God will ask us to surrender our dependencies and self-sufficiencies to him; he will need to crush our pride in order to build our trust. And once he has that—our trust—his blessings are freed up to flow down upon our lives. So whatever God asks you to surrender, in whatever way he asks you to demonstrate it, do it! Whatever it costs to follow God, do it! You won’t regret it!
Going Deep // Focus: 2 Kings 5:1-6
So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. But 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.” But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.
God doesn’t always ask people to do weird things, but he reserves that right. Of course, those things are only weird from our perspective, not God’s. But whenever we obey God’s commands, blessings follow—always!
God asked Noah to build an ark because it was going to rain, neither of which had happened before—neither an ark nor rain. God asked Joshua to have his troops march around Jericho once a day for six days, then on the seventh, march around it seven times with the band playing the fight song—and the rest is history. Jesus made mud out of spittle and put the mixture on a blind man’s eyes, and he was healed—not a precedent setting act for eye-healing, thankfully. God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the son of promise in one of the greatest tests of faith ever—and with that came the greatest preview of the sacrifice of God’s Son of promise.
No, God doesn’t always do that, but when he does, we best obey. Naaman, one of the King of Aram’s most effective and popular generals, had leprosy—a horrible disease that not only destroyed the body physically, but damaged people relationally in the most cruel way—through isolation. Naaman was a good man, and loved, so much so that servants and kings wanted to see him healed. That is why he was sent to the man of God in Israel. Elisha could heal him—through God’s power, that is. But when Elisha gave what Namaan thought were demeaning instructions, he got angry. Why should he wash in that muddy little creek, the Jordan, when he had beautiful rivers back home in which to take a therapeutic bath? So he left the prophet, angry, sullen, insulted—and unhealed.
Fortunately for Naaman, the cooler heads of his entourage prevailed, and he ultimately did as Elisha had instructed—he washed in the Jordan River, dipping seven times, and was completely healed:
But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed! (2 Kings 5:13-14)
Why did God give such strange instructions to Namaan? I don’t know; no one does for sure. God has his reasons, but I suspect it had something to do with Namaan’s pride. Namaan didn’t think he needed God, but until he surrendered his self-sufficiency and declared his dependence upon the Almighty, God’s hands were tied. Once he bowed to God’s commands, he not only got his need meet, he met the Great Need Meeter.
Now it will probably work that way for you, too, at some point in your life. That goes for me as well. God will ask us to surrender our dependencies and self-sufficiencies to him; he will need to crush our pride in order to build our trust—perhaps it is a strange way that will require ruthless obedience. And once he has that—our trust—his blessings are freed up to flow down upon our lives.
Whatever God asks you to surrender, in whatever way he asks you to demonstrate it, do it! Whatever it costs to follow God, do it! You won’t regret it!