Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And God’s peace shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7 Amplified Bible
“This is so great a blessing, so real a blessing, so precious a blessing, that it must be known experimentally to be entered into, for it passeth understanding. O, let us lay these things to heart, and the result will be, if we habitually walk in this spirit, we shall far more abundantly glorify God, than as yet we have done.”
From George Mueller In Life of Trust
Today’s Study Text:
“The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he (Gehazi) went out from Elisha’s presence a leper as white as snow.”
II Kings 5:27 K.J.V.
“What God Do We Worship”
“Idolatry is not only the adoration of images…but also trust in ones own righteousness, works, and merits, and putting confidence in riches and power.”
Have I found myself “idolizing” something or someone and thus harming my relationship with my heavenly Father?
“Thus does the world forget You, it’s Creator, and falls in love with what You have created instead of with You.”
Augustine of Hippo
“Idolatry is an attempt to use God for man’s purposes, rather than to give oneself to God’s service.”
Charles F. D. Moule, English Theologian
The Scottish writer Richard Hollway, in describing the scope of the Bible’s message, from Genesis in the Old Testament through Revelation in the New Testament makes this very interesting observation, “The Bible points us to the bible within the Bible…and the key to it all is the warning against idolatry.”
I know in my personal study of God’s Word through the years that when the word “idolatry” appears, I’ve nearly always had the mental picture come before my eyes of the children of Israel, dancing around a golden calf at the foot of Mount Sinai.
Sadly, while under a cloud of glory atop Sinai’s summit, God was providing His chosen leader, Moses, with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments, a completely different activity was taking place on the ground, where God’s children were making a mockery of the worship of their Creator.
In doing some research, I found that there is only one time in the Old Testament where the exact word “idolatry” is used. In Hebrew, the word for idolatry is “teraphîym,” meaning healer or family idol. But I also uncovered the fact that this word can also refer to repairing or stitching as a physician might do.
Now if we go to the text in the Bible where the word “idolatry” is used, we’ll find it is in I Samuel 15: 23, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry Because thou has rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also reject thee from being king.”
If we recall the context of these words, the prophet Samuel had specifically told King Saul not to offer a sacrifice after the battle until Samuel arrived. But in direct contradiction to what he was instructed to do, King Saul decided he could perform this task whenever and however he wished. In actuality, he was saying, “I have the power to heal myself.” He made an idol of his own actions. And the same behavior is what played out in the life of Gehazi, “I can take care of myself. I can set myself up as a little god doing what I want, when I want.” Believe me this is a dangerous trap for any of us to fall in to. Sadly, while this, “I can heal myself” behavior is fraught with peril, it isn’t all that uncommon, even today.
How telling then that the disease which struck Gehazi, leprosy, was one from which he and his family would suffer throughout their lives.
Of all the sources I’ve read regarding the life of Gehazi, no one summarizes the folly of this man better than F. W. Krummacher who notes that Gehazi wanted one foot in either camp. As he observes, Gehazi couldn’t decide whose “insignia” he wanted to wear – God or mammon.
Here’s how author Krummacher concludes his study on Gehazi:
“Put no confidence in the promises of Mammon. Whatever prospects he may open to your view, believe not such a powerless god. His abundance of treasure is a vain dream; his enjoyments are a delusive phantom. The only good thing upon earth that can impart real happiness, is the peace of God. Seek it with all your might. It is worthy of the most strenuous efforts. To sacrifice it to a carnal project, as did Gehazi, is the worst of madness and satanic delusion. Could I gain the whole world, still what should I be but a miserable being, if I wanted those consolations which spring from the love of God! Without them I am poor indeed.”
In the end the question comes to each one of “What God do I choose to worship?”
“Those who are always ready to ask how little they may do for (God) rather than how much they may do, are serving their own gods.”
Charles Finney, (1837)
I’d Rather Have Jesus
“I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold,
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand.
I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause,
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame,
I’d rather be true to His holy name.
He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom,
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs,
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.
Than to be the king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.”
Rhea F. Miller Words penned in 1922
Music written by George Beverly Shea in 1939.
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Over the past few weeks, because of the generous outpouring of gifts from God’s “Garden daughters and sons,” we were able to complete our current projects and send 10,000 bookmarks to Papua New Guinea. We also sent 500 bookmarks in the Hindi language to Northern India. Thank you. Now we are undertaking the challenge of sending bookmarks to Russia, Lithuania and Brazil and to several domestic abuse shelters here in the United States.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-349-8619.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.