Humility is required

And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel… 2 kings 5:15

He was a mighty warrior known throughout the ancient world, respected by everyone, feared by his enemies and loved by his countrymen, and King. The bible described him as a mighty man of valor who even God seemed to favor. He was General Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. He had been successful against Israel and had taken at least one captive that the bible mentioned, a young servant girl.

Naaman had one terrible flaw, that was rather disgraceful. He was a leper. A terrible disease that attacked the skin, destroyed limbs and eventually killed its victim. Naaman needed help. How humiliated he must have felt, but it was about to get worst. His lowly Hebrew servant girl showed compassion and revealed the only solution possible, a miracle from the God of Israel.

Naaman would have to admit that the Syrian gods and their priests were of no use and instead went to the King of Israel, his enemy, in search of a man of God, a true prophet. Apparently, for God, this was not humiliating enough.

When Naaman finally does track down the prophet Elisha, he goes right to the front of his home, and most likely expects an honorable greeting. He was after all General Naaman. Naaman may have thought Elisha would fear for his life and grant him anything. However Elisha does not even leave his home to say hello. Perhaps he doesn’t have the time or was too tired to make the effort. Elisha simply sends his servant with a prescription for Naaman.

Naaman was outraged at first. However to Naaman’s credit, perhaps showing why he was such a great general, heard the servant and took his advice. It was not going to be easy. Elisha through his servant told Naaman to go and wash himself seven times in the filthiest river in Israel, the Jordan.

This mighty general humbled himself and obeyed the orders. Seven times he went into those dirty waters and when he was done he was miraculously healed. Naaman went a step further and recognized that the only true God was the God of Israel.

Naaman discovered many lessons that we all need to understand. First God is powerful and can supply our needs when no one else can. Second God often does not do things the way we want it to be done. Naaman wanted Elisha to wave his hands and be instantly healed. Third God may want us to take an action on behalf of our faith, as Naaman did when he took seven baths. Lastly Faith may not be the only requirement for a miracle. God may also want humility. These are a few lessons for us to consider the next time we ask God for a miracle.

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