The First 15

Tuesday August 18, 2020

by First Methodist Mansfield

Simple Obedience


II Kings 5:8-14

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 all 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.


Naaman is a great and valiant soldier. He’s accomplished much and held in high regard. But he has leprosy. He’s on a mission to find healing. Naaman shows up with a small army for this grand meeting. I imagine he expects this to be a big and formal spectacle like a modern peace treaty between multiple nations. He definitely wants to hold his own in the presence of whoever is supposed to heal him. And wouldn’t you know it, Elisha doesn’t even show up to the meeting! Naaman was waiting for the prophet and met a messenger. He expected to meet with the pastor and a care chaplain showed up. He was ready for the CEO but he got the secretary. He brought his fortune and an army expecting to be met with the same except that’s not how God does business. That’s not how God trades. He doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. It doesn’t matter what your position is. King or slave. Prophet or messenger. The power of God doesn’t discriminate. He gives to the willing. He gives to the humble. He gives to those who say yes Lord. Not my will but yours be done! Elisha doesn’t need to show up to heal him. He gets his power from the Son of God. The Word before all of creation. And we see time and again how Jesus doesn’t need to be present to heal. He is the Word that is the source of all power. Anyone can deliver that word through faith.

Jesus sends his followers out to preach and to heal but they are warned not to rejoice in the power they have. It isn’t theirs. It belongs to God. Rather, they should rejoice that their names are written in the book of life. He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:18-20).

Naaman doesn’t know any of this. He thinks power can only come from kings. This arrangement is dishonorable and offensive to a man of his stature. His pride tells him he’s better than this. This is all beneath him. Naaman wants a public spectacle where the prophet calls out to God loudly and waves his hand over Naaman’s body. And he doesn’t want to bathe in the dirty river water of the Jordan in enemy territory!

It isn’t about the quality of the water. It’s about the power of God and obedience to God’s word. Thankfully Naaman has wise servants who remind him how simple the instructions are. When we’re young, there is usually a time in all of our lives when we really do trust and obey our parents because we know they love us and want nothing but the best for us. As we grow up, we begin to challenge that authority to different degrees. Some of us lose trust completely and go our own way. As we grow up, we have trouble developing the trust and faith we once had as kids.

More than Naaman’s flesh became clean and like a young boy. His spirit did. He was given faith in his obedience. We see more evidence of that as the story goes on. Simple obedience. Faith like a child is what we all need. Remember the source of the power inside you is Christ in you. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is yours. He is the source. So you can say yes to what he’s asked you to do as crazy as it sounds. You can overcome. You can be healed. You can walk away from the darkness. Wash and be cleansed. Leave your worry and anxiety behind. Allow Christ to be your peace. Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. Simply obey.

Prayer for Today

Holy God, give us the courage to simply trust you and obey your commands. Lead us down the path of righteousness that we may bring others on the journey. Help us deliver your message of truth and grace to a needy world. Set us free to live rejoicing in the hope we have in you. All honor and glory are yours. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The First 15

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