The Pride of a Leper

“Now Namaan, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria:  he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.” 2 Kings 5: 1

How many times have we as Christians been guilty of expecting God to answer our prayers in a specific way?  I certainly have.  In my own mind and ability to reason, I will think of an area in my life that I need God to work in, figure out the best possible situation in my mind’s eye, pray about it, and expect God to move in the way I have figured out.  It’s not surprising that it usually doesn’t work out the way I planned.  In some situations it would be honest for me to admit that I may never take my situation to God in prayer at all.  Again, in my own way of thinking, I’ve already come to the perfect solution.  So, I’ve already done the legwork.  Now all that God has to do is make it happen!  And in busying my mind in trying to find the solution, I forget to take time to ask God about my need at all.  No, there isn’t any wonder that I struggle more than necessary in life.  The Word specifically says in  James 4: 2, “ye have not because ye ask not.”  I’m a Christian that is guilty of wanting to help God fix a problem when ultimately He desires that we ask of Him.  He truly desires to give us good gifts.  (Matthew 7: 7-11)

A friend of mine was speaking with me about a church service she recently attended.  When I asked her where the preacher had taught from, she told me about Namaan and Elisha.  Later, I read from the Word and felt God speaking to my Spirit concerning this area in my life.

In 2 Kings 5 the Word tells us of a captain of the host to the king of Syria named Namaan.  The Word tells us that he was a great man with his master – the king favored him.  He was honorable and a mighty man in valour.  Obviously, people respected him.  He had led the Syrians in a battle against the Assyrians and had won.  He had distinguished himself among others…but for all of his greatness, Namaan was a leper.  This statement has always caught my attention.  Lepers were typically shuned because of the severity of the disease, yet Namaan had been able to continue on where he was.  He saw himself as great, he had accomplished great works…but he was a leper.  For all that Namaan was known for, one area of his life defined who he was….a leper.  A great man, but not completely whole.  A man who accomplished great things, but not completely victorious…”a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.”  2 Kings 5:1

Word was brought to Namaan, however, that there was a prophet by the name of Elisha in Israel.  Through the power of the name of God that this man spoke of, Namaan could be healed.  So the king sent Namaan to the king of Israel with a letter requesting that Elisha “recover” him.  2 Kings 5:7.  But when Namaan came to Elisha, he sent a messenger out to tell him to go wash in the Jordan seven times and he would be healed.  2 Kings 5:10.  Can you imagine the look on Namaan’s face?  He stood with his horse and chariot outside of Elisha’s home.  The king of Syria had given him a letter to the king of Israel in request of this visit.  Certainly, this wasn’t like any other healing!  Certainly, Elisha recognized who Namaan was!  “But Namaan was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper?  Are not Abana and Pharpar; rivers in Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?  May I not wash in them, and be clean.” 2 Kings 5:11,12.  Namaan was indeed a man mighty in valour.  He was indeed a great man.  But he was also a prideful man and that pride hindered Namaan from dealing with the issue at hand.  He was a leper.

Because in Namaan’s own perspective of his greatness, he had already come to his own conclusion of how Elisha would minister to him.  Man to man.  Man looks on favour and might and honour.  Elisha would see Namaan as Namaan saw himself.  But Namaan wasn’t coming to appeal to man and mans flesh.  Namaan was coming to deal with the Spirit of God that worked through Elisha.  The Spirit didn’t recognize the flesh but dealt with the true issue of Namaan’s being.  Namaan was a leper.  In his pride of his accomplishments…in being caught up in who he was…in expecting God to work his situation out his way…Namaan almost missed his miracle.  He almost left the same leper because he couldn’t deal with the reality of the trial he was facing.

We become so consumed with our self in this life.  We become so accustomed to proving who we are to others that certainly God recognizes all this as well…We may not even notice that we have become prideful over areas in our life, but we do in ways.  We lose sight that God isn’t dealing in past accomplishments.  God isn’t keeping a log book and checking off to see all the great things we do so we can receive greater favor.  God is dealing with the reality of who we are and what we are facing.  For Namaan….he was a leper.  So, He striped him down out of his comfort zone of people treating him with a certain respect because of his position.  He sent a messenger to greet him.  He didn’t send him to the rivers where he was comfortable, but to the Jordan where he may have been viewed as he was…a leper.

The servant recognized Namaan’s pride.  They said in verse 13, “If Elisha had told you to go and do a great thing, (cause a spectacle) you would have done it!” A mighty show of a miracle for the mighty man in valour!  But rather, just go wash and be clean.

