Then and Now

There is conversation among Christians that says the Old Testament is irrelevant.  They say that because Jesus came along and changed everything.  Therefore, the old is no longer needed, the New Testament rules over all.  While there may seem true, it is not true.  We serve the same God.  In fact, today, as we read 2 Kings 5, I think you will see what I see.  It comes through the story of Naaman.

Naaman, as you have read, had leprosy.  He wanted to be well.  To live a normal life, to be productive and to do the things he was born to do.  At the advice of young Israelite girl, Naaman set off for the land of Israel.  It was in Israel, according to she, that there was a prophet who could heal him.  Naaman departed for Israel with a pack of riches on his back.  It included silver, gold and clothing.  He hoped to trade these things for his healing.  Yes, the price was great, but having his life back would be worth it.  His health, after-all, would return to him his purpose.  He would have a life worth living.

Naaman did, in fact, meet the prophet.  His name was Elisha.  But, the healing didn’t go the way that Naaman expected.  Naaman felt disrespected and dishonored.  He protested that there was an easier and better way.  Thankfully, Naaman surrounded himself with wise men.  They were instrumental in convincing him that his pride was going to ruin everything.  Naaman, surrendered to Elijah’s instruction and washed in the Jordan river.  Naaman was healed.

Upon his restoration, Naaman returned to Elijah.  He wanted to thank him.  He also wanted to pay him.  Neither of these were out of obligation or responsibility, but from gratitude.  Elijah refused.  He would not accept payment for Naaman’s new life.  Instead, he simply wished him well.  “Go in peace,” he says.  Effectively, Elijah was saying go and lead a whole life, be who you were created to be.  From now on, praise and worship the almighty God.  Your gratitude is for Him.  That’s exactly what Naaman set out to do.

As I read through this story, I am humbled that there was no cost for Naaman’s healing. Well, there was no monetary cost.  The cost was only in his character.  The cost was only in what he would give up of himself.  Namely, pride.  It was in his surrender.  From it, he gained the life he longed for.

My friends, if you don’t see Jesus Christ in this story, you don’t know Jesus.  We are promised the same things.  Through Jesus, we have Healing, new life, restoration and fullness.  And, just like Naaman, there is no cost. Well, the cost is exactly what we will give up of ourselves.  Once we do that, there is no cost, only gain.  Redemption has already been paid by Jesus.  With our new lives, there is only one thing left to do.  Praise and worship.  Just like Naaman.