But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. 2 Kings 5:11-12
We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. Proverbs 16:1
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:13-17
And the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:28-31
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
That God uses physical infirmity to shape our lives is obvious to most people. Naaman’s condition of leprosy had already brought him to the spot where he recognized that if there was a solution for his condition it had to come from outside of himself. When Naaman heard there was a prophet in Samaria who could heal, he was off and running to catch up with the prophet. But as we see above, Naaman wanted the outcome of healing and not the method of healing the prophet prescribed. While his disease had reshaped him enough to be willing to yield to an outside source for the outcome of healing he wanted, he was still in need of some additional reshaping in order for him to be willing to yield to the specific method prescribed by the prophet for his healing. Naaman had his own expectations and he was planning on those expectations coming about – both the healing and the method of healing.
It is not so much the plans and expectations of Naaman that cause the trouble, it is Naaman’s attachment to them. This is revealed in his anger and rage as well as his stalking away from the provision made available to him. Naaman thinks the method of healing prescribed is beneath him; it is not fitting for “who he is” in life. To him his own expectations and plans for his healing are the only right ones; the only “fitting” ones for Him. If this is how Naaman handled the collision of Divine plans with his own personal plans, it is more than likely that his pride and need to be right played a major role in his relationships with other people as well.
There is a way that seems right to us and our pride keeps us holding on tightly to our own plans. Elsewhere in Scripture there is reference to “the boastful pride of life.” This is what the James passage is trying to steer us away from. In the 1 Corinthians passage Paul reaffirms the reality that God orients Himself toward those who are humble and not toward those who boast in themselves. When boasting, pride, and needing to be right are present in our relationships with others, the time is right to ask God to create in us a humility that allows us to yield to Him and to others.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I do ask you to create in me a humility that allows me to yield to you and to others. Boasting, pride, and the need to be right have certainly been a part of my personal struggle. Forgive me for my selfish attachments to my own self-serving expectations. I bow before you, Lord, releasing all my desires and plans to you. Your will be done. Amen!
Posted on Tue, July 25, 2017
by Ken Hart