7. GREED WILL CAUSE PEOPLE TO LIE, TO DO FOOLISH THINGS, & TO SUFFER.
II Kings 5:20-27:
"But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, 'Look, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but as the LORD lives, I will run after him and take something from him.' So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw him running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him, and said, 'Is all well?' And he said, 'All is well. My master has sent me, saying, "Indeed, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the mountains of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of garments."' So Naaman said, 'Please, take two talents.' And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and handed them to two of his servants; and they carried them on ahead of him. When he came to the citadel, he took them from their hand, and stored them away in the house; then he let the men go, and they departed. Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, 'Where did you go, Gehazi?' And he said, 'Your servant did not go anywhere. Then he said to him, 'Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever!' And he went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow."This lesson is simple and straightforward: greed is the undoing of many (cf. I Tim. 6:6-10). Greed leads many to do wicked things they would not otherwise do. It is better to learn contentment than to chase after temporal wealth (cf. Phil. 4:11,12).
8. SOMETIMES THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF A MIRACLE IS COMPASSION, NOT CONFIRMING THE WORD.
II Kings 6:1-6:
"And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, 'See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us. Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell.' So he answered, 'Go.' Then one said, 'Please consent to go with your servants.' And he answered, 'I will go.' So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan they cut down trees. But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, 'Alas, master! For it was borrowed.' So the man of God said, 'Where did it fall? And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float."Here is a miracle that was done out of compassion for a poor student. "So what?" you might ask. It is true that Jesus' apostles worked miracles to confirm the word of God that was being revealed (cf. Mark 16:20), but sometimes God allowed His power to be used primarily out of compassion, not confirmation of truth. This example proves that, it would seem (and I only bring it up here to correct a common misunderstanding). Scripture teaches that humans are no longer performing miracles with God's power (cf. I Cor. 13:8ff), but what is often overlooked is that this says nothing about what God Himself (independently of man) may be doing. We know that God answers the prayers of His faithful children (cf. I John 3:22). Could that include a direct act of compassion today from deity? If not, why not? If we do not believe that God can directly affect our lives today (e.g., when we pray for a very sick child), why do we pray at all (cf. Matt. 19:26)?