Laying Down Our LivesWhat sometimes holds you back from laying down your life for others?
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The Gift of (Not) Being God
Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? (v.7).
Watching a recent fictionalized history of early Roman conquests, I could see that there were no limits to what they felt they could accomplish.
Those with power, however, are not invincible. They’re not God. Naaman was a powerful man, the “commander of [Syria’s] army” (2 Kings 2:1). He was a famed general, and he owned the loyalty and admiration of Syria’s king. But Naaman discovered that he wasn’t indestructible. Scripture says plainly: “Though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy” (v.1). He could wield a blade of iron and crush enemies, but he couldn’t stop his body from breaking down.
A captive servant girl from Israel (an exact opposite of Naaman—one without any power at all) told Naaman that Israel had a prophet who heals (v.3). So the king and Naaman did what powerful people do—they used their connections and summoned their resources. Syria’s king sent Naaman to Israel’s king, loaded down with hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold and silver and a letter asking the king to heal Naaman.
When Naaman arrived, expecting a miracle, Israel’s king erupted into hysteria. “Who does he think I am . . . God?” he said in essence (v.7). And this is precisely the point. No, King, you aren’t God. Neither is Syria’s king. Neither is Naaman.
Elisha sent his messenger out to Naaman, telling him to wash seven times in the Jordan River for healing. Naaman resisted, irritated that he was being treated with such little respect. But servants (again) prevailed (vv.11-13). Naaman obeyed, and he was healed. Then he proclaimed the truth that he, in his humility, had discovered: “There is no God in all the world except in Israel” (v.15). Knowing who is and who isn’t God is vital.
Read a bit further, to verse 19. Why do you think Elisha refused the money? What did this money represent for Naaman?
How are you tempted to believe that your resources and ingenuity are your greatest assets? Where and when do you need to remember that God is God—not you?
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