The Bible says, “Naaman, commander of the army for the king of Aram, was a great man in his master’s sight and highly regarded because through him, the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man was a brave warrior . . .” (2 Kings 5:1).
Here was a man that had power, position, and prestige. He was successful. He was a winner. He was wealthy. He was a hero. He was respected. He was admired. He was envied.
“But”— a three-letter conjunction. That small word “but” changes everything. “But he had a skin disease.” The fact is that Naaman was infected by the slow-growing leprosy. Lepers were isolated from the community and humiliated. They were the outcasts— the ultimate, the original untouchables.
Where do we find help? Where do we go for healing? Naaman, the commander-in-chief, finds direction through a captive servant, his wife’s slave. Naaman, the conqueror, finds help in a conquered nation, Israel. Naaman, the highly regarded man, learns of his treatment from a lowly prophet Elisha. Naaman, the wealthy and valiant soldier, is cured in a dirty river.
Naaman almost rejected his opportunity for healing by getting angry that Elisha did not show up to greet him at the door. Naaman was a big shot in his country and he wanted a big shot prophet to meet him at the door and heal him.
Elisha’s prescription for healing was bizarre. “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be clean.”
Humility leads to obedience. The humble person makes no claims on God, but knows that God has claims on him or her. We must believe that God’s way is better than our own. We may not always understand his way of working, but by humbly obeying, we will receive his blessings.
Pride was standing between Naaman and his healing. The famous prophet did not come out to meet him but instead sent a servant. This wasn’t the way he expected to be treated. Then he was told to wash himself in the muddy water of the Jordan river. There were much larger and cleaner rivers in Damascus. He felt insulted.
Namaan finally humbled himself in complete obedience and in doing so he was touched by God and healed. His skin was not only cured but it became better than before like that of a young boy.
Are you in desperate need of a touch of God in your life? Humble yourself in obedience and approach him anytime time, anywhere.
Scripture passage: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27).
The two builders: This parable of Jesus concerns a wise man and a foolish man. One built his house on rock; the other built his house on sand. The difference in their houses was the foundations. Both man faced life’s difficulties… “The rain came down, the streams rose, the winds blew.” The house built on the rock stood. The house built on the sand “fell with a great crash.” Palestine is known for torrential rains that can turn dry valleys (wadis) into raging torrents. Only storms reveal the quality of the work of the two builders. The point is that the wise person builds to withstand anything.
Jesus is illustrating that we can live wisely or foolishly. It depends on where we lay our foundation. A wise person represents those who put Jesus’ words into practice; they are building to withstand anything. Those who pretend to have faith, or have a merely intellectual commitment, are foolish builders. When the storms of life come, their structures fool no one, above all not God.
The ‘fool’ in the scripture: The word Jesus used for the wise builder is not the word for philosophical wisdom; rather, it is the word for practical wisdom. It is synonymous with thoughtfulness, careful planning, and common sense. The term for the foolish builder means “dull.” We get our English word “moron” from this word. It is an insulting term.
In the Old Testament, “fool” indicates moral deficiency rather than intellectual deficiency. The fool who says in his heart, “There is no God,” has shut God out of his life (Psalm 14:1). Such a person is twisted that he or she is open neither to reason nor to God. The “fool” is neither ignorant nor an atheist. The word is synonymous with the wicked, who aggressively and intentionally flouts his independence from God and his commandments. The fool in his heart denies the practical import of God’s existence. He shuts off the affairs of this world from divine intervention and denies any personal accountability to God for his actions. Within the congregation he may mimic the sounds of faith, but his true self shows disregard for God and his commandments. In the New Testament, “fool” portrays a person who lacks understanding because he or she has not adequately taken God into account. Christians can be foolish if they fail to evaluate life’s issues from God’s perspectives.
Storms of life reveal the difference: Before the storms came the two houses looked identical. They may have both been attractive, spacious, and comfortable. On the surface you couldn’t really tell which house was built on the sand and which was secured deep to the rock. It was only when the storms hit that you could see the difference in the homes.
