Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Valley of the Vision

In 2 Kings 5, the Bible gives an account of Naaman, a mighty man of war who happens to be a leper. Naaman hears of a prophet who has the ability to heal him, but struggles with the humility needed to be obedient unto deliverance. When he finally overcomes his pride, and learns to heed the word and instruction of the prophet, he is healed of his leprosy by the prophet Elisha.

Now, Elisha has a servant – much like today’s “armor bearers”, by the name of Gehazi. It is Gehazi that so resembles the Body of Christ today. In the season, God would have his people to regain the respect and honor due to the leaders He has put in place. The Body of Christ has missed many blessings all because those following God-ordained leaders thought they knew better than the ones ordained to lead.

There was a time, not many years ago, when a person fearfully respected God’s leaders. There was a time when people were careful not to “put their mouths” on one called by God. Now, it seems that God’s people don’t understand the order of the church. We seem not to understand the danger that comes with causing confusion by bucking against a leader in a disorderly fashion. Now, I already hear in the spirit those who would ask, “What about the leaders that are just wrong? Now, there are so many corrupt people in leadership.” Even in these cases, there is a due order that must be followed. Even more, my question of rebutle would be, “If you know so much and hear so clearly from God, why have you submitted to error?”

Now, back to the point – Too many of us are in the valley of the vision, but trying to lead the mission! Yes, God has set visionaries in place, but those who are in the valley do not have the sight they believe they have. Can I encourage the leaders in the Church for just a moment?

Gehazi’s name means “valley of vision.” As a prophet, Elisha is the visionary. He sees, hears and knows the instruction of God. As his servant, Gehazi’s job is to hear and receive instruction from the visionary (Elisha), and follow directions that he can assist in bringing the vision to pass.

After Naaman follows the instruction of Elisha, he is healed of his leprosy and returns to the prophet of God.

15And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. 16But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused. 17And 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. 18In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing. 19And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.

Naaman attempts to thank Elisha for his services by offering him goods, worth quite a bit of money. However, Elisha refuses the gifts. He understands the dealings that Naaman has had with idols and refuses any gift. He tells him to go in peace, and protects his integrity by refusing a gift that would allow Naaman to feel that he “paid” for the prophet’s instruction. For Gehazi, this is a difficult concept to understand. It’s difficult because he is not hearing from God in this situation. He is not the prophet called to do the work. He is to serve the man of God, not analyze his actions. How many of us have missed it? How many of us have forgotten that when we don’t understand what is happening, it could just be because we’re not called to understand. We are called to work the vision, not analyze it. God speaks to some of us through others. No one can serve God without honoring the men and women He has put in place.

20But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. 21So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? 22And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments. 23And 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. 24And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.

Gehazi doesn’t understand the decision his leader has made. Rather than trusting him as the man of God that he is, he ends up committing the same sin Naaman did in the beginning. He feels he knows better. His pride rises up, and he dabbles in things that are none of his business. He begins to re-evaluate the vision rather than working in the trenches – in the valley where he is. He wants to give orders rather than follow instruction. So, he follows Naaman and lies to him about his leader. He uses his leader’s good name to add wealth to his own life.

Gehazi forgot that he was in the VALLEY of the vision. In the valley, there are things that he cannot see. So, he supercedes the actions of his master, all for personal gain. So many in the Body of Christ, who should be working in the valley, believe they have a bird’s eye view of God’s intent. That pride that keeps one from knowing their place then causes them to use their leader’s anointing, their leader’s good name, and information they’ve obtained from that leader for their own personal gain.

For example, your pastor, who is on the mountain receiving instruction from the Lord, said that you are not yet ready to preach. Yet, you heard from God yourself. So, you go out and lie to the people, giving them the impression that you were completely trained and sent by your covering – all to make a name for yourself and earn money in the “ministry.” You go and start your “own thing” now, because you believe you know better. You haven’t been CALLED, yet the enemy has tricked you into believing you are more qualified. Remember, Elisha was called, equipped and summoned. Gehazi was just along for the ride. How quickly one can forget their rightful place!!! Oh, it happens all too often.

25But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. 26And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? 27The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
Even when given the opportunity to repent, Gehazi simply denies his wrongdoing. Not only has he used his leader’s good name to lie and create a false sense of importance, but he now lies to his own leader. He doesn’t understand that God will give your leader the ability to know when you’ve strayed. It is the job of the shepherd to know when a sheep veers to the wrong direction.

Finally, Elisha rebukes his servant, and God brings the curse of Naamon upon Gehazi. Because he has taken on the sin of Naaman, he also brings upon himself the curse of Naaman.

People of God, are you the visionary or are you called to the valley of the vision? It is so important for us to know our place in the Kingdom. Visionaries must step up and open your eyes. Those working in the valley must learn to follow instruction and remain humble.


No comments: