WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 04, 2023
TOPIC: DO YOU HONOUR THE SERVANTS OF GOD?
BY T. O. BANSO
“Give him a joyful Christian welcome. Make sure you honor people like Epaphroditus highly. He risked his life and almost died for the work of Christ in order to make up for the help you couldn’t give me” (Philippians 2:29-30 GOD’S WORD Translation).
One of the lessons one learns from the story in 2 Kings 1:2-17 is to honour the servants of God. King Ahaziah of Israel sent an army captain and his fifty soldiers to arrest the Prophet Elijah because he told the messengers of Ahaziah to tell him that he would not come down from his sick bed but would surely die. This was after Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria, and was injured.
Following this accident, he sent messengers to go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if he would recover from this injury. The angel of the LORD told Elijah to go and meet Ahaziah’s messengers and tell them: “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’ Now therefore, thus says the LORD: ‘You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die’” (2 Kings 1:3b-4 New King James Version). Elijah acted accordingly.
When the king’s servants returned, he asked them why they had come back. They told him a man met them and told them to return to the king who sent them and deliver to him the message from the LORD, which they delivered to the king. He inquired about the identity of the man and when they described him, he said that it was Elijah the Tishbite. Therefore, he sent a captain of fifty with his fifty men to arrest him. Elijah had no army or security guard, and one wonders why the king needed to send as many as fifty soldiers led by a captain to arrest an unarmed man of God.
The captain went as he was commanded. He found Elijah sitting on the top of a hill and told him, “Man of God, the king has said, ‘Come down!’” (Verse 9b New King James Version). Elijah replied, this captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men” (verse 10b New King James Version). Just as Elijah said, fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men.
Ahaziah didn’t take a cue from what happened to desist from the mission of arresting Elijah. He sent another captain and his fifty soldiers. This captain issued the same command to Elijah: “Man of God, thus has the king said, ‘Come down quickly!’” (Verse 11b New King James Version). Elijah didn’t hesitate to respond the same way he did before: “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men” (verse 12b New King James Version). Again, the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed this captain and his fifty men.
Unfortunately, Ahaziah didn’t stop. Apparently, he didn’t worry that the lives of these captains and their soldiers were wasted. He sent the third captain and his fifty soldiers. The result would have been the same if not because of the attitude of the captain who learnt from what happened to those sent earlier.
This third captain didn’t act like a military man! He didn’t command Elijah but fell on his knees before him, and pleaded with him thus: “Man of God, please let my life and the life of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight. Look, fire has come down from heaven and burned up the first two captains of fifties with their fifties. But let my life now be precious in your sight” (Verse 13b-14 New King James Version).
This captain knew that divine power was superior to military power! He bowed to the power of God and he succeeded where his predecessors failed. Because of how he talked to the servant of God, pleading rather than commanding him, the angel of the LORD told Elijah to go with the captain and not be afraid of him. Elijah did.
Do you honour the servants of God? Note that each of the three captains referred to Elijah as a “man of God.” However, the first two captains commanded him to come down quickly. In other words, Elijah was under arrest. Elijah saw that as an attack and defended himself. If the two captains had honoured him, they and their soldiers wouldn’t have died. They acknowledged him as a man of God but didn’t honour him. Do you honour the servants of God in words and deeds?
In 1 Kings 13:1-6, King Jeroboam’s wrong attitude to the man of God from Judah led to his hand becoming withered. He stretched forth his hand to command his arrest but his hand withered. This was after the king had heard the man of God cry out against the altar in Bethel, saying, “Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you” (verse 2b New King James Version). The man of God also gave a sign, saying, “Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out” (verse 3b New King James Version).
Responding, the king stretched out his hand from the altar and ordered the arrest of the man of God but it withered. He couldn’t pull it back. Also, the altar was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given. The king’s hand was only restored after the man of God heard his plea to pray to God for its restoration. He did and God restored the king’s hand (verse 6). Do you honour the servants of God? When you honour the servants of God, you also honour God.
King Joash of Judah and the leaders of Judah did not honour the servant of God, Zechariah, whose father, Jehoiada, was Joash’s benefactor. Zachariah prophesied against Joash for transgressing the commandments of the LORD and forsaking Him. He said because he had forsaken the LORD, He also had forsaken him. Consequently, the leaders of Judah conspired against Zechariah, and at the command of the king, they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the LORD.
But Joash and the leaders of Judah didn’t go scot-free. The army of the Syrians came with a small company of men and the LORD delivered a very great army of Judah into their hand because they had forsaken Him. Also, the officials of Joash conspired against him because of the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest and killed him on his bed. You will find the story in 2 Chronicles 24:20-26.
There is a reward for honouring the servants of God. There are also consequences for dishonouring them. Matthew 10:41 says, “If you welcome a prophet because he is a man of God, you will be given the same reward a prophet gets. And if you welcome good and godly men because of their godliness, you will be given a reward like theirs” (The Living Bible).
The Shunamite woman received the miracle of a son because she honoured “a holy servant of God,” as she referred to Elisha in 2 Kings 4:9. When Elisha went to Shunem, this notable woman persuaded him to eat some food. From then, whenever he passed by, he would turn in there to eat. Then this woman told her husband, “Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there” (verse 10 New King James Version). In response to her kindness to Elisha, he prophesied that she would have a son. She did and when he later died, Elisha raised him back to life.
If you honour or dishonor the servants of God, you will reap what you sow. Ahab punished and humiliated the Prophet Micaiah for giving him a true prophecy not to go to war against Ramoth-Gilead. But Ahab died in the war as Micaiah had prophesied (1 Kings 22:26-40).
Do you honour the servants of God? Jesus said a prophet was not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house (Mark 6:4; Matthew 13:57). He also testified in John 4:44 that a prophet had no honor in his own country. Jesus couldn’t do any mighty work in Nazareth among His people (Mark 6:5; Matthew 13:58). They said, “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” (Mark 6:3a New King James Version). Matthew 13:55 says a similar thing. They took offense at Jesus. But He said in Matthew 11:6 that blessed was he who was not offended because of Him.
Do you honour the servants of God? Honour the servant of God even if he/she is your spouse, child, relation, friend, etc. Don’t dishonor him. Avoid words and deeds that don’t honour the servants of God. The same anointing on Elisha that healed the water of Jericho also made two female bears come out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths who mocked him and he pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD (2 Kings 2:19-24). They didn’t act in a way to receive a blessing but a curse. What you need is a blessing, not a curse!
Do you honour the servants of God? 1 Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine” (New King James Version). Note the phrase “double honour.” The Living Bible puts the verse thus: “Pastors who do their work well should be paid well and should be highly appreciated, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching.” The New Living Translation says, “Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching.”
Writing to the Philippians, Paul, who was talking about Epaphroditus, the messenger who came from Phillipi to him when he was in prison in Rome, said, “Give him a joyful Christian welcome. Make sure you honor people like Epaphroditus highly. He risked his life and almost died for the work of Christ in order to make up for the help you couldn’t give me” (Philippians 2:29-30 GOD’S WORD Translation).
Do you honour the servants of God?
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 you 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 honour the servants of God in my words and deeds. I pray that all those dishonoring the servants of God will repent and begin to honour them and be blessed.
(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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