January 12, 2016

Coming to Know This God

2 Kings 5:1-15

Naaman . . . said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.

—  2 Kings 5:15

Naaman was commander-in-chief of the army of Aram (ancient Syria), to the northeast of Israel. He was a powerful, wealthy man, used to getting his way. But in one respect he was powerless: he had leprosy, for which there was no cure in those days.

Through a young girl captured from Israel he heard about the godly prophet Elisha, went to him, and was healed. But it was a humbling experience: Naaman had to rein in his anger, put aside the mumbo-­jumbo magic he was used to, and submit to Elisha’s simple directions to wash seven times in the dirty Jordan River.

The difficulty of Naaman’s conversion shouldn’t be overlooked. Naaman was used to going into the temple of Rimmon, Aram’s god of war, and before Naaman was healed by the true God, he believed that Rimmon gave him victory in battle. To come to the point of understanding that “there is no God in all the world except in Israel” meant that Naaman had to put aside his nationalistic pride and look in faith to the God of Aram’s weak enemy, Israel.

Naaman could have just added one more god to his long list of gods. It would have cost him nothing to do so. But God is not satisfied with such worship; nor was Naaman any longer, now that he had come to know the living God.
Do you know this God too?

Lord, move mightily in the world today, that by your Spirit we may come to know you, the only living God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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