03 Nov Bigger than I thought
2 Kings 5:1-19a
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favour because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valour, but he was a leper. 2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4 So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” 5 And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7 And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”
8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” 16 But he said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. 17 Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mule loads of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord. 18 In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon your servant in this matter.” 19 He said to him, “Go in peace.”
Anyone love card trick? One of my favourite movies in the past was the God of gambler. I love that movie. And one of the reasons I love that movie was because of all the card tricks that they had. The main character always somehow managed to get the card that he wanted and won the blackjack. There is a trick to it but we never found out. It’s fascinating. One of my favourite card tricks was the one that you got to pick a random card from the deck, put it back in the deck, shuffled the deck, and the other person guessed your card correctly. I was like, “How do you do that? Do you have to pray and fast to have that skill? Is this black magic? Are you a magician?” I was fascinated by it. Until I found out the trick behind it. Then I was no longer interested.
If we are not careful, a similar thing can happen in our relationship with God. We lost our awe and fascination of who God is because we think we have God figured out. One of the reasons for it is because of the increase of knowledge. Knowledge helps us to understand some of the ways in which God works and it can lead to arrogance. Today we have many cures for diseases that previously had no cure. We invented ways to prolong life. We know how to predict weathers accurately. We even manage to stop aging to some extent. And we are also able to defy gravity. Men are able to step their foot on the moon. And you know what they say? One of the astronauts commented, “I flew to space and I looked for God but I could not find him. He is not there.” With all these knowledge and ability, we think we have God figured out and we lost some sense of wonder and awe of God.
The other reason is we do not understand what it means for God to be sovereign. We are not familiar with the idea of sovereignty. You and I lived in an era where we get to choose and vote for our leaders. We have a say in who we want as our leaders. And if we don’t like our leader, we can impeach them. We do not like the idea of sovereignty. For God to be sovereign means that God has the power and the right to do whatever God desires, however God wants. A sovereign God has the ultimate say in everything. You and I are foreign to that concept. We want explanations for everything that God does. We want to know why God does what he does. Why God allows what he allows. Why God expects what he expects from us. We want God to explain himself before we do what he wants us to do. We feel that God owes us an explanation.
But what we need to remember is that even though we figured out some of the ways God works, it does not diminish the sovereignty of God. He does not owe us any explanation. God gave us brain for a reason. The more we understand about God, it should lead us to be more in awe of God, not diminish God. God is still God and he is sovereign over everything. Just because we know how a painter paints, it does not diminish the ability of the painter to paint and the value of his painting. As smart and advance as we are, we are not God. The most we can know about God is like a drip of water in the ocean.
In our passage today, we find a man who encounters the God of Israel. And this God is not like other gods he knows. This God is uncontrollable. This God is sovereign. This God does not do anyone’s bidding. This God does not owe anyone an explanation. This God is bigger than the man thinks he is. The only right response to this God is to stop all negotiations and take him at his words. And the encounter with this God changes this man’s life forever. And what’s surprising is that this man is not a Jew. He is a gentile. His name is Naaman.
2 Kings 5:1 – Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favour, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valour, but he was a leper.
Naaman is one of the most successful and powerful men in the world at his time. He is the commander of the army of Syria. The Bible writes that Naaman gained great victory as a general with the help of the Lord. This is amazing. The author of Kings wants us to know that the Lord is not only in complete control over Israel but he is also in complete control over every nation and kingdom. Naaman is also the right hand of the king of Syria, a position equivalent to the prime minister of a nation today. He is a wealthy man, a courageous soldier, and highly honoured. He is favoured both by the king and by the people. He is the celebrity of his days. So here we have descriptions of someone who has everything worked out for him. He is as successful and as popular and respected as one could be. Naaman is a mighty man of valour.
But. Guys, if you hear a girl you like talks up about you and then she suddenly says, “But…” you know it is not good. “Yosi, you are such a nice guy. You are kind and you are one of the best friends ever. But….” Everything good that is said before the word but does not count. Naaman is a great man but he is a leper. Despite all his great accomplishments, Naaman is a dead man walking. Someone who has leprosy has a wasting skin disease that slowly crippled, disfigured, and finally kill their victims. It destroys your body slowly and turns you into a walking dead. Leprosy was an incurable disease. The equivalent in our days would be cancer. Despite having riches, wealth, honour and popularity, Naaman’s life is falling apart. It tells us that it does not matter how great of a person we are, life has its way to hit us in the face and ruin us. No amount of power, success, reputation and riches can make us immune from it. So, at the beginning of the narrative, we are introduced to a great man with a great need.
