REPOSTToday’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on August 5, 2015, is written by Tina Hsu who serves as AMI missions coordinator. Tina, a graduate of Biola University (BA) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.) and is married to Anthony.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Hardness of Heart”
2 Kings 5:1:1-5, 7-8, 14-15(NASB)
Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper. 2 Now the Arameans had gone out in bands and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel and she waited on Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.” 4 Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel.” 5 Then the king of Aram said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel”… 7 “When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of leprosy? But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me.” 8 It happened when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes that he sent word to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Now let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel”…14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean. 15 When he returned to the man of God with all his company, and came and stood before him, he said, “Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel…”
Israel and Aram had been at war against one another. Because of Israel’s covenant unfaithfulness, God gave them into the hands of Aram and caused Naaman, the captain of Aram’s army, to be successful. In the eyes of their enemies, Israel was weak and there was little evidence that God was among them. The king of Israel’s response to the king of Aram’s letter reflects Israel’s unbelief – “Do you think I am God? I am not able to heal leprosy!” He didn’t consider inquiring of Elisha, the prophet of Israel, but instead he worried that Aram was stirring up a fight against him. Though the king displayed a lack of faith in God, the author of 2 Kings highlights the faith of a young Israelite servant girl, who remembered Elisha and believed in God’s power in him. Furthermore, Naaman himself showed faith in the God. He asked his king to prepare a letter and a gift so he could go and meet Elisha. Though he was reluctant and prideful at first to wash seven times in the Jordan, he eventually listened to Elisha’s word, experienced complete healing, and declared, “I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel…”
Jesus spoke about the healing of Naaman to address Israel’s unbelief, “And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4:27). During the time of Elisha, Israel was blind to the healing and power available in the God of Israel. Similarly, Israel was blind and the people’s hearts were hardened towards the salvation available in Jesus.
From this passage, we learn that hardness of heart blinds us from encountering Jesus. Unbelief prevents us from seeking the joy, freedom, renewal, healing, and truth that is available in Jesus. This passage also teaches us not to be so easily satisfied with our limited knowledge of God, but to be hungry to ask the Lord for eyes to see Him, ears to hear Him, and a heart to know and love Him.
Prayer: Dear God, I acknowledge that my faith wavers and I need the power of your Holy Spirit to heal my spiritual blindness. Help my unbelief and give me eyes to see and believe in You moment by moment! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Micah 1
Lunch Break Study
Read John 8:12, 31-32 (NASB): Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life”…So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed in Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Questions to Consider
- When Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world,” who is Jesus speaking to?
- How does Jesus’ message impact the Pharisees and the Jews in general who are Abraham’s descendants?
- A mark of a true disciple is one who continues in Jesus’ word to know the truth. How are you doing as a disciple of Jesus?
- Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees who are accusing Jesus of testifying about Himself and His relationship to the Father. The Pharisees claim that they know God the Father because they are Abraham’s descendants.
- As the “light of the world,” Jesus makes God the Father known to the world and leads followers into the truth. Jesus teaches the Jews that if they believe in the Father, they should also believe in Him and follow Him because He is from the Father. However, their hearts are hard towards Jesus because they trust in their lineage with Abraham for their relationship to God.
- Personal response
In what area or situation in your life do you need God’s light and truth? Ask the Lord to lead you by His light and truth.
Psalm 36:9: “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”