Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Vision (7/1/10): Naaman and Ordinary Means

Recently in my devotional reading I was struck again by the account of the healing of Naaman the Syrian in 2 Kings 5. Naaman, you will recall, was the commander of the army of the king of Syria. The writer of Holy Scripture records, “He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper” (2 Kings 5:1). Naaman’s wife was served by a young Israelite girl who told her mistress that there was a prophet in Samaria who could heal her husband of his disease.

Eventually Naaman traveled to visit the prophet Elisha. While the commander waited at the door to Elisha’s house, the prophet sent him a message: “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean” (v. 10). Naaman, however, became furious. He had expected the prophet to come out to him, to call on his God, “and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy” (v. 11). He then asked, “Are not the rivers of Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?” (v. 12). In other words, “Why did I travel all the way here just for this?”

Naaman’s servants then gently rebuked him: “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” (v. 13).

Humbled, Naaman then went to the Jordan and dipped seven times as instructed. To his great joy, God miraculously healed him, “and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (v. 14).

How often are we like Naaman? We struggle with some sin sickness. We want to be delivered. We expect that the only way God might heal or deliver us would be through some extraordinary means. We want to be given some unusual and exotic assignment. We want some amazing experience. We want to see the man of God or some healing evangelist wave his hand over our hurt.

Then instead God gives us a rather ordinary prescription. Trust Christ. Read your Bible. Pray. Listen to preaching and teaching. Attend corporate worship. Sing praises. Be dipped in baptism. Sit down at the Lord’s table.

The account of Naaman reminds us that God is most often pleased to use humble, ordinary means to accomplish the greatest things in and through our lives.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Note: This coming Lord’s Day also happens to be the Fourth of July. What better time to come together for prayer and worship to give God thanks for the many blessings he has given us through this nation, especially the freedom to worship.

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