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Elisha Heals Naaman, 2 Kings 5:1-14

This is a funny story, but poignant at the same time. Naaman sets out to be healed by the great prophet, Elisha, but when he is told to wash in the Jordan, he nearly leaves in a fit of anger. He thought the task of healing required the face-to-face meeting with the great prophet. He thought it would be difficult. Surely, he had been blown off by the one who could help him!

But it was really simple. Wash in the Jordan seven times. And when a wise servant convinced him just to try it, he was healed. I too, have a tendency to make things much harder than they need to be. Some of it is just how I’m wired. Like, if my smoke detector is making little chirping noises, my first instinct is to run to Home Depot and buy a new one. Of course, the new one will have to be hi-tech, because it would be a waste to go to all the trouble and not enjoy the benefits of new technology. I’ll have to do some rewiring, but in the end I will have a brand new, state-of-the-art, reliable, life-saving piece of smoke-detecting tech. Or… I could change the battery. Yeah, it takes me all that to figure out just how simple it really is to fix.

Sometimes we make faith just that difficult, too. I have to go to church at least a certain percentage of the time. I have to sing while I’m there because it would be weird not to. I have to go up for communion because everyone else is going, and it’s my get-out-of-jail-free card for the week. I’d better put something in the offering plate, even though I prefer to give online, because I don’t want anyone judging me. And I have to get there early enough to sit in my regular spot because I don’t like the view from anywhere else – it’s not familiar enough. Or… I could love God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my might. Yeah, it takes me all that to figure out just how simple it really is to have faith. Live and learn, sister, live and learn.

Text:

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.” But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.”

So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! 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?” He turned and went away in a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.