Devotional Lessons from the Patriarchs
13 Devotions to help you in your Spiritual Walk
The devotional readings you'll find on this page are being written to accompany a 52 week Children's Curriculum, "Heroes, Heroines, Champs and Chumps." However, these readings can help anyone hoping to grow in the faith.
This page will eventually host 13 devotions and then it will spill over onto three more pages. Beginning with Abraham, moving on to Moses and taking us through the story of Samuel, there's a lot we can learn from these Bible Patriarchs and Judges.
The Children's Curriculum helps kids learn important lessons, and these devotions will help your children's ministry leaders grow right along with the children. As you'll find with all of the other devotions I have online, all 52 will eventually be here along with PDF versions. Plus, I'll publish them on CreateSpace. I also plan to make it into a as well as Kindle EditionNook.
Shield courtesy of Clker.com
All Packed Up and Ready to Go
For use with Lesson 1 in Heroes, Heroines, Champs & Chumps
"Abram Left Home to Follow God"Sometimes I feel as though these words God spoke to Abraham are words God spoke to me years ago. Steve and I were married for just 3 years when he decided to join the Air Force. For the next three and a half years, I lived more than 8 hours from my parents and siblings.
I grew up in a very close family. On my mom's side, I still keep up with my 2nd and 3rd cousins. In fact we still celebrate Thanksgiving together every year. My grandmother was one of three girls and together the three of them only had five children. So, five generations later, with four of those represented at family get-togethers, we only have about 60 including spouses, and my siblings and I bring 34 of those! So, moving was difficult, but we needed work and the Air Force was a paycheck.
After just one term, we returned to our home in the hills; however, it was only about five years later that Steve felt called into ministry. We fought it for a while. We really enjoyed being back home with our families. Finally, we packed everything we owned into a moving van and headed to Southern Ohio. Only a couple of hours from the family now, we didn't feel quite so isolated.
When Steve and I left for our military stint, I couldn't have imagined being like Abraham. The Lord called, and He just picked up and moved. One wife, one nephew and some servants, and he's off! Abraham didn't have the luxury I did of knowing where he was going before he left. No, God told him to go where I will show you, and Abraham went. Although our moving wasn't as adventurous as Abraham's, and we fought it a bit, I did learn a few valuable lessons during those years.
One of the most important things I learned was the art of contentment. I spent much of our military life miserable. I had a beautiful family and a loving husband, but I was so discontent. I was sure there was something I could add to my life to make it better. After several "additions" didn't change the internal turmoil I was feeling, I became confident I just needed to get back "home." The feelings I had must stem from missing my family, I thought. However, the relocation of my household furnishings didn't change my longing for more. If I hadn't been completed committed to making our marriage work during those couple of years, I'm sure I'd have left, but in my mind that was never an option.
About six months after we returned to Ohio, I finally began to understand my problem. The journey to my realization is another wonderful story, but the abridged version is this: When I learned to make Christ and His love and grace the central part of my life, I found contentment, and as I began to allow His Spirit to be in control of my life, I found real joy. Five years later, when our roving began again, this time in ministry, I had no problem packing up and going. We moved four times in the next ten years. Each place had blessings and lessons, and I'd have missed them if I hadn't discovered what I'm guessing Abraham always knew. As long as you are focused on your Creator, home is wherever He's called you.
How Do You Hear God?
For use with Lesson 2 in Heroes, Heroines, Champs & Chumps -
"Isaac Gets a Wife"One of the stories from the Bible that has always given me a great deal of encouragement is the tale of Abraham finding a wife for his son, Isaac. You see, in most every case of folks praying and hearing God in the scriptures, the followers of our Father seem to hear an audible voice from the Almighty. How I often wish that I could hear God in that way. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Simply pray, spend some time listening and hear the unmistakable voice of the Creator of the Universe tell you what you should do or where you should go. (Or, as in the case of the prophets, hear some word of warning that would make you an unwelcome speaker in most crowds)
You see, I believe that things that happen in scripture can and do happen today. I understand that in the grand scheme of things, we see only a small sampling of all those who followed God, so not everyone may have experienced everything we read. The accounts we have were probably less than normal, otherwise why would they have been recorded. Nevertheless, I was once under the impression that in the times of Abraham, Jacob, David and Isaiah, God spoke only in a clearly audible voice, and this troubled me.
