"The Message Not the Messenger"

"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."" Second Kings 5:9-10 (NIV)

Sometimes we get something very different than we expected. This may take the form of a simply disappointment or it may present a serious detour in our life. We pray and pray for something from God and because we are looking for Him to respond only as we expect we miss a blessing when he responds in a different or unexpected way. We are responsible for asking but God is in charge of the response department! And be on the watch for a blessing that comes from a direction or place you least expect. Naaman learned it may even come from an ordinary messenger.

Naaman was a great man in the site of his master. He was a great leader of men and he found success in his battles. Yet Naaman had leprosy and we can read the fifth chapter of Second Kings and find a story of a healing and a story of a man who learned to look in different places for the hand and blessing of God Almighty. Naaman almost missed what God had for him simply because God sent a messenger Naaman had not expected. Also, Naaman did not appreciate the message. As a side note, God offers salvation to everyone on the face of the earth but some reject the free offer. They, like Naaman, must have an ego that gets into the way of accepting a blessing from God. Naaman's inflated view of his importance almost got into the way of a healing from God.

Naaman expected the prophet Elisha to come and wave his hand over the leprosy and it would be gone! Likewise, are we sometimes looking for God's "magic wand" to fix all our problems? Do we sometimes expect that God will meet us at the door and by His command all our problems and difficulties will disappear? Well, perhaps God allows the ordinary to accomplish the extraordinary. For example, God picked 12 ordinary men to spread to the entire world a message of salvation. But many people rejected the message, expecting the messengers to be more important. It is a pity that some people die not knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior because they are waiting for God Himself to stand at their door. God sent messengers like you and I to spread the Gospel - pray that people open their ears and become receptive to the message.

When the prophet Elisha send a messenger to Naaman, with a prescription for healing, this great army commander left in anger. It seems he was insulted that the prophet himself did not come to the door! Friends, a message from God is a message from God regardless of whom God chooses as the messenger. You may not like someone and you may think, "Surely God would not send that person to me with a message." Maybe you need to think again! Remember that God once used a donkey to get through to Balaam. (And that is always my "proof text" for me being in the ministry. If he can use a donkey perhaps he can use me!)

Elisha's messenger told Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan River for a healing from his leprosy. Urged by his men, Naaman finally relented and did as he was told. You probably know the story - Naaman received his healing. But perhaps more important than his healing was the lesson he learned along the way. Likewise, God commissioned human authors to physically write down the Word of God. The messengers were sinners - saved by grace. The message is perfect and complete. Naaman received his blessing only after consenting to the command to wash seven times (a number of completion in the Bible) in the Jordan River. Naaman did not like what he heard or the fact that a mere servant delivered the message, but Naaman eyes was finally opened and he therefore received his healing.

When we try to alter God's prescription for our life we fail every time. We must learn to lean upon the true message of God's Word. We simply cannot focus on the messenger or we will find fault every time. It may take longer for some than for others but sinful men and sinful women will falter at some point. Don't focus on the frail messenger but rather focus on the perfect message. May God continue to bless your study of His Word.

By Gary Stone

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