2 Kings 5: 1-14 “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.
Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. “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[b] of silver, six thousand shekels[c] of gold and ten sets of clothing. 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.”
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!”
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.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 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.”
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. 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.
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’!” 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.
Can you imagine Naaman blurting out gestures of disgust as he turned to Elisha’s messenger to ask one simple question, “Do you know who I am?” After all, the Bible teaches that Naaman 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 (2 Kings 5:1).
Naaman had power, status, wealth and influence in high places. In spite of all this, he had one dent in his armor of accomplishment. That one thing was leprosy. Back in the day, leprosy was like AIDS of today. So, one can imagine the severity of leprosy. Isn’t it funny how leprosy could not stamp out Naaman’s pride. Any way, that’s another lesson.
Naaman had grown accustom to praise and special treatment due to his accomplishments. So, his expectation of special treatment was business as usual or should I say a life style within his realm of influence. Anything less than the best is an insult.
Eventually, Naaman got off his high horse and did what the messenger for the man of God instructed him to do. The instructions did not involve parting the Red Sea or walking on water. Naaman was only asked to wash himself seven times in the Jordan River. Not complicated at all you might say.
Isn’t it funny how the simple things of God are the most powerful, yet the lack of obedience or cloak of pride can blind us to the simplicity of God’s power. I love what Paul said in Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
Paul implied that we should examine ourselves with sober judgment or in laymen’s term, “don’t get the big head.” In today’s society we put people on pedestals especially celebrities and inflate their egos to standards that are not humanly sustainable. The minute they fall from grace, the world is in a state of shock as if we thought this person had it all together.
Perhaps the example Jesus set provides a clear-cut path to obedience and humility. In Philippians 2:8 Paul wrote, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!” Or perhaps the example in Matthew 3:13-15 provides a better account, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.”
For each scenario, Jesus provided a wonderful example of humility and power in the simplicities of God. If the Son of God made Himself subject to the simple things in life, how much more are we to walk in His foot steps of obedience?
Lord, help us all to embrace the simple things in life; for God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise and the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27).
** If anyone would like a special prayer request (Ephesians 6:18) please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; I would love to pray for you. I also ask that you think of others whom you can share this message with as well.