in it.
04:45 It's the living Word.
04:48 It's the Word that you spoke and worlds came into existence,
04:53 and you spoke in it steadfast,
04:57 and so now we ask you that you'll speak again
05:00 today here in our presence,
05:04 in Jesus' name we make this request, amen.
05:09 So we learned last time that captain Naaman
05:15 was a pretty prominent man.
05:18 In fact, he was a national hero
05:22 in Syria,
05:24 capital of Syria, of course, being Damascus.
05:28 He was popular with the people,
05:31 a national hero.
05:33 He was revered by the soldiers who served under him.
05:39 He was trusted by the king.
05:42 And the text says he was blessed by God,
05:47 not some foreign God, but blessed by the God.
05:53 Prominent man, famous man, capable man,
05:57 well recognized man.
06:00 The trouble is all of that famousness
06:04 and ability and greatness
06:08 counted for nothing
06:10 because the Bible records
06:13 he was a leper.
06:16 That's what we discovered in part one of the story.
06:22 And we had to bring that truth home.
06:25 You see we can think we are a pretty big stuff,
06:29 good looking,
06:38 all of the things
06:40 that you might want to describe, athletic,
06:43 but all that counts for nothing in heaven's eyes,
06:47 because guess what?
06:50 We are lepers too.
06:52 Our leprosy is called sin.
06:55 And sin is a contagious disease
07:01 like leprosy.
07:02 It's one that heaven doesn't want in its midst.
07:07 That's why we are quarantined, we are in a penitentiary.
07:11 We are doing time because we are sinners,
07:15 we are quarantined.
07:17 And so we need healing
07:19 like Captain Naaman needed healing.
07:23 And we can't do it ourselves.
07:24 We took a little time to compare how sin and leprosy,
07:29 the similarities between the two diseases,
07:33 sin and leprosy,
07:34 both were defiling, both disfiguring,
07:38 both deadening, both disassociating,
07:42 you just lost all contact with society,
07:45 we've lost all ability to directly communicate
07:49 and be with the rest of God's universe
07:53 because of sin, because of leprosy,
07:56 and leprosy was deadly, comparisons.
08:01 Then we focused on the story of little maid
08:06 and we grappled with
08:10 the concept of God's providential leading.
08:15 That's a difficult thing
08:19 to try to understand at times,
08:22 maybe most of the time.
08:25 He does things, orchestrates things,
08:27 allows things, and it seems baffling to us.
08:31 How could this little Hebrew girl
08:35 torn from her family, like it must have been,
08:40 be in God's providence
08:42 or how could he allow her or why did he allow her
08:46 or did he allow her
08:48 and we grappled a little bit with that.
08:51 And I guess I don't know how well I did
08:56 with that whole scenario
08:58 but what I've concluded
09:02 is that the providence of God is a mystery
09:06 that we cannot always explain,
09:09 and many times we can't, it makes no sense to us.
09:12 But yet I firmly believe
09:15 that when the veil is drawn back,
09:18 and we can see as God sees,
09:22 we would say I want it no other way.
09:25 As hard as it might be, as bitter as the pill might be,
09:29 it's difficult
09:30 or just can't understand the situation.
09:37 When we see it through God's eyes,
09:40 we'll say it is well, I won't want it any other way.
09:46 We also considered a bit
09:51 the lack of faith
09:55 of the king of Israel.
09:58 I mean you would think God's people,
10:01 who have His Word and His prophets,
10:04 in all the histories of his leading,
10:07 they would be the ones that had the most faith.
10:11 But as soon as Captain Naaman shows up at the king's door
10:16 with a letter from the king of Syria, what does he do?
10:19 He wrenched his clothes.
10:22 Who can heal a leprosy?
10:23 He expects,
10:25 no, he is not really wanting to be healed from,
10:27 he just wants to pick a fight.
10:29 And so we spent a little time
10:31 considering that dynamic.
10:36 Then we looked at the actual meeting
10:39 of Elisha and Naaman.
10:44 Naaman was a bit offended by that meeting
10:49 because you see Elisha didn't even come to the door.