So, when I really read the story of Abraham's servant, I found my story. I have been blessed to hear what I believe to be the "voice" of God only once or twice in my life. I long to hear it more often, but I've discovered I'm obviously more in the category of Abraham's servant than Abraham himself.
Abraham's servant travels miles from home to find the right wife for his master's son, Isaac. When he finally arrives at his destination, he asks God to help him with his endeavor. He doesn't ask God outright what His Sovereign will is. No, he asks the Almighty to send him a sign, to bless his mission and show him the girl he's chosen for Isaac. He makes his request and trusts that God will bless him.
I wonder if God speaks to many of His servants in the twenty-first century like he spoke to Abraham's servant thousands of years before. We want desperately to hear the voice of God and imagine that we are less in God's eyes because He hasn't revealed Himself to us in the way we want Him to. However, perhaps if we pay attention, we'll see, rather than hear, God's will.
I believe that God wants to speak to all of us. He has words and wisdom He wants to share; however, we must, like Abraham's servant, first and foremost be in a place to receive what He wants to share. And second, we must be looking for God to speak, not just as a voice in our ears, but as a feeling in our hearts, a movement in our presence, a touch, a taste, a smell, a sight, or even a young girl who wants to water our camel.
The Full 52 Week Curriculum
Purchase the Curriculum
The Link to the right will take you to the hard copy version of the Full 52 week Curriculum for sale at Amazon.com; You'll also find the curriculum by the quarter:
Unit 1 - The Patriarchs and Judges
Unit 2 - The Kings and the Prophets
Unit 3 - The New Testament
Unit 4 - All of the Holidays
All four quarters and the full year are available at my store as e-books.
The Grass is Always Greener
Genesis 13, 18 & 19
For use with Lesson 3 in Heroes, Heroines, Champs & Chumps
Lot and His Wife Make Some Poor Choices
Kids always want the newest toys. Women continually buy the latest fashions. Men are intrigued by the most recent gadgets. We always want the biggest and best. When the new iPhone comes out, there's a waiting list! Lot probably would have been first in line to break into Wal-mart the day the Wii was released. Lot's story is a perfect reminder of the fact that the grass is not always greener.
Abraham was a man of graciousness, so he allowed Lot to pick his land first. Sure enough, Lot chose the land that looked the most lush, and later he moved from his meager tent in a pasture into the luxuries of city life. Moving up, getting ahead, prestige, power, something better . . . aren't those the things everyone wants from life?
When I read the story of Lot, I'm reminded of a story from Billy Graham's life. It seems he was unofficially engaged to a young lady when he accepted Christ as his Savior and subsequently received a call from God to enter full time ministry. According to an interview Midwest Today had will Rev. Graham, the young lady broke off their engagement. I haven't been able to corroborate it, but I've heard she said she was breaking off their relationship because she was not going to be married to a "poor preacher."
The would-be Mrs. Graham missed out on many blessings that we know for certain have been poured out on the Graham family throughout the years. They live a humble lifestyle out of choice and service to Christ, not because Rev. Graham is a "poor preacher." Likewise, Lot suffered much unnecessary anguish because he chose what appeared to be the more lucrative lifestyle.
How might Lot's life have been different if he had prayed and asked God which was truly the better pasture land? What may have been the outcome for he and his family, and especially his poor wife, had he sought God's guidance before moving inside the city walls of, the now infamous, Sodom.
We know that Abraham's life was blessed. He and his family had plenty of problems, but because of his obedience to his Creator, the problems never outgrew the blessings the Almighty chose to pour out on them.
What wisdom do you use as you make choices that affect your family and future generations? How do you pick your employment? Do you generally use only the benefits package to make your informed decision, or will you include advice from the Holy Spirit on God's behalf?
