Anyone who desires to be saved needs to realize that God’s will must be obeyed.
Some will teach that man has no part in his own salvation, but that is not the way God’s word explains it. Man must meet God’s conditions in order to receive the blessing God has promised.
The Old Testament gives several examples of man desiring a blessing, and how God set forth the conditions to be obeyed. Notice the following examples:
• In Numbers 21, the Israelites were complaining against Moses and God. God was greatly displeased. “And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, and much people of Israel died” (Numbers 21:6). The people realized their need for salvation from the serpents and cried out to Moses to pray to the Lord to help them.
God told Moses to form a fiery serpent and to put it on a pole. Those who were bitten were told to look at the serpent, and they would live. Some might have argued that there was no need to look on a brazen serpent to be healed. They might have thought they had a better way. Wrong — the only way they could be healed was to look upon the serpent, and that is what they did. “And Moses made a serpent of brass and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived” (Numbers 21:9). They had to obey the conditions God gave them.
• Another example is found in 2 Kings 5. Naaman was the captain of the Syrian king. The Bible says he was honorable and great in the sight of the king, but had leprosy. At the time of this account, there was no cure for the disease, and it was considered by some to be a death sentence.
Fortunately for Naaman, the Syrian army had taken captive a little maid from Israel who served Naaman’s wife. She heard Naaman’s problem and said, “…Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy” (2 Kings 5:3). Naaman took this news to the king, who sent a letter to the king of Israel concerning this issue. The king of Israel was beside himself, for he knew he could not cure anyone of leprosy.
When the prophet Elisha heard of the letter, he sent word to the king to have Naaman come see him. When Naaman arrived, he was surprised at the prophet’s actions. Instead of coming out to greet Naaman, he sent out a messenger to tell Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan River. That made Naaman mad. First, the prophet hadn’t even come out to cure him, and now he wanted him to wash seven times in the river. He said, “‘Behold,’ I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean?’” (2 Kings 5:11-12). Naaman did not want to obey God. In fact, he thought he had a better idea than God because the rivers of Damascus surely were better than those of the Jordan. Finally, one of his men reasoned with Naaman and got him to come to his senses. If he had been asked to do a great thing, wouldn’t he have done it?
Naaman washed seven times in the Jordan, and his leprosy was cured. He had to meet the conditions God put down before he could receive the blessing he desired.
Next week we will continue our thoughts on “Obedience to God.”