10:53 Instead, he sent one of his servants
10:56 to meet Captain Naaman.
11:00 And said, "Go, wash in the River Jordan,
11:04 seven times, you'll be healed."
11:08 The proud Captain Naaman
11:10 needed his pride humbled a bit.
11:15 And so what did he do?
11:16 He turned on his heels
11:18 with his big motorcade of soldiers
11:21 and servants and steeds and chariots
11:25 and away they started to leave.
11:31 Once again, a servant comes to the rescue.
11:36 And one of his soldiers,
11:38 one of his servants addressed him,
11:40 "My father, my father," and reasons with him.
11:45 And humbles his pride
11:48 and he went to the River Jordan
11:51 and he dipped seven times, as the prophet said,
11:56 and he was healed.
11:58 That's where we left the story the last time that I spoke.
12:03 And so we want to carry it on from there.
12:08 If you want to turn to 2 Kings chapter 5...
12:15 and we'll read it in verse 14, we'll pick up there.
12:19 I am gonna read the whole presentation,
12:22 thank you,
12:24 read the whole, rest of the story
12:26 and then we'll work back
12:28 from that point of dipping in the River Jordan.
12:40 All right.
12:42 Verse 14,
12:44 "So he went down and dipped seven times
12:46 in the Jordan, according to the saying
12:48 of the man of God,
12:51 and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a child,
12:55 and he was clean.
12:59 And he returned to the man of God,
13:02 he and all his aides,
13:04 and came and stood before him, and said,
13:08 'Indeed, now I know that there is no God
13:12 in all of the earth, except in Israel,
13:17 now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.'
13:22 And he," that is Elisha, "said, 'As the Lord lives,
13:27 before whom I stand, I will receive nothing.'
13:32 And he urged him to take it, but he refused.
13:37 So Naaman said,
13:38 'Then, if not, please let your servant
13:42 be given two mule-loads of earth,
13:47 for your servant will no longer offer
13:49 either burnt offering or sacrifices to other gods,
13:54 but to the Lord."
13:56 Verse 18,
13:57 "Yet in this thing may the Lord pardon your servant,
14:02 when my master goes into the temple of Rimmon,"
14:06 that's the temple
14:08 where the idol Ba'al Hadad
14:13 would have been located, the chief god of the Syrians,
14:18 "when he goes there to worship there,
14:21 and he leans on my hand,
14:23 and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon,
14:27 when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon,
14:29 may the Lord please pardon your servant
14:32 in this thing."
14:35 Then he," that is Elisha," said to him,
14:39 'Go in peace.'
14:41 And so he departed from him a short distance.
14:45 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God,
14:50 'Look, my master has spared
14:54 Naaman this Syrian,
14:57 while not receiving from his hands what he brought,
15:01 but as the Lord liveth,'" over my dead body,
15:06 "'I will run after him and take something from him.'
15:11 So Gehazi pursued Naaman.
15:14 And when Naaman saw him running after him,
15:17 he got down from the chariot to meet him, and said,
15:21 'Is all well?'
15:23 And he said, 'All is well.
15:25 My master has sent me, saying,
15:28 'Indeed, just now
15:29 two young men of the sons of the prophets
15:33 have come to me from the mountains of Ephraim.
15:37 Please give them a talent of silver
15:39 and two changes of garments.'
15:43 ''Talent of silver,
15:45 75 pounds,
15:48 what's that in ounces?
15:51 1400 ounces, 1200 ounces, something like that.
15:56 Number of, anyway, lot of money,
15:58 17,000 bucks worth.
16:01 How would a college student today like a gift of $17, 000
16:07 for visiting the prophet?
16:09 Pretty good, huh?
16:13 Now Naaman said,
16:15 'Please, take two talents,'"
16:19 "and he urged him,
16:20 and bound two talents of silver in two bags,
16:24 with two changes of garments, and handed them
16:28 to two of his servants,
16:29 and they carried them ahead of him, "
16:32 that is ahead of Gehazi,
16:35 "and when he came to the citadel,
16:39 he took them from their hand,
16:41 and stored them away in the house
16:43 and then he let the men go, and they departed.
