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June 24, 2022 12:00 am
The diagnosis for sin is not good. It's terminal. But there is a cure. In this message, an Old Testament leper receives it once and for all. Will you?
There will don't spend money trying that religion go to Israel. The prophet of God see the very time she should have been doubting God's he is affirming him. Imagine the states.
He came from the Israelites to be living on a recorder.
Profits are ignored and now she's ripped from her home. Perhaps seeing her own family killed sold in the slavery.
She lives in the house of a leper warlord, an enemy of Israel to not, I would think is second Kings five leper received that message of hope once and for all. As believers, we've been entrusted with that message of hope and we have the unique opportunity to be used by God in sharing its this is wisdom for the heart and Stephen's message today is entitled out of the mouths of banks. I almost missed a wonderful story side another story.
The last time we were together we look at Naaman story and his wonderful cure in the muddy rivers of the Jordan.
But there is a testimony of a little girl there who says some rather profound things almost just one brief verse, and what I want to do is focus our attention on her word tells us in the New Testament the things written earlier were written for our instruction and encouragement, which means that this little Hebrew girl can encourage and instruct us in her story, so if you haven't already, take your Bibles and turn the second Kings chapter 5 to set the stage. Let's go back and refresh our memories with verse one. In the story that unfolds now Naaman Capt. of the Army of the King of around was a great man with his master and highly respected because by him of the Lord had given victory to around the man was also a valiant warrior but he was a leper now as we studied the text really doesn't give us much chronological help. Although it seems to indicate that Naaman's leprosy did not surface until later in life, namely this event. Now that that meets us here in the brief description of Naaman as you pull it apart raised by phrase just leaps off the page with the message that apart from this terminal incurable disease that is to this day, incurable. Naaman had it made.
He was, if you look back again and refresh your memory, this man was a great man verse one says and highly respected. He was a valiant warrior but then this appointment declaration the text that Hebrew simply says they leper. It's it's meant to be shocking. This valiant soldier who I believe was the idol of his men supposedly he was the one who shot Ahab with that arrow. Josephus says the whispers had already circulated the camp.
Naaman was a leper and now his soldiers would avoid at all costs.
The horror of that terrifying disease. As we looked in detail at last time sort of overshadows the horror of this little girls own experience and let's look at it together.
Look at verse two. Now the man's had gone out in bands and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel, and she waited on Naaman's wife. Most believe that the phrase little beside girl indicate she was perhaps eight, nine, 10, no older than 12. Now in the course of the raves that were taking place. The outer village regions of Israelite property.
The Syrians would slip in and slip out.
And of course they were looking for young ones. This well is slaves as well as gold or silver arraignment. The Hebrew verb translated raiding party is the verb that could be rendered to cots. This was a guerrilla warfare. These men were not wearing the heavy uniform for hand-to-hand, these men were dressed so that they can slip in under the cover of night and rate a village perhaps set it on fire capture whom they could capture and as quickly as they could slip out again and be gone disappear the night. Now verse two makes it very clear and some of the other translations that are ready been clearer that she was not among other captives taken.
She was the only Capt. imagine the horror of finding yourselves ripped from your family. Perhaps at the screams of your mother. Maybe even the death of your father who's in hand-to-hand combat with these men trying to say his daughter's life, but she's whisked away deposited in a foreign culture of foreign land of foreign language in these men are the barbarians. These are the enemies of Israel's people these warlords from Syria.
Imagine her being auctioned off in the capital Square. Or maybe she was given as a gift to the great leader with no so from this phrase from the mouth of this little thing come some profound rather convicting challenges to everyone here name Jesus Christ as master and what I want to do is suggest some qualities that emanate from that perhaps these will encourage you as they have made. The first thing that I'm struck with here about her is the quality of compassion. The first phrase first part of verse three she said to her mistress.
I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria and you have to ask the question now. The Syrians were enemies of Israel. He is a pagan warlord. Here's an idolater why would she want him to live. If I were, this little Hebrew child I would pillow my head at night with the memory of my past racing through my own hard and I would say, God, thank you that he has leprosy help them die a slow death, get somebody at work who hates you there somebody on campus greatest joy is to ridicule your faith or professor. Is there some coworker that just looks for the opportunity to chat. How motivated are you for their health and prosperity not very.
This is Jesus Christ here weeping over the city that will impale him this is Jesus Christ hanging on the cross, taking time to express forgiveness to a dying thief. This is Jesus Christ who pitched his tent among us who died for us while we were yet sinners, compassion now.
Don't overlook the fact is, well, that Naaman was stricken with a disease that was the mark of God's judgment according the Mosaic law. He is the epitome of uncleanness.
He is to be avoided if anything, this little girl would've resented the fact that she is a slave but had on top of that she is now a slave living in a leper's call.
That is the height of insult to Hebrew yet she had compassion to say I wish Naaman could be healed. I just wish that he could see Elisha and I know Elisha helped profound well. She also had another quality I want to suggest to you, just from that phrase she possess the quality of faith, would you look at the last raising anniversary then he would cure him of his leprosy. In other words, Naaman don't go to the prophets of bail kind of serious ballistic state.