Lot teaches us that what looks like it's the absolute best isn't always necessarily so. As you make decisions and weigh you options in the next weeks, take time to consider God's opinion. Learn His lesson well and all the rest will just fall into place, a place where the grass really is always greener!
Jacob's Journey from Chump to Champ
Genesis 27 & 30-32
For use with Lesson 4 in Heroes, Heroines, Champs & Chumps -
"Jacob's Journey from Chump to Champ"Jacob is one of the most famous characters in Scripture. The entire of nation of Israel, even today, calls him "Father." The younger twin of Isaac and Rebekah and one of Abraham's many grandsons, if you count Ishmael and the sons of his second wife, Jacob was best known as "the deceiver" in his younger days. In fact, his name in Hebrew means "pulled my leg." As he headed out for Aram to escape his brother's wrath and find a wife that his mother would approve of, no one would have guessed this upstart would ever be a leader, nonetheless a man with a nation still called by his name more than 4000 years later.
One of the things I learn most from Jacob is my need to have a personal relationship with my Creator. When Jacob left for Aram, he stopped to sleep, and sometime in the middle of the night he had the famous dream of a ladder or a stairway reaching all the way to heaven. Most folks know about Jacob's ladder, fewer realize that the dream held a promise. It was on this night that God passed the promise He'd given to Abraham and Isaac on to Jacob, and it's Jacob's vow the morning after that reveals the heart of this great man's faith.
Jacob wasn't the first to use the "If God does this . . ." prayer, but he is one of the more well-known. If God answered his prayer, THEN the Lord would be his God. More than once in his young life we see this father of God's chosen people refer to God as "your God" or "the God of my father." It would appear that even more than 20 years in a foreign country working to earn his wives and countless blessings from God still didn't convince the man that the Lord was HIS God. Only after a night of face to face wrestling do we see that Jacob may finally understand the need for a personal relationship with the Almighty.
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to help them see the need to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ early in their life. As parents it's important to remember that sometimes that will mean they have to "wrestle" a bit with their Heavenly Father; we don't need to rescue them every time it looks like they are struggling in their faith.
Of course, even more important is the fact that our children will have a hard time understanding a personal relationship with God if they don't see that kind of relationship in us, their parents or ministry leaders. Do you call God, "my Savior and my Lord," or is He "the God of your fathers"? Is Jesus your friend or someone you read about in the Bible?
It's vital that we take time every day to develop our relationship with Christ, even if that means "wrestling" Him from time to time. God knows that we are a lot like Jacob. He understands that we struggle in life and don't always understand everything He does. Our Heavenly Father gets it that on occasion we may even be mad at Him, and in those times, He encourages us to "wrestle." It's in the wrestling that we will often see Him face to face. It's in the struggles we will learn to call Him "friend."
Life Isn't Fair
Genesis 39-41 & Jeremiah 29:11
For use with Lesson 5 in Heroes, Heroines, Champs & Chumps -
"Joseph Kept the Faith When Life Wasn't Fair"
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Today we flew from Pittsburgh to New York via Baltimore. At the Baltimore airport, when those not going on to La Guardia disembarked, there were only three left on the plane, Steve and me and one other person. The flight crew allowed us to sit anywhere we wanted, so we moved to the front row where there's more leg room. It looked like it was going to be a nice half hour to New York.
But just before we were scheduled to take off, the steward asked Steve and I if we'd mind moving. A family with two children in wheelchairs were about to board, and the stewards had only saved two seats up front instead of four. We're still not sure why he didn't ask the two young women on the other side in the front row to move, but it didn't matter. We lost our comfy seats. It didn't seem fair. Had they saved enough seats to begin with, we'd have been there on that front row, or we'd have taken the seats in the emergency exit row. Instead we ended up about six rows from the back in the middle and aisle seats. Did I mention we'd had a window in the front row, too?