The search for a cure
The next character we are introduced to is a little slave girl. We do not know much about her. We don’t even know her name. All we know is that she is little so she is possibly 12 or 13 years old. But she has a massive role to play in the narrative. She was captured by a band of raiders from Syria. At best, that meant her family was taken captive and sold off. At worst, it meant they had been killed before her eyes. And to make things worse, she became a slave of the general of Syria, the one who was responsible for her being a slave and separating her from her family. So here we have a slave who is poor, young and of the wrong race. An Israelite slave in Syria. She is basically at the very bottom of the social ladder. She is in a lot of pain. She is lonely. She is nobody. And she finds out that her master is a leper. But rather than seeking vengeance against Naaman, she tells Naaman’s wife about a prophet in Samaria who could cure Naaman of his leprosy, which leads to Naaman seeking for a cure. Now listen. God has a purpose in your pain and suffering. Just because you cannot see the purpose in your pain and suffering it does not mean that there isn’t one. God uses this little girl’s pain and suffering to accomplish God’s big purpose. God loves to use ordinary people to accomplish his extraordinary purposes. God wants to use you like the slave girl. Don’t waste your pain and suffering. Your pain and suffering are one of the best ways to showcase the glory of Christ to people around you.
So Naaman’s wife tells Naaman about the prophet in Israel who could heal him. And Naaman goes to his master, king of Syria and asks for permission to go. King of Syria is delighted at the news and gives him a letter of recommendation to give to the king of Israel. Naaman departs to Israel and bring with him lots and lots of gifts. Some scholars estimated that Namaan’s gift is worth up to a quarter of the kingdom. That is a lot of great riches. Here is what happen. Naaman expects to buy his cure through the letters of recommendation from his king and lots of riches. He expects that because of the letter and the wealth he brings, the king of Israel would command the prophet of Israel to cure him, and he would go home a healthy man.
This is different from what his slave girl told him. The slave girl told Naaman to simply see the prophet in Samaria, to go directly to the prophet and ask for a cure. But this does not fit Naaman’s worldview. Instead, he goes to the most powerful man in Israel, the king. The assumption is this: if anyone has the power to heal, it must come from the most powerful man in the country. Success and power are often depicted as signs of blessing from God. Therefore, if you are powerful and successful, you must be close to God. That is why Naaman goes directly to the king. He tries to buy healing from the king of Israel.
When the king of Israel reads the letter, he tears his clothes. He says to Naaman, “Listen, I know I am a king. There are many things that I can do as a king. I can give you money, riches and lands. But don’t make me do what only God can do. I am not God. I can’t make dead people come alive. I can’t heal a leper.” He knows that the king of Syria will not understand that the God of Israel is different from the god of other nations and that the king cannot command healing for Naaman. The god of other religions can be controlled by offering them hard work and devotion. Religion says, “If I do right, if I live right, then God has to bless me.” And a king is a symbol of one who is blessed and favoured by god. Therefore, a king has special access to his god and can command his god what to do. However, the God of Israel is not like the god of other nations. You cannot approach the God of Israel like that. His healing cannot be bought. Whatever he gives is a gift of grace.
Naaman is a great and accomplished person. But that only goes to show that even the finest person in the world cannot find God on his own terms. Naaman does what anyone in the world would do. He pulls some strings, gets some strong backup, spends a lot of money and he goes to the very top person seeking for help. This is the way you deal with important human beings. Naaman is after a God who can be controlled. But the God of Israel is a wild God. Naaman is after a God who can be put into debt, but the Lord is a God of grace, who puts everyone else in his debt. We must understand that grace cannot be bought for grace is far more expensive than the finest gold because grace is only given at the mercy of God alone. You cannot put a price on grace and that is why it comes to us as a free gift. Not because it is cheap but because it is unaffordable. No amount of money can cure Naaman. Our money and power are worthless before God.
2 Kings 5:8 – But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.”
The king of Israel thought that this is nothing but a scheme by the king of Syria to start a war with Israel. He realizes his hopelessness. Elisha hears about it and tells the king to send Naaman to him so “he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” I love this. The reason Naaman came to Israel is for healing. He does not care whether there is a prophet in Israel or not. What he wants is healing, not a revelation. Naaman thinks he needs a healer but Elisha says Naaman needs a prophet. So, we can see that two different things are happening in the same event. Naaman has his own agenda but God also has his own agenda. Naaman just wants to be healed out of leprosy but God has something a lot bigger in mind.
