CULTIVATE THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD’S SERVANTS

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

APRIL 28, 2024

TOPIC: CULTIVATE THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD’S SERVANTS

BY T. O. BANSO

“Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous  person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward” (Matthew 10:41 New International   Version).

Elisha served Elijah. When Elijah was to be taken away to heaven, he asked Elisha to ask for what he should do for him. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ ‘Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,’ Elisha replied. ‘You have asked a difficult thing,’ Elijah said, ‘yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not’” (2 Kings 2:9-10 New International Version). Eventually, he got what he requested. The double portion of the spirit of Elijah rested on Elisha. The spirit rested on a faithful servant, not an onlooker or a critic.

2 Kings 2:15 says, “Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, ‘The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.’ And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him” (New King James Version).

In 2 Kings 3:11, an officer of the king of Israel, in answer to King Jehoshaphat of Judah’s question if there was no prophet of the Lord to be consulted over the lack of water he and the kings of Israel and Edom were facing during a mission to fight against Moab, said “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah” (New International Version). Note the phrase “He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.” But Elisha, “who poured water on the hands of Elijah” (New King James Version), received a double portion of his spirit (2 Kings 2:9-15).

The phrase “who poured water on the hands of Elijah” means “who was servant to Elijah” (Bible in Basic English) or that Elisha wasElijah’s assistant” (Good News Translation; GOD’s WORD Translation) or his “personal assistant”, as the New Living Translation puts it. Some people today are not pouring water on a servant of God. They are not serving him, yet they want the double portion of the spirit in him. Elisha poured water on the hands of Elijah. Whom did you pour water on his hand? Or who are you pouring water on their hands? In other words, who have you served or are you serving?

Elijah was a great servant of God. Elisha didn’t miss the opportunity to ask for the right thing from Elijah when he asked him what he could do for him before being taken from him. In other words, once he was taken from him, he would not see him again. If you were Elisha, what would you have asked? What Elisha asked for revealed the state of his heart. He didn’t ask for any material thing that Elijah had. He asked for something eternal, not temporal. That’s why we are still talking about him positively today.

Imagine if Gehazi were in the shoes of Elisha, probably he would have asked for the shoes, clothes, and other material possessions of Elijah! But people like Gehazi wouldn’t have come as far as that with such a servant of God to have had the privilege of being asked to say what could be done for him.

Elisha served Elijah sincerely and faithfully and received a double portion of the spirit in him. Unfortunately, Gehazi served Elisha, but could not get the power of God. Instead, he got Naaman’s leprosy, because his heart was not right. Unlike his master, Elisha, who was focused on getting the double portion of the spirit of Elijah, and got it, Gehazi was after material gain. Consequently, Elisha declared that the leprosy of Naaman would cling to him and his descendants forever. Therefore, he became leprous (2 Kings 5:20-27).

What is your relationship with the servants of God? Are focusing on their material possession or on serving God under them or with them? Are you relating with servants of God only because of what you want to collect from them or receive from them, or to bless them, too, as God is using them to bless you? The servants of God are serving you but in what way are you serving them also?

Peter and the other disciples served Jesus. Whom have you served or are you serving? Every genuine ministry today is a continuation of the ministry of Jesus Christ. The apostles continued where Jesus stopped. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 New International Version). His disciples obeyed Him and God used them mightily. They served Jesus and they all, excluding the betrayer, became great after.

Joshua served Moses. He was his servant or assistant. Exodus 24:13 says,So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God” (New King James Version). Note how Joshua is described. Also, Exodus 33:11 says, So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle” (New King James Version). In this scripture, Joshua is called Moses’ servant. The word “servant” in this context, means the same thing as “assistant.”

Numbers 11:28 says,So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, ‘Moses my lord, forbid them!’” (New King James Version). Note the phrase “Moses’ assistant.”

Joshua was Moses’ servant or assistant while Moses was leading the Israelites. When God was going to call Moses home, He chose Joshua to succeed him. Numbers 27:18-21 says, “And the Lord said to Moses: ‘Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him;  set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate[a] him in their sight. And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation” (New King James Version). Moses did as the LORD had told him (verses 22-23).

