Has God touched your heart and spoken to you things that make no sense?
Have you reasoned in your mind about what God has said to you, trying hard to figure out just exactly how it will come to pass?
Have close friends and family ridiculed you for holding fast to what God has spoken over your life?
You are not alone!
Today's lesson will examine your position and the position of those who feel that you are foolish for holding fast to a Word from the Lord over your own life.
You will indeed see that it is wise to hold fast to that Word from God, believing against all reasoning and analyzing.
II Kings 5 records the story of Naaman being cured of his leprosy. The first verse tells us: Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him Jehovah had given victory unto Syria: he was also a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.
The Syrians had gone out in raids and had taken a little girl from the land of Israel.
She was waiting upon Naaman's wife.
She told her mistress, "Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria, for he would recover him of his leprosy."
The king of Syria sent word down to the king of Israel, along with presents and gifts, and said, "I am sending you Naaman that you may cure him of his leprosy."
The king of Israel was distraught because he thought the king of Syria was seeking a quarrel with him. Who could cure leprosy?
He rent his clothes, thinking that it was an occasion of war that had come against him.
2 Kings 5:8-11King James Version (KJV)8 And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.
10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and 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.
He just sent a messenger out to him and said, "Tell him to go wash seven times."
He was not impressed by the man's position or anything else. He just sent him a word to go and wash in the river.
Neeman was so angry that he went away and said, "Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of Jehovah his God, and wave his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean?"
II Kings 5:11-14
He did so because he was an extremely logical man.
I suppose there may be a place for being a reasonable, logical person, but I have not seen many people who ever gained much from God through the processes of logic and reason.
The way a man obtains supernatural blessings is through a supernatural revelation and obedience.
The limitations upon the human mind were divinely imposed. It is by divine intent that intelligence and understanding are limited.
God does not intend that the natural mind be able to comprehend and understand spiritual things.
That is why He gives us the warning: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Above everything else, God wants complete and perfect trust in Him.
With this in mind, we can understand why the prophet Elisha would ask Naaman to wash in the Jordan River, dipping seven times, something that seemed to be absurd.
According to human reasoning, no river could cleanse him, especially the Jordan, because it was rather dirty.
Naaman reasoned, "We have cleaner rivers in Syria than this old mud hole. I cannot see how it will do my leprosy a bit of good to wash in this river."
That was his argument, and of course it was logical. We know that leprosy is a disease which is closely related to the bloodstream.
You do not cure such an internal disorder by an external cleansing. Something has to reach within the inner nature in order to do it.
And yet Elisha had commanded the procedure by the revelation of the Lord.
Naaman was upset. His servants said,"If he had asked some hard thing of you, would you have not done it?"
Naaman, with his logic, had always reasoned that nothing could be accomplished except by sacrifice and effort, and always in logical sequence.
for example, being a man of valor, he knew how to take a distant city or country.
He would lay out the strategy, and then step by step, assault after assault, he would take that city.
Now, if Elisha had instructed him in a like manner, he would have understood it.
But simply to dip seven times in a muddy river in order to receive healing was a thing he could not grasp.
The carnal mind is enmity against God. It is not subject to the laws of God, neither indeed can it be ( Romans 8:7 ) .
This is the reason that the natural man never perceives the things of God.
Paul was very explicit about this in I Corinthians 2:8.
He said that if the rulers of this age had understood the wisdom of God, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
They would not have crucified Him if they had known what they were doing.
But they were delivered over to the reasoning of a natural carnal mind, and so they missed God.
In one sense, it is almost dangerous to come face to face with this move of the Spirit and know that God has set before us blessings and promises that are absolutely unlimited, but often we depend upon our own reasoning to such an extent that we ourselves impose walls and barriers in our minds, thinking that we can only go thus far.
God did not impose these limitations on you. The Word of God is explicit in saying,"All things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23).
The limitations are built by your own thinking, by following the processes of reasoning in the human mind.
Everything that God does in the supernatural world is done by faith, apart from the natural processes of reasoning.
God honors an expression of obedience to revelation. For instance, at the marriage in Cana, there was no rhyme nor reason to filling the water pots with water, drawing it out, and bearing it to the governor of the feast.
But Jesus said to do it, and Mary said,"Whatsoever He says to you, do it." So the woman were constrained to do what was not logical or reasonable at all.
If they had leaned upon their own understanding, they would have nullified faith.
In its trust and reliance and obedience to God, your spirit reaches a higher plane, beyond what the mind can fathom or reason out.
When God says, "I am going to do such and such a thing," and you start reasoning it out, questioning,
Will it not work?" you are destroying the very thing God is trying to do.
