Sunday, 23 November 2014

Miraculous Healing - 2 Kings 5:1 - 19

Just as if you had been to the doctor, they examined you but told you to just go home and eat some biscuits, Naaman was pretty miffed at the advice to go and dip in the River Jordan. At that point his pride got in the way. Yet how much do we load expectations onto God, and prescribe how He should work? When it comes to the crunch, do we let God be God?

The fun starts in the story when God uses a lowly trafficked servant girl to suggest good news is possible for Naaman, the top brass in the army of Aram. Naaman heeds the words and his king writes to the king of Israel. That triggers a diplomatic incident, because the king of Israel thinks his counterpart is simply up for a fight.

While the king of Israel fears the worst, Elisha hears of it and thinks the best. This is an opportunity for the glory of God to be displayed - to a foreign power! So Naaman is redirected to Elisha, and pulls up outside his house with his full entourage of self-importance.

Elisha doesn't even come out, but sends a messenger with the whole dip seven times thing. Naaman blows up - surely there are better rivers, and why isn't Elisha out here doing some kind of religious incantation (Hebrew voodoo?) kind of stuff ...

The top man has no sense. Lowly servants see sense, and tell him to get over himself. Naaman does, gets soft-as-a-baby kind of skin, but more importantly becomes a One-True-God-follower.

Naaman now wants to pay, make a gift ... but Elisha will have none of it - the grace of God is always freely given. Naaman wants to continue to worship God back home, but realises his dilemma: his new found faith will be compromised because of his position. Can God forgive? "Yes he can", says Elisha!

See how the miraculous touch of God draws someone to faith and worship, spreading to a foreign land. So Jesus, years later, travels up and down the land demonstrating the Kingdom of God by healing people, drawing them to faith and worship. There was just one place that was difficult: his home town because of their perceptions and lack of faith getting in the way (see Mark 6), something Jesus predicted referring back to this Elisha-foreigner story (see Luke 4).

Today we live in the age of God's Kingdom. Let us go out ready to demonstrate that Kingdom, with God free to break in with healings or whatever he chooses (as this Evangelical Alliance article illustrates).  Yet to do that requires us to let God be God, not to load on Him our own expectations, or have our own pride or requirements of 'Christian Voodoo' get in the way. Hence the key question:

[IN] On a scale of 1 – 10 how much do you let God be God?
Challenge: Listen and act on God's prompting

It is an 'IN' question because often for God to work through us we must first let Him work in us - becoming the vessels that are empty of all but His powerful love.

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