Joshua served Moses and succeeded him as the leader of the Israelites (Joshua 1:1-2). Deuteronomy 34:9a says Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. Moses didn’t lay his hand on any other person but the person who had served him. Some people today want to rise to leadership positions without serving anyone. Some Christians desire to have not only a double portion but quadruple portion of the spirit in their pastors but will never serve in any steward group in church or serve to help the servant of God realize the vision God has given him. Such people are just daydreaming. The path to greatness in the kingdom of God is service, not lobbying or cleverness.

Those who desire and are praying for the gift of God in certain servants of God without serving them or being a blessing to them in any way, want to reap where they have not sown. Joshua, Moses’ former servant, led the Israelites into the Promised Land. Moses had the right relationship with the anointed and God rewarded him. If you are not a good servant, you will not be a good leader.

Jesus said, But Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many’” (Matthew 20:25-28 New Living Translation). Which servant of God are you serving or under which servant of God are you serving God?

Samuel served Eli the priest. 1 Samuel 2:11b says the child (Samuel) ministered to the LORD before Eli the priest. Similarly, 1 Samuel 2:18 says Samuel ministered before the LORD, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod. This same child became a great prophet in Israel. 1 Samuel 3:19 says,So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. (New King James Version). Unfortunately, some people today do not want to serve God under any minister of God but covet the power of God they see in their lives.

What is your relationship with the servants of God? How do you see the servants of God? Society is critical of the servants of God because of the behaviour of some of them. If you close your eyes not to see a wicked person, when a good person is passing, you will not see him. No doubt, there are charlatans in the body of Christ, but the existence of the counterfeit is proof of the existence of the original. Not all servants of God are fake.

Don’t condemn all servants of God and not cultivate a right relationship with them. Ask God to guide you.  If you have the Holy Spirit inside you, let Him guide you to recognize, appreciate, serve, and bless genuine servants of God. 1 John 4:1 says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (New International Version).

Cultivate the right relationship with the servants of God. Matthew 10:41 says, “Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.” (New International Version).

The servants of God are not God, and therefore you should not worship them. Nevertheless, some things may never happen in your life without their help. Also, some things will happen to you because of their relationship with you. Don’t worship them but have regard for them as men of God.

The Shunamite woman regarded the Prophet Elisha as a holy man of God and provided food and lodging for him. “She said to her husband, ‘I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us’” (2 Kings 4:9-10 New International Version). Through her good deeds, this woman received a miracle child and the restoration of the same child to life later when he died (2 Kings 4:8-37). She was also spared the agony of a seven-year famine and her land was restored to her when she returned after the famine (2 Kings 8:1-6).

The Shunamite woman sustained her relationship with the servant of God; she didn’t behave like some people who, once God used servants of God for them, cut off from them. They believe they will not need them again. They use and dump the servants of God. But they have forgotten that they might need the servants of God another day. The Shunamite woman needed Elisha again and he was there for her.

Also, the widow of Zarephath enjoyed a miraculous food supply during a three-and-a-half-year famine (1 Kings 17:8-16). God supplied all her needs because she heeded the word of the Prophet of God, Elijah, and fed him. Praying for the Philippians for their generosity towards him in the ministry, Paul said in Philippians 4:19, And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (New King James Version). Many people have prayed this prayer for themselves repeatedly and wonder why they have not gotten the answer. The Philippians didn’t pray this prayer; Paul prayed it for them because of the gifts they sent his ministry.

What is your relationship with servants of God? Do you have regard for them? Do you relate to servants of God based on revelation or do you see them as ordinary people? Do you appreciate the grace of God in their lives and honour God by honouring them? Do you believe them?

In 2 Chronicles 20:20b, Jehoshaphat said to the people of Judah and Jerusalem, “Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful” (New International Version). Note that Jehoshaphat talked about God and His prophets or servants, not God alone and not his prophets alone. “The LORD used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt, by a prophet he cared for him” (Hosea 12:13 New International Version).

Develop an intimate relationship with God and cultivate the right relationship with the servant of God.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to develop an intimate relationship with God and a right relationship with His servants. I shall serve the Lord and also serve His servants. I shall have faith in God and also have faith in His servants.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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