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How do you think Naaman felt when his men said they thought it would be easy to do what the prophet asked? What was making it difficult? What would make it easy?
Naaman’s men were right. If Elisha had asked Naaman to bring him the heads of 100 enemies of Israel, he would have willingly done it. Such a task is befitting of a great general. But to wash? It was so menial. It wasn’t as if Naaman hadn’t tried to wash the spots off. He had spent countless hours furiously picking, scraping and washing his sores—hoping. But to no avail. Could the prophet’s promise really be possible? Elisha’s message had been, “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored . . .”
What if? What if his men were right? What if he was just being proud and obstinate? What if the prophet’s words were true? What if he washed and it worked?
It sounded so simple—too simple, in fact. The words of his men exposed to him the truth of his feelings. He was offended by the Prophet, not so much by the treatment at the door, but by the treatment of his pride. He was a man of substance. Not a dirty vagabond. He may have leprosy, but he wasn’t about to act dirty. He came to pay for a proper healing, not be told to go have a bath.
It was unthinkable. Or, was it?
Naaman, broken by the realisation of his pride, rode off the path to the river’s edge. During his angry tirade, he had been riding along the river, forcing himself to ignore its presence. Only now, in his humbled state, did he consider it for what it really was—a baptismal font able to purify him from his leprosy and perhaps even more.
At the water’s edge, Naaman slowly removed his armor, his clothes and his pride. His men were shocked to see the extent of his illness—he was covered in the marks of leprosy. Naaman walked into the deepest part of the river and lowered himself completely under. Immediately he stood to his full height, examining the sores on his body. They were still there. Again he lowered himself.
Again no change.
When he came up the seventh time, the glimmer of healthy white skin captured his gaze. He ran his hands over his entire body, searching for any remnant of the hated disease. There was none. He was spotless! Naaman whooped with joy, and shouted to his men, “It worked! I am healed!”
** Continued in New Man tomorrow **