In the Second Book of Kings, Chapter 5, there is the story of Naaman and Elisha.
Elisha was the understudy of the prophet Elijah and when Elijah slept with his fathers, Elisha became the man of God, the prophet. Naaman was the commander of the army for the king of Syria and he was held in high regard by his king.
At that time the Syrian army had been making raids into Israel (see how long this stuff had been going on in the Middle East) and one of the captives was a little girl who ended up working for Naaman.
Naaman is described in the Bible as a valiant man, but he was a leper. The girl from Israel knew of the prophet Elisha and told Naaman’s wife about him. The little girl told her that Elisha could cure her husband.
Naaman’s wife tells Naaman about Elisha and Naaman goes to his king and tells the king about Elisha. The king says go ahead, give it a shot, I’ll even write a letter to the king of Israel which you can use as a letter of introduction. The letter to the king of Israel says, the bearer of this letter is my servant Naaman and I want you to cure him of his leprosy.
The King of Israel thinks it’s some kind of a trap. How can he, the king, cure Naaman’s leprosy? But Elisha hears about the arrival of Naaman and the letter, and tells the king it’s okay, send him to me, I will cure him. That way the Syrians will know that a prophet, and the true God reside in Israel.
The story then comes to these verses:
2 Kings 5:10-12
And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” But 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.
Naaman goes to Israel to specifically seek out the prophet Elisha and be cured. Elisha tells Naaman exactly what to do, but tells him this through a messenger, not face to face.
To Naaman, a commander of a great army, this was an insult, a lack of respect. I’m sure Naaman was not use to someone who was living in what was probably a very humble hut or maybe even a cave, not dropping everything and running out to bow and greet him.
Elisha’s message, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times”, was pretty simple, and this too upset Naaman. Naaman was expecting some sort of voodoo ritual, a dance, a waving of hands as he puts it and then poof the leprosy would disappear. Naaman thought the River Jordan was a poor choice of rivers as well.
Naaman was pretty upset and ready to turn around and head back to Syria. How could something so simple as washing in the measly River Jordan seven times cure him of his disease.
Naaman went into this journey with a preconceived set of expectations. He had his mind already made up on how it should go and what it should look like. He probably got these expectation from watching the priests of the false gods that were worshiped in Syria. I’m sure to impress the king and others these priests would put on a show. It was probably quite the production number. That way they were special, they were doing something no common, ordinary man could do.
Luckily for Naaman one or his servants says, hey, why not give it a shot? What do you have to lose? All you have to do is “wash and be clean”.
After Naaman cooled down he must have thought, why not? I’ve come all this way, might as well give it a shot. Naaman does as Elisha had instructed and he is cured.
Elisha gave simple instructions that had a powerful effect.
After reading this story I thought about how we still think the same way today.
We have preconceived expectations about how things should work. Many of these notions are placed in our heads by the modern day priests of the false gods that dwell in our homes. We see the fantasy of how life should work, played out each day in the mass media. We see all the added drama, pomp and circumstance, inserted into the mundane to make it “interesting”. So our expectations are this is how life and God work.
Then when life doesn’t go the way we are shown in these fantasy worlds we become angry, jaded and lose our faith.
We expect God to come to us in a blaze of glory, raining fire and brimstone upon us. We expect to be entertained. We expect it to be what we want it to be. Our minds are filled with worldly desires as presented to us by the world. Our hearts are closed.
A miracle happens before our eyes and because it doesn’t fit our preconceived expectations, we close our eyes and our hearts.
We must open our eyes and our hearts to simplicity. We must remove the years or preconceived expectations.
This will allow us to see the word of God every day.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.