Commonsense Faith

Many basic principles about faith are illustrated in 2 Kings 5:1-14. Naaman, a leper, seeks Elisha, a prophet of God, to cure him of leprosy—a good beginning to faith, if even in desperation. Elisha, with the willingness and power of God at his disposal, makes a simple demand: “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan.” God, through his prophet, had spoken. Now what?

Naaman believes a wave of the prophet’s hand can do the trick. What sounds like great faith is only presumptuous faith—what God can do is not the issue; what God wills is the issue. Naaman even offers better, more convenient, substitutes for the Jordan River. Presumptuous faith easily becomes obnoxious faith—maybe God overlooked some possibilities, or what difference does it make if his demand is only slightly altered? The thought counts! No, the word counts!

Naaman’s servants bring commonsense faith to bear—just do what God demanded! Finally, Naaman does, and so he is cured. Are God’s policies different today? Are not the words of Jesus, Paul, Peter, and God’s other prophets as meaningful and binding as Elisha’s words? Can we now trust what we believe God can do, or must we still trust what he says he will do? Can we tamper with his word just a little as long as we get the drift, or must we accept it just as it is? Good beginnings can go bad, but a little commonsense can bring recovery