“But Naaman became furious and went away and said, “indeed, I said to myself, He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy’ ” (2 Kings 5:11).
It is easy for humans to forget that God is different from us—He does not think the same way, He does not have the same attitude toward things or even life itself, and He does not act in the same way as we do.
That was the problem Naaman, commander of the army of the King of Syria, had when he found himself with the dreaded disease of leprosy. Based on the recommendation of a serving girl, he sought out a prophet of God, Elisha, to cure his disease.
When the prophet told him to dip himself seven times in the dirty Jordan River in Israel, Naaman reacted as is recorded in this verse. He expected that Elisha would demonstrate the power of his God by performing some public spectacle and pronounce him healed. When that did not happen, he was irate.
People of every generation are not really that different. Many expect to find God in the spectacular—they think a powerful God will heal the ills of society, will make Himself known through emotionalism in mega-churches, or will give them some spine-tingling experience that will transport them into a world of their perception of spirituality.
These actions do not describe the God of heaven. His main concern for mankind centers on the preparation of the soul for eternity. He cares about every aspect of our being, but his primary concern is that we follow His word in living our lives so that we can come to be with Him after this life is over.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Having just discussed several points about those living under the Old Testament and teaching some important principles about living the kind of life God wants His people to live, Paul comes forth with this profound concept for those now living in Christ.
Assurance and arrogance are opposing characteristics. Assurance means we have confidence that we have complied with the requirements for a situation, in this case God’s requirements for salvation. Arrogance is overconfidence about our situation. It displays the attitude of relying upon our own resources instead of depending on God.
In this passage, the Apostle Paul warns against arrogance. God owes us nothing; and even when we comply with His requirements, we have no basis for arrogance—that is, feeling overconfident as if we deserve the grace that He is extending to us.
Even though the Old Testament people whom Paul references here followed at least some of the rules, God was not pleased with them because they displayed a spirit of arrogance. He wants us, as His people, to learn from their mistakes and to submit humbly to His word, thus showing our dependence on Him and our trust in Him.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Living in an ever-changing, fast-paced world makes it difficult to communicate the idea that some things never change—but scriptures teach that Jesus Christ and the basic principles of Christianity laid out in the New Testament have not changed since the beginning of the Christian Age.
Great kingdoms of the world have come and gone, cultures have changed, and social mores have been altered, but Jesus remains our unchanging Christ. He is the same in His love for us, in the authority He has over us, and in His supreme position as our Savior and redeemer.
In view of His unchanging nature, it behooves us to remain constant in our devotion to Him and in our dedication to follow His word in every aspect of our lives. May we never forget Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
“These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9).
Having just severely rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for inconsistencies in their religious practices and for having their priorities upside down, Jesus here addresses them as hypocrites, using this quotation from the prophet Isaiah to communicate God’s attitude toward them.
The Lord emphasizes two points in poignantly describing how God feels: heart and doctrine. The scribes and Pharisees failed in these two areas. Jesus’ implication is that His followers cannot be like them. Acceptable service to God cannot be just lip service.
Heart refers to commitment and sincerity. While God wants us to follow the commands given, He wants more. He wants heart—that is, depth and sincerity. He wants total commitment from us.
Doctrine refers to the teaching God has given about how He wants us to conduct ourselves, both in worship and in our everyday lives. To please God. those people of old had to follow God’s commands. The same is truth for us today. We cannot follow commandments laid down by men. God remains our Creator and Guide; so, His commandments are the ones that will keep us in a covenant relationship with Him.