16:47 And now he went in and stood before his master Elisha
16:51 and to him
16:53 Elisha asked, 'Where did you go, Gehazi?'
16:57 And he said, 'Your servant didn't go anywhere.'
17:00 And then he said to him, 'Did not my heart go with you
17:04 when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you?
17:10 Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing,
17:15 olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen,
17:18 male and female servants?
17:21 Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you
17:25 and your descendants forever.'
17:27 And he went from his presence leprous,
17:31 as white as snow."
17:41 So Captain Naaman dipped in the River Jordan
17:46 seven times and was healed,
17:50 physically healed from the leprosy.
17:54 But Captain Naaman came out of that water a new man,
17:59 a different man.
18:02 Bible calls it, "Born again."
18:05 In fact, it was Jesus
18:06 speaking to another famous prominent person
18:12 who said the words in John 3,
18:15 Moses, surely I say to you,
18:18 "unless one is born again,
18:22 he cannot see the kingdom of heaven."
18:25 And so Captain Naaman has a new birth.
18:30 And the text that we just read illustrates that
18:33 in maybe about four different ways
18:36 we can see the evidences of the new birth.
18:40 First of all, he goes back to the prophet.
18:45 He returns back to the prophet.
18:48 Now that sounds easy.
18:50 But for Naaman to have got to the River Jordan
18:54 to do his dipping,
18:56 that was a 25 mile trip,
19:00 and you're travelling about 3 miles an hour.
19:05 That tells you about how long it's going to take
19:08 to get back from the River Jordan.
19:11 So you have Samaria,
19:14 you have the spot on the River Jordan,
19:17 and then you have Damascus, where he's headed.
19:20 He's going to have to go the opposite direction of home
19:26 to go back to the prophet
19:29 to say thank you, okay?
19:32 So he had to go out of his way, 50 miles basically,
19:35 out of his way to say thank you to the prophet.
19:39 But that's a reflection of a changed heart.
19:44 The proud man that went and stood at Elisha's door
19:47 and didn't even get out of the chariot,
19:51 you know, stood there
19:52 expecting Elisha to come to him,
19:55 that proud man now tracks back
19:58 25 miles to say thank you,
20:02 that's the sign of a changed man.
20:07 Secondly, when he comes back,
20:11 he makes two confessions
20:15 and one very interesting request.
20:19 His first confession
20:21 is "Indeed, now I know,"
20:27 very emphatic,
20:29 "Indeed, now I know that there is no God
20:33 in all the earth except in Israel."
20:37 That's verse 15, the second part.
20:39 That's his first confession.
20:41 He says, "Indeed, I know."
20:43 I mean, for a fact, I know that there is no God
20:46 in all of the earth except in Israel.
20:52 I can think of Paul
20:54 who makes some emphatic statements like,
20:57 "I know in whom I believe," you know?
21:02 "These things I have written unto you that believe
21:05 on the name of the Son of God that you may know
21:09 that you have eternal life."
21:12 Job makes the same kind of emphatic statement.
21:15 "I know that my redeemer lives, and he shall stand
21:19 at last on the earth, and after my skin is destroyed,
21:23 this I know,
21:24 that in my flesh I'll see God."
21:29 The second emphatic statement
21:32 along with the most unusual request is in verse 17.
21:38 Now Naaman said,
21:41 "Then, if not," in other words,
21:42 if you're not going to take the gift from me,
21:45 "please let your servant be given two mule-loads of earth."
21:51 Now this is the same guy who was having a real problem
21:56 dipping seven times in the muddy Jordan River,
22:02 He could think of more beautiful cleaner
22:04 rivers back at Damascus.
22:06 In fact, he named two of them.
22:08 I'd rather go there and dip
22:10 than this stinking river here in Israel.
22:14 The same man who made that statement
22:16 is now asking for two mule-loads of dirt, please,
22:20 "Can I take some dirt back with me?"
22:23 So why has he asked that request?
22:26 Well, the people in his day, in his culture
22:31 believed that each God that a nation served
22:36 was somehow connected with and to their land,
22:40 to their territory.
