Using God’s work to cheat people out of money, has been happening since the days of Elisha.
“Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:1)
This is a vital introduction to 2 Kings 5. We can establish that Naaman was a great military leader, but he also must have served God well in order to be used by God in such a mighty way. But why was this great man plagued with leprosy? It seems rather unfair. There must be more to this account, and there is.
Needless to say, as we read on, we see that Naaman ended up communicating with Elisha to request healing. However, Elisha chooses not to meet him in person. Instead, she passes a message through his servant. Naaman is told to wash seven times in the Jordan River.
Naaman became angry with Elisha, that he didn’t meet with him in person and heal him directly or perhaps, tell him to wash in one of the more cleaner rivers in the area. Regardless, Naaman did as Elisha’s servant had said and was healed!
Now, we could determine at this point that the lesson is about obedience. However, we can see that Naaman was reluctantly obedient and quite angry about the whole ordeal. Perhaps, there is more to glean from this account and as we read on, we find it to be true.
Obviously, when Naaman calmed down and followed the advice given by Elisha, through his servant, he was healed and was very grateful! Naaman desired to reward Elisha for his message and God’s healing. Yet, Elisha insisted that no rewards or gifts were to be given or taken. God should be thanked and so, Naaman decided to prepare a sacrifice instead.
On the way, Elisha’s servant contacts him and changed the deal without Elisha’s knowledge (or so he thinks). He dupes Naaman into giving over some money and clothing as a reward for the healing. Well, of course God let Elisha in on his servant’s scam and Elisha confronts him with the following words:
“Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money, or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, flocks, herds, or menservants and maidservants? 27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” (2 Kings 5:26-27)
My suggestion is that the lesson is to be found from this account. Though God is merciful and is able to heal our infirmities, this passage is for those of us who have no illness. This is no different then the televangelist getting rich off of the poor and afflicted around the world.
Anyone working with finances in ministry should all take note of this passage. We are called to have integrity. Though it is not wrong to accept a gift or payment, cheating God’s people is obviously something that will not go unseen.
Originally posted at QuietMorningsWithHim.com by Jeremy Norton.