Unfortunately, life often isn't fair. Joseph's story is proof again that we can't always control the events in our life. These couple of chapters from Genesis occurred right after Joseph found himself sold into slavery by his own brothers. He worked hard to climb up the slave ladder. But just when life got bearable, he finds himself in prison courtesy of a lie he has no power to refute.
After a years in prison, Joseph begins to see some a way out. But even a promise from someone he helps in prison can't rescue him. And so the 17 year old boy becomes a man in slavery and prison.
Life wasn't fair 2000 years before Christ and it's not fair 2000 years after. I recently read something that reminded me the devil and his armies hate God but can't touch Him. However, this evil can reek havoc in the lives of those who were created in God's image. The prince of darkness will do everything he can to take down the children of the Living God.
It's not easy to get back up after life knocks us down. But if we pay attention to Joseph's story, we'll see that God has more for us. Joseph shows us that it is possible to keep the faith even when it looks like God is no where near us. At every turn, Joseph gave God honor. Each time life sent Joseph backwards, Joseph pushed forward doing his best and giving all the glory to his Creator. As a slave Joseph insisted he couldn't take what wasn't his. While in prison he let his fellow prisoners know that God was the one who deserved credit for his abilities.
And finally, when it seemed as though everyone had forgotten him, God raised Joseph to the 2nd highest position in all Egypt. God wants to bless us, prosper us, too. The trick is to learn to be patient like Joseph, to give God glory and honor Him even when things get tough, to never give up hope in the midst of the darkness and to trust that God has everything under control even when life isn't fair.
It's OK to Ask for Help
For use with Lesson 6 in Heroes, Heroines, Champs & Chumps -
"Like Moses - We Can't Do it Alone"So, how many days a week do you feel overwhelmed? As a mom, it seems like we get most of the dirty work. For some reason most of the family just assumes the laundry will be done, the dishes will be clean and there will always be cereal on the shelves. I'm not sure whether everyone just thinks that stuff just magically appears or what. Only another mom understands that those groceries require a minimum of one hour a week, and that doesn't include drive time. How often are you still working when the rest of the family has settled into bed for the night?
And it's not like you're the last one up most mornings. Even if you have a morning that you might sleep in, if you have children under the age of 10, it's very difficult for them to let you sleep late. They just want to be with you, but it still makes relaxing a little tough sometimes.
That's where Moses' story can help! Moses was overwhelmed. The people of Israel thought he was the only one who could make a wise decision. Every person in the entire nation who had a problem came to Moses. From sunup to sundown Moses was kept busy defusing arguments and playing mediator. (Do you ever feel like that?)
But Moses' father-in-law gave him some great advice. "Get some help! You can't do it all by yourself. You deserve to have some downtime."
We want to be the best moms possible, but despite our best efforts, we only get 24 hours each day, 168 in a week. And the Bible tells us that the first 24 are supposed to be a day of rest. So, if you give yourself another 40-50 for sleeping, that leaves about 90 to get done everything we have to do. If you work 40 and spend 5-7 driving, another 5-10 cooking and shopping and 5 or 6 hours each week doing laundry, you might have 4 hours a day left to spend some time with your kids. But that doesn't leave any time for quiet time with Jesus or for you to spend with your husband or just by yourself.
Yep, I bet you know just how Moses felt. And I have a feeling if Jethro watched you fielding your kids' demands and sorting through the disputes, he'd tell you exactly what he told Moses. It's OK to get some help. You don't have to do it alone. There are some things that you'll still need to do yourself. The big things, just like Moses. But there are other things that you can delegate to others. Your kids can probably fold and put away socks and towels. They might not be quite as neat and tidy as you'd do it yourself, but they'd be done! And it's good for your kids to have the responsibility. It's actually good for their self-esteem to be given some jobs. Older kids can cook one or two days a week, and while it would be nice if our husbands would just take it upon themselves to take some of our burden, the fact is most men need to be plainly asked to help. There's a good chance they won't mind picking up an extra chore or two, they just need specifics. Don't expect them to read your mind. And on a side note, never forget, it's OK if it gets done a little different than you might have done it. If you pay a babysitter occasionally, ask him or her to do the dishes or straighten the kids' rooms. If she does a great job, throw a few extra dollars her way. And if you can afford it, don't be afraid to pay someone to clean a couple of times a month. That doesn't make you a bad mom.
Moses is one of the most remembered heroes of the Old Testament, and he achieved this with help. You are a super-mom. Just the fact that you spent these few minutes trying to become a better person by reading something that I hope will inspire you is proof. And if you ask for help, you are still a super-mom. You are a super-mom because you love your children and you want the best for them. You are a super-mom because you believe that Jesus loves you and you want your children to learn about that love. So start the year out right. Ask for some help in your day to day. And take time to enjoy your kids, your husband and yourself. You deserve it!
Meet Mr. Unpopular
For use with Lesson 7 in Heroes, Heroines, Champs & Chumps -
"Caleb Trusted God, and God Blessed Him"I can't imagine being Joshua and Caleb. Picture this. You've just returned home from a 40 day scouting expedition. You are tired and dirty, but you are excited! Only fourteen months ago you were a slave in Egypt; you thought you'd be building pyramids without pay for the rest of your life. But just when it seemed as though there was no hope, God came through. You watched God turn the Nile into blood and saw Him turn dust into gnats. The Red Sea politely getting out of your way so you could walk on dry land seemed a bit surreal, but then, having manna every morning and drinking water out of a rock seem equally impossible. If all that wasn't enough, everyone knows that God promised to give you the land you'd just returned from; and then there's that bunch of grapes! It took two guys to carry it back to camp!
Caleb had seen the wealth and promise of the land of Canaan first hand, and he was excited at the prospect of living in the land of milk and honey God had guaranteed His people. I wonder if Caleb and Joshua were surprised when the other ten guys started spreading tales of giants throughout the camp. Despite the fear those other spies were invoking into the crowd, Joshua and Caleb weren't shy about telling the nation they should go to battle, and it didn't take long for these two men to become very unpopular.
Unfortunately, there are many times when Christians are forced to be unpopular. Often we will be confident of what God wants to do, but we will be in the minority. When that happens will we be willing to stand firm, or will we go with the crowd?
Caleb trusted God. He believed that if God said Israel would win, they would win. Despite the fact the odds looked unsurmountable, regardless of the size of the enemy, Caleb expected God to come through for them.
Oh, and did you notice what happened to the men who trusted? Of several hundred thousand men and women responsible for making the decision that day in the desert, only Joshua and Caleb would ever receive the promise. It wasn't an immediate reward, they were still subject to forty years of wandering, but the blessing did come.
The next time you sense God calling you to do the impossible, let Caleb's story inspire you, trust your Heavenly Father to do what you know you can not. Don't be afraid to be in the minority or unpopular. It may take weeks, months or years to see the blessing that comes from your obedience, but you can be sure that if God promises, He will see it through. And when you trust Him, even if no one is left to hear it, you'll be able to say, "I told you so."
Revelation vs. Relationship
For use with Lesson 8 in Heroes, Heroines, Champs & Chumps -
"Joshua Takes Over For Moses"This story in Joshua takes place about 40 years since the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. Of the hundreds of thousands of Israelites traveling to Canaan only a handful were old enough to remember the great parting. No one under the age of 44 has any first-hand knowledge of the event. Everything they know about this wall of water that allowed their ancestors to escape the Egyptians has become a history lesson or the beginning of a legend.
Joshua 4 describes the ushering in of a new era in the history of Israel. They are finally ready to cross over into the land that had been promised to their people for more than 500 years. The anticipation must have been worse than a child on Christmas Eve, and to show His power and give Joshua’s leadership credence in the eyes of his followers, God parts the Jordan in much the same way as He did the Red Sea. It was a smaller body of water, but nonetheless a spectacular show of power and a reminder to His people that the stories they’d heard at their parents’ knees were true.