It is impossible for us to tell who is genuine in their faith and who is not until the time of trial comes. Everybody sounds like a believer when times are good. True faith comes when we are called to trust him in the dark. The person who has a deep secured foundation always trusts God, relies on God, looks beyond the present to the eternal glory and runs to God rather than away from him.
Everyone is building their life: This parable conveys the demand for radical submission to the exclusive lordship of Jesus, who fulfills the Law and the Prophets. It warns the disobedient that the alternative to total obedience, true righteousness, and life in the kingdom is defiance against God, a life that is self-centered, lack of love for God and for others and eternal damnation.
Everyone is building their life on some kind of foundation. There are only two choices: you either build on a solid and deep foundation or you build on a shallow and weak foundation. The picture is clear. You are either walking on God’s way, experiencing his transformation in your life, and knowing his strength for difficult times; or you are walking away from God, producing nothing of eternal value and are vulnerable to the storms that may come your way.
Are you the wise builder or the foolish builder? You are not born foolish or wise when it comes to laying the foundation of your life. That’s it. When laying the foundation of your life it’s your decision on whether to lay it on the loose and unstable sand or on secured and unshakable rock.
Exodus chapter 3 and 4 tell us about the meeting of Moses with God. It was probably the most important meeting of his life but he had no advanced warning about it. There, in the desert, Moses found that God had already set the agenda. There was no time to his ease, no time to think up ways of diverting God’s attention to other matters. When God confronted Moses, we find out what Moses was really made of.
A. The voice from the bush: The scene is the slope of Mount Horeb, also called Sinai. On the summit of this mount, Sinai, Moses will later receive the Law. But Moses does not know this as he guides his flock in search of vegetation. Suddenly he comes upon a bush in perpetual flame and stops short in wonder. He is jolted a second time when a voice speaks from the bush, calling him by name.
When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him from within the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” God said, “Do not approach any closer! Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” He added, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3:4-6
The inclusion of Moses’ father suggests the continuity of God’s relationship with His people. Moses is astounded and awed. In reverence he covers his face, for he is afraid to look upon God. After the divine revelation comes an announcement of what is to happen. God always reveals Himself for a purpose, never simply to create a show.
B. The five reluctant words: The task of Moses was simply that of speaking out for God. But Moses came up with five convincing reasons for why he was not suitable. His reservations are ones we all would felt when confronted the same challenge.
I. Who am I? Moses is saying, “I am a nobody.” II. Who are you? Moses is saying, “I do not know enough.” III. What if they won’t believe me? Moses is saying, “I am afraid of failure.” IV. I am not eloquent. Moses is saying, “I don’t have the gift.” V. Send someone else. Moses is saying “I do not want to go.” Finally the truth is out!
God knows what has already happened and tells Moses about it.
The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt. I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. I have come down to deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land to a land that is both good and spacious, to a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Exodus 3:7-8)
C. I am a nobody: Now comes the biggest shock of all. God names Moses as the deliverer.
Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, or that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)
Forty years before, Moses had tried to stop the oppression and had to flee for his life. Now he is an old man of 80, no longer impetuous, impulsive, passionate for justice and bold. After four decades in the wilderness he has learned his weaknesses. Once he might have complimented God for choosing him. Now he says sincerely, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, or that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
This is the person God can use, he has over the years learned humility.
Moses once needed humbling, but now he needs assurance.
He replied, “Surely I will be with you, and this will be the sign to you that I have sent you: When you bring the people out of Egypt, you and they will serve God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:11-12)
D. I do not know enough: God’s assurance, however, is too far in the future for Moses. He must have something to say when he first appears before the children of Israel. He fears that they will not listen to him unless they are convinced that the God of their fathers has sent him. Furthermore, they will want to know the divine name as an expression of the character of God.
