Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Take a Dip

“So Naaman dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, according to the command of the man of God. Then his skin was restored and became like the skin of a small boy, and he was clean.” (2 Kings 5:14 CSB)

You may know the story. Naaman was a general in the army of Aram, and he had a “skin disease.” It was what they called “leprosy” in that time, and no one was able to cure it. Naaman had taken a young girl during a raid on Israel to be his slave, and she mentioned to someone that if he were to seek out the man of God in Israel he could be healed. When word got to him, he spoke to the king who sent a letter of introduction to the king of Israel asking him to heal Naaman. When the king of Israel got the letter, it seemed to him that the king of Aram was picking a fight, because he knew he couldn’t heal Naaman. When word reached Elisha about this, however, he sent word to the king, “Send him to me, and he will know there is a God in Israel.”

Naaman came, loading down with treasure for payment. He was prepared to carry out all monumental tasks required of him. Elisha said, “Go and wash in the Jordan River seven times, and you will be healed.” Naaman was enraged and stormed off. He noted that the rivers of Damascus were far cleaner than the muddy Jordan. His advisors spoke to him about this, however, and reminded him that he was prepared to go to any great length the man of God might have required of him, so shouldn’t this matter of dipping himself into the Jordan River seven times be much easier? He realized then his foolishness and then returned and followed Elisha’s commands. He dipped himself into the Jordan River seven times, and when he came out he was completely healed.

Great story. It teaches us something important. First, it teaches us the perils of pride. Pride may appear to not be all that potent, but in reality it is one of the greatest dangers people face. It can ultimately destroy.

Second, the story teaches us the advisability of humility before God. Humility employed is heaven engaged. When we turn down the temptation to pride and instead humble ourselves before the Almighty God, we find redemption and experience the power of God.

Third, the story teaches us the efficacy of obedience. Obedience is not hard, and yet it is extremely hard. What makes it hard to accomplish, however, is pride, and once that is dealt with, it actually is an easy thing. Obedience is built on belief and trust. Doing what God says is an expression of faith, and additionally it leads to and strengthens faith. So it was for Naaman.

When Naaman got his pride out of the way through humility and obeyed the commands given to him, he experienced healing, and that led to a basic faith in God. He requested two mule-loads of dirt he could take back with him to Aram. He said to Elisha that from henceforth he would worship only the Lord.

The practice of humility deals a death blow to pride, and obedience releases faith to accomplish God’s purposes for us.

Father, We recognize that pride is a sinful hindrance to our lives, and we, therefore, humble ourselves before You. We commit ourselves this day to follow You and Your commands in faith, trusting You for all the outcomes. Amen.

No comments: