Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are not God and don’t call the shots. Naaman’s healing teaches us that sometimes we even need to be cleansed of the sinful tone of our personalities. Been there… The contrast is the heart of Jairus falling at the feet of God…
1 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. 2Kings 5:1-14
Naaman was angry because he didn’t like the way God was going to provide his healing. He thought it would be more theatrical and magic-like. I thought he would wave his hand…
Naaman also thought the power was in the presence of the prophet. The idea that Elisha wouldn’t be there when he washed himself cheapened the process. There are rivers back at home. Why did I need to come all the way here? Naaman actually stormed off in a huff. A rage…
Some people want to have their way so bad that even when they need help it has to be on their terms. Does that resonate with you? Is it your way or the highway?
Maybe part of Naaman’s need, as the valiant, commander, big-man-on-campus leader, was to be humbled in his healing. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are not God, we don’t call the shots, and we ought to be reverent toward the merciful healer God.
Contrast this story to the story of the leader Jairus in Mark 5. Jairus was a synagogue leader who was so worried about his daughter dying that he threw himself at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come heal her. Jairus would have done anything anywhere anytime to heal his daughter. Huffing off wouldn’t be one of them.
Maybe, just maybe, the idea of washing off some of Naaman’s hardness was part of the plan. Sometimes we need to be cleansed of the sinful tone of our personalities… been there…
When we come to God, we bow. We kneel. We prostrate ourselves. For good reason. Good reminder…