Lean not on your own understanding. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Naaman was not the only one who had to do this; other men had to do the same thing. Abraham, for instance, produced Ishmael in his haste to try to help God.
He followed a certain line of reasoning that his wife suggested to him. The Word says that Abraham's faith was finally purified and he considered not his own body as good as dead (Romans 4:19 ) . He came to the place where he refused to consider it.
That is quite difficult. I do not know whether they had mirrors in those days, but every time Abraham saw his reflection, or every time he stood up and felt the aches and pains in his bones, it must have been difficult not to consider his own body as good as dead.
He still rejoiced in the promise and knew it was going to be fulfilled, even though day after day and year after year he watched the ravages of age take hold of his body.
And what about Sarah's age and the deadness of her womb?
He could not consider his that either. He did not stagger at the promises of God.
He did not consider his body as good as dead. He just reached the place where he trusted God with all his heart. The fulfillment of a ministry depends upon that very principle.
In the New Testament, too, the Lord often demanded that people hurdle the barrier of the natural mind, so that He could bring them into the obedience of revelation.
He told the blind man to go and wash in the pool of Siloam ( John 9:1-7 ).
This was not reasonable. If washing a man's eyes could cause him to see, then we could send every blind person a little bottle of eye lotion with which to wash his eyes, and he would be healed.
But it was not that. The clay was put in his eyes and he had to stagger and stumble through the streets until he came to a reservoir at the edge of town.
Christ required him to wash the mud from his eyes for only one purpose: by an act of obedience, he would be healed.
Of course, it was not reasonable. But there is reason behind the seeming unreasonableness of God.
When God demands something of you, His wisdom appears to be foolish. God says that He is going to take the foolish things to confound the wise.
Because the wise lean on their own understanding. Another man, in simplicity and with childlike faith, can come to trust in the Lord without analyzing all the whys and wherefores.
That man will come right into the blessing of the Lord.
If you want to enter into the riches of the Kingdom, you must become like a little child ( Matthew 18:3).
When a Word comes from God, you must trust it and believe in it, regardless of what happens.
And yet, during a ministry service, we notice that when someone comes up with a request that sounds unreasonable, the rest of the congregation seem to want to slap his wrist in a nice way.
Some person may come along with a rather childlike faith and say, "I have an empty purse and bills to pay, and I am trusting the Lord to put some money in my purse."
To most people that sounds like a very unreasonable request. Consequently, no one has been looking into his billfold lately and drawing out bills that he never put there.
In fact, the nearest thing I can recall to that happening was the incident when a little fishhook was thrown in the water and a fish was pulled out containing a coin to pay the taxes ( Matthew 17:27 ).
In those days, they had simple faith. People will not believe for such a miracle today, because it is too far out of the line of reason.
And yet, the day of miracles is not past. God is speaking to us that the day of miracles is drawing in which His arm will be made bare as never before in the history of His dealings with mankind.
We are living on the border of the miraculous, but we are also living in a day that is completely conformed to reason and completely conformed to the scientific approach.
Today, if a man cannot reason something through his senses, he will not accept it. If he cannot see how it is going to work, he will not believe it.
There are two kinds of knowledge.
One, which comes by scientific inquiry, is based upon the evidence of the senses, upon the procedures of logic and of analyzing the evidence of the five senses; what your eyes can see and your ears hear, what your nose can smell, what your mouth can taste and your hands can touch.
Those senses filter all knowledge that is absorbed, and the mind begins to analyze it and arrives at what people call knowledge or wisdom.
It is a natural wisdom or a natural knowledge.
However, many times what the senses see, hear, and perceive are absolutely contrary to what God's Word says. The world in which we live is full of delusions.
The Christian Scientists tried to explain this, but they were definitely mistaken in their conception. Yet we understand one thing: much of what we see is a delusion. Satan can take things that we see and create them into something that is absolutely a lie.
For instance, you may find that you have certain aches and pains, and so you come to the conclusion that you are sick. Then as you go along, you pray over that sickness, asking the Lord to heal you.
From that point on, there must be another kind of knowledge that comes to bear upon this situation. If you continue to regard the ache, you are going by the evidence.
If you say,"I prayed that God would take away my backache, and my back still aches; so I am not healed," you are going by the sense of feeling. You have allowed reason to become the basis of your knowledge and you will come to a conclusion on that basis.
A more scriptural approach would follow this line of thinking; "My back seems to be aching all right, but over here in I Peter 2:24 it says, "By his stripes you were healed." God says that and I am going to believe it."
