Monday, February 1, 2016

2 Kings 5:10-14 -- On Taking God's Advice

"And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean."
2 Kings 5:10-14

The story of Naaman is interesting because he wanted drama.  He traveled from a different country to come see the prophet, and he was a powerful man, and he expected some big showy miracle.  Instead, the prophet didn't even come out to see him, and just sent a messenger to tell him what to do.  He felt slighted and belittled.  But when his servants talked him into a little humility, he tried doing what the prophet said, and it worked.
I think that we're a lot like Naaman sometimes.  We hear the words of the prophets with skepticism, and we often aren't even willing to try what they suggest.  We think things like: "Prayer?  Scripture study?  Those won't work.  I'm in serious trouble here, and some smarmy Sunday School answer isn't going to cut it."  Except, maybe we can learn from the story of Naaman, humble ourselves a little bit, and try.  God's advice does work, if we are willing to give it the chance it deserves.  Part of that is having a little faith, and trusting that God not only has the power to help us, but that he wants to.  It's also being willing to put in the sincerity and real sustained effort that it takes to put God's advice into practice in our lives.
We can't just get on our knees, say a 30-second prayer, and expect a winning lottery ticket in the mail from heaven.  Even prayer takes effort, just as maintaining relationships with other people does.  And we have to realize that God almost never works through the lottery, since gambling is one of the things he asks us not to do. :)  Instead, he often delivers us by teaching us how to deliver ourselves.  Other times, when we can't do anything about it ourselves, he does deliver us in more dramatic ways... but that isn't the typical answer, and, like Naaman, it isn't what we should be expecting.  Today, even if God asks us to do something simple and that we are certain won't work, let's stop and consider the story of Naaman, and then let's humble ourselves, let go of our pride, and try it anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews