Simple and ordinary obedience

2 Kings 5:1-14

I was reading about Naaman this morning and how upset he was about having to dip in the water 7 times. Here are a few of my thoughts on this interesting story.

Naaman had leprosy. He wanted to be clean from it but his expectation was that it would be some miraculous event that would cure him. Little did he know that it would come from simple and ordinary obedience.

The command was simple: go dip in the water 7 times. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to understand the prescription. Naaman gets angry over this because he is expecting there to be a showy event from the man of God to bring about his healing. Yet, Elisha doesn’t even come and speak to him personally. Elisha sends a messenger to him. Naaman’s pride takes a hit. Then he is told to dip in water that he considers “dirty”. His pride takes another hit. In his anger, Naaman chooses to leave and remain with leprosy rather than to simply do what he’s been told to do. Isn’t it something to consider that at times we can be so filled with pride and even sick with sin that we aren’t willing to do the most simple and basic things to be healed? Many times God simply gives us the instruction to repent and believe. To obey Him regardless of what is being asked. It’s not hard to do except for our pride.

Naaman’s servant comes to him and talks some sense to him, telling him that if he had been told some great and wonderful thing to do, he would have gladly done it. Yet for this simple easy thing to do, he is willing to remain sick. Naaman’s pride is hit again. Sometimes it’s wise to listen to the ones God places around us. Are you willing to listen to the voices of reason God has placed in your life? It may be a spouse, a child, a co-worker or friend. Don’t ignore the words that are being said just because you don’t like what’s being said or who it is that’s saying it. Often truth can be hard to hear but it is what ultimately leads to healing. The command was simple and ordinary and that was what made it problematic for Naaman. Don’t let doing something simple and ordinary prevent you from being made whole again. Don’t let the way Truth comes to you to keep you from embracing the Truth.

Naaman was used to the finer things in life. In fact he brought along quite an extensive array of items to give to the man of God. How could it be that this man of God would tell him to do something as common and to go take a bath in what he considered dirty water? This was another hit on Naaman’s pride. Not only did not seeing the man of God humiliate Naaman but being told to dip 7 times in dirty water simply didn’t seem to be the prescription Naaman was willing to embrace.

There are times when we think we know what we need and yet God tells us to do something that seems completely contrary to what would benefit. Dipping in dirty water isn’t going to heal leprosy! Correct. It was being obedient that would bring the healing. God may ask us to do tasks or actions that seem strange and even absurd at the time but when we are obedient to the simple command, we find God was doing something much deeper within us.

Dipping in the water was an ordinary thing for Naaman to do but he wasn’t having it. He would rather remain with leprosy than to do something so simplistic as dip 7 times. This was a prescription for an ordinary person, not someone of his stature. The question we all must address is are we willing to do the most simple of things in order to be healed of whatever our issue may be? The healing may come by simply turning off the computer or TV. Deleting an app or turning off our phones could be the answer. The healing may come by doing something as simple as installing some parameters or boundaries. The hard part isn’t doing something hard but what seems too easy. Start with something simple. Do what is basic. Pray. Read your Bible. Call out to God for help. And then obey what He says to do, even if it insults your pride or seems too easy.

Naaman would agree that taking the dip 7 times seemed too simple and ordinary to rid him of the leprosy but it was what worked. There is no substitute for obedience regardless of how simple or ordinary it may be. Start today.

What is it that God is telling you to do that seems too easy or simple to work?

How is your pride preventing you from the healing you could receive?

Are you expecting God to do something hugely miraculous when the miraculous could be found in the simple and ordinary?

Healing isn’t always simple and easy, nor is obedience. But this story certainly points out that there are acts of obedience that can lead to healing if they were done. My prayer for you is that you would embrace whatever God tells you to do no matter if it seems too simple or ordinary.

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