So Namaan – the leper, humbled himself.  Namaan took his eyes off of who he was and began focusing on what God was doing…and he was healed.

Are you struggling with a situation or certain circumstance in your life?  Check your heart…search for pride….Are you trying to prove something?  We can become so caught up in ourself that we never receive God’s blessings.  Quit trying to prove who you are and expect such acts of great deliverance when God is simply saying, “Wash and be clean.”

 

 

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2011 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

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Published in: on February 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm  Comments (1)  

Go Yet and Love a Woman

“And the Lord said to Hosea, Go and take unto thee a wife of whoredoms….So he went and took Gomer.”  Hosea 1: 2a, 3a

The rain made a lulling sound as it poured off the roof.  The morning had bought itself a few more moments of stillness as the sun hid itself behind the clouds.  Hosea lay still in the bed knowing that he would soon need to begin the day.  “Gomer must have already awakened”, he thought.  The bed was empty.  He listened for her….for the sound of her movement in the kitchen as she prepared the morning meal for her family…for the hum of her voice as she busies herself in chores.  He listened for her, but he never heard her sound.  “Maybe she’s gone to get something”, he thought, and he wrestled within himself to form some excuse for his wife.  But the reality of the quietness in their home spoke louder than his thoughts.  Gomer was gone.  She had left him and returned to a life she had known before him.  She was gone.

The thought that Gomer would leave Hosea is inconceivable to most.  She had been a prostitute.  She made her living by selling herself in exchange for clothes, food, water…This lifestyle was shameful.  It was disgusting.  No reputable man would dare to begin his life with the likes of such a woman.  At least, not by his own choosing.  “And the Lord said to Hosea, Go take unto thee a wife of whoredoms…”  Hosea 1:2a.  If at any point Hosea had a right to question whether he had heard the voice of God, I imagine it was then.  “A wife of whoredoms.”  Really?  Not only did God command that he take a prostitute as his wife but also, “take unto thee children of whoredoms…”  Hosea 1: 2b.  It was as if God told Hosea, “Take all of her.  Take all of her responsibilities.  Bring her past with you.  Take ALL of her and makes her yours.”  And so he went and found a woman by the name of Gomer and she became his wife.  The Word tells us in Hosea 2 that he provided for her.  Actually, the Word says that he provided better for her.  I’m sure many men wouldn’t have felt the need to provide much at all for Gomer given her past.  “I bought her…that’s enough”, might have been their attitude.  Certainly, it wouldn’t have been acceptable to provide better for a prostitute than what she had known in her sin.  But Hosea did.

They had a family together.  Gomer bore him children.  No, it wasn’t the “cookie cutter” family by any means, but it was his family.  And because Hosea had bought Gomer from a life of prostitution and made her his wife…because he provided better for her in their marriage than in her past life, and because they had a family together, it was expected that Gomer be more than satisfied with her present life.  She should be grateful.  So, I can’t imagine the hurt, betrayal, and anger that Hosea dealt with when he realized that Gomer had left him to return to her old life.  Certainly, he had every right to let her go.  I would have shouted, “If she wants to go, let her go!”  I would have turned my love from her and questioned God, “Why would you send me to a woman who would leave?  She took what I offered and left! Why?!”…

But instead of leaving her where she was…instead of giving her over to her own decisions, God told Hosea, “Go and get her.”  “Go yet and love a woman…” Hosea 3:1a.

I can imagine the scene as it unfolds.  Hosea, so broken.  Rejected.  He walks to an area of town where he had only visited once before…years ago when he found Gomer.  Maybe the street weren’t as clean as he was used to…maybe the air didn’t smell as fresh…He begins to look into the faces of the women who were aged by the decisions of their life.  Not her.  Hosea knew Gomer as well as he knew his own self. He could recognize her eyes in a sea of others faces.  The children they shared had those same eyes.  Not her.  Gomer’s hair would lay a certain way when she pulled her hair away from her face….and then he see’s her.  She was dirty and she was dwelling in the midst of sin…but she was his wife.  She belonged to him.  He walks to her.  I wonder what Gomer felt when she realized that Hosea had come to her.  I wonder if she was fearful of what his intentions were?  Then Hosea pulls out a bag of money.  What emotion could have possibly filled her heart when she realized that her husband was purchasing her again?  Shame, for leaving?  Gratefulness that he came after?  Unbelief, that he would still want her?  “So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for a homer of barley, and half a homer of barley.  And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide with me for many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee.”  Hosea 3: 2,3.

