In the previous article, we looked at instructions that Elisha (a prophet of God) gave to Naaman (an Aramean), in order for Naaman to be healed of leprosy.
Rather than being thankful for the solution, 2 Kings 5:11-12 tells us that Naaman was pretty irate. He wanted Elisha to heal him on the spot, and apparently didn’t want to go wash in the Jordan River (having perfectly good rivers at home, it would seem).
If we sometimes didn’t respond in the same way when God asks us to do things, this might be funny. Naaman is literally given a clear prescription for being healed. It’s easy to follow, and he has the word of a prophet of God that this will result in his healing.
Still, Naaman doesn’t like the solution. He wanted his solution to be different. Maybe he had been thinking during the entire trip about what would happen, and got it fixed in his mind how it was going to go down. Regardless, he’s about to reject an answer to what he needs.
Sound like anyone you know? Maybe yourself? I know that I sometimes want God to work in a certain way, when – as it turns out – His will is to accomplish the same goal in a different way, or maybe achieve more than I had asked for. If I am so arrogant that I get hung up on my own ideas for God (rather than seeking out His plans for me), I am probably going to be disappointed, and so will you if you get stuck in that same rut.
To Naaman’s benefit, though, although he resisted Elisha’s instructions at first, God had provided him with some good people to counsel him (including the girl who referred him to Elisha in the first place – see 2 Kings 5:2-3).
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’!”
2 Kings 5:13 NIV
Naaman’s servants offer him some perspective. Even if Elisha’s instructions weren’t what Naaman had expected, the servants point out that this request is not unreasonable. There’s no reason for Naaman not to follow them.
So, he appears to calm down a little bit, and obeys Elisha’s words. As expected, he is healed!
I’m convinced that our pride causes a lot of sins (starting from the Garden of Eden), and sometimes just having someone to talk with and help us cool down is exactly what we need, in order to think through things more clearly. So, when you feel yourself getting hung up on pride, look for someone like that who you can talk with. And, if you see this sin festering in others, consider lovingly sitting down with them and pointing out how this might be keeping them from something better.
Naaman’s conclusion is similar to what the people proclaimed on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:39). He now knows that there is one real, true God, and that this God can do real things in the real world.
Matthew Henry wrote, “Those are best able to speak of the power of divine grace who have themselves experienced it.”
Christians who look to their own power to change the world are going to be disappointed. Instead, let us seek God’s will, follow His direction, and boldly ask Him to change the hearts of those He loves. Don’t be afraid to use that power for His plan. He can heal the sick, part the waters, send holy fire, and achieve far more than we can even imagine. That power hasn’t changed since the times of Elijah and Elisha, so let’s open our eyes to what He is doing, and ask Him to do ever more for His glory.
From Sunday School lesson prepared for July 18, 2021
- The Lookout, July 18, 2021 © 2021 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete). Matthew Henry. 1706, via BibleGateway.com.