Monday, May 14, 2012

Washed or Dipped?

2 Kings 5:10-15

10 Then Elisha sent him a messenger, who said, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be clean.”

and what did he do?

13 But his servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more should you do it when he tells you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” 14 So Naaman went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, according to the command of the man of God. Then his skin was restored and became like the skin of a small boy, and he was clean.

Do you see the difference?  Maybe take a moment and read the passages in between these quoted.  

Naaman was an important man.  He had expectations of how people would act around him. He even had expectations of God's actions in healing him.  He wanted a holy show!  He didn't want a quiet, prosaic healing.  He didn't want a BATH!  He wanted something people could watch and see and talk about.  

Not because he longed to glorify God but because he expected it.  When Elisha gave him his orders, WASH in the Jordan seven times he grew angry.  

He pouted.

A spoiled child.

His loyal followers, who knew the good behind the ego, encouraged him to at least try it.  What did he have to lose but some dirt?  

God is so good!  He chose to heal this man, which did glorify Him because even in his half-hearted and deliberate choice not to follow the orders of Elisha he was still healed.

God is good. So very good.

Elisha said, wash.

Naaman decided, with sarcasm or disbelief, to dip.

God still healed him.  God was faithful to Elisha.  God was good to Naaman.  God was glorified to those who knew Naaman.  A servant girl's faith brought the husband of her mistress to Elisha, and God was faithful.

What about you?  How many times has God, through the Holy Spirit, told you to wash in an area where you only dipped?  Was He still faithful even when our own faith wavered?

Naaman probably thought it was 'common' or 'poor' to be seen actually scrubbing down and washing in the river.  So instead, pride and ego intact, he dipped instead.  Not whole heartedly. Not even half-heartedly.  But there was that grain of sand of faith.  And God honoured that faith.  Smaller than a mustard seed. Smaller than a spark.  

God knew Naaman's heart, and the hearts of his people.  God showed through him that he does not require a big show to provide healing, a miracle.  He could do it when He wanted, regardless of the size of our faith.

When God says, Help that person!
We wait to see what is needed.

When God says, encourage her!
We wait to see how.

When God says, Step out in faith!
We look hard to see where the path goes.

God is still faithful, even when we are dipping instead of getting all the way in the water!

The other thing about dipping, it doesn't get down past the surface layers.  Washing does.  It gets down to the skin. It requires us to get the clothes off and scrub.  Dipping can be done with clothes or without.

It is the same with spiritual dipping and spiritual washing.  One touches the surface, one goes deeper.  God, however, can move in our lives regardless of our choice!

Can I get an AMEN?


  1. Love your thoughts on this! I recently had this story as one of my Sunday School lessons and am amazed at what I see when I re-read and prepare for a class (especially when I am not rushing!!!) - God shows me so much as I prepare and even my Sunday School boys who are 1st and 2nd grade sometimes amaze me with their perceptions and insights! I like the way you compare dipping and washing. Thanks, Shanyn.

  2. Thanks for coming by! Great to see you, and thanks for your thoughts. It is amazing what we learn when we are getting ready to teach! Especially children. Young children really have a heart for God and can see things very clearly that we don't. What a blessing when you can hear what they are saying!