Naaman: or God Glorified, Part 3

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
3. From God's grace we are led on to God's government. These two we must never confound. God will show grace to sinners; He will carry on His government among His people. Gehazi is an instance of this: He could not understand the refusal of Elisha. "Behold," he says, "my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian in not receiving at his hands that which he brought; but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him." It was not to spare Naaman that Elisha refused the present. It was because grace was free, and the time to receive from the Gentile had not arrived. Gehazi could not understand either the one or the other. Had he possessed a right perception of grace, he would have gloried rather in the presents returning home, a witness that the God of Israel could give even to an enemy of Israel without receiving anything from him in return. Had he imbibed the true spirit of the time, he would have learned the incongruity of their being enriched by the Syrian. But he understood neither. The evil desire stimulated him, and he ran after Naaman till he reached the object of his Search. To the salutation " Is all well he responds, " All is well." Why then this haste, why this pursuit? Eager to get something from Naaman, he has a lie ready, which again reveals how he had failed to understand the right adjustment of things. Two children of the sons of the prophets were in wants and Elisha had sent to request something for them. Could not God have provided for His own servants without spoiling a Gentile? Could not Elisha look to God, and not to Naaman, for what they might need? Gehazi sees not the inconsistency of his story. He tells it-he gets what he asks, and more. Naaman is ready to give-that was right. Gehazi was desirous to receive-that was wrong. Bound on two of the young men, the presents are carried back, and Gehazi stores them away. He has perfectly succeeded in his plan, and he stands before his master. Another lie is now told. He forgets now before whom he stands. Could not the prophet search him? Could not he test most severely the accuracy of his statements? Blind to everything, he utters another lie when questioned, "whence comest thou?" He might deceive Naaman-he cannot deceive Elisha "Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee." An eye had seen him. The prophet's heart knew everything. Gehazi stood before him convicted, and sentence goes forth: " The leprosy, therefore, of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed, forever." He should be, and his seed after him, standing witnesses of what it was to forget the character of his day.
"Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive yards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and men servants, and maid servants." Gehazi had forgotten the character of his day. Israel had before that time spoiled the Gentiles. They spoiled the Egyptians before they departed from Egypt. They enriched themselves with the spoil of Midian just previous to their entrance of the land: This was in keeping with the times. The jewels of gold were applied to the service of the sanctuary, such of them as had not been used for the golden calf. The plunder of the Midianites was apportioned out as God had directed; but Gehazi had no command to receive from Naaman, and had no intention of enriching the sanctuary with his gifts.
Besides, all this was out of keeping with the character of his day. Elisha's presence in Israel, as prophet, was in consequence of their departure from God. The servant should have discerned this. The prophet's presence was a constant protest against the condition of the people among whom he dwelt. Were those, who professed to know this, to act as if the time of rest and enjoyment had arrived? It was the day for protesting against the settlement of Israel as wine on the lees, unconcerned about God's glory, and indifferent to the claims of His holiness.
Were the professed servants of Jehovah to act as if the warfare was over? Under an idolatrous king in Samaria there could be no rest for those who had understanding of the times. A king in Samaria, with David's heir sitting on his throne at Jerusalem, showed at once all was not right, nor the time for enjoyment arrived. The condition of things around them, God's servants might not be empowered to alter; but they must not acquiesce in it, Elisha knew this, and acted accordingly. Gehazi was blinded to this, and thus fell under the exercise of God's government. For Israel the day will dawn, when they shall sit each man under his vine and fig tree. But the time for repose, and making themselves at home in the land, was not then. Gehazi forgot all this. Need we show how this has teaching for believers now I May we show that, like Elisha, we have the mind of God, and know the character of our day, and what is suited to it. " There remaineth a rest for the people of God." It is future, not present. It will be enjoyed above, not on earth.-C. E. S.