22:42 So if he is going back to Syria,
22:45 and he wants to worship the God of Israel,
22:49 he can't do it on Syrian land,
22:52 he has to do it on the land of Israel.
22:55 So if he takes some dirt back with him,
22:58 and lays the dirt out, and kneels on that dirt,
23:03 then he is worshipping the God,
23:06 the true God of Israel, you see?
23:09 So it was very practical.
23:10 "Please, I need a couple loads of dirt please.
23:13 Get the skid steer out,
23:15 let's get a couple loads of dirt,
23:17 and I'll take it back with me,
23:19 so that I can worship the God of Israel."
23:24 And then he goes on to say,
23:25 "For your servant will no longer offer
23:28 either burnt offerings or sacrifices
23:32 to other gods, but to the Lord."
23:39 The third evidence that I see
23:41 of Naaman's change,
23:45 his new heart, is his generosity.
23:49 He comes back and he wants to offer
23:53 Elisha a gift, an offering,
23:57 and he brought quite a bit with him,
23:59 brought a lot of money with him, both gold and silver,
24:02 and designer clothes, you know, tailor-made suits.
24:07 Surely, the prophet would need some of this money for,
24:13 you know, the schools of the prophets.
24:15 I've been a treasurer in a conference before
24:18 and our academies are like black holes.
24:23 The money, you know?
24:25 And it disappears as quick as you can pour it in,
24:28 it's kind of...
24:29 Sometimes, I think maybe 3ABN is a little like that.
24:33 But anyway...
24:36 So surely, Elisha could use that money
24:40 for a lot of good things.
24:43 But he says no.
24:45 And the reason he said no
24:48 is because he did not want Naaman to think
24:53 that the work of the prophet is all about profit,
24:58 I'm not here to do this for money.
25:01 Money means nothing.
25:03 In fact, I am richly paid because you're a new man.
25:07 You're both healed physically of leprosy,
25:11 and whenever in history has that ever happened,
25:15 but even more, you're healed internally.
25:19 The rebellious man,
25:21 who was rebelling against the God of heaven,
25:24 warring against Israel and the God of heaven,
25:27 is now a believer.
25:29 That's my reward.
25:31 And he also wanted the captain to understand that God's grace
25:36 is not something you buy.
25:39 It's a free gift. It's a free gift.
25:43 God paid the price
25:46 so that we wouldn't have to pay the price.
25:51 The fourth evidence of Naaman's conversion
25:56 is the sensitivity
25:59 and tenderness of his conscience.
26:03 This creates a little dilemma for us today
26:07 trying to figure out how to handle this.
26:09 "Yet in this thing
26:11 may the Lord pardon your servant,
26:15 when my master goes into the temple of Rimmon
26:17 to worship there, and he leans on my hand,
26:21 and I bow down in the temple,
26:23 when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon,
26:25 may the Lord please pardon your servant in this thing."
26:31 How would you answer that?
26:35 You know, would you say, "Sure, no problem.
26:40 God will overlook at that."
26:42 And then you got thinking, hmm, I wonder if that would make him
26:47 begin thinking that you can compromise.
26:51 What's in it in the Bible that it says,
26:54 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image,
26:58 or any likeness of anything that's in the heaven above,
27:02 or that is in the earth beneath,
27:03 or that's in the water under the earth,
27:05 and you shall not bow down to them or serve them.
27:09 For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God."
27:13 So you want to encourage
27:15 the captain to disregard that?
27:20 Kind of difficult.
27:22 On the other hand, you might think,
27:24 "Well, Naaman is new born babe in the faith.
27:29 He probably doesn't have sufficient maturity and trust
27:32 in God to withstand the consequences
27:35 of refusing to go in with the King."
27:38 I mean the times that Naaman's thinking about,
27:43 this whole deal, it will be probably
27:44 some national festival,
27:46 when all the big brass are out
27:48 and the King is part of the whole activity
27:52 of this grand occasion.
27:53 He goes in to the temple and bows down
27:56 to the national god or idol,
27:59 and of course, it's expected
28:02 that the general of the armies of Syria
28:04 would go with him, he'd lean on his hands,
28:09 you know?
