Our God is a very good God who cares for each and every one of us. He has a solution for every one of us and when our solution comes, our duty is to be totally obedient to his word. We have to be totally obedient, despite how difficult to understand the instructions might be.
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 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.
In 2 Kings 5:1-19, we learn of a great man called Naaman. 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. One day, her female servant suggested to his wife , “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” The wife received the message well and plans were made for Naman to go to Samaria. When Naman approached his King, informing him of his travelling plans, the King accepted the news very well and he wrote a letter to the King of Israel asking him to cure him.
Naaman went to the King of Israel with the letter but 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!”
At this point we can imagine how Naaamn must have feeling. After travelling such a long distance, he must have started losing hope when the King tore his robe and started asking if He was God who could heal.
When Prophet Elisha 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.” Hope must have come , when Elisha instructed them to come to his house instead. Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house with the expectation that he would come out, welcome them and pray for him; calling on the name of God so he could be healed. However while they were still standing outside 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.” When Naaman heard this instruction he turned and went off in a rage.
Naaman could be easily justified for feeling this way. Firstly, Prophet Elisha is the one who invited him to his house and when he got there, he did not even come out to see him but just sent a messenger with an instruction to go to the Jordan River. His frustration could have come from wondering why they had to stop at his house when they could have just gone straight to the Jordan river when they left the King’s place.
His frustration was also coming from unmet expectations.The prophet had not prayed for him in his sight, which is what he was expecting.
Thirdly, he was instructed to go wash in the Jordan River which was definitely not one of the rivers with the better waters in Israel. According to scholars, Jordan River was very dirty. Its waters were not even really suitable for cleaning, and certainly not even suitable for drinking. And now, a very prominent man, who is highly regarded is being asked to go dip himself in that river, not once , not twice but seven good times!
After being persuaded by his servants to be completely obedient to the Prophet’s instructions, Naaman finally decided to follow all the instructions. The Bible does not tell us that adtrer he dipped once, he saw noticeable change, then after the second and third time his skin was much clearer. It is likely that as he dipped himself once, twice thrice until the sixth time , he did not see any change. Had he given up before that, healing could not have come. But after he had dipped himself seven times in that river , his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
So what do we learn form the story of Naaman?
Firstly, we learn to accept and obey God’s instructions no matter the circumstances. Naaman felt that he could have been sent to a better and cleaner river to have his leprosy washed away, but not to the filthy Jordan River and yet it was in that filthy river where he’d get his healing. Looking at our lives today , we have faced so many challenges and God has sent solutions to us. Our pastor has told us told us to pray and fast over a certain issue , but we convinced ourselves ,’ the problem won’t go away, it needs a better solution than us just kneeling down to pray.’ So many times people around us have been given the word over our problems , but we have not listened. We need to be obedient to God’s instructions.
Secondly, The word of breakthrough came through a mere servant of Naaman’s wife and she chose to listen to her then approached her husband. The wife and husband gave in to the suggestion of their servant. When Prophet Elisha told Namaan to wash in the Jordan, he became angry and turned away. It was his servants who encouraged him to humble himself and go dip himself in the Jordan. This was a wealthy and powerful man, who received his deliverance only because he did not ignore the suggestions from the poor people who worked for him. In our own lives , do we also listen to people we regard to be “of a lower / different status” than us ? When they speak words of wisdom to us, do we listen to them or we rule them out bases on our status, pride, skin color, wealth, education, ego and many others? This story teaches us that God can speak through anyone, so we need to be sensitive to His voice and listen to Him despite who He uses to minister , advise, correct or direct us.
Thirdly, we learn about humility. Naaman’s status made it extremely difficult to go through that humbling process as he received His healing. But as clearly seen in this story, his obedience against all odds led him to both his healing and his encounter with God.
Today , I want to encourage you to be totally obedient to the voice of God. Let us be encouraged to be totally obedient and humble before God even if his instructions do not make any sense to us. He is a very loving God, who requires us to trust Him. His plans for us are always good.
Read more on the story of Naaman on my other post He wants us to know him.