Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The Lord stood with me, and strengthened me.”
II Timothy 4: 17, K.J.V.
“Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.”
Carolina Zandell Berg, (1865)
Today’s Study Text:
“And Naaman said, ‘Be content, take two talents.’ And he urged him and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him”
II Kings 5: 23, K.J.V.
“Hate and despise all human glory, for it is nothing else but human folly. It is the greatest snare and the greatest betrayer that you can possibly admit into your heart.”
How was Gehazi acting foolishly?
What do I think King Solomon meant when he penned these words: “Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who reverts to his folly”?
“He (or she) who provides for this life, but takes no care for eternity, is wise for a moment, but a fool forever.”
“There is no fool like the sinner, who every moment ventures his (her) soul, and lays his (her) everlasting interest at stake.”
John Tillotson, (1819)
Every one in a while, as we study, a word appears which has a specific meaning in the 21st century, however, in Bible times we find that the meaning of the word is something completely different.
In our study text today, there appears the phrase, spoken by Naaman to Elisha’s servant Gehazi: “Be content, take two talents.” Some Biblical scholars say that this was Naaman’s way of saying, “Please take two talents. Take more than you think you need.” And this quite well may be the case. But if we go to the Hebrew meaning of the word “content,” you’ll find that in II Kings 5: 23, the Hebrew word is “yâal”: “slack, to be foolish, to dote on foolishly. To show a sign of mental weakness, to yield or assent, hence to undertake to please someone.” Ironically, we can see that in order to please Naaman, it was Gehazi who was acting foolishly and with a weak mind.
I found this to be one of those times when the Bible teaches us such a valuable lesson by requiring a little digging. Rather than taking Naaman’s words, as I first did, and thinking that all that he was saying is, “Please, oh, please Gehazi, help yourself,” there’s truly more that God wants us to learn and it is the fact that even though Naaman was more than generous in heaping treasure upon Gehazi, the behavior of Elisha’s servant, grabbing the silver and clothes, was foolish action demonstrated by foolish thinking.
It was the unwise thinking which led to foolhardy behavior which got me to doing some deeper study on Gehazi – the person. As we studied previously, Gehazi wasn’t all-bad. He had some fine traits and exhibited gracious behavior. As one person noted, “No one is a fool always, everyone sometimes.” And it seems quite apparent that Gehazi fit this description quite well.
In looking into the individual, Gehazi, I chose to explore what F. W. Krummacher, in his terrific biography on Elisha set forth as the background of this young man who he states, “was not a neglected, uncultivated being, picked up from the dregs.”
The fact is that it’s quite likely Gehazi was taken from among the men who were students at the Schools of the Prophets. As author Krummacher also poses, “it is very likely that, Elisha would have taken Gehazi about with him as his constant attendant and companion.” Thus Elisha had likely witnessed, up-close and personal some specific traits in Gehazi which led Elisha to believe the best about this man.
As F. W. Krummacher suggests, “It can hardly be doubted that Elisha entertained high hopes respecting this spirited and evidently gifted young man…Never surely could Elisha have dreamed of being so grievously deceived by Gehazi as he was.”
Of all the writings of King Solomon, known for his great wisdom, none are directed so frequently toward any subject as that of foolish behavior – or as the dictionary defines, “lacking good sense or judgment resulting from stupidity and devoid of coherence.”
The words folly, fool, foolish, foolishly, foolishness and fools are mentioned over 130 times just in King Solomon’s writings in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. In fact, in Proverbs 19: 3, the words Solomon wrote seem to perfectly describe Gehazi’s behavior: “The foolishness of man subverts his way (ruins his affairs).”
When we think of the foolish and weak-minded behavior which encompassed Gehazi’s life as his focus turned from heaven to earth – from his heavenly Father to himself, may we choose to speak the prayer of Nicholas Ridley who conveyed this powerful testimony: “O Heavenly Father, the Father of all wisdom, understanding, and true strength, I beseech Thee, look mercifully upon me, and send Thy Holy Spirit into my breast; that I being strengthened with Thy right hand, may stand in the confession of Thy faith, and of Thy truth, and continue in the same unto the end of my life.”
“I pity the man (or woman) who is living on the devil’s promises.”
D. L. Moody
“Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for thyself wilt be the light of it. And there shall be no night there.”
A. W. Tozer
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.