Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 7-9; 2 Chronicles 22; Psalm 19, 51
The king of Aram had great admiration for the commander of his army, Naaman, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But although Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy. – 2 Kings 5:1
Even though God was doing great things through Naaman, even though Naaman was a mighty warrior, there was still something in his life that he was suffering with – something he needed God to heal in order to be whole.
A young Israeli slave who had been taken captive by the Aramean army told Naaman’s wife about a prophet in Samaria who could heal her master of his leprosy. Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said. Misunderstanding the message, the king sent Naaman to the king of Israel with gifts, asking for the king himself to heal Naaman. Tearing his clothes in dismay he cried out, “Am I God that I can give life and take it away?” (2 Kings 5:7)
When the prophet Elisha heard about this, he sent a message to the king for Naaman to be brought to him. When Naaman and his entourage showed up at the door, Elisha sent a messenger out to Naaman: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”
But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers in Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. – 2 Kings 5:10-12
HOW DO WE REACT WHEN GOD TELLS US TO DO SOMETHING WE DO NOT WANT TO DO?
ARE THERE TIMES WHEN PRIDE GETS IN THE WAY OF FOLLOWING GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS?
WHAT IS MY RESPONSE WHEN GOD ANSWERS IN A DIFFERENT WAY THAN I THOUGHT HE WOULD?
Naaman’s officers reasoned with him and convinced Naaman to go down to the muddy waters of the Jordan River. He dipped himself seven times, just as the man of God had instructed him. His skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child and he was healed! (2 Kings 5:13-14)
This story reminds me of our own stubborn behavior. We want God to heal us or to make us whole but we have a preconceived idea of how He should do that. What God desires is obedience and complete surrender to whatever He tells us to do – for physical healing or spiritual cleansing.
HOW OFTEN DO OUR PRECONCEIVED IDEAS GET IN THE WAY OF OUR OBEDIENCE?
Let’s dip into the words of King David as he asked God to cleanse him from his unrighteousness after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Let’s allow Psalm 51 to wash over us in complete surrender to the God who heals and makes us whole again. Perhaps God is doing mighty things in your life and through your life, but you need Him to remind you today that you have been forgiven and He has washed you clean. Let’s dip seven times in the river of God.
Dip #1: Create in me a clean heart, O God. Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.
Dip #2: Create in me a clean heart, O God. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.
Dip #3: Create in me a clean heart, O God. Against you and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.
Dip #4: Create in me a clean heart, O God. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Oh give me back my joy again; you have broken me – now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.
Dip #5: Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit with within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Dip #6: Create in me a clean heart, O God. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you.
Dip #7: Create in me a clean heart, O God. You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repent heart, O God.
“Go in peace,” Elisha said. So Naaman started home again (2 Kings 5:19).
How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:12-14