2 Kings 5:11, 12 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 ofDamascus, better than any of the waters ofIsrael? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
Naaman was a valiant soldier and commander of the army of the king ofAram. He was highly regarded and viewed as a great man by the king because through him, the Lord had given victory toAram– but Naaman was a leper.
A young girl from Israel had been taken captive and served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”(5:3) So Naaman traveled to Israel with his horses and chariots (befitting a great man) and came to the door of Elisha’s house.
Then ‘the event’ happened! Elisha didn’t come out, but instead, sent a messenger with word for Naaman to, “Go, wash yourself seven times in theJordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” But Naaman exploded as expressed in today’s verses and went off in a rage. In his pride, he expected to be treated with honor and respect, by the prophet himself; in a manner consistent with his greatness and stature.
But it didn’t happen that way. [Note: His response reminds me of how the religious leaders reacted to Jesus when he performed miracles on the Sabbath. They were so angered, they missed the Christ!] Fortunately, Naaman was an extraordinary man and he had some extraordinary servants:
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 theJordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
Naaman, listened to his servants – in spite of his anger and pride – and responded in obedience, and received the miracle! If he hadn’t listened – or if they hadn’t spoken up – he would have returned to Aram as a leper. But he set aside his pride, responded to God’s word and received God’s provision.
This lesson is HUGE for us!!! We must recognize that in our daily lives we encounter situations where if we listen, respond with humility and do what we’re told, we receive the blessing. If not, we miss God’s provision for us. How many times do we reject the message because we reject the messenger, or because of how it is given? May we learn from Naaman’s example!