When Naaman embarked on a journey to find healing from leprosy, he took gold and silver with him that in today’s market would be valued at approximately three million dollars. He was willing to pay a great sum of money for healing, which helps us to understand how badly he wanted to be rid of the curse and shame of leprosy. A leper in Naaman’s day was required to announce himself as unclean and forced to live isolated from community. ‘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’ (2 Kings 5:1).
‘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”’. 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 the Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed? So he turned and went off in a rage’ (2 Kings 5:10-12).
Based on his angry response to the prophet Elisha’s servant, it would seem that Naaman had some expectations of what his healing should look like. Washing in the dirty muddy waters of the Jordan river made no sense to him, therefore He took offence and, in pride, refused to humble himself before God and man. What he wanted according was for the prophet to simply wave his hands, call on God and heal him.
But God was doing something much deeper in Naaman’s life. An offence at man or God can lead us to walk in pride and harden our hearts to the work that God longs to do in and through us, causing us to miss the very healing that we are pleading with God for. Only through Jesus, and His humility and obedience to God’s way of the cross to pay for our sins, can we approach God to ask for healing. Jesus Himself was baptised in the dirty, muddy waters of the Jordan river.
Proverbs 18:19 says, ‘An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city’. Naaman almost missed his healing and deliverance because of the walls of offence that he’d allowed to be built up in his life. Our brokenness, sickness and afflictions can lead us into pride, self-protection, isolation, and an unreality that blinds us to God’s goodness.
Fortunately, Naaman humbled himself before God and man, was healed and cleansed of leprosy, idolatry and his prejudices, and he entered into a personal understanding of the true living God who heals by His grace, not for money or because of influence (2 Kings 5:15-19).
Prayer: Father, I believe that You want to do more than just heal the symptoms manifesting in my life. Lord, I want You first, and then, if it’s Your will to heal me at this time, I receive that healing Your way, by grace, not by works, so that I can’t boast. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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