There is a story in the Bible about a general in command of a country’s army but he had leprosy. Thankfully, it was in the beginning stages though. He knew it was a death sentence but he found out that there was a prophet in Israel who could pray for him and heal him.
Naaman, commander of the army of Syria, was a mighty man of valor but he was a leper. His wife’s servant girl told him of the prophet, Elisha, in Israel that he could be healed if he went to him. In 2 Kings 5, the story tells about how he got a letter from his king to be healed and he took many gifts for the prophet with him. Here is the story beginning with verse 5:
So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7 And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”
8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abanac and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
Why am I putting this story here? Because, sometimes God asks us to do things that are outside our comfort zones. Not because He likes to make us uncomfortable, but because we need to trust Him in our uncomfortable places no matter where they might be. Regardless of the place that God places you in, He has a plan and a purpose for you and the place you are in. Will it bring a healing or some other miracle into your life or someone else’s life? Only God knows that answer. Go to that uncomfortable place that He is sending you and in faith believe that He will accomplish His purpose…whatever it may be.
This counsel from John Piper has been helpful to me: “Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.”
If we could do this every day, the world would be a different place altogether. Today, people don’t want to hear the words “trust God”. They seem to be more interested in “what’s in it for me?” This generation has become the most self-centered and selfish generation that the world has ever had. No one seems to want to help anyone anymore unless they can get recognition for it. Selfless acts of kindness and compassion are the exception today instead of the normal actions of everyone.
Most of the time selfless acts even get on the news as if it is something unheard of and so unusual that it has to be pointed out. Why can’t we just learn to trust God for our daily lives?
The reason for that is our mistaken notion that we aren’t supposed to have God or any mention of Him in our government or in any school function. The separation of church and state is NOT in the constitution!! Thomas Jefferson wrote that the government would not have a national/state-sponsored religion. That was in a personal letter to a Baptist association assuring them that it doesn’t matter which religion you follow, the government wasn’t going to impose their will on the people by requiring them to be members of a “national church”.
You can trust in the God of the Bible or a god of your own choosing if you wish. You can worship either or both of them or just choose not to. Your life depends on what God blesses you with whether you believe in Him or not. Every life on this planet, human beings or not, depends on His grace and His provision for each breath. Do we acknowledge this? Most don’t until they feel the need to seek Him for a loved one or for some other reason. God is in control whether you believe this or not will not affect the outcome one way or the other. He will accomplish His will and His purposes in His time.
When we hear the call of Jesus in our hearts and choose to follow Him our faith is the drip that becomes, or should become, a roar in our lives. God uses the Holy Spirit to touch our hearts and plant a seed that will grow into a new creation. It is our responsibility to help that seed to grow by watering it with the Living Water of God’s Word.
Some people tend toward watering it occasionally, like once or twice every year. Some who feel God leading them into a deeper relationship will water it a few times every month. Those who demand to be His disciples and want an intimate relationship with Him will water that seed every day regardless of what is going on in their lives. On the drive to work, while they are at work they will listen to Bible readings when they can. They will listen to praise and worship music and be in the spirit of worship on their way home.
I’m sure there are some different people who fit into a category in between those that I spoke about in the paragraph above and there are a few who dive deeper into the Scriptures than the disciples I spoke about as well. My point is that we, as Christian believers, fall into all sorts of slots and categories. Some are deeply involved in the mission field, some teach classes at the church, some lead Bible study sessions/classes at their homes and then there are some who have received Jesus and are confused about their role so they don’t do anything with it except attend church…sometimes.
There were people in all of these areas even in the early church but not many. Why do I say this? Because, most of the people in that early church just fifty to one hundred years after Jesus was taken up to Heaven were Jewish converts to Christianity. They had the Scriptures that were taught in their synagogues and had learned to have faith in God from their history and the prophets and had been persuaded that their Messiah was Jesus Christ! While it was true that there were also many pagans who had come to know Jesus as their Savior, a good percentage of the early church were, like Paul, converts from Judaism. Their faith was built on the Old Testament and what they had heard from the disciples and Paul himself. Most of them had unshakable faith.
The church today has become more “flexible” in their teachings and in their faith which can be a good thing but in some areas of the “message” flexibility can be a bad thing. Because it can lead many to believe that they can live like a Christian and not commit deeply to it. Being “like a Christian” is like being “sorta pregnant”, it doesn’t work that way! You either are or you’re not!
I know that once you read this you will wonder where that fits in?
In the book of Job, God actually brags to Satan about “My servant, Job”. You know when God is bragging about you you’re doing something right. But, Satan counters with “it is because of the fence you have around him and the blessings that you have given him”. So, God gives Satan permission to afflict Job and take his blessings but not his life.
On the first day that Satan attacks him and his family and his wealth in his cattle and livestock, Job loses everything. Even all of his children were killed that same day. That would be enough to cause anyone to question God’s goodness and His blessings. But…Job doesn’t blame God for any of it. He questions the reason for his birth and for everything that he had to be taken away but he doesn’t blame God for any of it.
I had a “desire of my heart” taken from me this past week. Something that I had been looking forward to for nearly a year but because of some ill-timed financial obligations in the past, I wasn’t able to get this thing. But…I don’t blame God for that either. Having financial difficulty has been a part of my life for most of my life so I’m not a stranger to it at all. I was never taught how to manage my money properly so it started many years ago. In the last few years I have learned my lesson about money but when the damage is done it doesn’t go away easily.
My point in this post/article is that we can’t blame God for something that we caused whether we did it accidentally or just by ignorance. God is not to blame. He sees what you are doing and He knows the outcome but He won’t divulge that information unless you seek Him first. Preferably before you get into trouble. This is something that happened time and time again for God’s people and it is still happening today.
I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end, he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh, I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19: 25-27)
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord , and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:7-10 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jer.17.7-10.KJV
Look into the Old Testament and you see God actively disciplining His people. He used signs and wonders to bring them out of Egypt and then He also used all kinds of signs and punishments to bring the Israelite community back into fellowship with Him. I am very glad that He does NOT use those kinds of enticements or punishments for the church, that is supposed to be part of the New Covenant through the blood of Jesus. Why is our world in such turmoil today? Mostly because the church dropped the ball in the past.
It didn’t take the “church” long to conform to the people and the world around them after Jesus ascended to Heaven. The Roman Catholic church adopted the “rituals” of pagans in order to bring them into its influence. That is where “Christmas” and “Easter” come from.
Have you thought about how we could get people to come to church? Most of us don’t because the world around us, for the most part, is not interested in coming to church. They don’t want to hear what they are doing wrong nor do they want to know that their “truth” is not the right Truth. Most people in the world don’t believe that the Bible and its teachings are the Truth much less that what is written there was inspired by God’s Spirit. They just think that the Bible is an old book written thousands of years ago and it has no relevance in today’s society.
I do believe that we are being disciplined by God but it is a soft discipline at this point. He’s not throwing hail stones of one hundred pounds at us and the Earth is not breaking open and swallowing whole congregations but we are being taught a lesson if we will notice it and learn from it. The things which are happening around us with COVID-19 and the Antifa riots and other media hyped “news” are just the birth pains before the real storm hits during the Tribulation.
If you are not sure of your salvation or if you have shunned church services for whatever reason I encourage you to make sure as soon as possible. The 7 year peace treaty with Israel will be the beginning of hell on Earth. Make sure which side you are on before that time gets here if you can.