So Naaman goes to the house of Elisha, and what he sees and hears there shock him. The great and mighty Naaman is in front of Elisha’s house but Elisha does not come out. He merely sends his servant to speak with Naaman. I mean, Elisha is not a prosperity prophet. He does not own a mansion. Elisha’s house is most likely very small and Naaman could probably see and hear Elisha from the outside. Imagine if David Beckham comes to my house because he wants me to pray for him. He sends me a text message saying that he is on his way to my house. I would be jumping all over the house while waiting for him to arrive. I’ll make sure I wear my best suit and have my camera ready to take a picture with Beckham and post it on Instagram. Or even better, Beckham posts a picture of me and him in his Instagram with the caption, “Me and my pastor.” I would do everything I can to make him feel welcomed in my house. Right? But Elisha does not even greet Naaman but rather send his servant to convey his message. And the message the servant gives is even more shocking – “Sir Naaman, you have to take a bath seven times in the Jordan River.” “Wait! What?” This is nothing at all what Naaman is expecting. Look at Naaman’s response.
2 Kings 5:11 – But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.
Naaman expects that Elisha would take the money and perform some magic ritual. He goes away angry. He says, “I thought…” Naaman comes to God with a preconceived assumption about God. Naaman thought that Elisha would come out, wave his magic wand, “Abracadabra,” and voila, goodbye leprosy. “But what? Wash myself seven times in the Jordan River? Are you insane? There are many better rivers in Syria. Why do I have to wash myself in the Jordan River? I am not an idiot. I am a powerful man. Only an idiot would do that!” What Elisha tells him to do is very different from what Naaman is expecting. It does not make any sense at all to Naaman. There is no natural connection between leprosy and Jordan River. Naaman’s worldview is being challenged. Naaman must learn that the God of Israel is sovereign and cannot be controlled. Now he is being confronted with a God who deals with his people on the basis of grace and not merit. No one can control the true God because no one can earn, merit, or achieve God’s blessing and salvation. Do you see what happen? This is the tension that we faced with God oftentimes. We come to God with the, “I thought…” We think that if we live good enough life, God must bless us. We think that if we pray and read the Bible enough, then God is obligated to give us what we want. We think that if we go to the church regularly, then life would work out the way we want. Our natural instinct is to earn and perform. But the God of the Bible does not operate on merit but grace. Look at what happens next. It’s fascinating.
2 Kings 5:13 – But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”
What this servant says is very revealing. The problem with the Jordan River is not the river. The problem is that it is too easy. Naaman is angry because what Elisha said does not meet his worldview. He is expecting Elisha to tell him to slay the dragon and save the princess or maybe to climb to the top of Himalaya to get some special herb. But to wash yourself seven times in Jordan takes no ability or attainment at all. Anyone can do that. Even an idiot or a child can do that. Until Naaman learn that the Lord is a God of grace, whose blessings cannot be earned, only received, he would not receive his healing. As long as Naaman holds on to his success and worldly significant, he will not experience the grace of God that comes by faith which reflected in trust and obedience. “Just wash yourself,” is a command that is extremely hard because it is extremely easy. To do it, Naaman has to admit that he is helpless and weak and has to receive his healing by trust and obedience. Naaman has to put aside his knowledges and mindsets and achievements, and simply look to God. Instead of coming to God saying, “Look at all I’ve done,” God wants Naaman to look to him. What God wants from Naaman are humility and faith. God does not care if Naaman is a great man with great accomplishments. Everyone comes to God the same way – humility and faith. And this is extremely hard. One of the hardest things to do is to admit that there is nothing we can do and all we can do is to receive freely. So Naaman humbles himself and does what Elisha told him. He dips himself once, nothing happens. Twice, nothing happen. He continues until six and nothing happen. But then he takes the seventh dip and something amazing happen. Suddenly, his flesh is restored and becomes clean like that of a young boy.
The transformed life
2 Kings 5:15-19 – 15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” 16 But he said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. 17 Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mule loads of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord. 18 In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon your servant in this matter.” 19 He said to him, “Go in peace.”
Something spectacular happens after the seventh dip. Not only Naaman is healed of leprosy, but his life is also transformed. Three things happen. First, there is a confession of faith. Naaman confesses that the God of Israel is the one true God. He is not saying that God of the Israel is one of the gods. He is not adding God of Israel to the list of gods he believes in. It is something much bigger. He says that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel. Wow! This confession comes from a Syrian general. This is God’s plan from the very beginning. While Naaman was seeking for a cure, God was seeking Naaman. And at the end of the journey, not only Naaman experiences healing from leprosy but he also experiences healing from sin. Naaman even calls himself the servant of Elisha. There is humility in him that does not exist before.