That love…the love that looks past failures and offers forgiveness…that love is undeniably amazing.  When I read the story of Hosea and Gomer I cant help but parallel it to Christ’s love for us.  Though we were living in sin Jesus made provision on Calvary.  That sacrifice purchased my freedom, deliverance…my salvation.  It was more than enough then, and it is more than enough now.  We fail Him.  We sometimes return to the life we once knew.  We sometimes mess up so horribly that within our own grasp of understanding we can not fathom God’s forgiveness.  But He forgives.  Again and again…He forgives.

I have faltered in my belief.  I have failed at my attempts of perfect faithfulness.  I have felt like giving in to the doubts and uncertainly that caused me to question…but my God has never left me.  He continues to seek me out.  And though He may find me dirty in sin, His blood is still sufficient to clean each stain.  So, if you have left your life in Christ…if you have allowed the world to catch your attention… If you have left your first love, look up.  God may be sending a Hosea to bring you home again.

 

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2011 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm  Comments (3)  

I Can’t Go To Church with Dirty Teeth!

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”  Psalm 19:14

My best friend loves teeth.  She and I can be watching the same television show, in conversation with someone else, or just walk by a random person and soon this question will follow, “Did you see their teeth?”  It’s sad to say, but we have spent several conversations through the years on the topic of teeth…in many different forms…how to properly brush teeth, whitening teeth, ugly teeth, beautiful teeth.  Last night was no exception.  She was running late to a sing that she was attending at one of the area churches.  She and I were on the phone and though I can’t remember the details of what we were discussing, it wasn’t teeth.  Until she told that she needed to brush her’s.  Now, knowing my best friend as I do, I’m certain that she had already brushed her teeth as well and noted by any upstanding dentists best recommendation, but the idea had already entered her mind and as things usually progress, the woman was going to brush her teeth.  I take great pride in being her best friend, so I began my role of picking on her compulsion to my fullest degree when came her reply.  With deep conviction she told me, “Britney, I just can’t go to church with dirty teeth!”  I shook my head and laughed at her.  And as it only seemed fitting, God began to quicken my spirit.

This may seem very elementary to some, but the truth still remains.  Bad breath is nasty.  I know I can speak for myself and hopefully others (definitely Trish), but I don’t feel clean if my mouth is dirty.  I may have showered head to toe, but if my teeth haven’t been brushed, I still feel dirty.  A dirty mouth is generous though, and it shares its presence with others.  Can’t we all call to mind conversations we’ve had with others that we were certain something had crawled in their mouth and died?  It’s just not pleasant to say the least.

Our mouth is such a small part of our body but our life is steered by its use.  “A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Proverbs 18: 20,21.  As Christians, we take such an awesome responsibility.  “Christ like”, we label ourself.  The name of Christ should be reverently feared and acknowledged.  The Spirit began asking me though, “Do your words reflect Christ?  Are they painting a picture of grace to the world or condemnation?  Are you speaking peace or confusion?”  Certainly, I began to look at my speech.  The rest of night I began to take notice of what I spoke.

The words of our mouth are not only a reflection of our mouth itself but our heart.  “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:45.  The abundance actually.  So whatever is coming out of our mouth is an overflow of what we allowed to fill our heart.  I have spoken with cold hearts and received the same words.  I’ve spoken with individuals that are filled with such anger it seems that venom pours from within them.  Thankfully, however, I’ve spoken with precious saints of God whose hearts readily stay in the presence of their Savior, and I have received warmth and love as a result from its overflow.

I’m a counselor and I’ll share with you a secret to many a counselors technique.  Let the individual talk and you listen.  Usually it wont be long and they will tell you what they are struggling with.  I’ve found Luke 6:45 to be true on many occasions and the abundance of their heart will eventually come to light through their words.  The world is listening to us too.  We aren’t fooling individuals if our heart isn’t where it needs to be with God.  Eventually, our words will reveal the truth and it will either build a struggling world up or it will tear them down.  I would imagine we can all call to mind the words that cut our very being and wounded us.  At the same time, I pray we can call to mind those words that God used as a spiritual healing balm.

So, Christians…are you going to church with a dirty mouth and nasty teeth?  Does your spiritual breath stink?  Do people avoid talking to you because they smell the rottenness of your heart?  A dirty mouth is a result of a dirty heart.  Search it out and clean it up.

 

 

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2011 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on February 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm  Comments (2)