There are MANY lessons to be learned from the
prophet Elisha. This is the 17th in a series focusing on the life and
works of this great prophet.
"As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I WILL NOT ACCEPT a thing." (2 Kings 5:16 - emphasis mine)
Naaman, the commander in chief of the Syrian army, has been healed of leprosy. He has just experienced the power of God in his life, and he is VERY grateful. His one desire is to express his gratitude for the great gift he has received: "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). But Elisha refuses payment for what has happened! His response to Naaman's offer is: "As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I WILL NOT ACCEPT a thing." (vs. 16-emphasis mine.)
Now, in human terms, refusing such a gift was irrational. Naaman was offering him large quantities of gold and silver, along with several sets of expensive Syrian clothing (see vs. 5)! Elisha wasn't a wealthy man. These were things he could have used! And even if he didn't desire the gift for himself, there were many poor people in Israel. He could have given the gifts to the poor! It didn't make sense that Elisha should refuse such a fine gift, and even his servant, Gahazi, couldn't understand: "My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought . . ." (2 Kings 5:20).
But Elisha stood firm: "And even though Naaman urged him, he refused." (2 Kings 5:16).
Why? Why would Elisha refuse this gift?
We aren't told, exactly, but I would like to propose that Elisha refused the gift because he was trying to make an important point: It's ALL about God!
You see, Naaman was a brand-new believer. He knew NOTHING about God and God's ways. Elisha wanted Naaman to experience God directly for himself. He wanted Naaman to have a clear picture of God to take back to Syria with him, so that the birth of worship of the True God in Syria would be untainted by human hands. Because of this, he wouldn't even pretend to have healed Naaman. In fact, when Naaman first arrived, he didn't even go to meet him. Instead, he sent his servant to greet the great commander. God was the One who healed Naaman, and Elisha refused to take the credit for it.
Friend, so often when God works through us, we are tempted to take His glory upon ourselves. And even if this is not our intent, whenever something of this caliber happens, the human tendency is to look to the HUMAN HAND instead of the HAND OF GOD. Elisha knew both of these tendencies very well, and he did everything in his power to keep from becoming a symbol of God in Naaman's eyes. He refused the gift!
It's all about God!
The next time God works through you, remember Elisha. Remember, in all that you say and do, to give ALL of the glory to God! Remember: It's not about you. It's ALL about God!
See next Saturday's edition of The Nugget, for Elisha, Part 17.
Love in Christ,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets ( www.scripturalnuggets.org ), Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org