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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Not Like Me?

In the Book of 2 Kings 5 Elisha has a strange visitor to his place of residence. A Syrian general, held in high regard by the King of Syria sought the Prophet for healing of his leprosy. General Naaman was no friend of Israel or Judah. It seems that Syria and everything from this nation sharing borders with Israel and Judah were enemies from the beginning. God would often raise up foreign armies to punish His disobedient children, Israel. He used these enemies of Israel as His rod of punishment.

How did Elisha respond to this strange visit? He gave instruction to the general for his healing from God. Naaman admitted that his place of worship in his own country was to another god totally separated from the God of Israel. After his healing, he revisited the Prophet and offered thanks to the God of Israel, the one and only God among all of the gods of the nations.

What if Elisha had condemned this man seeking deliverance from his disease? What if Elisha had responded with wrath, anger, and no mercy? What would our response be to those God may send our way who are seeking deliverance who may be of different backgrounds, different beliefs on who God is, and who are ignorant of His ways, or who may have fallen in error? What if a Muslim coworker, or one steeped in Eastern Religions, those of different sexual orientation were to come seeking healing or proper opinion on spiritual matters?

Would we respond in mercy, compassion, offer deliverance and lead them with a gentle spirit and grace that can only come from our heavenly Father?

I am the chiefest of sinners when it comes to having an opinion about everything! I have been very guilty in the past of offering condemnation to anyone who may not think as I do. This is not of God. I repent of this error and ask God's forgiveness for my acts made from zeal instead of compassion. God said His mercies are renewed every morning - His compassions fail not. How can I call Him my God if I am not the same?

In this regard, a Jewish Believer had an excellent opinion of the recent condemnation from so called Believer's who have already condemned President Obama for his Muslim childhood. I have not even begun to realize the depths of what God could do if He so chose given this fact. This dear Jewish Brother said that the fact that President Obama had a Muslim background, and now claims have converted to Christianity opens up the door for hundreds of millions of Muslims to also convert if they so desire!

Of course, Islamic extremists say that death awaits anyone who converts; compare this to Christians attitudes, if not in action then by inference and attitude, that Muslims cannot convert! The extremism is the same, just from different directions. This is not of God.

The Syrian Naaman was healed by the God of Israel through the instruction, grace, compassion and intercession of the Prophet Elisha. Should we be any different? Many today in Christendom claim to be prophets of God or to speak the truths of God. I hope their insurance policies are paid up to date; the true prophets of God in Scripture met violent deaths at the hands of non-believers. John the Baptist prophesied for a short 6 months before having his head delivered on a platter. Such is the fate of many true prophets of God. If you claim to be a prophet, keep your life insurance premium paid to date!

The healing of Naaman was mentioned by Jesus as an example of the mercy of God and His desire to be known of all tribes and nations. Our mindset should be the same. Anything different is not of God. As the nations enter a season of judgment we must store in our lamps a sufficient quantity of mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and the oil of the Spirit of God for those whom He may send our way that seek direction, healing and salvation.

If we do not have a storehouse of mercy, compassion and pity for the lost of our generation, God will not send them our way. It is our loss if this happens. God said that those who save souls are wise. Yes, there is no other name under heaven whereby mankind can be saved. May we speak His name in the manner He desires. It is up to the individual whether they accept or decline.

One soul brought to and saved by God is worth the whole world. I don't say that, He did.

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