Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Who To Thank For Healing

We were studying the story of Naaman last week and the character quality "thankfulness." You can find the story in 2 Kings 5.

Naaman was an army commander for the king of Aram, and Naaman had a terrible skin disease called leprosy. He heard about Elisha who was a prophet of the God of Israel and could "cure him of his leprosy." That was the rumor.

I, too, have heard rumors about spiritual people and ministries...

So the king of Aram sent a letter to the king of Israel saying that he was sending Naaman to him, and asking him to cure Naaman when he gets there. Kings have a lot of power, but healing power they do not have. The king of Israel knew that. In fact, it says
"As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, 'Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!'" (verse 7)

The king knew that only God has the power to heal. The king ended up sending Naaman to Elisha, who directed him to dunk himself in the Jordan River seven times, then added that he would be healed after he did it.

I, too, have received strange directions from people, doctors, health practitioners...

Naaman's response was
"But Naaman went away angry and said, 'I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?' So he turned and went off in a rage." (verses 11-12)

How could the Jordan River possibly be used for his healing? This is not at all what Naaman was expecting or hoping for. He thought the idea was ridiculous and started to leave.

I, too, have thought various kinds of treatment have seemed too ridiculous, too simple, or too weird.

But Naaman's traveling buddies urged him to try it:
"Naaman’s servants went to him and said, 'My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, "Wash and be cleansed"!'" (verse 13)

So Naaman tried it and was healed.

Naaman went back to thank Elisha, but Elisha told him that it was God who healed him. And so Elisha would not take the credit or Naaman's money. The whole point of this story is that God is the only healer. God is the only one who has healing power. God may use something tangible for our healing -- like a person, a set of directions, surgery, medicine, mud, or the Jordan River. He has, in fact, used all of these things to heal. He has also used intangible things, like a prayer of faith, to heal.

But the point is, God wants -- and deserves -- the credit for all true healing. He wants his people in awe and worship of him, not a doctor or a prophet or a river. He is the one who made us and he is the one who can fix us.

"I am the LORD who heals you."

I am not against medicine but in all our seeking of medical attention, I believe it is imperative to remember that humans. can't. heal. And if we Christians are paying money for health care, that can get fuzzy. When we get well, inquiring minds want to know: "What helped?"

God wants us to say, "It was God."

Because it was. Every good and perfect gift comes from him. And if I ever am completely healed, do not be angry if I won't tell you what God used to do it. ;-) I want him who can do it to get all the publicity!

This is what I have learned and this is what I want us all to remember:

A doctor can't heal you.

A medicine can't heal you.

A chiropractor can't heal you.

Food can't heal you.

You can't heal yourself.

Your body can't heal itself.

These are common lies that we hear every day.

God can use ANYTHING he chooses in our healing. But the fact remains that the only one with the power to heal is God. Only God and only God through his Son, who died on the cross for our healing. By his wounds, we are healed. Truth.

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