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Thursday, September 26, 2013

"To whom much is given much is required"

(Part 4 of 4)

 “Where have you been, Gehazi?” Elisha asked. “Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered. But Elisha said to him, “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 maid servants? Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and he was leprous, as white as snow.”

                                                                                                            2 Kings 5:25-27

What God delivered Naaman from because of his obedience to the Word of the Lord, was inflicted on Gehazi because of his willful disobedience; but why such a harsh verdict? Jesus said in Luke 12:48:

“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

There is a real danger of getting comfortable in our faith. Faith, by nature, is never comfortable. It is constantly moving us out of our comfort zone. In fact, Hebrews 11 is a chapter of scripture filled with examples of people who were moved by faith that faced trials, persecution and even death.

When we get comfortable in our faith then we, like Gehazi, begin to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to and ignore our own sinful tendencies:

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?’’       

                                                                                                Matthew 7:3-4

Gehazi had been given so much; because of this so much more was required of him. Naaman, comparatively, had received little; thus the expectations for him were not as high. However, Naaman would not be able to hide behind his naivety forever. Like, all of us, he would have to mature his faith.

Gehazi had the opportunity to play a tremendous role in Naaman’s life, but instead he chose to be critical and take advantage of Naaman’s generous spirit.

It is important to remember that we, who are more mature in our faith, in fact should nurture and instruct those who are learning to live according to God’s Word, but we should do so with humility through the lens of grace, mercy, and kindness.


Pastor Scott Burr                                                                    


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"To Whom Much is Given Much is Required"

(Part 3)

 “After Naaman had traveled some distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”

                                                                                                2 Kings 5:19-20

Gehazi was a servant of Elisha. He attended to Elisha’s needs; much like Elisha had attended to Elijah. This means he would have been familiar with the Word of God, witnessed mighty miracles, and had a healthy understanding of the depths of God’s goodness, grace, and mercy.

Yet, even with this knowledge, Gehazi declared: “My master was too easy on Naaman.” Because of Gehazi’s covetous heart, he attempted to extract from Naaman something that would benefit him.

How often, do we, like Gehazi, become critical of new believers who have not yet matured to the place “we are.” Then in our best efforts to fix them we try and extract behavior or conviction out of them that the Lord Himself has yet to deal with them about. We try to get them to dress right, talk right, and act a certain way; all but ignoring our own struggles and deficiencies.

Gehazi suffered from a religious complex; one in which he felt as though his national or religious heritage elevated him above others. This kind of spiritual high-mindedness causes us to disregard our own flaws. We ignore our own long neglected and wrongly justified poor behaviors in order to focus on the tiny issues of others. This is precisely what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:3:

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Gehazi felt that Elisha was too easy on Naaman. Naaman was an Aramean. He worshiped a false god, took part in brutalizing Israelites in military battles, and to Gehazi was unclean by nature of him not being a Jew. Gehazi reasoned that this man’s sins required more than him simply dipping in the Jordan. Gehazi was so focused on Naaman’s perceived problems that he completely ignored his own covetous heart.

Gehazi tracked Naaman down and lied to him telling him that Elisha had changed his mind and needed some of the tribute to help some fellow prophets. He then returned to Elisha, hiding the loot away in hopes Elisha would be none the wiser.  

However, the Holy Spirit had shown Elisha what Gehazi had done. When Elisha confronted Gehazi he pronounced in 2 Kings 5:27:

“Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.”

What God delivered Naaman from because of his obedience to the Word of the Lord, was inflicted on Gehazi because of his willful disobedience; but why such a harsh verdict?


Pastor Scott Burr                                                                    



Thursday, September 12, 2013

"To Whom Much is Given Much is Required"

(Part 2)

 “Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.”

                                                                                                2 Kings 5:15

At this point, Naaman understands very little about the God of Israel. The only thing he really knows is that a few minutes ago he had leprosy, and now he has been made whole.

His lack of understanding is evidenced by his reaction to this experience. The first thing he tries to do is reward Elisha! Naaman did not understand that his healing was a merciful act of God’s grace. It was a priceless gift and Elisha was simply the vessel God used. Elisha answered Naaman in 2 Kings 5:16:

As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.”

Then Naaman does something, which in our culture and time, may seem a little bizarre. He asked Elisha for permission to take back as much dirt as two mules could carry. In ancient cultures, the people associated gods with the physical land they came from. Naaman wanted to take dirt back home with him so that he could make sacrifices to God on soil that came from Israel:

If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god, but the Lord.”

                                                                                                2 Kings 5:17

Naaman had not yet learned that God was looking for obedience and not sacrifice. He was still very much influenced by the culture he had been raised up in. Then Naaman asks for one last thing:

 “But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I bow there also- when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”

                                                                                                2 Kings 5:18

Naaman asks for forgiveness (in advance) for what may appear, to God and others, as him worshipping a false god.

Elisha’s answer to Naaman: “Go in peace.”

Elisha wasn’t condoning participating in pagan worship or holidays, or promoting any spiritual significance to sacrificing on soil from Israel. Elisha understood that these requests were motivated out of a limited, although well-meaning, understanding of a new believer.

At some point, Naaman would have to mature in his faith. The more he became exposed to God’s Word and God’s will, more would be required of him as a believer. This brings us to Gehazi!


Pastor Scott Burr                                                                    



Thursday, September 5, 2013

"To Whom Much is Given Much is Required"

(Part 1)

 “Now Naaman was commander of the army of the King of Aram. He was great in 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

One cannot ignore the laundry list of adoration and praises that are heaped upon this man Naaman as you read through 2 Kings 5:1. However, all the accolades seem of little consequence with the addition of four little words at the end of the sentence… “But he had leprosy.”

Leprosy, in Biblical times, was a contagious, wasting disease that carried an almost inevitable death sentence. It seemed that this man, who was respected by so many, would have his life cut short if something miraculous did not occur.

One day, a young girl from Israel, who had been captured by Aram’s army, was serving in Naaman’s house. While she was attending Naaman’s wife she said: “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy!”

With no cure for the deadly disease, Naaman was desperate! He approached the King of Aram for permission to go find the man of God. Armed with a letter from the king, ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of clothing, Naaman set out for Samaria to find Elisha the prophet.

Upon arriving at Elisha’s house, the prophet sent a messenger out to speak to Naaman. He instructed Naaman to go down and dip seven times in the Jordan River and there his flesh would be restored and he would be cleansed. At first Naaman was reluctant. If fact, he was down-right mad! He expected Elisha, himself, to come out and do some mighty miracle before his eyes. He was so upset that he stormed away in a rage.

However, after some words of wisdom from his servants, Naaman obeyed the prophet of God and did exactly what he was instructed. When he came up out of the Jordan River the seventh time, he was made whole. Naaman returned to Elisha and declared in 1 Kings 5:15:

“Now I know that there is no God in the entire world except in Israel.”

Naaman became a believer in Jehovah! At this point, Naaman understands very little about the God of Israel as is evidenced by his initial response to his healing.

 Pastor Scott Burr