Moses said to God, “If I go to the Israelites and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ – what should I say to them?” Exodus 3:13
God said to Moses, “I AM that I AM.” And he said, “You must say this to the Israelites, I AM has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14)
The “I AM that I AM” denotes God’s absolute and essential being. Moses is to announce himself as the messenger of the all-powerful God who cares for his people and is ready and willing to respond to their cries. God further tells Moses how to begin the mission. He is to gather the elders of Israel and announce the deliverance to them. But God advises that the deliverance will not be quick and simple. Pharaoh will resist and will not let the people go until after a demonstration of divine miracles. Then Pharaoh will be glad to send the Hebrews away and will even provide for their journey.
E. I am afraid of failure: Moses is still unwilling to heed God’s call. He wants credentials, proof that he is acting under divine authority. God is patient and gives him two signs, the changing of the shepherd’s staff into a serpent and back again and the hand that becomes leprous and is restored.
F. I do not have the gift: The two signs were still not enough for Moses. He feels ill-prepared to speak to the Hebrew elders and to Pharaoh.
Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not an eloquent man, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant, for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” Exodus 4:10
The Lord said to him, “Who gave a mouth to man, or who makes a person mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? So now go, and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what you must say.” Exodus 4:11-12
G. Send someone else: But Moses said, “O my Lord, please send anyone else whom you wish to send!” Exodus 4:13
Moses pleads again with God to send anyone but him. The truth is out! Moses really don’t want to go!
But there was no escape route for Moses. God has the answers for all the excuses Moses presented before him. God said Aaron would be the spokesman. Aaron was God’s second choice. It would have been better if Moses had consented to be the speaker, for later events will reveal that Aaron is the weaker of the two. Nevertheless, God sends Moses with the signs of the rod-serpent the leprous hand. He is the man chosen and prepared for the task.
Conclusion: Today the need has never been greater for messengers to announce the Good News that Jesus saves and delivers from sin. We don’t have enough missionaries because we don’t want to leave the comforts of home, we are unwilling, we are undedicated and we don’t care. Other reasons are financial problems, lack of encouragement, no calling, and unqualified. Are not all these mere excuses not to go?
Not every Christian is called to be a full-time missionary, but all are called to be servants and witnesses of God. If God opens an opportunity for service, there is really no excuse for not responding in obedience. If you feel unprepared, ask him for help. Moses felt weak and inadequate, as has every Christian leader in history. God can do great works through us if we trust him and have faith in his divine provision, protection and power.
“An atheist is a man who looks through a telescope and tries to explain all that he can’t see.” – Anonymous
Does God exist?
This question continues to baffle many minds. The answer to the question never seems to be enough. That’s understandable because God is not a physical ordinary being. We know some of His attributes. He is love. He is faithful to His promises. He is merciful. He is patient. He is slow to anger. He is just. He is spirit. He is eternal. He is holy. He is omnipotent. He is omnipresent. He is omniscient. Yet He is mysterious too. But the very fact that some attempt so aggressively to disprove His existence is actually an argument for His existence.
The Bible– written because God exists:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible begins with a majestic statement. The Bible does not seek to prove that God exists. Rather, its authors wrote the Scriptures with the knowledge that He does exist. They have no doubt or uncertainty about the existence of God. The very first verse of the Bible…
denies atheism (the doctrine that there is no deity),
disclaims polytheism (the belief in or worship of more than one god) and
rejects pantheism (a doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe).
It proclaims the one eternal Creator. It proclaims the existence of God before and apart from all else. God does not exist in created or man-made things. Difference between the word ‘made’ (asah in Hebrew) and the word ‘created’ (bara in Hebrew)… ‘Made’ means only transformation of existing substances. But the Hebrew word for ‘create’ expresses the origin of something new, as only God can. The Creation is an absolute beginning, a creating of something out of nothing.
The atheist– the fool:
Atheism is not a new phenomenon nor is it the result of advancement in science or human knowledge. People who deny the existence of God can be traced back to ancient times.
Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
The “fool” is neither ignorant nor an atheist. The word is synonymous with the wicked, who aggressively and intentionally flouts his independence from God and his commandments. The “fool” in his heart denies the practical import of God’s existence. He shuts off the affairs of this world from divine intervention and denies any personal accountability to God for his actions.
The problem of human suffering:
The world is ravaged by problems and difficulties of all sorts. The question we often hear is, “If there is a God, why is He not doing anything about them?” Our worldly problems, trials and difficulties do not mean there is no God. There is action and reaction. To every effect there is a cause. Through the disobedience of Adam, sin entered man. Our relation with God was severed. Besides this we commit sins too. We are sinners living in a fallen world. Hunger and poverty, personal and social problems, wars and strife, sickness and death, natural disasters and calamities will always be there with us. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to know that something is wrong. We have so many problems. But sin is our greatest problem. And because of sin physical death is inevitable and it will come sooner or later. But worse than physical death is spiritual death, which means separation from God. But Jesus died to pay the penalty of our sins. And by grace through faith in Him we can have eternal life…. reunited with God.
A way to evade accountability:
People claim to reject God’s existence because it is “not scientific” or “because there is no proof.” The true reason is that once they admit that there is a God, they also must realize that they are responsible to God. If God exists, then we are accountable to Him for our actions. If God does not exist, then we can do whatever we want without having to worry about God judging us. That is why many of those who deny the existence of God cling strongly to the theory of naturalistic evolution– it gives them an alternative to believing in a Creator God. God exists and ultimately everyone knows that He exists.
Faith is the real key:
Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”
Faith is a present reality, not exclusively the property of past heroes. Faith gives us convictions about creation. Belief in the existence of the world is not faith, nor is it faith when people hold that the world was made out of some preexisting “stuff.” But when we understand that it was the Word of God that produced all things, that is faith.
The visible universe is not sufficient to account for itself. But it is faith, not something material, that assures us that it originated with God. This world is God’s world, and faith assures us that God originated it.
Man’s attempt to find God:
The existence of God is to be accepted by faith. But this does not meant that there is no proof of His existence. In addition to the biblical arguments for God’s existence, there are other arguments.
The universe is the whole of space– time containing matter, energy, and forces. It is the summation of all physical laws and constants. It contains everything from the smallest subatomic particles to the largest galaxies. It also includes all biological entities as well as humankind. We live in a tiny globe surrounded by an endless universe. Over the last few thousands of years we are trying to learn, to discover and to understand the ultimate force behind everything we see. This is man’s attempt to find God.
The cosmological argument:
The cosmological argument states that an effect must have a cause. There is a reaction to every action. To every effect there is a cause. This universe and everything in it is an effect. There must be something that caused everything to come into existence. Ultimately, there must be something “un-caused” in order to cause everything else to come into existence. That “un-caused” cause is God.
The moral argument:
Another argument is known as the moral argument. Every culture throughout history has had some form of law. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong. Murder, lying, stealing, and immorality are almost universally rejected. Where did this sense of right and wrong come from if not from a holy God?
The teleological argument:
The teleological argument states that since the universe displays such an amazing design, there must have been a divine Designer. Nothing is random; there is an intricate and complex design in everything… from the smallest particles to the largest galaxies. Hence we cannot deny the existence of God who designed and placed everything in its proper place.
“I know this world is ruled by infinite intelligence. Everything that surrounds us- everything that exists – proves that there are infinite laws behind it. There can be no denying this fact. It is mathematical in its precision.” — Thomas Alva Edison
The universe testifies God’s glory:
Psalm 19:1-4 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
The glory and wisdom of God are evident in the vastness of space. The universe is a revelation of God’s creation of the magnificent heavenly bodies, which are characterized by radiance and regularity. The verbs “declare” and “proclaim” express the continuous revelation of the heavens. God alone is the Creator; the heavenly bodies are “the work of his hands.” The cycle of day and night contribute to the regularity of the seasons and thus to the regularity of the agricultural calendar. They reveal “knowledge” in their own distinct “speech.” The “knowledge” is not only knowledge about God but also a special kind, best understood as God’s wisdom, revealed in his creation. Being unrestricted by the division of languages, natural revelation transcends human communication without the use of speech, words, and sounds. To those who are inclined to hear, revelation comes with no regard for linguistic or geographical barriers.
