The Prideful Leper

Pride Quotes

Commander. Wealthy. Highly favored by his master. Victor. A man of valor but…

Naaman was a leper.

He followed the advice of an Israelite servant girl who told his wife that a prophet in Samaria would cure him of his leprosy. He took men, changes of clothing, gold and silver which today would amount to 3.3 million dollars. After first going to the King of Israel, Elisha the man of God sends for him.

His entourage along with their horses and chariots arrive at Elisha’s house. There Naaman stood before the door. Perhaps he looked down at his discolored hands or touched a sore wondering if this would be the final time he would see the effects of this disease. Elisha doesn’t answer the door but sends his messenger.

“Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” But…

Naaman was prideful.

He presumed Elisha would come out to him, call upon the Lord and do some kind of abracadabra wave over the place to cure him. How dare he be expected to wash himself seven times in the Jordan. He knew of far better waters. He went away in a rage but…

Naaman chose obedience.

After the encouragement of his servants, Naaman humbles himself and enters the Jordan.

“…and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”

God worked another miracle in the Jordan and honored Naaman’s humility.

Naaman was healed.

The source of Naaman’s anger was unmet expectations. He had a different idea as to how his healing should take place. We can be like Naaman placing high expectations on people or God and when they are not fulfilled in the way we imagine we get angry. God wanted to humble the commander and man of wealth by requiring him to do what he never would have imagined himself to do.

So it is with us. Anger fuels our pride. We may desire the better waters but God desires obedience in the muddy ones.

This was adapted from my notes at a Life Action Ministries Revival Summit.

The Sparrow Sings Spring {A Poem}

Singing Sparrow

Squirrels scamper on their new green carpet
Once covered in wintry white.
Excitedly they embrace the sun’s warmth
Playing tag among the trees.
Children claim their web-filled bikes
From a dusty garage corner.
Laughing they pedal in freedom
Their jackets flapping in the wind.
Sparrows sound as buds burst forth
From gray limbs that once held snow.
Singing they tweet their own tune
Announcing Spring’s anticipated arrival.

What evidence of Spring have you seen from your window?

God’s Battle Plan for the Mind by David W. Saxton [Book Review]

Battle_plan__“So what verse have you been meditating on?” When is the last time you have been asked that question? It might be “What did you watch on TV last night?” or “What book are you reading?” but no one has ever asked me what scripture I’m meditating on. Which is good because the answer would be a sheepish look and a reply of “Well, I’ve always wanted to do that but never have.”

A solution is found to that seemingly unattainable desire in God’s Battle Plan for the Mind: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Meditation by David W. Saxton. Well, at the mention of Puritan there went half my readers who think this staunch group of black-hatters went a little mad in their devotion to God. In the sense of mad being extreme zeal and desire for the Lord, we have much to learn from them.

Mr. Saxton begins his book with an explanation of why it is important to recover the practice of biblical meditation. He doesn’t deny that it is a difficult task. Moving from unbiblical forms of meditation such as mysticism, transcendental meditation and contemplative prayer, he then takes the reader through the Old and New Testament terms equivalent to the word “meditate.” He quotes several Puritan authors and their definition of meditation. My favorite was by Thomas Watson:

Meditation…is a holy exercise of the mind whereby we bring the truths of God to remembrance, and do seriously ponder upon them and apply them to ourselves.

The author contrasts occasional meditation with deliberate meditation. The first being spontaneous and throughout the day and the other planned at a specific time. Ideas to enhance meditation are shared such as not having any distractions. A list of subject matter the Puritans often meditated on is presented to assist the reader in what subjects they may want to spend time thinking upon.

I was challenged by Chapter 9 “The Reasons for Meditation.” Many of God’s people throughout the Bible meditated on His word but the main reason we should be doing it is simply because God commands it. We hear his call to this discipline over and over in scripture. The author challenges us:

Christians who refuse to use their time to meditate upon the Word are as foolish as an army sentry without bullets or a fireman without a water source.

We, and that includes me, must discipline our lazy flesh that wants to tweet about the snow outside instead of pondering the One who washed me white as snow. The benefits of meditation are many as well as the enemies of meditation. Mr. Saxton reminds us:

If a believer is to survive in a world of constant distraction, he must make honest and discerning choices about the use of his time. He must be willing to part with anything that clutters his mind to the point that he can no longer commune with the Lord.

The author concludes with a call to persevere in the habit of meditation and to make God’s Word a priority of life.

I highly recommend this book for those who like me “have always wanted to but never have.” Since reading this book may I have a different answer to the meditation question. Well, of course, if I ever get asked.

I received this book from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.