Naaman was commander of the army…He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy…a young girl from Israel [who] served Namaan’s wife said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
Naaman must have been miserable with his affliction. He wanted a cure to end his suffering so he asked his king to help him see this prophet. And so, the king of Aram sent money and clothing with Naaman to present to the king of Israel. Naaman’s king asked to have Naaman cured but the king of Israel was confused by his request and thought the king of Aram wanted to pick a fight with him.
Elisha heard about this situation and asked that Naaman come to him. Naaman came to Elisha’s door, but instead of greeting Naaman personally, Elisha sent a message to him:
“Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” -2 Kings 5:10 (NIV)
Naaman went into a rage. He felt Elisha did not show him the respect he deserved because he didn’t deliver the message in person and it seemed like silly advice. Naaman felt he deserved better treatment and better advice.
Is Naaman’s story your story? Perhaps Naaman reacted just like we might react. Individuals do not always behave in the way we think we deserve. I can see myself stewing about what Elisha said and the way he delivered his message. I might go off in a rage and think about how the words were spoken to me. I might go over the situation again and again, becoming more and more angry.
In Naaman’s story, God first used the servant girl to give him direction; next he used Elisha to tell him how to be healed; and finally, God used Naaman’s servants to give him a new perspective. Who has God used in your story to give you important messages? Perhaps He used individuals to speak to you as he did in Naaman’s story. Do we listen when God puts others in our life with messages we are meant to hear?
In my life, more often than not, God uses His small, quiet voice that speaks to my heart rather than sending a message through others. He might say,
“Just as I have forgiven you, can you forgive others for not behaving the way you think you deserve? What can you do to bring peace to this difficult situation? Can you act loving and kind instead of mad and entitled? Can you bring a message of love and caring rather than anger and hate? Will you follow the message I am giving you through this experience?”
We are called to listen to God and follow his direction whether it is a message coming from others or in the quiet voice we hear in our hearts. Will your story include listening to the voice of God?
Dear loving Father,
Your voice, whether it comes to my heart or through others, is precious to me. Let me thankfully receive your words. Let me bring peace, love and caring to others and let me follow the path you have set for my story. In your holy and precious name, Amen.
Written by Julie Johnson