God Meets Us

 

images (8)2 Kings 5:19 “Go in peace.”

God meets us—right where we are—he meets us. To me, that’s one of the most profound truths of the Christian faith. We don’t have to go through years of self-abasement in order to catch a glimpse of him. We don’t have to kill infidels in order to please him. We don’t have to rigidly follow a set of rules to make him love us. Even the Old Testament whispers this truth.  The story of Naaman recorded in the fifth chapter of 2 Kings shouts it…

Naaman, commander of the Aramean army, was healed of incurable leprosy through the prophet Elisha. The miracle had broken Naaman’s pride and arrogance, causing him to proclaim, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” Naaman had thought Israel’s God was just like all the others. When he went for healing he expected a great “show” or some valiant sacrifice on his part to appease God and garner his favor. Whoops! Wrong god! This God’s cure went further than skin-deep.

As a result of his healing, Naaman vows that he will never again worship any other god than the Lord. But he asks that the Lord would forgive him when he returns to his country and has to accompany his master to the temple, bowing to gods he now realizes aren’t gods at all. What? Bow to pagan deities? How does Elisha respond to that? Does he express outrage and demand Naaman make a public denunciation of the false gods? Does he insist he leave his idolatrous culture and move to Israel?  Does he chastise him for being “afraid to witness?” Astonishingly, Elisha’s words were as soft and tender as Naaman’s new skin: “Go in peace.”

I don’t know about you, but that kind of grace moves me to tears. It tells me about a God so rich in mercy that he heals in spite of our pride, our half-baked ideas, our many misperceptions and our legalisms. It tells me of a God who wades through all the muck and mire of our sin to meet us right where we’re at…

And gives us new skin

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