Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Lessons From The Failures Of Others

1. Gehazi: We read in 2 Kings, Chapter 5, that out of gratitude for his healing, Naaman, the Syrian General offered Elisha silver and gold worth nearly Eighty thousand dollars and ten fancy Syrian suits of clothing. What a temptation for a lesser man than Elisha. But Elisha turned down the offer without a moment's hesitation. Naaman was an unbeliever and a compromiser and Elisha would receive nothing from him. Gehazi had observed Elisha's attitude towards Naaman's money. But he felt that Elisha had been foolish to refuse what Naaman had offered so freely. He ran after Naaman, told a few lies and collected four thousand dollars worth of silver and two of those Syrian suits. Elisha who could see through a crooked man easily, immediately exposed Gehazi's covetousness. He told Gehazi that since he had grabbed Naaman's money, he would get Naaman's leprosy as well. He told him "therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cleave to you and to your descendants forever. So Gehazi went out from his presence a leper as white as snow. ( 2 Kings 5:27) Instead of getting a double portion of Elisha's anointing, Gehazi got leprosy. Little did Gehazi realize that he was being tested by God that day. If only he had known what tremendous issues were at stake, he might have been more careful.

2. Achan: God allowed Achan to be alone in a house with no one watching him in order to test him to see whether he would take what God had forbidden or not. Achan failed. Achan describes his fall thus: I saw. I coveted I took I Hid (Joshua 7:21) Achan and his family thereby missed their inheritance in Canaan.

3. Balaam: Balaam was a prophet on whom the Spirit of God had rested at one time. We read that at one stage "Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe and the Spirit of God came upon him. (Number 24:2) He went astray, not because he was unrighteous in money matters, but because he loved money. The love of money and the love of honor from an earthly king so blinded Balaam that he could not even see that he was going against the will of God. God tested Balaam to see what was in his heart. When Balaam sought God's will at first, as to whether he should go with king Balak's messengers to meet the king, God had given him a clear answer: 'Do not go with them' (Num 22:12). That answer could not have been clearer. But when Balak offered more money and greater honor, Balaam was tempted to ask for permission again. When God saw that Balaam really wanted to go, He told him to go. But Balaam suffered the consequences. God may at times grant our request, even though it is not His will, just because He sees that we desire that thing so greatly. But the spiritual result will be just as it is written concerning the Israelites in Psalm 106:15 "He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul" Little did Balaam realize that he had been tested and that his love for money had led him astray. He continued to prophesy, but he had taken the first step downward on the slippery slope of seeing earthly gain and it was just a matter of time before he reached the bottom. He who had once known such intimate communion with God ended up as a sorcerer and was slain by Israelites. The record says "The sons of Israel killed Balaam the diviner" (Josh 13:22)

What shall we say of multitudes of Christians today who have the examples of Gehazi, Achan & Balaam to warn them and who have still gone astray. The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil. God has allowed material things to attract us in order to test our faithfulness and our devotion to Him.

We cannot serve both God and Mammon(material things). We have to love one and to hate the other and hold on to one and despise the other (Luke 16:13).

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.



Bill said...

This is definitely off-topic. But I wanted to take a moment to say I hope you are having a great Fourth of July with family and friends!

May God's richest blessings be yours,
Spiritual Oasis Blog

Stan said...

Thanks Bill!