Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Deliverance Comes Before Healing

I recently read the Bible story about Naaman and was intrigued by his predicament and the unusual way God healed him.  After reading the story, I realized the Lord was showing me deliverance comes before healing.  Many different circumstances can keep us from getting healed, often times they are things we wouldn’t necessarily associate with healing.  Of course there are times when we don’t get healed and that is a mystery to us all.  However, that’s not what I am writing about. 

I’m writing about what could’ve been Naaman’s deliverance before his healing.  As a Deliverance Minister—I’m always looking for ways to help people.  I used to believe that deliverance had nothing to do with healing; I’ve since learned the two are very closely related.  Call it whatever you like, demons, oppression, familiar spirits, etc., but there are certain areas of our lives that need deliverance before we can walk as whole, healthy, healed men and women of God.

In 2 Kings 5:1 it says, “Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.” 

On one of the Syrian’s raids, they brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel, who waited on Naaman’s wife.  One day she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria, he would heal him of his leprosy.” Now Naaman’s wife told him what the young maid said, and he immediately went to his master the king.

Then the king of Syria said to him, Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.  So he departed and brought the letter to the king of Israel, which said, “I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.”  However, when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy?

When Elisha, the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

As the story continues, Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. Only Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.  However, Naaman became furious, and went away saying, “Indeed, this man will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal my leprosy. Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?”

Here is where we often find ourselves in times of need.  Even though Naaman was desperate to be healed, it seemed he wanted to be in charge of just how that healing would come to pass.  Scripture says that Naaman went away in a rage, and seeing this, his servants spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

Why is it we are always ready to do something great for God, but when it’s outside our comfort zone we tend to protest?  Naaman is no different than us, he knew of two cleaner rivers he could go to, why did it have to be the Jordan?  I personally believe that the Jordan was a place of miracles and deliverance.  After all, Jesus was baptized in the Jordan and the Israelites crossed the Jordan to the Promise Land.  I also believe that Elisha had a purpose for telling him to dip seven times.

In all spiritual matters we are responsible for our own outcome.  No one else can dip for us, our healing depends upon our own actions; and our spiritual health always facilitates our physical healing.  Here’s where Naaman’s deliverance starts.  He heeded the words of the young maid, which was unusual for a man of his stature and he received the rebuke of his servants.  However, that was only the beginning, apparently there were a few things he needed to leave under the water before that healing would manifest. 

In Naaman’s eyes the healing should be quick and easy, but in God’s eyes the Jordan was the only way.  Reluctantly he follows the command of Elisha and wades into the waters of the Jordan.  With the first dip, I imagined the Lord washing away his anger; which was his initial response.  You see the ways of the Lord are purposeful.  He is always doing something more than we perceive. 

Now remember, Naaman was a honorable man, but he had to learn that his great wealth and earthly grandeur were nothing—everything he had and everything he stood for could not heal his leprosy.  Therefore I believe the second dip washed away his pride.  Here is the strongman in most of us.  We often want our healing without humbly submitting ourselves to the ways of the Lord.

By now Naaman might have be thinking, I still see the leprosy.  Shouldn’t the appearance of my skin be changing?  The water was dirty and mucky but if he wanted to be healed, he must do exactly what the man of God told him, dip seven times.  Causing the third dip to wash away disobedience.  God often sets us up in situations that require total obedience.  There is no such thing as half obedience or delayed obedience, but a strict command to obey.  He would have to go the distance in order to receive the blessing.

Observing no change after three dips, I would imagine his heart began to sink and the enemy of his flesh and the enemy of this world began mocking him  “What are you doing in that water?  Nothing is going to happen—you really think God can heal you?”  Naaman had longed for years to be cleansed from this infirmity.  He wanted to believe that what he was doing was the answer; yet so far, he saw nothing.  Isn’t that the way it is when we’ve been standing and believing God to be healed for any length of time; even though we know our God is faithful?  So the fourth dip delivered him from the spirit of fear. 

Anguish began to take over Naaman soul and humiliation began to speak. He had long been admired by everyone.  He had gifts no one else had, yet this was the one thing he could not do for himself.  The thought of remaining this way and the disappointment of living the rest of his life disgraced by leprosy caused him to dip yet another time.  On this the fifth time, shame was undone.  He would no longer feel sorry for himself or be embarrassed by his condition no matter what the outcome.

With shame finally gone, Naaman was getting stronger.  As he approached the sixth dip, he let go of self-will and the idea of being healed without the help of others.  He had willed his leprosy away, he had probably tried everything he knew to do, which in those days was very little, yet there was no change.  It wasn’t until he reminded himself of the brave young girl who believed the prophet in Samaria could help him, that he continued.  This speaks to all of us, I don’t think there is a person reading this paper who really believes if they just willed something out of their life, eventually it would go away.  No matter how self-sufficient we are, without the Lord’s help and the help of others, willfulness accomplishes very little.    

With all the deliverance Naaman received—God cleared the way for his miraculous healing and on the seventh dip as we all know, he was healed from leprosy.  In fact the Bible says his skin was made like the flesh of a little child.  This is a beautiful picture of salvation and renewal.  As we are delivered from the spiritual oppressions, God can make us whole.  He can make us young again.  He gives us a fresh start even if we have been walking with Him a very long time.  The Bible says, He delivered us in the past, he will deliver us now and he will continue to deliver us. 

It’s important to understand deliverance and healing are not a onetime event.  In fact, we must persistently contend for righteousness and healing in our lives.   If the Lord after He made the universe has to continually uphold it; why would we think otherwise for ourselves?  Remember God has a plan for your life and you cannot fulfill that plan if you are bound and wounded. 

Take an assessment of your life today—are there things God is asking you to let go of?  Do you need healing from your own kind of leprosy?  Those things that spot your life yet are unseen by your fellow man?  God is calling for a church without spot or wrinkle—the time is drawing neigh for all of us to be cleansed so that we are effective in the work of the ministry.  Deliverance comes before healing.

Rev Daina House


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