Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wash and be Cleansed

Talk about getting hit right between the eyes. After another enlightening discussion with a good friend, I see in myself desiring to see God move around me. I want to see lives changed and souls crying out their love for Christ in worship, and in obedience.

The problem is this: I think I know how God will do it. Then I don't understand why he doesn't act as I expect. Why doesn't God work my way? So then comes 2 Kings 5. Awesome. Naaman, a great man learns that he can be healed of his leprosy. He is told that the Great God can cleanse him, but he must obey His servant.

Naaman expects that God will allow the prophet to wave his hand over the spots and he will be immediately healed. That's how God works after all. We all know that. But what does the prophet do? He tells Naaman to go take a bath in the Jordan river, of all places. Naaman is irate. Why would He do it this way. I won't stoop that low. Thankfully his servant has some sense. If God told you to do some great thing wouldn't you do it? Surely, is the obvious answer. So if he asks you to wash and be cleansed why not do such a simple act?

Here's the scripture...

2 Kings 5:8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: "Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel." 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha's house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, "Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed."

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, "I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn't I wash in them and be cleansed?" So he turned and went off in a rage.

13 Naaman's servants went to him and said, "My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, 'Wash and be cleansed'!" 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.


I'm so like Naaman. God, I need your help. I want to change my community. I want to see lives transformed by the power of your gospel. Everybody knows you use (Revival Meetings, Celebrity Speakers, Fancy Outreach Cards, Servant Evangelism Events, Crazy Gimmicks, A slick Children's Ministry, a fabulous Youth Pastor, Evangelistic Drama, a Good Band, a Good Choir, put the latest church growth strategy in here) to change lives and change communities.

So what does God tell me to do - pray the Lord's prayer. Yep. That's right. Our Father, who art in Heaven. Hallowed be THY name. THY kingdom come. THY will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Then he has me read 2 Kings 5. If I told you to do the "great" things wouldn't you do them? So why not spend time in prayer like I ask you. Trust me.

Our Father. Please, help us to trust you. Help us to dip in the muddy Jordan even when we wonder why you would work that way. Let us not desire to succeed. But desire to do your will, O God.

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