"Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.” But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.
But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s, and he was healed!
Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel."-2 Kings 5:9-15
I heard someone years ago saying, sadly, that someone else was unteachable. It made me look at myself and wonder if anyone has ever said that of me or if I was walking a path that would eventually lead to that. I love to learn and want to spend my lifetime learning as much as I can. I want to learn about the craziest most random things and I never really need a reason other than my love of learning to find myself gathering books and taking notes. I am getting to the age, though, where I have ingested so many books and podcasts, lessons and classes, sermons and workshops and more books and more books that every now and then I think to myself, "Ah, I already know all about that. Moving right along...."
I find it takes a more creative, out of the box, message in order for me to really grab onto something new, devouring everything I can on the subject and spending time meditating and mulling it over till I KNOW it. Someone has to almost bring an idea at me from out of the blue so that I will not see it coming and think I already know all about it, having figured it out completely, and have already done it or thought it myself.
I believe this is the lesson that is being taught to Naaman in the second book of Kings. He was a well respected, highly decorated commander of the Aramean army who was greatly admired by his king and he had an idea of how someone with his status should be healed. There would be pomp and name dropping and the waving of arms but this is not what he was greeted with. Instead the man he came possibly a few hundred miles to see in order to be healed, Elisha, didn't even speak to him face to face but sent out a messenger to deliver the words that would lead to Naaman's healing. In those words were the simplest of actions. "Wash yourself in the River Jordan seven times...and you will be healed."
Elisha didn't name, or tell Naaman to call out to, the God who would be doing the healing.
Elisha didn't bring out a pot of water for Naaman to wash from there on the spot so Elisha could observe and possibly boast about the healing.
No, he sent him away knowing that if Naaman chose to obey the simple instructions he would be healed but also knowing that if he had an unteachable heart or allowed his pride to blind him then, despite the way he was healed, he would never have been able to truly see the God who had healed him. It took a humble heart, that would bathe in the dirty Jordan River seven times, to be able to respond the way he did.
“Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons."
When Naaman walked back into the Aramean camp or into the King's palace or into his home without a blemish on his skin, his obedience was shouting louder than anything that could've come from his lips and it was saying
"There is no God in all the world except in Israel!"
If you read my blog called "Eye Contact..." the other day then you know I've been doing a lot of thinking lately on obedience. Oh Lord let me learn quickly and well!
(This is my newest blog in a weekly series where I share my thoughts behind some of my favorite scriptures out of the bible. If you want to see why I've started this weekly undertaking you can go back and read my blog called "Pirates And Their Knots...")