Devotional Thoughts – October 27-November 2, 2014
2 Kings 5:1-14
Monday, October 27, 2014
“The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy” (2 Kings 5:1).
Naaman was a handsome, powerful, rich, successful man. I loved him dearly, but not for those reasons. I loved Naaman because he was part of my creation. Though he was not a member of the chosen nation, Israel, he still was one of my children.
Naaman had a problem, however. He had leprosy. Contrary to what some people believe I didn’t cause Naaman to contract leprosy because I was displeased with him. I didn’t give Naaman leprosy for any reason. Sickness, pain—leprosy—is simply a part of life. I was able to use Naaman’s ailment, though, to help him grow as a man and come closer to me.
Leprosy taught Naaman a valuable lesson. A person can be rich, powerful and successful, and still have bad things happen to them. Naaman came to realize that those gifts that I gave him were to be enjoyed, but they weren’t to be relied on for safety or security. He was to rely on me, the giver, and not the gifts. The leprosy also drove Naaman to seek my prophet, Elisha. Through Elisha, Naaman was able to see my power and see me as the true God.
I would have you remember Naaman today, when you are tempted to put your faith in your own abilities and intelligence. They’re only gifts—my gifts to you. Look to me. Trust in me for your comfort, strength, safety and security—for everything that you need. Remember, also, that I can use the tragedies and difficult times of your life to draw you closer to me—if you open your heart and mind to that possibility. Finally remember that I am with you, just like I was with Naaman, today and always.
Almighty Lord, you are powerful enough to create good out of hurtful and difficult times. Today we will trust that you are with us and blessing us even in the hard times of life. Amen.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
“The Arameans on one of their raids” (2 Kings 5:2).
Many people read this story of the capture of a young girl during a raid and don’t see me in it. They think the entire story was a mere coincidence. The Arameans just happened to send out a raiding party. They just happened to capture a young girl and the young girl just happened to end up working in Naaman’s household. This young girl just happened to know about the prophet Elisha and how I worked through him, and she just happened to mention this to her master. This was no happenstance. I was at work behind the scenes throughout this whole series of events.
I may not answer prayers for parking spaces close to the front doors of Walmart, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not involved in the world and in people’s lives. I am involved in ways that you cannot see or even imagine.
As you journey through this day, remember that I’m walking with you. You may not necessarily sense my presence, but trust that I’m moving in your life to draw you and those around you closer to me and to establish my kingdom on earth. Keep your eyes open and you might just catch a glimpse of me.
Amazing God, your ways are beyond our understanding. Help us to take comfort in your presence and the trust that you are accomplishing your will in and through us. Amen.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
“He would cure his leprosy” (2 Kings 5:3).
Have you ever gone to the supermarket to purchase a specific item and when you got there realized that you needed several more items? That’s similar to what happened to Naaman. All Naaman wanted was to be cured of his leprosy. He thought that was the only thing that he needed; he had everything else. O how wrong he was!
Naaman traveled to Elisha in order to be cured of leprosy, but he received more than he expected. He not only was healed, he also encountered me. Naaman’s health was restored, and his life was transformed.
I know that life is sometimes hard. I hear your prayers when you cry out to take away your pain and to remove whatever is causing you distress. I want to encourage you, though, to expand your expectations. The difficult times that you are experiencing may be ways that I’m shaping you into my image. Those trials and tribulations may be preparing you to minister to the needs of other people who are going through the same things. I’ll remove the hurt in due time. In the meantime, remember that a pain fee life is not my goal for you—a relationship with me of love and service is what I want for you.
Loving Lord, draw us closer to you. Shape us into your image. Empower us to serve. Move in us so that your goals for us are attained. Amen.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
“He went taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold” (2Kings 5:5).
I grieve that so many people have given money so much power. They believe that if they spend enough money they will be healthy. If they are discouraged or depressed, they buy something in an effort to feel better. People purchase houses, cars, boats and a variety of toys—glitter—in an effort to impress people and to hide their feelings of unimportance and inadequacy. Look at Naaman. He was willing to pay dearly for a cure to his leprosy. People place their hope and trust in money. They make it their god instead of me.
Money is a gift given by me to you. Money is a tool to be used wisely and shared. Money cannot, however, replace me. I am the one who offers you an abundant (not affluent) life. I am the one who gives you life’s essentials—faith and courage, hope and endurance, love and grace, peace and comfort. Look to me and not to money for your salvation.
Merciful Lord, forgive us when we place our trust and hope in things instead of you. As we live this day to honor you, help us to look to you for all we need. Amen.
Friday, October 31, 2014
“When the king read the letter, he tore his clothes” (2 Kings 5:7).
Though powerful in his own right, the king was scared. He thought a bigger and more powerful king was picking a fight with him in order to conquer his kingdom. The king was not a man of great faith. He looked at himself and saw his weakness. He didn’t look to me and see my strength.
The most frequent command that I give my people in the Bible is, “Don’t fear.” Fear is a natural and normal response when life throws one of its surprises. Fear doesn’t need to gain control of your life, though. Look to me. See my love for you. Be still and sense my presence in your life. Rest assured that I have you in the palm of my hand.
God of love and power, take our hands and help us turn away from those things that scare us. Draw us close to you so that we may not fear but live in your love and grace. Amen.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
“Let him come to me that he may learn there is a prophet in Israel” (2 Kings 5:8).
Elisha was a confident man. He knew who he was—my prophet and my child. He knew what his purpose was in life—to serve me and to be my spokesperson to my people. Elisha also knew who I was—Almighty God, creator of the universe. On several occasions, Elisha had been a conduit through whom my power had flowed and had touched the lives of many people.
My hope for you is that you gain the confidence of Elisha. This is not a confidence in yourself, but a confidence in me. You are one of the ways that I’m present in the world. Through you I can touch people with my love and grace. Your words can offer comfort and your actions can minister to needs. I’m limited, though, if you aren’t confident—if you keep telling yourself that you don’t have any gifts or talents, or if you doubt that I can and will use you to honor me.
Believe! As another one of my servants wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Gracious God, how humbling it is to think that you have chosen to use us to honor you and to serve others. Inspire us to believe this truth, and forgive us when we doubt. Amen.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
“Please let two mule loads of dirt be given to your servant” (2 Kings 5:17).
Naaman thought he’d make a quick trip to Israel, pay a lot of money to a prophet, and be healed from his leprosy. He didn’t expect for his mules to be loaded down with even heavier loads—money AND two mule loads of dirt. I surprised Naaman, though. I’m a God of surprises.
I surprised Naaman when he realized that his healing was a gift. All he had to do was to obediently wash in the Jordan River. I surprised Naaman when he realized that his money couldn’t buy his health. Naaman was also surprised when he experienced my power and his healing. Life would never be the same for Naaman. He demonstrated that when we brought back two mule loads of dirt with him to Aramea, so he could worship me.
Begin this day expecting to be surprised—not by a flat tire, an unexpected bill, or a phone call from an old friend—expect to be surprised by me. I assure you that I will surprise you by my steadfast love, overwhelming grace, and unconditional forgiveness. You’ll see me in places you never expect to see me. When you are surprised, I suggest you offer a prayer of thanks, and like Naaman stop and worship me.
Lord God, We thank you for the surprises that we have experienced and that we expect to happen. We ask that you move and turn our surprise into joy, thankfulness and praise. Amen.