And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD. (2 Kings 5:17)
READING THE BIBLE AT A RAPID PACE has its place but not in these verses. “We can’t dig taters while we’re running through the garden.” Let’s review the story.
NAAMAN, THE TOP MILITARY GENERAL OF ASSYRIA, (100 miles or so northeast of Israel) has come to Israel on the strength of the testimony of a little captive slave girl in his house, stolen from her Jewish home somewhere along the northern border of Israel. This little girl had the noble soul of a queen and loved him enough to tell his wife about a prophet of God in Israel that could heal his leprosy. Naaman was marked for a slow and painful death that had no respect for his greatness in perhaps the strongest nation on earth at the time.
HE GOES TO ISRAEL AND GETS A GENUINE PUT-DOWN FROM THE PROPHET OF GOD who wouldn’t even come to the front door of his house to greet this noble Assyrian general. He is told to go and “wash” in the muddy river of Jordan, dip himself under the water seven times and he would be healed.
THE JORDAN RIVER WAS MUDDY, but he had to get God’s help on God’s terms. God will have nothing to do with a proud man. Naaman’s pride was as bad as his leprosy. He finally humbles his heart and at the advice of his servants, obeys the stern old prophet.
NAAMAN IS HEALED ON THE SPOT! HEALED IN THE MUDDY RIVER! Now, he doesn’t know what to do. He is a new man! He is full of joy! He wants to give something to the old prophet. His “sons of the prophets” could certainly use the money to buy food and clothing. But Elisha won’t have it. He will not have a high-level Assyrian thinking he can “buy God.”
NAAMAN THINKS ABOUT TOMORROW. “An altar!” “I’ve got to have some holy ground! This old prophet lives on holy ground. I’ve got to have some holy ground from the prophet’s house!” If he couldn’t live in Israel and pray to Israel’s God from the land of Israel, he would take a little pile of Israel’s dirt with him. He could build a box around it; and make an altar he could see, or he could scatter the dirt inside a circle and kneel on that dirt.
LET'S LOOK AT SOMETHING. God called on Moses and got his attention with a burning bush that kept on burning. When Moses came over to check it out, the bush talked to him!
And he (God) said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. (Exodus 3:5)
LATER WHEN MOSES WAS DEAD AND JOSHUA HAD TAKEN HIS PLACE and was about to invade the Promised Land, a stranger showed up and introduced himself as the new “Captain of the LORD”S host.” And he added immediately: Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:15)
JOSHUA MUST HAVE AGREED THAT IT WAS HOLY GROUND or else he would not have taken off his shoes. Joshua was not a kindergarten student! He was a seasoned warrior and trained for many years by old Moses and had a depth of knowledge of God that few men had. He knew enough about the holy ground thing to immediately take off his shoes! Some people might write this off as too silly to be serious about it. “
NO HOLY GROUND? Well, we don’t worship the ground we revere but if God met you on a certain spot, you’re going to think more of that spot than any other place on earth. I still remember the spot where God met with me in the bean market in October 1943. The bean market has been gone 50 years, but the holy ground is still in my mind and heart. We would do well to have some holy ground.
NAAMAN WOULD SERVE NO OTHER GOD BUT HE GOD OF ISRAEL. But he had to go home to Damascus (the oldest continually inhabited city in the world) and pick up where he left off. He could not force the King of Assyria to worship the God of Israel. He would have to go with his boss and put up a front about the god of Damascus: Hadad-Rimmon, a god of rain and thunder, shortened to Rimmon.
IT WAS HIS DUTY O GO WITH THE KING AND OTHER OFFICIALS OF STATE. Naaman was a new believer with no background and was not ready to risk his life by balking against the King. He was not like Daniel and his three friends (Daniel. 3:12) who refused to bow to the gods of Babylon. He was not as responsible as an Israelite trained in the Word of God.
GOD TOLD ISRAEL WHAT TO DO ABOUT BUILDING ALTARS. Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. (Exodus 20:23-25)
JOSHUA REMEMBERED THIS WHEN HE LATER BUILT AN ALTAR: Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal, As Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. (Joshua 8:30-31)
THE ROCK THAT FOLLOWED ISRAEL IN THE WILDERNESS WAS CHRIST (1Corinthians.10:4). He was the stone which the builders rejected. We must have the Christ of the Bible, the Rock of the Bible. That rock must remain unchanged, unaltered to suit ourselves.
TWO MULES AND A PILE OF DIRT DISPLAYS THE NEED FOR A SPECIAL, DAILY MEETING place with God. Jesus had such a place: And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. (Mark 1:35) He didn’t pray every day at that same place since he did a lot of traveling. But we may be assured that He regularly found a solitary place and prayed. Ω
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Read Through the Bible in a Year
JUNE 11, 2019 – TUESDAY
A.M. 2Chronicles: 34-36 P.M. John 19:1-22
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. (Psalm 33:12-13)
Song for Today:
Holy, Holy, Holy (6:38) (John Starnes & Choir -FBC-Jax, Fla.)
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