28:11 So how would you answer that?
28:15 I find it interesting in Elisha's response.
28:21 Elisha says to him, verse 19, "Go in peace.
28:26 So he departed from him a short distance.
28:29 Go in peace.
28:31 Elisha's answer isn't affirming him
28:36 or denying him.
28:39 It isn't saying yes and it isn't saying no.
28:43 It just says, "Go in peace."
28:52 I guess maybe Elisha probably knew
28:56 that Naaman wasn't mature enough yet
29:00 and to send him away at this point,
29:04 at this high point,
29:05 I mean he's just been healed of leprosy.
29:08 What a joy?
29:10 He's just discovered the one true God,
29:14 the only God in all the earth that can heal someone,
29:17 who's got honest-to-goodness leprosy.
29:19 It's like having terminal cancer
29:23 with only days to live and absolutely hopeless,
29:27 and you're healed.
29:30 I mean, who can do that?
29:32 And so you can just think of the anticipation.
29:36 His soldiers and the whole retinue
29:40 that's come with him are excited and ecstatic
29:43 about this thing.
29:44 When they go back home, the whole nation of Syria
29:47 is going to hear the story.
29:48 I mean little maid is going to be excited.
29:51 Mrs. Naaman is going to be excited.
29:53 I mean he is going back with joy
29:56 and to temper that whole event with the dilemma
30:00 of what do you do
30:02 about handling going into this service.
30:06 Elisha just puts it off for God to deal with at a future time.
30:16 As I have experienced life,
30:22 and had evidence of my own sin
30:27 more clearly as the years go by,
30:32 I don't know about you, but for me,
30:35 I have concluded to deal very gently
30:41 and softly with other people
30:45 in their sin but deal more sternly
30:51 and directly
30:52 with me and my sin.
30:57 And I think that's maybe what Elisha is teaching us.
31:02 We learned that from the story that God's grace is healing,
31:08 and that the growth in grace is progressive,
31:12 not instantaneous.
31:16 Don't know if that's helpful to you or not.
31:20 I know that there may be some saints among us
31:23 who have never sinned a day in their life,
31:25 maybe won't understand that.
31:28 But for me in my house, it makes sense to me.
31:33 The story turns
31:37 now in quite a marked way.
31:40 You know, Naaman has been healed,
31:43 he's come back to say thank you,
31:45 he's offered his gift,
31:47 he's taken back his two mule-loads of dirt,
31:50 and he's headed home, and now the story turns.
31:54 And it's the sad and dark side of the story.
31:58 And the person that comes into view
32:01 is the servant of Elisha, Gehazi.
32:07 And one word describes this man
32:10 and the word is covetous.
32:14 This man suffers from the leprosy
32:18 that you don't see on the outside
32:21 but was present on the inside
32:24 and that was covetousness.
32:28 And I just have a few lessons
32:30 that I'd like for us to catch today
32:32 about covetousness.
32:35 First, covetousness blinds
32:37 one's spiritual perception
32:41 and undermines one's character,
32:44 his likeness to God.
32:47 And Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the man of God,
32:54 "Look, my master has spared
32:57 Naaman this Syrian."
33:02 He doesn't view Naaman as a someone to win to God.
33:08 Instead, he views Naaman as an enemy to be destroyed.
33:14 And somehow, his master, Elisha has spared him,
33:20 didn't destroy him,
33:23 and he calls him, this Syrian, okay?
33:27 So he has disdain, his spiritual perceptions
33:33 are dimmed or blanked out
33:36 as a result of covetousness.
33:40 And so he says,
33:41 "I will run after him and take something from him."
33:47 It isn't that I'll receive something from him.
33:51 He says, "I'll take something from him."
33:56 Gehazi had lots of advantages.
33:59 He was the servant of Elisha, the man of God.
34:03 He was constantly in the companionship
34:05 of a godly person.
34:08 He saw many wonderful miracles performed by Elisha.
34:12 He sat at his feet, at the feet
34:14 of one of the Old Testament's greatest teaching prophets.
