“But Naaman was furious and went away and said, “Indeed! I thought ‘He would at least come out to [see] me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place [of leprosy] and heal the leper.’ “ II Kings 5:11
Naaman really stuck out to me in my reading this week. He was highly regarded by his King. He was a successful supreme commander of the army of Aram. The Lord had even given Aram victory through him. He was a man of courage, he had everything going for him except one difficult thing, he suffered from the disease of leprosy. Without repeating the whole story; through circumstances he was told to go to Elisha the prophet for healing.
I do not know what Naaman was expecting. After all he did have personal greatness. He even had a personal letter from the king he brought with him. He might have been thinking there would be a personal cleansing ceremony. But instead, to his frustration, Elisha sent instructions for healing by messenger. He was told to wash in the muddy Jordan River, not only once but 7 times. By what was said in verse 11 it is evident Naaman was not happy about this. This situation revealed something about his character. With this arrogant response, it showed he had an issue with pride!
As I meditated on this passage, I wondered if I would act any different? I know there have been times when I have had a prideful heart. One thing about pride, it might not always be demonstrated out loud, but the truth is this “…Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7)
Maybe you are the same way when faced with life’s difficulties. It could be relational (family or friends), work (employer/employee), neighbors or whatever or whomever. Like Naaman, I expect (which can be pride), for God to resolve the issue in a way that is least costly and effortless to me.
The real issue is, pride is a sin. “A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin.” (Proverbs 21:4) My concern is if pride is not dealt with it can harden the mind.
“But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.” (Daniel 5:20) It is also a hindrance to knowing God. “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.” The Bible has a great deal to say about pride. If you have never studied it, take a look. It is so valuable!
Now that I have established my sin is pride, what do I do? As much as I disliked the way Naaman reacted initially, I really like what he did after humbling himself and finally going and washing in the muddy Jordan which resulted in His healing; “…for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering nor will he sacrifice to other gods, BUT TO THE LORD.” I am writing this to serve as a reminder of checking our hearts toward God. A great prayer would be…
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.