Opening questions and Prayer
What is usually your first response when something doesn’t go the way you expected?
How do you relieve stress and worry?
What or who do you turn to first when you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and afraid?
What are some things the world says will relieve stress?
Do those things work?
If yes, are they temporary or long term solutions?
What does Jesus say to do when we feel anxious, worried, and afraid?
Do those things work?
If yes, are the temporary or long term solutions?
Why is it sometimes difficult to follow what Jesus says about worry and stress?
In this time of global pandemic, what are some ways the world says to find comfort?
In this time of global pandemic, what are some ways you have found comfort in the things of the Lord?
Pray for the Lord’s guidance as you study His Word. Ask that He would show you how His ways are better than our ways. Pray for the faith to believe it and live in His comfort and care.
Read Leviticus 13:45-46
Leviticus 13:45-46 (all scripture is from the NLT unless noted otherwise)
45 “Those who suffer from a serious skin disease must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed. They must cover their mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp.
What would happen to someone who got a skin disease (usually referred to as leprosy) in Bible times?
Why would they have to live in isolation?
How would someone have felt when they got leprosy?
How is this similar to what is going on in our world today?
When you hear of someone you know that contracts the coronavirus, how do you feel?
What are some ways we let fear drive us?
How can we fight against this?
How can we turn these feelings of isolation and separation over to God?
Read 2 Kings 5:1-5
2 Kings 5:1-6
The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy.
2 At this time Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid. 3 One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.”
4 So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said. 5 “Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Aram told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing.
What is happening in this passage?
Who was Naaman?
How would Naaman’s leprosy have affected his life?
Who was the young girl?
Even though she was a captive slave, why did she want to help Naaman?
How did the young girl point her enemy to God?
Who are some people in your life that you have animosity towards?
What can you do this week to forgive and help point them towards Jesus?
How would Naaman have felt hearing there was a possible cure for an incurable disease?
When you hear there may be hope for a hopeless situation you are in, how do you react?
What are some things that steal your hope away during tough life situations?
What are some things you do to increase your faith and lean more into Jesus when stressed and overwhelmed?
Read 2 Kings 5:6-7
2 Kings 5:6-7
6 The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.”
7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? Why is this man asking me to heal someone with leprosy? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me.”
What was odd about the king of Aram’s request to the king of Israel?
Why does the Israelite king respond in this manner?
When have you faced a situation that seemed impossible?
What was the outcome?
In light of the current world situation, what are some things that seem impossible to people today?
In your own circumstances, what seems impossible to do?
How do you respond to these life-altering, seemingly insurmountable stresses that life has been throwing at you lately?
Have you sinned against anyone in how you’ve handled your stress? (yelling, blaming, anger issues, silent treatment, etc.)
If you have, how can you make it right with them today?
Read 2 Kings 5:8-12
2 Kings 5:8-12
8 But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.”
9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”
11 But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! 12 Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.
Who was Elisha?
How did Elisha greet the commander of the army of Aram?
How did Naaman take this greeting?
What were Naaman’s expectations of how God was going to work?
Was the act of washing in the Jordan River seven times a difficult thing to do?
Since the Jordan River would have been polluted, how did this insult Naaman’s pride?
Even in our stress over life, how do we let pride get in the way of following Jesus?
What are some things you’ve had to do in your walk with the Lord that have been humbling?
Why do we ask God for help, but then often don’t want to do what He asks us to do?
What role does prayer play in us humbling ourselves before the Lord?
Who helps you keep moving forward in your relationship with Jesus, even when you don’t feel like it?
Read 2 Kings 5:13-14
2 Kings 5:13-14
13 But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” 14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!
What did Naaman’s officers do?
How did they point Naaman to obedience of the Lord’s commands?
How did Naaman respond to his officers?
What was the result?
Who are the people in your life that remind you of God’s goodness and point you to Jesus?
In times of stress and hardships, is it easier or harder for you to follow the Lord’s leading?
How do those people point you to the Lord during your stressful times?
When we follow after Jesus, even if it means swallowing our pride, what is the result?
In what ways do you point others to the Lord?
During the Covid-19 pandemic, how can you point others to the Lord and pray for them?
Who is one person you can talk to this week about how Jesus can help them overcome their fears?
Read 2 Kings 5:15a
2 Kings 5:15a, 17b
15a Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.
17b From now on I will never again offer burnt offerings or sacrifices to any other god except the Lord.
What was Naaman’s response to his healing?
How was Naaman’s life going to different from that moment on?
When people see the Lord working in their crisis, how does that change them?
How did the Lord change your life by working in the midst of your sin and disobedience?
What are some areas in your life where you still struggle with pride?
How is God speaking to you about those areas today?
Who can help point you to Jesus and walk you through those things that are holding you back?
Who can you point to Jesus and pray for them this week?
Read 2 Chronicles 7:12-14
2 Chronicles 7:12-14
12 Then one night the Lord appeared to Solomon and said,
“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. 13 At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. 14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
After Solomon built the Temple of the Lord, how did God respond?
Why does God say there may be bad things in life?
Why is humility linked to following God?
How do you need to humble yourself, pray, seek the Lord’s face, and turn from your wicked ways this week?
What does God promise if we do those things?
How can you lead others who don’t follow Jesus this week?
Read 1 Timothy 2:1-4
1 Timothy 2:1-4 1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
How can this help you pray this week?
What authority figures do you need to add to your prayer list?
Why does prayer please the Lord?
What specific time will you set aside each day to pray?
Who will help remind you to do this?
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
Closing thoughts and prayer
Many times when we are stressed, we turn to things that will provide escape and immediate gratification: TV shows, music, food, calling or texting a friend, getting lost in social media, and any number of other things. Enjoying these things on their own isn’t bad, but if we are going to those things first when we feel the pressures and stress of life, then we are unwisely training ourselves to turn to other things first, instead of God.
That’s when pride creeps in and we think we can handle these tough situations on our own with our temporary fixes. If unchecked, these things will lead to sinfully addictive behaviors because we have replaced the comfort of Christ with the things of this world.
A sip of wine to calm the nerves could develop into a more serious drinking or substance abuse problem. Surfing the web, or watching shows to get your mind off life for awhile could lead to pornography. Punching a punching bag to take care of anger frustrations could lead to domestic violence.
And while these may seem like great leaps of logic, when we allow the ways the world copes with stress to become our own, we are simply ignoring the problem at hand and replacing it with another problem. The Lord wants us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33 CSB) and then He’ll take care of our worries and stress. This is a humbling process of admitting we can’t solve it on our own.
End your time praying for the stresses of life you are currently dealing with. Hand them over to the Lord and let Him take care of them for you. Pray that the Lord would send someone, like He did with Naaman, to keep you on the right path. Then pray that the Lord would put someone in your path that you can help. You may already know who that is, so pray for humility as you talk with them this week.
Finally, pray for the leaders. Pray for the world leaders, local government, and pray for your church leaders. Over the next week, choose a day as a group that you will pray for those things.