Have you heard the expression, can't see the forest because of the trees? Have you ever had a family trip to a beautiful place, of which there are many in America, and WOW look at that sunset! Girls, check out the sun... Stop watching the DVD player and look out the window! Close the DS game and look to your right! Sometimes we are so focused on ourselves or just the details or what we expect God to do in our lives that we miss the big picture and what God is actually doing in our lives! This is especially true when it comes to healing.
Christians and non-Christians alike have problems discerning from where healing power comes. The girl tells Namaan the prophet, but when Namaan goes to his king, the king assumes the one with power will be the king of Israel, and so Namaan is sent to the leader of the country. Historically the king has always had the connection to God, and we see that in the kings and queens of England. These are the ones who are supposed to have the direct connection with God. If we read the scriptures, though, the king rarely if ever had direct connection with God. Even David received messages from prophets like Samuel and Nathan. No, the prophet is the one who has the direct connection to God, not the king.
Not only is the connection to God misplaced but the healing power itself is misplaced. The king of Aram thinks the king of Israel has the power to heal. This miscommunication reveals how humans see each other as gods, putting ourselves before the living God. As a result we get into quarrels. How many fights have you had, where one of you says to the other, well, you're just PERFECT. I'm the one who is the complete failure. Look who is GOD ALMIGHTY. We call each other gods, and then we quarrel, because our pride shapes our beliefs about ourselves—we think we are gods.
How did Elisha hear about the incident? He wasn't standing there in the king's court. He sent word to the king to send Namaan to him. How did he hear? Perhaps God told him, but wouldn't it make sense that this quarrel was so great that it somehow became national news? Was a war between Israel and Aram about to start? This may have been a serious situation that needed defusing. And Elisha, a lowly prophet, is able to send a message to the king and calm the waters. Elisha has that much power. The king obeys him.
We are not finished with this whole theme of pride and misplaced focus on who is the true healer. Why does Elisha send a messenger to Namaan? Because even though we have moved from King to Prophet, we have not moved yet from Prophet to God. One thing that we always have to keep in mind is that God is the one who does the healing. Every time we have a healing service or we hear about someone being miraculously healed, we have to know that it was God that did it.
There is a spiritual gift of healing, but like all gifts, this is a God-given gift. He is still the one who does the healing, so that we do not get prideful and boast that we are the ones doing the healing. We laid hands on someone a few months ago, and her chronic headaches were healed. It was our human nature that pressured us to ask around for who was touching the head of the person when we laid hands on her, but all the succeeded in doing was bring the attention from God and to the person or people who were touching her. We took our focus off God. We do each have a spiritual gift or gifts, and Paul talks about them extensively, but he always puts them in context with the entire body of Christ. Let's not lose sight of the forest because we are too busy looking at the trees. The body of Christ healed those headaches. I have the gift of preaching and teaching, but I am not going to ignore someone's insight into scripture because that person has the gift of hospitality. We are all part of the body of Christ, and we look to the gifts as a whole body of gifts, not as individuals. Let's put the focus back on God.
So, Elisha sends a messenger to Namaan so that Namaan can learn that Elisha, too, is a messenger. God is the one with the power. We go to God for healing, not man: not a king, not a prophet, not any human being, only God. Namaan confirms what he was thinking: he was expecting Elisha to say some magic words and wave his hand over the spot. Washing in rivers seems insane. Aram's rivers are just as good as Israel's rivers.
The formula for healing the leprosy is simple, because it is simply a returning to God, connecting with his creation. I've said before that when we properly examine creation, study it, we find God as the author, behind the scenes, writing and rewriting life itself. When we do not properly understand creation we worship creation itself as an end. Namaan is in a particular frame of mind. He has a desire to be healed, and here is Elisha's instruction: bathe in the river Jordan the perfect number of seven times. Namaan could have bathed in the river to no result anytime, but now he is in the right frame of mind to accept God's healing power. He has been on a quest that has taken him from Kings to Prophets to a servant's message that tells him to go away from humans, to go and immerse himself in God's creation with the intent of being healed through God's creation by God himself, the creator of the universe, the author of all things, who made everything perfect, but through corruption was spoiled, and now through Jesus Christ is being re-created.
In the older days, when someone got severely ill, and the doctors were flummoxed as to what to do, they would prescribe a sea voyage so that the patient could take in the sea air and perhaps be healed that way. We've got reasons: the salt, the clear air away from pollution, the motion of the vessel on the water, being away from other people. What is wrong with another reason being the simple one: healing the person through God's creation by the very God who created the seas themselves?
God made things good—all of creation. It stands to reason that the re-creation of that same goodness would be his solution to the problem of sin. Namaan is a part of that original creation, and sin in the world had made him a leper. God's solution was to bring him back to perfection through the same creation. We, each of us, are part of God's original creation, part of his plan. Sin in the world has spoiled us in many ways: physical, emotional, spiritual. Living where we do, we have a choice of enjoying creation as an end in itself, or connecting with creation in a way that allows God to heal us.
The vehicle God used to restore creation—and therefore us—was his son, Jesus Christ. Through him all things were created, and though his death and resurrection all things are being re-created. We are a part of that re-creation if we choose to stop looking to kings and prophets for help and turn our attention to the living God.