2 Kings 5:26 Is it a time to receive money?
I remember this verse well, but to begin, let’s look at the account of Abraham looking for a burial place for his beloved wife, Sarah.
Gen 23: 4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
5 And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him,
6 Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead.
7 And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.
8 And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar,
9 That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you.
10 And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying,
11 Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.
12 And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land.
13 And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.
14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him,
15 My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.
16 ¶ And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant.
Notice the heart of Abraham here. He could have simply received this grave site cave as a gift, but his heart fully belonged to God, full of honor.
He knew that in the long run, not paying full price for this burial plot would have caused strife between him and Ephron, and there is no honor in strife. How? Think about it for a minute: the people in the community would say: Abraham is really wealthy, yet he took some of our land to bury his wife. He could have paid for it, but he took advantage of ‘uncle’ Ephron’s kindness…You know how all that can go…
Reminds me of the heart of Elisha after Naaman was healed of leprosy, yet he did not receive an offering from him.
Let’s look at the account here:
2 Kings 5:15 ¶ And 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.
16 But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.
26 And 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?
As we study church history, we have seen great abuses of spiritual authority in this area.
The great healing evangelists who would see the power of God open a number of deaf ears, or raise cripples miraculously from deathbeds or wheelchairs, only to announce:
‘Now let’s honor God by taking up an offering!’
As if one can buy the miraculous power of God!
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Not every offering is acceptable before God, and though folks may offer us money, gifts, great deals, not every offering is acceptable before God.
I remember how the Lord dealt with me along these lines while I attended Bible school at Rhema back in the 90’s.
I had prayed for some new suits, and while at a revival meeting, a man approached me and told me that God told him to give me three new suits that he had just purchased. We went to his house after the meeting, and they were beautiful suits, and exactly my size! I went home praising God, thanking Him for this blessing, but had a gentle nudge down in my heart, that something wasn’t quite right. Wasn’t sure quite what yet.
Next morning, in devotions, the Lord showed me the motives of this man’s heart that had given me the suits, and they were not right before him.
Mt 9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
The man was extremly bitter against Rhema, and was in gross rebellion towards God Himself. I prayed about what to do, and the Lord told me to return the suits that very minute to the man, so I jumped in my car, drove across town, and left them on the doorknob of his house with a note on them. Never saw the man again, but God ignited my heart with joy, and I knew that I had done the right thing.
The heart of any true minister of God, is to receive offerings, in faith, just like Jesus received the little boys lunch: When people give to us, we should have not merely gratefulness that OUR needs are being met, but more importantly, that they honored God in their giving, so that we could, with the faith of Abraham, believe God would multiply their gift exponentially so that THEIR needs are met.
This is the heart of the apostle Paul in the famous verses, often misquoted at offering time that he wrote in his letter to the Phillippians:
4:16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Paul saw, before the throne of God, how God Himself was honoring the offerings of the Phillipian church, and ‘fruit was being added to their account’ so that he could state clearly that God would become personally involved in their finances, and would supply all of their needs according TO HIS RICHES IN GLORY by Christ Jesus!
Hope this helps someone today, trying to walk in their calling, and to keep their heart right before the Lord.
“Father God, I come before you right now, trusting you, and You alone fully for my provision. Show me where to give, and where to receive, and give me strength of heart, to never be bought, nor compromise our vital, living relationship. In your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen’