Thursday, September 23, 2021

Persevering is Believing

Thursday, September 23, 2021 Some material taken from Preparation Precedes Blessing

Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you, and you will be clean. II Kings 5:10

Persevering is Believing

This week we have been looking at II Kings and some stories of great displays of faith. The people in these stories had to act on their faith before God had delivered the promise. That is what faith is. It is believing – and often action that proves it – in what has not been delivered yet. Things unseen. If we have a real and true relationship with Him, then we will trust Him. Completely. 

The display of faith in todays scripture is about a sick man needing healing. Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army so he was respected and honorable – but he had leprosy, an incurable disease that would result in death. Naaman’s wife had a servant girl who knew of the prophet Elisha. She told Naaman’s wife of Elisha and that he could heal his leprosy. 

Long story short, Naaman acted on the faith testimony of the little girl and ended up at Elisha’s house, asking for healing. That is where we come into the scripture today. Elisha sent his messenger to the door to tell Naaman what to do. 

Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.

What happens next is what happens to us sometimes when God does not fix our problems like we think He should fix them: 

But Naaman was furious and went away, and he said, Behold, I thought, He will certainly come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God and wave his hand over the site and cure the leprosy. II Kings 5:11

Like we also do many times when we ask God for something, Naaman had an idea in his mind of how this was all going to work. He had anticipated a way God would work, and he was offended when God didn’t work the way he expected.

He turned and went away in a rage. II Kings 5:12b

Our expectations can cause us to miss the preparation God has for us to do for a blessing – or to miss the blessing all together. Naaman’s expectations were not met so he stormed away unsatisfied with Elisha’s answer. He would find a river on his own if that was all that was required. Thankfully for Naaman, his servants were able to calm him down and help him to think rationally. 

Then his servants approached and spoke to him, saying, My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, Wash, and be clean? So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, in accordance with the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. II Kings 5:13-14

Naaman was looking for something big, maybe an extravagant display, or “some great thing,” and because it didn’t happen according to his expectations, he wasn’t even willing to do the simple thing that was required. This is another way we can miss God’s blessing. We often try to make it so much harder than it is. God just asks for us to believe – which I say tongue in cheek - because believing is always much harder than “doing” something. Especially when it takes a lot longer than dipping in the river seven times. God will do the work, when we believe and do the preparation.

The persistency of a person displays the quality of belief in who it is that will provide.

The greatest display of faith is often the one that no one else sees. It is in our hearts - not in the field digging, not gathering jars from neighbors, or even dipping in the river. It sometimes lasts a long time and if we don’t persevere, we can end up giving up. But the longer we persevere, the more our faith in God will begin to be evident to those around us. He will be magnified in our display of faith.

It is our human nature to give up hope when we wait for so long for something to come but it doesn’t come. Our faith in God cannot be conditional. It doesn’t work if we only believe when we see results  - the results we expect and in the way we expect. Belief - faith - has to come first. It doesn’t work if we get mad and storm off in a rage because God didn’t meet our expectations. 

How many trenches have you dug? How many jars have you collected? How long have you been waiting on the blessing to come? So long that you don’t believe anymore? Keep digging, dipping, and gathering. God is true to His promises and faithful. 

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