The revelation that comes to the inner man, based upon God's Word, seems to be completely unreasonable because it is going against the evidence of the senses.
It is going against all knowledge that you normally arrive at by scientific inquiry.
You must come to the place where you say, "This pain I do not regard or accept as the reality.
God's Word is true. By His stripes I am healed."
You believe that; you stand upon it. that becomes the reality. What happens to the ache or the pain? It disappears. In time, it is gone.
You are healed, and everything is glorifying to God. you have come to rely upon another kind of knowledge.
Neeman was moving only by one kind of knowledge, based upon the fact that it did not seem reasonable for him to wash in the Jordan River.
How many things are you refusing to do for God because it does not seem reasonable to you?
How many times are you backing off because you do not see your way clear?
God's Word is filled with examples of men who started out to do the will of God.
They did not know how, nor did they have the means or the resources.
One thing they did have: a Word from God; and that gave them an inner knowledge, beyond anything they could see, beyond anything else they knew.
They stood upon a promise from God. That was the reality. And as they stood upon that promise, God delivered them.
The Word of the Lord that came unto Jehoshaphat at the invasion was very similar to this. Jehoshaphat did not back off as Naaman did at the word that was given.
Instead, he cried to the Lord and said,"They are coming to invade us, Lord, but our eyes are upon You."
The prophet spoke and said,"This is what you are to do. Get some singers to go before you. Go out, and when you get there, God will have taken care of the enemy. They will all be dead" (II Chronicles 20:1-25 ).
It happened exactly that way, but only God could do it. Jehoshaphat put his faith in the word of the Lord and one of the greatest and most unusual military victories in history was given to him because he wholly trusted in the Lord.
That was also the difference between Caleb and Joshua and the other ten spies. Caleb and Joshua came back, not the least bit impressed by what they had seen.
They were still greatly moved by what God had been speaking to them through the preceding months and years.
Joshua and Caleb said,"Oh, let's go in. God has given us the land. This is beautiful country. Let's take it."
The others came back and said, "We cannot go in because we were like little grasshoppers and they were like giants. and the walls are high. We can't do it."
They were following the evidence of their senses ( Numbers 13:30-33).
When you are facing a battle, do you reason in this manner?
"Well, let me see if I can take this fellow. Let me measure his reach, and see how much he weighs and how much experience he has had."
When you discover that he has knocked out all of his opponents and has never lost a fight, you will probably find several excuses: "My reach is too short. I have never had a bout in my life and I'm in terrible condition. Let's call this fight off right here."
This is the way reasoning operates.
When Goliath, nine feet tall, came striding down into the valley, every Israelite around said,"We can never defeat him."
I Samuel 17:4-51).
A little David will do it every time because he is not moved by what he sees. He is not looking at a man who is nine feet tall. He is looking at a man who is blaspheming the name of the Lord Jehovah, and he is determined to bring him down.
Do not look at the appearance of a situation. Many times God will let you sit and chafe under circumstances until you learn that you must not derive your attitudes from the circumstances.
You derive your attitude, your motivation, your faith, and your trust from the living God who said,"Thus saith the Lord." That is what you believe.
When the prophecies and the promises of God are upon you, you are rich in them. You do not need to draw back from any man.
You do not need to worry about any hindrance.
When God says that you are a free man, you may look at yourself and see chains from head to foot. Do not worry about them. God will deliver you.
If He says you are free, then you are free. Do not look at the way things momentarily appear. God will deliver you from them.
At some point in your walk, you must resolutely declare, "Everything God has spoken over this move is absolutely true. I do not care what we have experienced. This I know: This walk in the Spirit was raised up by God. It is in the will of God.
I know I am in it by the will of God. It does not make any difference whether I flounder, whether I fail, or whether I am successful.
I am in this church by the will of God. I am going to trust God for what He has said over it. I am going to rely upon Him, even if it seems that everything has just come to a devastating conclusion."
The Lord will honor you in that, and bring it forth to His glory.
There are many instances where men have done these very things.
One time, when God saw that His people needed deliverance, the word of the Lord came by the prophet to fill the valley with ditches. When the water filled the ditches, the sun reflected on it and made it look like blood.
Do you remember how the enemy came stumbling into the ambush, and was completely destroyed? God gave a great victory ( II Kings 3 ).
Why God does some of these things, we do not know.
He is smarter than people give Him credit for being. There is a wisdom behind the foolish things-foolish in the sight of man-that He seems to require of us.
We had better trust in the Lord with all our hearts, and not lean on our understanding.
The logical process that you lean upon will work in many areas, but when it comes to walking with God, faith has to cling to a knowledge and an assurance that is above reason.