2 Kings (Chapter 4-7)
OBSERVE: In chapter 5 we read about an important man named Naaman, who was the general of all the armies of Aram. Although Naaman had great influence and success, he also had a problem that he could not overcome: leprosy. After Naaman heard about the great God of Israel from a young captive from Israel who served in his household, Naaman went to see the prophet of God, Elisha, to seek healing. “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” (2 Kings 5: 10).
INTERPRET: The very idea of having to do this made Naaman storm away in anger. Naaman saw himself as far too important and successful to do something so simple, so ridiculous, as dipping himself into the muddy Jordan River. However, Naaman’s servants pleaded with him, “If the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?” (5:13), and he relented. After he washed himself six times he was still leprous. But then, after he came out of the water the seventh time, his skin was like that of a young child – it was as if he had been born again; he had become a new creation.
APPLICATION: Naaman wanted to pay the prophet something to show his gratitude. But the prophet Elisha refused any gifts to show Naaman that this God could not be bought or be satisfied by what we can offer. This was not the first time someone had tried to obligate God through their great wealth or good deeds. However, salvation comes only to those who are willing to humble themselves and receive by faith the wealth and goodness of another – Jesus Christ. The only “great thing” God wants, is for us to turn to him in humble faith and obedience, recognizing that we can do nothing to save ourselves. The ‘great thing” is simply to rest completely in the great finished work of Jesus on the Cross.
Many will come to the Lord at the judgement, Jesus said, and plead all the great things they did for God. Yet Jesus will say, “I never knew you. Get away from me” (Matthew 7: 22-23). Why? Because they were determined to accomplish their own salvation through the “great things” they did for God. They were unwilling to simply rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
QUESTION / REFLECTION: Is the finished work of Christ enough for you?
PRAYER: Jesus, your words tell me to humble myself and offer you only my need, yet I so easily feel that I must do some great work for you in order to be loved and accepted by you. Help me to be more willing to rest in your great work alone - which is enough.
SONG: Jesus Paid It All (Newsboys)
Contributors to The Bible Blog include: