One of the duties of a prophet was to be a sort of “spokesperson for God”. To further clarify, prophets would receive revelation from God, and then the prophets would tell such to people. This is important to understand for the remainder of this article. The reason is that we will be introduced to a prophet named Elisha. Long ago, through a messenger, Elisha revealed the will of God to a man. That man’s name is Naaman. The details of what transpired between them is an eye opening example to men today.
The Bible mentions the man Naaman in the following way: “Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valor, but he was a leper” (2 Kings 5:1). The biography of Naaman is filled with superlatives. However, there was one distinction for which Naaman became so well known. He had contracted the terrible disease, leprosy. During that time period, there was no known cure for leprosy. Once afflicted with the disease, the person would often suffer many physical, psychological, and emotional wounds. This could have been the future for Naaman. Thankfully, Naaman’s wife had an Israelite maid that knew of the prophet, Elisha (2 Kings 5:2-3). This maid was certain that Elisha could help Naaman’s condition. Word got around well enough that the king of Syria sent a letter to the king of Israel petitioning him to heal Naaman’s leprosy. As one can imagine, the king of Israel was upset at such a request. After all, leprosy did not have a known cure at that time. The king of Israel thought that the king of Syria was trying to start a fight between the two. Because of such, the king of Israel “rent”/tore his clothes. This was an outward sign of mourning and/or distress (2 Kings 5:3-7). That is when the prophet Elisha comes on the scene.
Elisha heard about the king renting his clothes, and gave word to the king that Naaman was to travel to Elisha (2 Kings 5:8). Once Naaman arrived at Elisha’s house, a messenger was sent to instruct Naaman of what was to be done to cure his leprosy. The messenger told Naaman, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean” (2 Kings 5:9-10). Now remember, we started this article by making the point that prophets would receive revelation from God, and then the prophets would tell such to the people. In other words, the prophets revealed the Word of God to others. On this occasion, God’s will was to “wash in Jordan seven times”. Simple enough, right? If we had an incurable disease that could be healed so easily, would we not rush to do what was prescribed?
Unfortunately though, Naaman had preconceived ideas about what would transpire upon his arrival. Washing seven times in the Jordan River was not what he expected to hear. Naaman said, “Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper” (2 Kings 5:11). So, instead of obeying God’s will, Naaman left very angry. It was then that some of Naaman’s servants reasoned with their master, and eventually Naaman “…dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (2 Kings 5:11-14).
What lessons can we learn from this account? There are many people today that have preconceived ideas about what they think should be done. For instance, “Behold, I thought” that it does not matter how we worship. What has God revealed? “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Others might say, “Behold, I thought” that one “church” is just as good as another one. What has God revealed? “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). Still others might claim, “Behold, I thought” that everyone is going to Heaven. What has God revealed? “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). The point is that we should stop trying to think that we know best. Instead, we should humbly receive and obey what God commands. If we do such, then just like Naaman, we will be blessed. ~ Corey Barnette
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