FOCUS SCRIPTURE: 2 Kings 5:9-15.
This week I've been reading through the book of 2 Kings and I remembered when God spoke to me through the story of Naaman. It was February 2013, I knew God was calling me to go to Fiji to do missions work but I was VERY apprehensive about going; I had never taken such a huge step of faith and was fearful about stepping into the unknown. I didn’t know how I was going to raise the £3,000 I needed for the flights, accommodation, food etc., so one evening after work, I decided to go and sit inside McDonald’s and spend some quiet time with God to get clarity and direction. As I was looking through my Bible, Holy Spirit directed me to the story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5.
Naaman was a commander of the army of the king of Syria, and a man of valor but he was a leper and was told that if he went to the prophet in Samaria, he would heal him of his leprosy. “So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “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! 2 Kings 5:9-11 NLT.
Eishhh! Naaman was not pleased, he went to Elisa with preconceived ideas about how his healing would come; 1) He expected Elisa to come out to him. 2) He expected Elisa to wave his hand over his leprosy, call on the name of the Lord his God and be healed. But instead Elisa redirects him by giving him different instructions and this angered Naaman. He was required to take a different approach, walk by faith and believe that he would be healed as Elisa had said. Let’s be honest, how would we respond if a prophet told us to go and dip 7 times in our local river, would we have faith and obey?
Naaman then goes on to suggest that other rivers would be better in order for him to be healed. He said, “Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!” 2 Kings 5:12-14 NLT.
Naaman had contempt for God’s solution and plan; to him it was foolish, notice human reasoning when he suggests washing in other “better” rivers. This reminds me of the scripture in 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 NKJV that says “but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not to bring to nothing the things that are”. The world’s standards and ideas of salvation seem so much more logical in comparison to God’s, which seems foolish and so simplistic.
If the officer had not intervened, Naaman would have walked away from his breakthrough because the method required did not match up with his expectations, it looked too simple for him. Also, Naaman’s pride and opinion was getting in the way of him being healed. To go and dip in the Jordan River was a very simple thing to do, he was unwilling to humble himself and obey a very simple command. The officer challenged Naaman by asking him if he was required to do something difficult would he not do it? Do we have faith to believe and obey God when He tells us to do things that are simple even when it does not make sense to us?
My goodness! God was speaking to me through this story. He told me to set up a Facebook page and He said that by doing that I would get the money I needed for the trip. When He said that I didn't believe it. I didn’t believe that a simple step of obedience would lead to me receiving what I needed for my trip. I was struggling with unbelief. I’ll be honest; I was expecting God to tell me that the money would miraculously and instantly appear in my account, or that it would slip through my letterbox! My thoughts lol! But God had other plans and He was teaching me a few things along the way. I was learning to take Him at His word, walk by faith and obey His instructions.
Naaman’s brashness and pride was surfaced, but his obedience and submission opened the way for his healing. 1 Peter 5:5-7 Amplified Version says, “for God is opposed to the proud [the disdainful, the presumptuous, and He defeats them], but He gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. The word presumed stood out to me when I read this. I presumed that I knew better than Almighty God, the One who is all-wise. I didn’t take God at His word; instead I tried to apply human reasoning.
Like Naaman, I too had to put aside my pride and humble myself by choosing to submit to God’s instructions and ask people for help. I had to be willing to step outside of my comfort zone and be bold. So I did it, I took a step of faith. I felt fear as I thought to myself what would people think but then I realise that I needed to be courageous and just do it! By following God's ways, people did donate and I had the money I needed. God was right!!! His ways worked and it changed me in the process. After Naaman was healed, he went back to find the man of God, Elisa and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel” 2 Kings 5:15 NLT. This is my testimony too; I can say that there is no God like Yahweh, I AM, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in all the earth. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of my adventure of living by faith and knowing God.
What is Jesus leading you to do? Are you trying to work things out in the flesh like I did? Let us be open to the various different ways that God may want to answer our prayers and perform miracles in our lives. Us having our own preconceived ideas can limit us and cause us to miss out if we are not willing to try something different and new irrespective of how unconventional, unorthodox, radical and unusual it may appear. God’s ways are truly higher and better than our ways, the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
I pray that God will help us to lean on Him more, trust Him with our whole heart and walk by faith as without faith, it is impossible to please Him, in Jesus name, amen.