Second, there is radical generosity. Naaman offers all his gift to Elisha. But it is different from before. Before, Naaman is trying to use the gifts to buy his healing. But now Naaman is already healed. He does not need to buy his healing. Naaman wants to give his gifts out of gratitude for what God has already done. Now, what would you do if you are Elisha? The guy in front of you is offering you riches that worth a quarter of the kingdom. I’ll be like, “No Naaman. This is not about me. It is the Lord who healed you. He is the one who is worthy to receive credit, not me. I am just a servant of the Lord and I lived my life to do the Lord’s will. I mean, you don’t have to give me anything, but since you insist, here is my bank account.” Right? By the way, there is nothing wrong with receiving gifts. This text is not teaching every servant of God to refuse gifts and blessings from people. I would be flat broke if that’s the case. And all throughout the Bible, the servant of God received blessings and gifts from the people of God. But in this case, Elisha refuses the gifts. Why? Because Elisha is trying to underline the importance of salvation by grace alone to a gentile general who has no prior knowledge about the God of Israel and is about to go back to his country. It has to be totally clear to Naaman that he cannot buy salvation.
Third, there is a step of obedience. Naaman knows that he must go back to Syria. He does not say, “You know what, I am going to stay in Israel from this day forward. I am not going back to Syria. I’ll live with you, Elisha. I’ll be your servant. I hope you don’t mind.” No, Naaman does not say that. Naaman says that he is going back to Syria. He has a duty to perform in Syria. But Naaman asks for a pile of dirt for him to bring back to Syria. I know it sounds weird to us, but we need to remember that the culture of those days believe that a God is known by his territory. By taking dirt from Israel to Syria, Naaman is saying that he would worship no other God but the God of Israel. And Naaman also asks for a special pardon for every time he must accompany the king of Syria in the temple of Rimmon and bow himself. Naaman is basically saying, “I am going to continue to serve my country, but I won’t worship other god.” Naaman does not choose to isolate himself from the world nor does he become one with the world. He seeks a creative way to worship the God of Israel in Syria. And Elisha’s answer is comforting. He replies, “Go in peace” which is not simply a farewell but an acknowledgement that God has granted Naaman’s request. Naaman’s life is transformed by grace.
What does this story mean for us? Few lessons. First, all of us has a “but.” It does not matter how great of a person you are; you have a but in your life. That but could be a secret habit that no one knows. It could be an unresolved problem, past trauma, deep unhappiness, secret fear, health problem, loss of a loved one or loss of a job. I don’t know what it is, but we all have something inside of us that makes all our accomplishments mean nothing. We might have everything in life, but we feel empty. We might have everything on the outside, but we have a but on the inside that we try our best to hide. This is the reality of the human condition. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned against God, their eyes were opened and they felt naked. They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, but it did not work. All of us feels naked on the inside. All of us are a leper. We have a sickness that destroys us from the inside and is killing us. The name of that disease is sin. Leprosy is a symbol of sin. All of us have been infected by sin. That is the cause of “but” in our life. But what if our but is designed by God to lead us to God?
Second, God has a purpose in our “but.” As we see in the story, God used Naaman’s search for a cure to draw Naaman to something better, God himself. God is using our but to draw us to God. But in order to bring us to God, God must destroy our pride first. God has to show us that there is nothing we can do that can heal us. No amount of power, success and wealth can heal us. In order for us to meet God, he has to destroy our religious mentality. Religion is our default mode. I met a lot of Christians who became Christian and their lives are getting worse instead of better and they asked the question, “Why God? It should not be like this.” This question shows that we still operate on a religious mentality. We think that now that we are Christians, now that we perform our Christian duties, God is obligated to give us a better life. But the God of the Bible is the God that cannot be controlled. He is not a divine vending machine where we put our money and blessing come out. You cannot make a transaction with him. He does not operate that way. The purpose of our but is to drive us to the one true God. Our but is only a symptom and not the root of our problem. In Mark chapter 2, there is a story of a group of friends who bring their paralysed friend to Jesus. Because the room is packed, they decide to let their friends down from the roof. And when Jesus sees that, he says “Son, your sins are forgiven.” That is weird. The reasons his friends brought the paralysed man to Jesus is for Jesus to heal him. Not forgive him from sins. “Well, Jesus, yeah thank you for the forgiveness of sins. That’s cute. But that’s not what we came for.” Do you know what Jesus is doing? Jesus is showing us that our greatest problem is not pain but sin. Our greatest need is not to be healed but to be forgiven from sins. Sin is the root of our problem and it is what eating us from the inside. We need a new relationship with God.
