II Kings 5
Whatever is not of faith is sin, and faith is integrally linked to recognition of, and conformity to, the Word of Truth. Are we walking by faith, allowing the Word to lighten each step of our pilgrim pathway; or by sight, trusting the frailty of the flesh and the foolishness of self? Are we seeking to please ourselves, or our Lord? Elisha and Gehazi illustrate these two different options left to every servant of God. Today we will look at Elisha; next week, Gehazi.
He was not well-known or highly regarded by the dignitaries (vv.5-6), but certainly was known was God’s man by a “little maid” (vv. 2-3). A faithful servant of the Lord today is not out to please men or impress the religious masses; his desired recognition is among those who are themselves seeking to walk according to Truth – God’s faithful remnant.
God’s power and glory (v.8), not Naaman’s honor or self-aggrandizement (vv.9-12), was Elisha’s concern. He wanted all to know that there was in fact a God in Israel, and that there was still a prophet of God who stood uncompromisingly as His servant. Elisha’s desire was to honor his Lord, not bring attention to self by trying to dazzle Naaman and his cohorts with a sensationalized or colorful ministry. Unpretentious, humble service is the crowning mark of the selfless servant.
Elisha was also careful as to how his ministry was perceived by others; he refused their gifts (vv. 15-16). A clear testimony, honoring to God and honest before men, was far more important than personal gain. Nor did he seek self-vindication when he was misrepresented by Gehazi before Naaman (v. 22). God’s judgment, not his own wrath, was pronounced by Elisha. God will set things straight and administer justice in the end (vv. 25-27). Until God finally sets things straight, we are to obey our Master’s commandments whether the immediate consequences might be favorable or not.
Our motivation for ministry must be pure and selfless too. We must constantly guard against the temptation to trim the message or let down the Biblical parameters for faithful ministry in an effort to enhance our image or broaden our fellowship. God’s glory is the issue here, not our popularity. If we are identified with Truth in every way possible, then we will necessarily be out of step with this current evil age. Today, God is seeking workers who are willing to bear His reproach.