“When a load of bricks, dumped on a corner lot, can arrange themselves into a house; when a handful of springs and screws and wheels, emptied on a desk, can gather themselves into a watch, then and not until then will it seem sensible, to some of us at least, to believe that all these thousands or millions of worlds could have been created, balanced and set to revolving in their separate orbits – all without any directing intelligence at all.” — Bruce Barton
Jesus, the living revelation of God:
The universe (the whole cosmic system of matter and energy of which the Earth is a part) reveals the works of God. This is natural revelation. Than we have the special revelation in the Bible, the Word of God. Jesus is part of that special, a living, walking and talking Word of God.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus did not claim merely to know the way, the truth, and the life. He actually claimed to be the only answer to human problems. Jesus’ solution to perplexity is not a recipe; it is a relationship with him.
He is the way to the Father because only he has an intimate knowledge of God, unmarred by sin. He is the truth because he has the perfect power of making life one coherent experience irrespective of its ups and downs. He is the life because he was not subject to death but made it subject to him. He died to demonstrate the power and continuity of his life. Because he is the way, the truth, and the life, he is the only means of reaching the Father.
Jesus is the only authorized revelation of God in human form, and he is the only authorized representative of humanity to God.
Denying God is without excuse:
Despite all of this, the Bible tells us that people will reject the clear and undeniable knowledge of God and believe a lie instead. Romans 1:25 declares, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator– who is forever praised. Amen.” The Bible also proclaims that people are without excuse for not believing in God: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities– His eternal power and divine nature– have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
A relationship with God:
Besides these we know God exist because of the ways He had touched and so miraculously changed our personal lives with His wondrous love and grace. We sense His presence, we feel His leading, we know His love, and we desire His grace. God has set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end”. Our lives will feel meaningless and our hearts empty until we get to know God. You can’t fill this spiritual void by denying the existence of God and holding to the theory of evolution (which only makes you a shaved monkey) or anything else. The void in your heart can only be filled by the One who made it.
In Genesis 11 we find the story of the Tower of Babel. The builders of Babel were the first humanists. Instead of God these first humanists put themselves at the center of their lives and activities. They decided to build a monument to themselves. “Whose top will reach into heaven” expresses their intent to reach into areas that God should have occupied in their lives.
The term “humanism” sounds innocent, even denoting virtue and honor to God’s highest creation. Who could be against the betterment of mankind? When we examine the ideology or philosophy of secular humanism, however, we realize how dangerous it is. Basically, humanism puts man at the center of everything. God is just a crutch or a symbol that the simpleminded use to explain the yet unknowable. Some tenets of humanism:
There is no evidence of the supernatural. God does not exist.
No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.
Beliefs in life after death distract humans from present concerns.Life has meaning only here and now.
Reason and intelligence are the most effective instruments that humankind possesses. There is no substitute.
The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be given to all.
The right to euthanasia and suicide should be held by all.
Notice that humanism is focused on man. Religion, God and faith are completely out of the picture. Man decides what is moral and worthwhile.
The builders of the Tower of Babel were full of pride. They did not build in humility and dependence upon God. They sought their own will, not the will of God. They built in vain. The result of their effort was the exact opposite of what they originally intended to do and they were scattered.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1).
This Psalm is a song of ascents of Solomon. This Psalm calls you to recognize and acknowledge that God is the true builder and that all you do must be done in an attitude of humble dependence upon Him.
It calls you to look to God for your security, both on a national and in a personal level.
It calls you to trust God for your safety and the safety of your family.
Your dependence upon God, as Christians, will not produce vain effort. If you seek God’s will in all you do and have, then it is not vain work.
In humility, seek God in all you do. Seek His will. Give to Him your work, your security, your family… and He will bless you