Earthly Status Means Little to God, But Humility Gets His Full Attention

There is a powerful story told in 2 Kings 5 about Naaman, who was commander of the Syrian King’s army. The Bible describes him this way:

  • “He was a great man with his master and in high favor.”
  • “By him the Lord had given victory to Syria.”
  • He was a mighty man of valor.”

Because of his military might, he would have most likely been considered the 2nd most powerful man in Syria.  B-U-T, he had a gigantic problem.  Naaman “was a leper” which would kill him.  If some miracle didn’t happen to reverse this slow moving, devastating, disfiguring, ugly disease, he would die a lonely, humiliating disease.  There was no cure.

Isn’t it amazing how often God uses simple details placed in the exact spot and time to produce His will. In this case, it was “a little girl who been carried off from the land of Israel, and now worked in the service of Naaman’s wife.”  She was aware of Elisha, the great Jewish prophet, who had performed numbers of well publicized miracles. “She said to her mistress, ‘Would that my lord was with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’”  Naaman’s wife shared this with him who immediately told the king.  The king of Syria sent a letter to the weak king of Israel that he “may cure him of his leprosy.” This sent the king of Israel in all kinds of panic thinking this was a tactic to instigate a quarrel between the two countries with Israel being decimated.  “Elisha, the man of God” got wind of this and sent a letter to his king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

“Naaman came with his horses and chariots (bearing 750 pounds of silver and 150 pounds of gold along with 10 changes of clothes fashioned by the highest profile designers) and stood at the door of Elisha’s house.”  Notice how Elisha handles Naaman,And the man of God sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be, and you shall be clean.’” 

  • He didn’t even go out to meet Naaman but “sent a messenger to him.” 
  • Then, he tells the 5 Star General to go out into the Jordan River and wash himself 7 times to be healed.  Naaman thought this was a ridiculous idea.

He ended up furious at the undignified way that he was handled by this po-dunk prophet, “Naaman was angry and went away, saying, ‘Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So, he turned and went away in a rage.”  Then, some gutsy servants “came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So Naaman went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”  He was thrilled!  What a miracle…from leprosy to skin like a new born baby!

God used Elisha to humble this high-profile man. He made him see that proudful, self-centered, earthly profile is bankrupt in context of the Kingdom of God.  Proverbs 16:18 is blunt, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” 

Currency to God begins with humility. 1 Peter 5:6 is candid, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”

The call of God to each one of us is found in Matthew 11:28-30, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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