Posted in 2Kings

Generations Coming Together

The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.” And he said, “Go.” Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?” “I will,” Elisha replied. And he went with them. 2Kings 6:1-3

Every year, Alice and I go to our National Conference where we hear a number of speakers. The final message of last year’s conference was from the above text. The first message of this year’s conference was also from this exact text. Can you imagine how we felt when the second night’s message this year was also from 2Kings 6:1-7? Three straight speakers all speaking from the same obscure text! Only God could arrange this, so the question becomes, why? I think it has to do with the generations coming together.

Here are three encouragements for the older generation:

  1. Have something to give from God that the younger generation needs. Elisha had burned his plow and pressed in for a double anointing which he had received from Elijah. The younger generation doesn’t need information from us – they can just Google to get that. But Google can’t supply the wisdom that comes from an ongoing relationship with God. We must keep pressing in for all God has for us to be “relevant” to the generations behind us. They asked Elisha to come because they needed what he had.
  2.  Release the younger generation to go beyond where we’ve been. The idea to build bigger came from the young prophets. The place they were currently living in was probably built by Elisha and now it wasn’t good enough. Instead of being offended, Elisha releases them to do something more than he’d done. King Saul had become jealous of the next generation and feared they would be greater than he was, so he tried to kill David. Elijah believed that God could take His anointing and double it in the next generation – let’s believe as well and release the coming generation into even more grace than we’ve experienced.
  3.  We need to go with the next generation to ensure their success. In their zeal, mistakes are made, but Elisha was there to show them that every problem is actually an opportunity to encounter the faithfulness and power of God.
Posted in 2Kings

The Bigger Message

“‘Behold now, I (Naaman) know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel; so please take a present from your servant now.’ But he (Elisha) said, ‘As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will take nothing.’ And he urged him to take it, but he refused.” 2Kings 5:15-16

Naaman was a famous general in the army of Aram and everyone knew he had leprosy. A young Israeli girl who had been taken captive by him said that she wished he would go to the prophet in Israel, so he could be healed. This was the beginning of God’s message to Naaman. Here is a girl who should want his death but instead wants his healing.

He goes to Elisha and is sure that his position before men will be recognized and honored by the prophet, but it’s not. In fact, Elisha doesn’t even come out but only gives the message to go dunk seven times in the Jordan river, and then he will be healed. Naaman is furious. He thought Elisha would “surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.” (2Kings 5:11) Do you see how dangerous it is when we dictate to God how He should do what only He can do? One of his officers said to him, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” (2Kings 5:13) So finally Naaman goes and does what God tells him to do and is completely healed.

In the text above he wants to pay for his healing, but Elisha has been instructed to take nothing. Everyone in Aram will want to know how Naaman got healed and he is to tell the story and to let everyone know that it came absolutely free when he submitted to God’s conditions. But Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, thinks that Naaman got off too easy so he follows him and receives a gift from what Naaman wanted to pay. This stirred God’s judgment because Gehazi’s greed blurred the message God wanted to speak to the people of Aram about His grace.

Gehazi completely missed the bigger message because of human reasoning and selfishness. Did you know that God’s speaking a message through your life that’s bigger than you? It’s important for us to obey even when we don’t understand.