Friday, May 4, 2012

How Hard Is It?

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me. (2 Kings 5:7 KJV)

There are a lot of unhappy people in this particular chapter. Naaman certainly wasn’t happy about being a leper. Beyond that problem, he had a good reputation for the work he had chosen and was recognized by his king in Syria.  His king wasn’t happy about the disease his mighty man of valor had, either.  It impacted his ability to serve to his best advantage.

The young maiden might have been been happy about the family she was serving, for they were wealthy and could provide the best.  But she could not have been happy about being a slave and being away from her home.

The king of Israel certainly wasn’t happy.  He was convinced that the request from the king of Syria was a pretext for war as there was nothing he could do to recover a man of his leprosy. Surely the gifts were simply a cover for the ulterior purpose.

And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. (2 Kings 5:3 KJV)

Did you notice that the child knew what she was talking about, and the people around her didn’t get the message?  Naaman, or his family, took her words to the king and omitted who she mentioned. The king was used to working with those at his same level of power and directed his letter to the king of Israel, not to some unnamed prophet.

How like today! We seek advice from our peers and solutions from people of authority.

Fortunately, Elisha heard about the king’s predicament and offered to see Naaman. Naaman responded, heard Elisha’s prescription and became even unhappier:

But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. (2 Kings 5:11 KJV)

How hard is it for us to follow the instructions a man of God gives us?  Naaman set his own expectations of how God would act. Elisha’s requirements didn’t fit those expectations, so Naaman turned away.

And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? (2 Kings 5:13 KJV)

How hard is it to follow Christ’s instructions:

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:15 KJV)

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