34:19 What an opportunity for light and truth?
34:22 Gehazi continually witnessed the life of a man
34:26 greatly dedicated to God, a man of unselfishness.
34:32 So all of these privileges Gehazi had,
34:35 yet Gehazi disregarded it all.
34:38 He paid no attention.
34:39 He was blind to light, deaf to sound,
34:43 unfeeling to touch in spiritual matters.
34:46 His covetous nature caused him to completely disregard
34:50 his spiritual opportunities.
34:53 Yet when you contrast him
34:56 with Naaman's servants,
34:59 Naaman's servants had no spiritual advantage.
35:04 Yet they sympathized with Elisha
35:08 and had the good of Naaman at their heart.
35:13 Elisha's servant,
35:14 Gehazi had great spiritual advantages.
35:17 Yet he complained about Elisha's actions
35:21 and was disinterested in the welfare of Naaman.
35:24 It makes no sense.
35:28 We would have predicted or I would have predicted
35:31 just the opposite.
35:32 Surely, Elisha would be the one
35:35 who had the servant of character,
35:37 while he then, Naaman would be plagued
35:40 with covetous evil servants.
35:43 However, such was not the case.
35:45 The servant with all the advantages
35:48 for good turned out bad.
35:51 And the servants who had
35:53 few spiritual advantages turned out good.
35:57 All this tells us that the greatness of privilege
36:00 does not necessarily predict the greatness of character.
36:05 The heart must be receptive and responsive
36:09 to the promptings of the Holy Spirit
36:11 or the spiritual advantages does one no good.
36:17 A covetous heart blinds
36:19 one's spiritual perceptions.
36:24 Today, we have a government run
36:29 welfare system.
36:32 And I can be misunderstood in what I'm about to say.
36:36 So please listen carefully and understand the intent
36:39 of what I'm saying.
36:41 But in the government welfare system,
36:45 the philosophy is if you could change the environment,
36:49 in other words, if you could clean up the slum
36:53 or remove people from the slum,
36:55 it would solve the problem.
36:59 But that's not the case.
37:02 You won't solve the slum problem
37:04 without first taking the slum out of the people,
37:09 that's the problem.
37:12 You know, you can take
37:14 and put a person you might say,
37:18 from the slum and put them in a palace,
37:22 and sadly they could turn the palace into a slum.
37:27 What we need is a heart change.
37:29 Now I'm not saying this about everyone
37:32 who lives in an urban area, in the ghettos of an urban.
37:37 But I'm saying
37:39 that we've been long enough as a nation,
37:43 throwing money without saying, "Wait a minute,
37:47 there needs to be a heart change."
37:51 You can't make a person who maybe doesn't want to work,
37:54 you can't give him a job and make them work, okay?
37:57 So there're two issues there.
38:00 The poverty is one issue
38:02 but the heart issues is the other
38:04 and probably the greater issue
38:06 is what I'm saying.
38:07 I hope I haven't offended somebody.
38:10 But it's something to think about.
38:13 So here it is, Gehazi had the best of environment,
38:19 but had a covetous heart and was blind to it all.
38:23 And the servants of Naaman
38:25 who didn't have any of those advantages
38:28 had the right heart.
38:30 And so it makes a difference.
38:36 Let me...
38:38 Time is running away here.
38:40 Another example of or lesson we can learn
38:45 from Gehazi's covetousness
38:50 is it has an insatiable appetite.
38:56 Covetousness makes one have an insatiable,
39:00 that's you cannot satisfy the appetite.
39:05 Now Gehazi pursued Naaman,
39:07 when Naaman saw him running after him,
39:09 he got down from the chariot to meet him and said,
39:11 "Is all well?"
39:13 And he said, "All's Well.
39:16 My master has sent me a saying, indeed,
39:18 just now two young men...
39:22 No, I just. Now. Yeah.
39:27 "Two young men...
39:31 sons of the prophets have come to me
39:34 from the mountains of Ephraim,"
39:36 could be true, don't know for sure.
39:40 Could have had two sons of prophet's come.
39:43 I was using the story though as suspect.
39:46 Please give them one talent, a talent of silver
39:50 and two changes of garments.
39:52 So Naaman said, "Yeah, please take two talents,"
39:56 and he urged him, and bound them, you know,
39:58 in the sacks and gave them the two changes of garments,
40:02 handed him to his servants,
40:03 so that they could carry them back to Samaria, the capital.
40:09 It's interesting here
40:13 the insatiable appetite
40:17 of covetousness led...
40:23 Gehazi to deception.
40:27 And so he has to first deceive
40:31 Naaman by saying this story,
40:35 you know, making up a story.
40:38 And now he's got the booty, you know,
40:41 the two big bags of silver, and the change of clothes,
40:46 and now
40:48 Naaman has just created a problem for Gehazi.
40:53 They're headed back home with all this stuff
40:57 and Gehazi can't be seen with it.
41:01 So what's he going to do?
41:04 And the story says they came to the citadel.
41:07 The citadel is the Hebrew word for ar-mone'
41:12 which is kind of like a hill.
41:14 So they came to a hill,
41:16 probably on the hill was a guard tower,
41:18 or maybe even a fortress, could have been guarded,
41:22 could have been abandoned, we don't know which,
41:24 they came to that before they got to the city,
41:27 and Gehazi has to think of something really quick,
41:29 and he says, "Ah, we'll just unload it here guys.
41:32 We'll just put it right here,
41:34 and I'll handle it from this point."
41:37 And so they unload it, and stash it,
41:40 and then he sends the servants away,
41:43 and then he goes in and stamps once more,
41:46 as if nothing has happened in front of Elisha.
41:53 However, now Elisha asks him a question.
41:57 "Where have you been, Gehazi?"
42:00 Now they're deceptions,
42:01 insatiable appetite of covetousness,
42:07 both can't be satisfied
42:09 and usually causes you or it leads you into deception.
42:13 Now another lie.
42:15 "Sir, I haven't been anywhere.
42:16 I haven't been anywhere."
42:18 And then,
42:26 Elisha responds, "Really?
42:31 You know, my heart went out."
42:34 It's almost like saying my heart dropped,
42:37 my heart dropped when I saw Naaman
42:42 get off of his chariot
42:44 and come and meet you, my heart dropped.
42:49 The text we started with today,
42:51 let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter.
42:54 "Fear God and keep His commandments
42:58 for this is man's all,
43:01 for God will bring every work into judgment
43:04 including every secret thing whether good or evil."
43:11 not only causes us to be deceitful,
43:15 but we also lose
43:19 or we are blind
43:21 to the recognition that God sees all.
43:25 We somehow forget that, that God sees all.
43:29 And Gehazi forgot it, was blind to it.
43:35 He can't hide it from God.
43:38 And so the answer came from Gehazi,
43:43 "It's not the time for money or to receive clothing"
43:47 and he even reveals to Gehazi
43:52 what he intended to do with the money,
43:57 olive groves, vineyards,
44:00 sheep, oxen,
44:03 male and female servants.
44:07 It wasn't for any college kids going back to school.
44:13 It was for oxen and sheep, olive groves
44:17 and the like.
44:20 As I close here, there are some comparisons
44:22 that I'd like to make, some contrasts.
44:27 This is a story, at least the last,
44:30 the story of two miracles
44:34 and each miracle has to do with leprosy,
44:39 While both miracles deal with leprosy,
44:42 they do so in a contrasting way.
44:45 The first miracle brought them
44:47 removal of leprosy.
44:49 The second brought them affliction of leprosy.
44:54 Naman left white, leprous.
44:58 The first miracle was one of grace,
45:02 and the second was one of judgment.
45:05 The first miracle was one on a gentile,
45:09 the second on a Hebrew.
45:12 And you would have thought
45:14 the gentile would have been lost
45:15 and the Hebrew would have been saved,
45:18 but it's just the opposite.
45:20 The first miracle involved a man of eminence,
45:24 Naaman, the captain of the Syrian army.
45:26 The second involved a servant, Gehazi.
45:30 The first miracle was announced by Elisha through a servant
45:34 to the recipient.