Don't go to the prophets and priests and begged their help. Don't spend money at their shrines. The religion go to Israel to the prophet of God see the very time she should have been doubting God. She is affirming him imagine the state. She came from the Israelites into be losing on every corner. Bail isn't is the religion not only of Syria but Israel. The prophets are ignored and now she's ripped from her home. Perhaps seeing her own family killed. She sold into slavery. She lives in the house of a leper warlord, an enemy of Israel enough. I would think is enough where is God in this maybe in some way you identify with her today because things may be dark, all of the evidences would reveal that God is either lacking in power or at least care for you, and yet she affirms her faith that will show you how deep her faith was is not in that story. It's in the Gospel of Luke will put one more clue together that explains her describes her. Would you look at Luke chapter 4 and wider turning would you agree with me that would be a great stretch of faith believe that Elisha, the prophet of God could heal leprosy would you think the barrel stretch to everyone of us with that will sure Elisha can do that. No sweat. I'm going Elisha help fix you up.
Surely the stories of Elisha's healing of not only the other diseases that leprosy would've abounded that this little girl had heard about. It's it's really a stretch of my imagination or or faith that he could healed by Elisha. Well, look at the passage where Jesus is preaching are already searching nobody is looking at me.
Everybody's head is just down. Good look at verse 25 Jesus is preaching in the synagogue and he says I say to you, in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months when a great famine came over all the land and yet Elijah was sent and none of them, but only because Arafat in the land of Sidon to a woman who was a widow we studied verse 27 and there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet and none of them was Clinton but only Naaman the Syrian Jesus Christ is preaching with another intention in mind. But did you catch what he said about Elisha's track record with lepers.
How many of the hail. How many stories had this little girl heard before being ripped from her home that Elisha could heal a leper. Zero.
Can you imagine going to a cardiologist for open-heart surgery who had yet to be successful in the operating room, Dr. Anderson you that 85 patients.
None of them live.
Would you operate on me that would take great faith in the face of the lack of evidence. Listen, Naaman, in effect, she is saying this little nine or 10-year-old.
There are a lot of lepers in Israel. Elisha hasn't healed any of them, but I believe he can heal you that takes great faith in the prophets, God now would you go back second Kings chapter 5 and I want you to pay careful attention to her specific words, how great is your faith. Verse three. I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria, then he might be able to cure him. Maybe he'll be able to help them out will give it his best shot.
No, then he would cure him of his leprosy. See, instead of doubting faith.
She is here declaring her face in God. So you have the qualities in that little phrase that speak of volume of compassion. She cared of faith.
She believed and that will make for a powerful witness in any land in any generation is what ours needs.
What I want to do with our remaining time is is I just want to talk about what it means to be a witness on the eve of our missions conference will be looking around the world. I want to look here, the city in your city a little bit what is it take to be effective.
First, I want to clear up some rather popular misconceptions about the subject.
Misconceptions number one says something like this being an effective witness requires tremendous public exposure. But what is true. If I were to ask you do you know anybody in your life is an effective witness probably think okay who has them result. Where are all the stories around somebody's life who's reaping fruit by the bushel basket. That's an effective witness who is speaking the hundred I think we tend to view it that way but it isn't true being an effective witness involves obedience. The sphere and the scope of your witness, your exposure has to do with God's placement of your life. It might be the one. It might be dear children, it might be the one neighbor it, it might be to many, it might be the students in the classroom or a group of people that you disciple or teach. But the truth is from this little girl's life who had very little exposure. She was we would all agree effective, but the truth was he was anonymous.
We are given.
Her name, and I thought immediately that that's exactly the analogy that we are in the New Testament we as witnesses are called what we are called salt.
Salt is invisible on the food. Which of the sprinkle and it doesn't lay there and argue with the hand and placed it saying I wish you wouldn't put me on some workarounds. Or you could have sprinkled me further. No just lies there and immediately brings life and taste something that's goal it it it provides preservation from that which is taking and it ultimately produces the.
The truth is your sphere and exposure my friends have everything to do with regard large, small, wide this little girl was sprinkled into the home of the Syrian warlord and was affected the second misconceptions that being an effective witness requires years of study and experience well. She shoots that one full of holes and I will comment other than to take another look at this nine-year-old girl or 10-year-old girl who was simply overwhelmed with compassion and faith. She had a secret that she was willing to share. Well then what's the truth about being a witness and we can say 100 things I want to limit our focus to this little girl. There is one truth that we can we can run a raise from this passage being an effective witness requires honest courage. She did have the courage to sound the alarm.
I can imagine that everyone around her avoided the subject of Naaman's condition. I can imagine that when she got to the home and began her servitude that she was given a little lecture, maybe even by Naaman's wife. The listen little girl. Try not to notice the blotches on his face and hands and when you bring food to the table.
