God’s Way Is Better

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

2 Kings 5:10

Which is better for a meal?

In-and-Out Burger?

Or Culvers?

Well, I guess it kind of depends. If I want a good hamburger, I’ve been told I should go to In-and-Out Burger.

But I live in Chicago. There are no In-and-Out Burgers near here. The closest one (as of this writing) is in Arizona.

Culvers, on the other hand, also has good hamburgers. Maybe not as good as In-and-Out burger, but they’re not bad. And there’s a Culvers right here in town, about 5 miles from where I live.

Still, some will tell me that the ultimate burger is found at In-and-Out Burger. The problem is that I would have to drive about 3 or 4 days to get that burger.

I would only have to drive 3 or 4 minutes to get a Culvers hamburger.

Okay, so this isn’t an exact analogy, but here goes.

Naaman is a decorated general in the Syrian army. He has orchestrated many successful battles. In addition to this the Lord has used Naaman to chastise and discipline his people when they have sinned and fallen away from him.

But Naaman has a problem. He has a skin disease. The English Bible calls it leprosy but it is unclear if that is exactly what it was.

He would love nothing more than to be healed of his leprosy (or whatever it was).

A prisoner of war, a young woman from Israel, tells Naaman’s king that there is a prophet in Israel who can heal him. The king petitions Elisha the prophet on behalf of his beloved general.

Elisha responds by telling him that the Lord will heal Naaman. All Naaman has to do is wash himself seven times in the Jordan River.

But the Jordan River is 4 or 5 days travel away! Naaman can’t understand why he has to travel so far for this miracle. After all, there are rivers just as good in Syria and they are right here!

Naaman’s servants tell him, “Didn’t the Lord tell you to simply wash seven times in the Jordan River? That’s all you have to do and you are balking at a little walking?”

Naaman concedes and does as Elisha prescribes. He travels to the Jordan River. He washes himself in the Jordan River seven times.

And he is healed!

How many times have I missed a miracle from God because I felt that God’s way was too easy to be true!

After all, aren’t we always told to avoid things that are “too good to be true”?

Yet, in God’s case, it really is as simple as it sounds.

A splash of water and the words, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” will save you from your sins and give you eternal life.

I know, it sounds simple, simplistic, and too good to be true. But it is true!

As Peter says, “Baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21).

Which is to say, God saves you through Baptism. When you are baptised you are baptized into the death of Jesus. You are buried with Jesus through baptism in order that just as Christ is raised from the dead by the glory of the Father so you, too, will be raised to new life.

We may think we have to do many elaborate things to get salvation. Praying so many prayers, giving so much money to the church, traveling to so many pilgrimage sights, do so many good things.

But God’s way is simple. Water and Word. Faith in Christ strengthened by the Means of Grace.

Yes, God’s way is simple.

But God’s way is better!

Prayer

Heavenly Father, your way seems so simple, seems too simple. But help me to see and believe that your way is better because it is your way; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Miracle of Ordinary Things

And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?”

Matthew 15:34

Nearly every Christian – and quite a few non-Christians – have heard the Bible story “The Feeding of the 5000.”

That miracle is recorded in all four Gospels. But the miracle of “The Feeding of the 4000” is a separate miracle only recorded in Matthew and Mark.

Both miracles point us to the miraculous provision of God. One of the lessons of each miracle is that God provides us with what we need.

As I explored in the devotions “Miraculous Feeding” and “Satisfaction”, there are other miracles of God providing people with food that they need. God provided manna and quail for the People of Israel during their Wilderness Wanderings following the Exodus (Exodus 16). And God provided bread for 100 men through his prophet Elisha (2 Kings 4).

God will always provide exactly what we need at the exact right moment. But there are a couple of things to consider.

One, God is never late and seldom – if ever – early.

There are times when I have waiting for God to come through, show up, or in some way provide for me. But I was disappointed because I had my own schedule and God wasn’t interested in my schedule.

It’s not a bad thing to have a schedule, but it is important to remember that our vision is limited, while God’s is not. What we think is the right time for God to act and provide is limited to our view on things. God is not restricted in his view so he knows the exact right time to act and provide!

When I look back at all those times in my life when God has acted in my life and provided, I see that it was exactly what I needed and at the exact perfect time! God is never late and seldom – if ever – early!

Two, don’t go to a place where it will take a miracle to save you from it!

There are times when I have put myself in an impossible situation and it was only by the grace of God that I got out of it. God gave us a brain and wants us to use it! Don’t get yourself into a place where it will take a miracle to save you from it! God can do it, don’t get me wrong. But if I get into tough spots because I hadn’t let God control my life, then that isn’t what God wants for my life! He wants something better for me!

When we read about how Jesus feeds the 5000 and then the 4000, both times he uses what has already been given to provide for so many more.

With the feeding of the 4000, Jesus makes a point to ask them what the disciples have. I believe he wants them to see that it doesn’t matter how much they have but that they simply have gifts and provisions from God.

God wants to use what we have already been given and have in our possession now.

We have the ordinary things. God will take care of the miracle. And we give glory and thanksgiving to God for both!

Prayer

Heavenly Father, even as you bless your servants with various and unique gifts of the Holy Spirit, continue to grant us the grace to use them always to your honor and glory; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

©2017 True Men Ministries

______________________________________

Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

Contribute to True Men Ministries here to help keep this devotional going.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.