45:36 The second was announced by Elisha personally
45:40 to the recipient.
45:42 The first miracle occurred in public
45:44 before a number of people, particularly Naaman's retinue.
45:52 But the second occurred in private before only Gehazi
45:58 and Elisha.
46:00 Though a contrast to each other,
46:02 these two miracles are inseparably connected.
46:07 The first miracle is a sequel,
46:10 or the second miracle is a sequel to the first.
46:13 That's the first thing.
46:16 The second thing that, did I got from this study
46:21 was like so many of the Old Testament stories
46:26 and characters,
46:29 they were prophetic in nature.
46:33 They're what Doug Batchelor calls historical,
46:38 they're an oracle which is like a prophecy,
46:42 something that only God can reveal,
46:44 that has to do with the future,
46:46 that we wouldn't know about otherwise,
46:49 something about the story
46:52 has an omen something to do with the future.
46:57 And so I can think of a story
47:01 similar to this one
47:03 of Naaman, and Elisha,
47:08 and Gehazi in the New Testament.
47:14 Jesus' role is both prophet,
47:19 priest, and king, right?
47:23 He is both, a prophet, He is a priest,
47:25 and He is a king.
47:27 In His prophetic role, you can see
47:30 Old Testament examples of that in like Moses,
47:34 Moses a prophet was a law giver.
47:37 Jesus as a prophet was a law giver.
47:43 Joseph like Jesus
47:47 was turned against by his family,
47:50 by his brethren,
47:53 and sold often to slaves, he swivels to be killed,
47:57 just like Jesus was sold,
48:00 you know, by His own people.
48:03 Elisha is the prophet
48:07 calling people to decision.
48:11 Jesus was a prophet calling people to decision.
48:15 One of the roles of a prophet is that of a teacher
48:20 and miracle worker.
48:21 Prophets brought healing and teaching
48:25 into Israel, to the people of God,
48:29 and Jesus' role as a teacher and healer
48:33 is His prophetic role.
48:36 Jesus was the prophet.
48:40 Judas Iscariot was the servant.
48:44 And Mary the one that bought the spikenard
48:49 and parted on him was the leper
48:54 who had been healed by Jesus.
48:57 And Mary, the leper, so thankful, so grateful,
49:01 like Naaman, poured her gift upon Jesus.
49:07 But the covetous Judas
49:10 looked at it and he says.
49:15 Then Judas Iscariot, the disciple
49:18 who would soon betray him said,
49:20 "'That perfume was worth a year's wage.
49:24 It should have been sold
49:26 and the money given to the poor.'
49:28 Not that he cared for the poor, he was a thief,
49:32 and since he was in charge of the disciples' money,
49:34 he often stole some for himself."
49:38 So the story
49:41 of Naaman,
49:43 and Gehazi,
49:45 and Elisha
49:47 is the story of Jesus before it ever happened
49:52 and it's a lesson for us.
49:55 "And therefore the leprosy of Naaman
49:59 shall cling to you and your descendants forever.'
50:02 And he went out from his presence leprous,
50:05 as white as snow.' "
50:06 The account of Gehazi's life
50:09 is a tragic story.
50:12 Only the Lord knows what the history of Gehazi
50:16 might have been
50:17 if he had not allowed covetousness
50:20 to rule his soul.
50:22 May God help us to profit by his failure.
50:28 May we through this well illustrated warning,
50:32 see the great curse of covetousness
50:35 and avoid it like the plague,
50:42 Father in Heaven,
50:44 to be like Jesus is our wish.
50:49 We have sung the sentiments of our hearts just now.
50:53 Thank you that we can look to you
50:56 for the healing of our leprosy, our sin.
51:01 Search our hearts and see if there is any secret
51:04 or covetous thing in us and cleanse it from us,
51:09 we pray.
51:10 Now we leave Your house of worship
51:13 but not Your presence.
51:15 We ask Your Spirit to be with us,
51:17 and live in our hearts,
51:18 and in our lives,
51:20 and reflect You to those
51:21 we come and meet, this coming week,
51:24 in Jesus' name we pray, amen.