Don't let them find you, staring if you should be cornered or in a hallway and have to make conversation about his metals asked him about his battles. Whatever you do don't mention the word leprosy and that will we do, we carpool with people we work with people we talk at the weather and the news everything but talk about their condition and she maybe naďvely just to please us. Looks to me like Naaman's got a serious problem terminal is going to die. I know somebody that can help before anybody can be healed of leprosy or lease treated cancer, leukemia, pneumonia, some Dr. has to look them in the eye. Say you are very sick.
Here's the medicine in our culture today. It demands someone to look at in the eye and say you are very sick with compassion. There is the Messiah to be an effective witness will take courage and if you have shared your faith with someone you know there is that one moment and in the light bulb turned on in their mind and they all of a sudden realize what you're saying about them as kind as you've been in and they turn perhaps to either repent by the grace of God or they become angry with you. Maybe you have a relative like that or a boss like that or a coworker or child and that shuts you into cowardice. No, there's a little girl who said what needed to be said. Truth number two being an effective witness requires heartfelt compassion.
You know it's possible to have courage now without compassion you can talk about how all the all you wanted is true and and it is a place of judgment. It exists, it is a place this in the it is reserved for all those who have rejected the truth of Christ, but it's possible to be very courageous in the declaration and lack compassion like what the Lord Jesus, who wept over Jerusalem listen to the compassion of the apostle Paul who in first Corinthians chapter 1 said for the word of the cross is to those who are perishing in second Corinthians. He says we, the believers are the fragrance of Christ God among those who are perishing. Paul said in second grade.
In chapter 4 verse three. If our gospel is hidden it is hidden to those who are perishing seem to be hung up on that word. They are dieting they are good as dead, they are infected with a terminal disease. We know it is in the statistics are no one being an effective witness means living with Paul with the mind of this little girl compassion, recognizing that you live in the neighborhood filled with people you work at a corporation filled with dead people are people in your family who are as good as dead unless they come Jesus Christ with courage and compassion, sharing secret that'll give you an altogether different view on the professor, who ridicules your faith, or that neighbor or family member who seeks to inflict as much upon you as he can associate to read you a story.
It's the story of another little girl that I came across this past week.
She was an 11-year-old girl when her story was told living in central Chile. The March 1980 addition of the Journal Mountain movers carried the story. Maria had come to faith in Christ and now her friends and her had been praying for months that her daddy would receive Christ gift of salvation as well. Take the book daddy please take this book but 11-year-old Marie you can read it tonight during your break at the mine.
No, I don't have time for that. Where's my lunch on the kitchen table as he disappeared into the kitchen. Maria slipped the little book that she purchased into her dad's coat pocket luncheon hand. He picked up his coat gave Maria a kiss and walked out the door. Please Lord, make daddy read that book I wanted to come to know you two years earlier. Maria's mother died alone now.
She took care of her daddy, washing his clothes and cooking his meals.
Nothing she could do seem to interest him in spiritual things in her efforts to make him come to church have been futile. When a missionary came by with some Christian books. Maria had a thought maybe my daddy will read a book after she explained her need the missionary recommended one of the book saying I think you might read this one all Maria could do now is pray and hope. Perhaps tonight, her daddy would find the book in his coat and greeted come to Christ. The explosion at 1:10 AM shook the mining town awake sirens began wailing. The villagers rushed the mine entrance fear, clutching their hearts.
Of course Maria was always among them.
She watched apprehensively is a beehive of men desperately toward the caved in mine entrance, pushing up debris shoveling out dirt to make a passageway for auction oxygen and hopefully for any survivors. After what seemed like hours. There was a shout of joy. Some had survived with other girls and mothers. However, Maria huddled the entrance to watch the men come out. Her father was not among them. The hours dragged by on and on into the next day with each passing hour hope faded more the missing men had been caught deep, deeper in the mine with their oxygen supply cut off from material about late into the second night they found them. One of the searchers described as we were digging deep in the mine. Well, the ground gave way. Once the dust had settled, we saw the bodies all eight of them. One of them had a small book that was open to the last page with a piece of charcoal he had scratched out a message my dearest Maria, thank you for putting the little book in my coat pocket. I read it several times. All the other men listen I did with the book says except Jesus as Savior.
One day will be together. I love you very much education great exposure, courage, compassion, valves they would be like Stephen Devi and his message called out of the mouths of babes here in wisdom for the hearts.
I'm glad you're able to join us today were getting close to the end of June and so I'll remind you that during this month we have a free resource to equip fathers who want to lead their families in godliness. Stephen is written a booklet entitled the Enoch example it's a booklet that explores the life and legacy of Enoch. Everyone has a legacy.
So the question for you fathers. Is this what will your legacy be when your children say that you walked with God, or that you ran from God when your grandchildren receive an inheritance of earthly riches or heavenly riches. Learn how your walk with God can impact your family for generations to come. This is a free digital download that you can access from our website right now, go to wisdom online.org for information. There is a link on the homepage that's going to direct you write to it. Once again, go to wisdom online.org and you can take advantage of this free offer of the Enoch example, today our number is 86 648 Bible we have staff and volunteers on hand to take your call right now once again at 86 648 Bible students going to continue his series on the life of Elisha when we return next time I sure hope you will be with us, then here on wisdom from the heart