Gifts are fun to receive. Even if you’re love language isn’t “gifts,” everyone loves to get one every now and then. With that, the gift of healing peace isn’t something that can be bought as we’ll see in our passage for today; it must be received willingly and freely.
Though receiving gifts is fun, many of us have a hard time receiving something for nothing. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. When we receive a gift, we usually want to give a gift in return. Maybe it’s because we think that in doing so it evens things out a bit. Or maybe it’s because we don’t want to feel like we owe somebody else something.
I oftentimes have a hard time receiving praise, money, material things from others without giving them something in return. There is a mental block that many people struggle to overcome with regard to receiving gifts. For instance, if we receive an award, it’s because we’ve done something outstanding to be recognized for our contribution. If we receive a reward, it’s because we’ve been heroic, selfless, or self-sacrificing in some way. But if we get a gift for something we haven’t earned, then we get a little uncomfortable. We ask questions like, “What’s this for?” “What did I do to get this?” “You shouldn’t have!” “I didn’t get you anything!” Etc., etc.
There’s an interesting story in 2 Kings in the Old Testament that addresses this very issue; the issue of receiving a gift of healing and peace that comes freely, without earning it. Let’s take a look:
Thomas A Kempis wrote, “A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver.” When Naaman was healed, he praised the gift Giver rather than the prophet of God, and rightly so. It’s the gift Giver that is the focus of this whole story of the healing peace that Naaman received.
Key Point: “Peace cannot be bought, but is given freely to those who trust in God.”
In order for peace to have its healing work in a person’s life like it did for Naaman, there are certain things that must be understood…
2 Kings 5:4-6 (NLT), 4 So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said. 5 “Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Aram told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.”
2 Kings 5:11-12 (NLT), 11 But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! 12 Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.
2 Kings 5:13-14 (NLT), 13 But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So, you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’ ” 14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!
Something to take home:
Naaman was healed of a physical disease by the God of peace who desires us to trust in Him. However, today, there are more than just physical diseases that people need to be healed from. There are diseases of the soul, the heart, and the mind that drive people to the brink of insanity and immorality. There is a strangle-hold of death on the culture in which we live, and a sickness that has pervaded the lives of many. Peace is in short supply. We need healing for the soul of our country, for the soul of our churches, and for the soul of our world. And this peace cannot be bought, earned, or stolen, it must be freely received.
Have you, like Naaman, scoffed at what seems insignificant when the Lord was trying to bring you healing? Have you allowed your pride to hold you back from receiving blessings, peace, and love from God? Are you diligently trying to make a way for yourself in this world only to find that you’re not getting any traction? Are you tired of doing things your way and not getting anywhere?
Maybe it’s time to let go of the pride and dunk in the “Jordan River.” Allow God to bring you to a place of healing peace that can sustain you.