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Am I More Like Naaman Than I Think?
Have you ever had the occasion to suddenly see a piece of scripture in a totally new way that speaks to your current situation? I had one of those moments this morning.
 
Last Sunday one of our lessons was from 2 Kings 5:1-14. This is the story about the healing of Naaman. Here is a brief summary of the account: Naaman is the commander of the army of Syria and is a great man in the eyes of his king. Naaman has leprosy. One day a little girl who was a captive from Israel and worked for Naamna’s wife says “too bad Naaman isn’t with the prophet of Samaria because he would cure him” (my paraphrase). Word got to Naaman and he obtained permission from his king to go to Samaria to seek a cure. Naaman ends up at the door of Elisha who sends a messenger to Naaman and tells him if he would go and wash on the waters of the Jordan seven times he would be healed.
 
Naaman was mad. How could this simple thing heal him? Couldn’t he have stayed at home and washed in those rivers (those rivers are better any ways)? Naaman left in rage it says, but his servants asked him why he won’t try what Elisha told him to do.  Elisha has spoken a “great word”. His servants convince Naaman to try it and his skin “was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean”.
 
I listened to the passage Sunday as it was read and thought to myself – Naaman was a fool. Couldn’t he see what was going on. He traveled all the way to Samaria and then would not follow the instructions given to him. Why did he even bother to take the word of a little girl in the first place, if he was not going to follow the word of a prophet? 
 
Then I didn’t think any more about this passage until this morning. Then the passage came back to me and I wondered how many times we have all missed out on God’s blessings because we did not follow some simple command? We like Naamman say: that is too simple, that does not require a large enough sacrifice, that is not what I think God would want me to do. God cannot bless me with that. Our thinking and emotions get in the way of just doing what God has for us because it is too simple and then we miss out on some blessing God has for us.
 
Why do we want to make things more difficult than they are? Maybe we are really afraid to follow God no matter what. Maybe we want to give God part of our life only. Maybe we are all more like Naaman than we want to admit. What blessings have we missed because of this attitude. Look at the end of the passage – “his skin was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean”. Naaman probably did not wash with a joyful attitude, but God healed him anyways. May we take the actions needed to reap God’s blessing and then we too will be clean.

 

 


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