As I read this I wondered why God doesn’t show His power in such a magnificent way today. What if every time He was about to start a new ministry or era, God parted water, sent angels or showed tongues of fire above the heads of those who were following him? However, the answer to my next question helped me understand why God does what He does with regards to the first. If God gave some wonderful, miraculous sign, would it turn people toward Him and convince people to trust Him more or longer?
We can surmise from scripture the answer to that second question is, “no.” Miracles, signs, wonders, even times of destruction don’t seem to turn the hearts of people toward their Creator. It had only been forty years since the last time the water parted, and since the very beginning of their long journey, more people were following Moses than God.
Times and cultures have changed, but human nature has not. If there’s one thing the Bible has shown us over and over, it’s that people have a difficult time following the King of kings. The magnificent has little to no effect on the majority of the population. They may be convinced to turn toward the Sovereign for the moment, but it the excitement quickly fades.
The only thing that has proven to cause a lasting dedication to the Almighty is a relationship. Abraham was a “friend” of God, David, a man after His own heart. Moses spoke with God face to face and Joshua was devoted to serving the Almighty. Each person from the Bible who demonstrates great faith had a relationship with the I Am. In fact, if I look around me, everyone I know who has a contented life, one full of Spiritual blessings regardless of their physical state, has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
We may occasionally see God work in the big and miraculous, and when we do, we should be diligent about giving Him glory for His great gift to us. Most importantly, we need to remember that even more than the big, mighty and miraculous, God wants an everlasting relationship with us. Jesus wants us to trust Him even without the miracles. He wants us to follow HIM and not the person that He’s put there to lead us to Him.
So the next time we’re tempted to ask God for a huge miracle to help someone come to Christ, let’s change our prayer to ask the Holy Spirit to help that person as well as ourselves develop a deep and lasting relationship with the One who loves us more than we can possibly imagine.
The Least in My Family
For use with Lesson 10 in Heroes, Heroines, Champs & Chumps -
"Gideon: a Nobody, a Small Army and a Big God"Have you ever read the story of Gideon? If you didn't read Judges 6-8 before you began reading this paragraph, take a moment and do it now. At least skim through it to familiarize yourself with Gideon's life.
Gideon was one of the judges of Israel before the nation cried out for a king. He's most famous for the fleece he laid out two nights in a row. He asked God to make the ground wet and the fleece dry and then the fleece dry and the ground wet so he'd be sure he was following God's will. That seems to be what we remember most about Gideon. I hear Christians often comment, "I put out a fleece" for this or that. We are intrigued by Gideon because everyone wants to know God's will for his or her life.
But what if the fleece is only one small part of the story of Gideon? What if we are missing a slightly bigger picture because we focus on the fleece? Maybe some of you are thinking, "You're right, it's not the fleece. It's how the won the battle with such a small army." Well, you're right, that's an important part of Gideon's legacy, too.
However, there's one more lesson we can learn from Gideon. It's right at the beginning of his story, and it's one that must be learned before we can truly know God's will or defeat the enemy in the battle which seems too big to win. Read once again Judges 6:11. Do you see what God's messenger called Gideon? In God's eyes Gideon was a Mighty Warrior. Yep, that's what the angel of the Lord called Gideon when he was threshing wheat in a winepress for fear of the Midianites.
But as we continue reading through verse 15, we discover that Gideon didn't view himself quite the same way that God did. Where God saw a mighty warrior, Gideon saw the least likely person in the least likely family in a country that got very little notoriety in a nation that had been abandoned by God. Do you ever feel like Gideon? Have you ever felt as though you were a nobody on the road to nowhere? When is the last time you hid to avoid something unpleasant? If you can relate to any of those statements, you know exactly how Gideon felt. With the exception that this man was now being confronted with his true identity, the real man that God had created him to be.
Today is the day to ask yourself, "Do you feel as though you are living up to the potential that God created you to be?" Do you see yourself as your Heavenly Father sees you? Or do you feel like Gideon, the least important person you know, hiding in an unlikely spot so no one will notice you? God may not be calling you Mighty Warrior, but rest assured He has a perfect name for you, one that describes the real you, not the you that's been formed by years of negativity and doubt. God sees the potential. He knows what you're capable of. Perhaps He's been calling you to something you're sure you can't do. If so, then you understand better than anyone the turmoil that must have been going on within Gideon as he stood before that angel.
