Today’s Bible reading: 2 Kings 4:18-5:27; Acts 15:1-35; Psalm 141:1-10; Proverbs 17:23
In 2 Kings 5 we read about a young Jewish girl who was taken captive by the Arameans and was then given to be the maid of the wife of an Aramean army commander. This was certainly a tragic situation for the girl and her parents who probably never saw her again. Yet God, as stated in Romans 8:28, will use this situation to do something great.
It turns out that Naaman, the army commander whose wife the girl was given to, had leprosy. Leprosy was an incurable disease that slowly devastated the body. Upon the suggestion of this girl, and with the blessing of the king of Aram, Naaman goes to the king Israel to get cured of this disease (2 Kings 5:3-4).
When king Joram of Israel reads the letter accompanying Naaman he interprets it as a set up (2 Kings 5:7) rather than turning to God to ask for the man’s healing. The reason the king of Aram sent Naaman to Israel is that he (king of Aram) knew his own gods could not help Naaman. But he seemingly had some faith that the God of Israel could.
But apparently the king of Aram (and the young girl) believed that Joram had a better relationship with God than he did. Joram doesn’t even think of bringing this request to God. We learn here that we cannot judge someone’s spiritual relationship with God based on outward appearances. Just because someone goes to church or volunteers or whatever – that is not reason to conclude that they are right with God.
Naaman initially rejects Elisha’s instructions (2 Kings 5:11). He expected God to work one way. When God didn’t do things as he expected he walked away.
Naaman thought there were better rivers than the Jordan and it was too humbling for him to bath in it, but he overcomes his pride (the whispering of Satan ) and does it anyway and is healed (2 Kings 5:14). God’s instructions to us are often humbling. Our first reaction is to disobey. But if we do we will miss out on His blessings, just like Naaman would not have been cured if he didn’t humble himself and follow God’s instructions.
Jesus is not an additive. When we give our lives to Jesus we are not just adding Him to our already existing beliefs. We are to turn away from our previous belief system and recognize Him as all we need for salvation. This is what Paul told the believers at Lystra yesterday. And this is what he tells the believers from Judea today.
These men from Judea believed in Jesus but were willing to give up their recognition of the law of Moses. They believed that this law still needed to be kept and that Jesus was just an addendum to it (Acts 15:1). This is not true. Jesus is not an addendum. Jesus is all. We cannot continue to worship other gods (money, sex, fame, or Allah). We cannot continue to rely on our good works to justify us before God. Jesus is it. It is Jesus or nothing.
The law of Moses had no power to save anyone. Its only purpose was to show each of us that we are not good enough to be in God’s presence. There is no way anyone can follow the law 100% of the time and live a perfect life (Acts 15:10). That is why we needed Jesus to save us (Acts 15:11).
When we have questions about how God works what should we do? Should be debate? No, we should do exactly what James (Jesus’ brother) does. He consults the Bible (Acts 15:15). The Bible is our source of truth. Not our own minds or our own traditions.
Its easy to fall into sin. We need to pray daily for the wisdom, courage, and strength to do the right things (Psalm 141:4). We should also seek correction from godly people. Their advice is soothing (Psalm 141:5).
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