Obedience to God, changes everything.
Our Old Testament reading in church last week, was on Naaman. I have always appreciated that story and found myself reading through it again. It’s found in 2 Kings 5.
Naaman was a valiant warrior and the Bible says that through him, the Lord had given victory to Aram. We might want to take note here that Aram was not Israel. The Bible is clear that God doesn’t only control the destinies of His people; He controls the destinies of all nations. That’s a fact that as people of God, we might want to hold close at the present moment.
Also, take notice that, the Bible says through him, the Lord had given victory. God has always been in the business of using people to have His plans accomplished.
But, Naaman had a problem. He had leprosy. A servant girl, who was a captive from Israel, told her mistress, Naaman’s wife, that there was a prophet in Israel, Elisha, who could cure him.
I wonder if that lowly servant girl had any idea what part her faith would play in Biblical history. Her faith, her courageous testimony, encouraged Naaman to go and seek the man of God. There are no small parts in Kingdom building.
Naaman went, all puffed up, I suspect, bearing gifts. He was a proud warrior, after all; surely Elisha would be so thankful for the gifts, that he would be honored to cure him. Naaman certainly was not a picture of humility, a trait sorely missing in our own world too.
Elisha did not rush out to greet him. He sent a messenger to tell him to wash himself seven times in the Jordan River and he would be cleansed.
Naaman was insulted. How dare Elisha not come out and meet him! He wanted Elisha to wave his hands over his skin and heal him. Naaman wanted to be healed in the way that he chose.
But, God’s ways and man’s ways are rarely the same. God does not serve man. Man is called to serve God. God was willing to heal Naaman just as God is willing to heal us, but it’s rarely with the snap of fingers. Healing takes time and often effort on our own part and oh yeah, obedience.
Elisha told Naaman to wash himself seven times in the Jordan and he was so angry about the instructions, that he almost walked away sick. How often do we do the same? How often do we have the promise of healing within our grasp if we will only humble ourselves and obey God?
How often do we choose to walk away because of our own pride and stubbornness?
Naaman almost missed it. He stomped away angry, but his servants intervened. God had placed faithful people in his life, even though he didn’t have the faith required; the servants did.
Naaman grudgingly did it God’s way and he was immediately healed. Even though he wasn’t happy about it, he did eventually follow Elisha’s instructions.
Do we find ourselves, like Naaman, grudgingly following God’s instructions or do we find ourselves not obeying at all? Do we find ourselves with faithful friends who can encourage us to get on the right path when we are willfully following our own way?
Naaman’s story has so much to teach us about ourselves. It teaches us about the dangers of pride and about the rewards of humility and obedience. It teaches us about the value of faithful friends. It teaches us about the love and patience of our God. It teaches us to trust. It teaches us faith.
Sometimes I need reminding. Perhaps you did too.
Have an awesome day!