Are we too great to follow simple instructions? Do we become dramatic or create a scene when the instructions are straightforward?
“Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” (v. 10)
Naaman was a great man with rank, prestige and wealth enough to have hired help in his home. Naaman also had leprosy. The servant to Naaman’s wife, a little girl taken from Israel, told her about a prophet in Samaria. Naaman secured permission from his king, the king of Syria, to go to Israel, with a letter to present to the king of Israel. Naaman prepared gifts of silver, gold and clothing for the king of Israel. The letter though was misdirected.
And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” (v. 6)
The king of Israel read the letter and tore his clothes in acknowledgement of a divine assignment. Israel’s king had no ability over death, to bring it or prevent it.
And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.” (v. 7)
Elisha heard the king of Israel tore his clothes and invited Naaman to come and know a prophet is in Israel (v. 8). Naaman arrived at Elisha’s house with pomp and a processional of horses and chariots (v. 9). Elisha paid no homage, as the issue of concern was not status but leprosy. Elisha sent a messenger to meet Naaman — offense number one.
Elisha’s messenger comes with instructions.
And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” (v. 10)
This would be like your supervisor sending his son to deliver a directive. We might be a little put out, too.
Then Naaman, now offended doubly — by not meeting the prophet and by a simple instruction — goes away to nurse his grand expectations. Naaman wanted to meet Elisha, hear Elisha call on the name of the Lord and for Elisha to wave a hand over the leprous area (v. 11). Really? But Naaman wants to be cured. So now Naaman bargains to wash in better rivers! Enraged, Naaman leaves.
Naaman was content to forfeit wholeness because he could not release his lofty, dramatic expectations for washing in the Jordan River. It took Naaman’s servants to bring perspective.
But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” (v. 13)
Notice the function of personal will or choice or willingness in the activation of the prophetic word. Elisha spoke. Healing for Naaman was in obedience to the command to wash in the Jordan, not in any other river, and not in any other act.
Naaman obeyed the prophecy, dipped in the Jordan and saw his skin restored and made clean.
In the video clip below, I ask why in this current time, we the disciples of Jesus are more willing at times to do the hard things in exchange for a move of God. Why do we envision the dramatic solution instead of a simple solution. Do we rage out because we cannot control God? Is it bad teaching that creates dramatic expectation?
The difference between us and is that Jesus has come and His finished work complete. We can frustrate ourselves by imagining angels coming to our beds, a famous preacher laying hands with the original recipe of anointing oil, or an out-of-body experience. We can envision our release via an ecstatic experience. Or, we can have faith in the name of Jesus, and receive His love for us and manifest desire for our wholeness. Naaman walks and serves among us. Let’s encourage simple faith in Jesus’ name.
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