You are precious to God, and He has a special plan for your life. To live up to His potential, we need to be always listening for His voice and watching where He might lead. Additionally, when He whispers our new name in our ear or sends others to remind us of how important we are in His eyes, it's vital we believe this new truth, no matter how opposite it may seem to the lies the world has been filling our head with.
The Lord is with you . . . and knows your name, not just the name your parents gave you. God knows your REAL name, the name that truly describes you, the name He gave you, the name that is filled with all the beauty and potential that is really you.
The Simple Things
2 Kings 5:1-19
For use with Unit 2 Lesson 6 in Heroes, Heroines, Champs & Chumps
Elisha Tells Naaman How to be Healed
The story of Naaman has always intrigued me. Naaman is the leader of a great army, so great, in fact, that it looks like he didn't lose his position even though he contracted a pretty serious and what many believed to be contagious disease. Despite the commander's terrible skin disease, he was still known as a valiant soldier.
When Naaman finally arrived at Elisha's home, Aram's famed fighter expected a bit of fanfare, perhaps even some respect for his office. He was confident the man of God would come to him, wave his arms, make some spectacle of the whole thing and call on God to cure him. What he got instead was a messenger from the prophet telling him to take a swim.
It's the next part of Naaman's story that causes me to pause each time I read it. Instead of Naaman thinking, "Wow, that's easy! Let me go get cured," he was put out. In fact, he was so put out, he nearly returned home with the leprosy.
The whole scenario seems so ludicrous. Why in the world wouldn't you just go get in the Jordan River? What did he have to lose? Even if it seemed too silly to really work, why wouldn't you just go try it? We know that Naaman finally went to the Jordan and got in and out seven times, but not without some coaxing from the guys who were traveling with him.
I tend to be a bit hard on Naaman. I can't help but wonder if he felt he was too good to do something so simple, but then I think about my own life. What has God sent my way to help rescue me that I have dismissed as too simple? I want to lose weight, but don't have time to burn the calories. Even 15 minutes a day would make a difference, but there's always a reason I can't.
I've met more than one Christian who has some hurt or grief, habit or attitude that they'd like to change. Yet, when I recommend they join a small group or come to our Celebrate Recovery meetings, they make excuses, or worse, they make promises they don't intend to keep. I've suggested to more than a few folks that they start making daily Bible reading a priority to find peace in their life, yet months later when I talk to them, they just haven't found time to get started.
Perhaps you know people in your church like Naaman, they work hard, they serve, they want to do everything right, but when you ask them if they know Christ personally, they are confused. They want to do something big to get to heaven. Something like merely accepting Christ's work on the cross is just too simple. They don't like the idea of salvation being so easy.
Countless people outside the church are equally dumbfounded. Even though John 3:16 never mentions any required activity on our part, people all over the world search for a way to be good enough for the promised eternal life.
It's a world-wide phenomenon, and a problem that spans generations, denominations and cultures. Like Naaman's call to dip in the Jordan seven times, the things God asks us to do will often seem too easy, unworthy of our stature or position. We'll often be too busy, too prideful or too angry to do the things Christ calls us to do, things that will heal us, free us and make us whole.
If you aren't in God's Word every single day of the week, I encourage you to make that a priority. It's a simple thing, but it's the first step in healing. It doesn't matter whether it's a physical, emotional or spiritual hurt, a bad habit, a warped attitude or wound that goes deeper than any of us except Christ can really understand, when we begin to do something as simple as honor our Maker by giving Him our time, healing begins.
God sent Naaman to the Jordan to dip seven times. It may seem like too small a thing, but look around, discover what insignificant thing God is calling you to do today. You may feel silly, you may think you don't have time, but if we want wholeness, it's time to start listening to God and His Word and carry out every silly, insignificant, mundane, Spirit filled task He asks.