Picking up from the previous article, when Elisha resumed the ministry of Elijah as a prophet in Israel, we could learn more about what Elijah did by reading the subsequent chapters. For instance, in 2 Kings 5:9-15, while Elisha is a prophet in Israel, there’s a military commander named Naaman over in the country of Aram. Naaman has leprosy, which (in that era) he seems to be stuck with.
In a twist (from God’s planning, of course), an Israelite girl who had been captured was serving Naaman’s wife (2 Kings 5:2-3). This girl mentions that she knows about a prophet in Samaria who can help cure this leprosy.
So, Naaman gets permission (which is a little ironic, but even commanders report to someone) and goes to Israel. Apparently, when you visit from another country, it is normal to start with the king (like the Magi visiting King Herod), and there’s an almost-funny part where the king of Israel interprets the letter from Naaman’s master as saying that he – the king of Israel – is expected to cure Naaman, and he panics. Elisha hears the news, though, and calls Naaman to his house.
So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
2 Kings 5:9-10 NIV
This sounds pretty straightforward. These instructions are clear. They don’t take any special skills or resources. And, the promised result is included.
Stepping back for a moment, is God calling you to do something unusual or uncomfortable? Is He asking you to talk to someone you don’t like, or to go do something that you’re not sure about? Sometimes, His instructions are pretty clear, and aren’t difficult, but the problem is that we just don’t want to follow them.
I also think that we get tired when God asks us to do the same thing (whether washing seven times in a river, or serving in the same ministry for 7 years). There are multiple situations in the Bible when God tells people to do something more than once, like when the Israelites marched around Jericho, and He might be doing the same for us. However, He doesn’t always tells us ahead of time how many times we are going to be asked to do something before we see any results. For instance, consider 1 Kings 18:43-44, where Elijah’s servant does what he is told to do, repeatedly. I don’t think that Elijah warned the servant (or if Elijah even knew) that it would take seven times to see results. Still, the servant was sent repeatedly, until the right time arrived.
It’s not our job to pick and choose which of God’s commands we’ll follow, though, or to set limits on how many times we will obey Him when He calls us to do the same thing. Instead, it’s our role to obey God, and to trust that He knows what He is doing. Sometimes, we just need to keep trusting and obeying (as the hymn says), even if our mission today looks like our previous mission, and even if we didn’t see any change from what we did…yet.
Keep going. Keep following God’s direction for you, day after day.
After all, if we give up before the job is done, we don’t know what we are missing out on. Remember, God’s plan is bigger than us, and it’s more than we realize.
Let’s see how things turned out for Naaman in the next article…
From Sunday School lesson prepared for July 18, 2021
- The Lookout, July 18, 2021 © 2021 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete). Matthew Henry. 1706, via BibleGateway.com.