Leaping Lepers

Biblical faith is not demonstrated by foolishly leaping in blindness into but intelligently leaping into action.  Leaping into action occurs most often when godly relationships are influential and encouraging.

One Leper
2 Kings 5:1-3,9-15 NKJV - 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. 2 And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. 3 Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.”   9 Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And 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.” 11 But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He 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 the leprosy.’ 12 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?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 And his servants came near and 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’?” 14 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. 15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.”

Naaman overcame his temper, his sense of entitlement, and his unmet expectations - leaping into action by dipping seven times in the Jordan River as Elisha the Prophet commanded.  The only reason Naaman experienced healing and conversion is because he was teachable and receptive to those under him.  This Syrian general listened to his servant girl who told him about Elisha.  Then he listened to his small group of advisors who persuaded him to just do what Elisha commanded rather than become offended.  Any time in his process where Naaman is too arrogant, stubborn, or unwilling to listen to others (including those under his authority), he’s done.  It was the encouragement of a servant and then of a small group that helped this leper leap into action.  By doing so, Naaman came to know God and find freedom from his leprosy, responding with joy, worship, and generosity.  What little voice of encouragement do you need to listen to in order to leap into action?  When you are angry, entitled, or disillusioned with God’s way or God’s minister, who’s in your small group - who can talk sense to you so you don’t walk away from the healing and revealing hand of God?  Who will you listen to so you don’t miss your miracle?

Four Lepers 

2 Kings 7:3-11 NIV - Now there were four men with leprosy[d] at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.” 5 At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, 6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives. 8 The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also. 9 Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.” 10 So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” 11 The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace.

A small group of four lepers reasoned well about their fate.  Three choices, and only one held the possibility of survival.  Sitting around was not a solution, nor was entering into fellowship with those who were sitting around starving also.  So they leapt into bold and risky action, not realizing that the hand of God would use them to save the people of Israel from both the enemy and from starvation.  The hand of God magnified the sound and impact of one small group of four lepers marching to drive out the enemy army and discover treasure and food.  Had the lepers been alone, would each man dared to leap into action?  Only God knows.  However, leaping into action that makes a difference is so much easier when you’ve got a group doing it together.  Who is in your daring faith group with you?  Who is leaping into action with you?  Who are you inspiring to leap into action with you?

Ten Lepers

Luke 17:11-19 NIV - Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

As the ten lepers call out to Jesus for mercy, He gives them a command.  As they obey, they're leprosy is healed.  Interestingly, only one comes back to worship before Jesus.  Perhaps the other nine wanted to complete the command Christ gave and not risk His wrath…or perhaps the one was so overwhelmed with gratitude that he detoured to come back into Christ’s presence to worship.  Regardless, we see that sometimes the best way to leap into action is simply to call on Jesus then immediately obey His command.  What spiritual sickness afflicts you?  What will you do when you call on Jesus to touch you, but instead He gives you a command to obey?  Almost every supernatural occurrence I’ve witnessed involved obedience to the command of God’s Spirit in that moment.  If you wish to see the hand of God at work supernaturally, are you prepared to immediately obey that clear word, that Biblical command, or that nudging impression that the Spirit gives to you?  Will you leap into action or will you procrastinate?  One last time… do you notice that these lepers leap into action together - as a small group?  Are you trying to find freedom from spiritual sickness alone rather than in a small group?  Who's in your leaping group?