Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Deliverance is in the Details -- 2 Kings 5

Maybe one of my most favorite Old Testament accounts is that of the healing of Naaman. Another powerful reminder of the importance of obedience in the small details, as well as the importance of coming to the LORD with a humble heart.

Naaman was a powerful man, but I suppose that when things get bad enough, like your skin falling off in chunks, your pride is more easily laid aside. I am also drawn to see how we expect God to heal in the BIG ways, thunder and lightening kinds of stuff, not in the simple dunk yourself in the muddy Jordan river kinds of stuff. We desire a God-encounter, but it is too often on our grounds not His. Thankfully, for Naaman (and for us sometimes) there are those servants who are looking out for our best interest and who encourage us to do just as the Lord directs.

The healing of Naaman was is the details. Not just any river. The Jordan. Not just a simple splash your face washing, but a down-you-go-seven-times cleansing bath. I wonder what would have happened if Naaman gave up after 6 dunks?

That's what I usually do when it comes to following. I want the blessings, but I also want the short-cuts. God is BIG enough, POWERFUL enough to heal with the breath of His word, and yet He calls me to dunk seven times, six will not do it, six and a half will not do it, it's seven or nothing.

Oh yes, there are some crucial lessons for me to learn, dare I say for all of us to learn. The lessons of simple and yet complete trust and obedience. Therein we find the cleansing healing that we need.

Do you have a Naaman story? Have you experienced that lesson? Care to share the details? We can learn from Naaman, and we can learn from each other, too.

May the LORD bless you with healing as you follow Him daily.


Anonymous said...

Many years ago when we were going through a very rough spot financially, my car wasn't driveable and we didn't have funds to get another car or get mine fixed. We lived in a remote community and transportation was essential. Very good friends of ours who knew the situation offered us a solution. They had a "spare" car that was rarely used and they offered it to us as a gift. My first reaction was "thank you so much for your kind offer...but I couldn't".....they wouldn't take no for an answer and asked me why I couldn't accept their gift of love. I then had to analyze my feelings and came to the realization that it was nothing more than pride! I had a need....but my pride was keeping me from the solution to my need.
I recalled this Bible story of Naaman...he had a need too...Jesus offered him a solution but it would require humility and obedience to obtain it.( The two "biggies" in the Christian walk.) As you said....Jesus COULD have merely SPOKEN his healing...but He saw a need for Naaman to learn a couple of lessons along with the solution to his physical need.
We prayed for a solution to our transportation need...God COULD have had a check sent to us ananonymously...or "healed" our sick car...but He knew I needed a lesson in humility. He put it on the heart of dear friends to share their "excess" with a friend in need. I could either accept the gift in humility and gratitude...or I could continue in my pride...and WALK!!! I chose to accept their gift (after many tears!!).

As a post script to this saga....many years after this event...when we were on our feet financially...these same friends were in a financial bind and were in need of a car. We were able to do the exact same thing for THEM that they had done for us years previously. Had I resisted their gift I would have robbed BOTH of us the blessing that comes from giving and receiving. THEY gave and were blessed in the giving...WE were blessed in the receiving...then later WE were blessed in the giving and THEY were blessed in the receiving. In both scenerios God met the need and answered prayer ...and at the same time taught a valuable lesson. Our foolish pride robs us of God's provision and blessing.
Naaman no doubt would rather this healing have been a private thing between he and the Lord....not having to go down to that mudhole of a river PUBLICLY and "dip"....not once...not twice even.... but 7 times! What if nothing happened? How embarrassing! What kind of fool would he look like in front of his friends and passers by? But... he believed....he humbled himself...he obeyed....and his need was met! What a God we serve! Ruthie

Pastor Randy said...

Thanks, Ruthie,
It is so true that pride and fear keep us from experiencing the deep and precious gifts of the Lord, and as you have rightfully noted, it also keep us, or others, from receiving the blessing of giving.
Isn't it cool how God brought things full circle in this. Wow! Yes, He is a great and good God.
Pastor Randy

Anonymous said...

"I wonder what would have happened if Naaman gave up after 6 dunks?"

Man, I'm glad I'm not the only one that asks questions like that. In fact, I probably got it from you. You're a carrier.

The story of Naaman never ceases to humble me. Another point, one of many, is that the recipe for Naaman's healing was for Naaman. We don't see that the Jordan suddenly became a refuge for all the lepers in the area. "It worked for him..." pragmatic thinking. God's working in our lives, many times, is an Individual effort made by Him to us. That's beautiful, and scary at the same time.

I have, in my life, been at different stages of Naaman's story. I've been discouraged, even in the midst of success. I've grasped for any hope that blew my way. I've stood dumbfounded at the door of prophets as they tell me things that seem so inane.

And I've stood on the other side of Jordan, clean.

Each time, it seems to be more difficult to make that trip to the River. I don't know why. I'm sure it has something to do with a lack of faith. "I know that God healed the 'leprosy' from my fingers, but can He heal my hand?" "He healed my hand before, but what about my arm?" etc.

Traits of 2 Sam 5: Fatigue of the disease. Willingness to bare the soul the Prophet of God, Jesus. Following His simple, and sometimes confusing instructions. Willing to be healed.

An axiom throughout the Word: If you allow God to touch your life, and if you are willing to step out in even the smallest of obediences, you will be blessed. Always.

Blessings on you, my friend,