Third, the gospel is the only cure. It is a fatal mistake to think that the cure of our problem is to go to Israel and get baptised seven times in Jordan River. That is not the point of the story. The point of the story is that only the grace of God can cure Naaman and only grace can cure us. But in order for us to receive grace, God must first destroy our self-sufficiency. There is nothing we can do to merit grace. You cannot put a price on God’s grace. Grace comes to us a free gift of God. Grace is free or it is not grace. Now hear me. Do you know why it is so hard for us to receive grace? Get this. Grace is too difficult because it is too easy. Grace requires us to confess our own inability and simply cling to God. It requires us to confess that we are sinners just like everyone else. That we are no different than prostitutes and murderer. All we can do is receive. And all we have to do is receive. That’s it. But here is another side of the coin. Grace is too easy because it is too difficult. Are you with me? Grace is not too easy because it is cheap but because it is too difficult. God’s standard is incredibly high and there is zero chance of us ever meeting that standard. Grace is easy because someone else paid the difficult price.
Now, do you know who is the most important character in this whole story? Let me give you a hint. It is not Elisha and it is not Naaman. It is the little slave girl. Now, what would you do if you were her and found out that your master was a leper? If I was her, I would be like, “That’s what you get for killing my family. Hahaha. Go and die miserably. I can’t wait to see all your fingers fall off. Oh, here is one finger. I’m going to marinate it and feed it to his dog.” Right? I would want Naaman to pay for his sins. But instead of rejoicing over Naaman’s leprosy, she told him about the prophet! She could have chosen to withhold the information and see Naaman suffers and die. She had every right to demand vengeance and she had the chance to see her vengeance come to pass. However, she did not do that. She refused to relieve her own suffering by making Naaman pay for it. She forgave him and became the vehicle for his healing and salvation. She suffered and forgave, not knowing how much God would use her sacrifice. She suffered because of Naaman’s sin but her suffering became the means of Naaman’s salvation. She was a suffering servant. Listen. That is exactly who Jesus is. The Christlike figure in this story is a little slave girl. Jesus came to be a suffering servant. Like this girl, Jesus suffered not because of his own sin because of our sins. But unlike this little girl, Jesus entered that suffering of his own choice. The little girl had no control over her circumstance, but Jesus left heaven and suffered for us voluntarily. The little girl was just a girl. Jesus was the king of the universe, but he emptied himself of his glory and became us. Jesus took on the punishment of our sins at the cross and he said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” It is our sins that made Jesus suffered, but it is Jesus’s suffering that forgives us our sins. My friend, this is the gospel. Jesus paid it all and all to him I owe. All that we need to do is to receive by faith. Trust in his finished work at the cross. He is the only one who can cure us of our sin problem and he has done it.
Fourth, the gospel changes you. It is impossible to experience the gospel and remain the same. The gospel is not about becoming a nicer person but becoming a new person. The gospel will produce obedience or it is not the gospel. And I am not talking about perfect obedience. You do not become a mature Christian in one day. Christianity is a journey of a daily walk with God. It’s not like your Spotify song list change from Lady Gaga to Christ Tomlin overnight. It is a daily step of obedience. It is step by step process. It’s like a baby who is learning how to walk. As the baby grows, he will learn how to walk by trusting his parents. His parents would hold his hand as he takes the first few steps and then let go of the hands and the baby would take one or two steps before he falls. And when the baby falls, his parents do not scream and yell at him and tell him how useless he is. The parents celebrate! They would intentionally make the baby walks and falls again just to post it on IG stories and tell everyone “my baby is walking!” And then they would try again and again and again until the baby could walk on his own. And then the baby would learn how to run, jump, and play as he continues to trust his parents. The same is true with our growth as a Christian. It might take quite some time before we see significant growth, but the gospel changes you and empower you to take steps of obedience.
- Which part of Naaman’s story surprised you the most? Share it with your group.
- What does it mean for God to be sovereign and why does it bother us?
- Naaman tries to buy his cure with a letter of reccomendation and lots of riches. Can you give examples of how we often try to approach God the same way?
- Explain why grace is both too easy and too difficult. What does it tells us about the God of the Bible?
- God is using our “but” to draw us to him. Can you see how God is using your “but” to draw you closer to God? Share it with your group.
- “You do not become a mature Christian in one day. Christianity is a journey of daily walk with God.” Explain.
- What does it mean for us to be a suffering servant?