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Have you ever been too proud to listen to someone’s advice? How did that story in your life finish?
When Naaman arrived at the prophet’s door—a moment he had been imagining and anticipating with every step of the journey—he was devastated by the brazen reception he received. The prophet refused to come to the door. He wouldn’t even speak to Naaman through the door. Clearly, Naaman thought, I am too unclean to even be spoken too by this holy man.
His disappointment turned to anger when a servant came out with a message from Elisha: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”
Naaman’s ultimate moment of testing had arrived. He was a man of protocol and procedure. He was respectable and expected to be treated as such. Naaman was irate. He began to lash out, “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me! I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me!”
Naaman took the Prophet’s message and abrupt dismissal as a direct insult. Of all the things he had imagined about meeting a miracle-working prophet, he had never considered he would be refused an audience and told to go take a bath.
He got on his horse, turned toward home, and whipped his steed into a frenzy, galloping away from the most embarrassing situation he had ever faced. As he furiously rode, he may have escaped the prophet’s land he couldn’t escape the prophet’s words. Do I look like I need a bath? Am I dirty? Naaman fumed to himself. How many rivers do we have at home that put this muddy Jordan to shame?!? If I want to wash, I’ll wash in a clean river!
Finally, as his horse began to tire, Naaman slowed. His men caught up and rode along side him. Hardened men of war, they had fought many battles together. They loved their commander but were uncomfortable with his decision to flee from the prophet’s command. Naaman’s men challenged him to consider the possibility of what the Prophet had said—what if it works? Why not wash and see? “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!’”
** Continued in Naked Pride tomorrow **