ABC Bible Character Faith Series

While Pride struggled for Mastery, Faith conquered

Lessons from Naaman

In this faith series, we reflect on the man, Naaman, who centuries later was commended by Jesus for his faith. Naaman was a captain of host of the king of Syria, a great man in the sight of the king, highly honoured and a man of valour but he was a leper. Clearly, he had a lot of distractions from his condition. His story is found in 2 Kings 5. 

An Israelite girl who had been captured on one of Syrian raids served as a maid to Naaman’s wife and while in service, she had sympathy towards Naaman. She said “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy”. Upon hearing this, Naaman informed the king and thereafter received permission to go to Samaria with a letter from his king addressed to the king of Israel.  The girl was listened to and that tells us of the influence she had in that home.

Naaman knew that he was sick and desperate to be healed, he set off with expensive gifts and the letter. In the letter, the king of Syria sent word asking that his servant, Naaman might be healed. Upon receiving the letter, the king of Israel tore his clothes in shock saying “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.” Bear in mind, the Israelites and the Syrians had maintained a constant border warfare since their last battle which had led to the death of Ahab. PK244.2

When Elisha, the prophet heard the news, he requested that Naaman be sent to him that he may know that there’s a prophet in Israel. When Naaman arrived, Elisha sent a messenger who instructed him, as the prophet had said, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” Naaman was angry 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 away in rage.”

From Naaman’s response, we see a sense of pride. His faith was being tested and yet his pride was struggling for mastery. In order to exercise our faith, we need to be humble.  Faith is vulnerable and pride restricts us from being vulnerable. It’s why some of us struggle to apologise and mostly to those who we think or feel are below us. Pride causes us to assess our lives from a standard we set based of our own achievements rather than our identity in God. It makes us think we are always right and we allow our preference to be greater than our faith. This in turn affects how we relate with God. We want Him to do things our preferred way and this is a problem.

Naaman’s preference was that the prophet should come out and lay hands on him, that there were better and beautiful rivers in Damascus and so because of pride, he was going to return to Syria without healing but one of his servants asked 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’?” His heart must have been convicted. “Naaman when down and dipped himself seven time into 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.”

Now this is a time for reflection for someone who is struggling with a prideful spirit. This might be stopping you from experiencing an intimate relationship with Jesus because you want him to do things your way. You feel like the modern convenience can replace the truth. You’ve been hurt and now have built up walls for defence but what if those walls are preventing you from experiencing real love and friendships? Many of us are sick and we are in need of healing from the sinful burden but we don’t want to do things God’s way because it “seems boring or dumb” but is it really?

With faith, we have to learn to be open and vulnerable with God. There’s no reason why we cannot be because, we can trust God’s word, we can trust His character and we can trust that He’ll pick us up when we fall. If we get to this point, we will be comfortable in His leading. When He says dip in the Jordan River seven times, we will obey because that’s the only way we will experience our desired result. When we walk by faith, we allow what we believe to determine what see and not vice versa, we will live by faith and not common sense or facts. With faith, we’ll comfortably take the back seat and hold onto God knowing that we are safe in the path where He leads be it in the desert or the sea. Faith is promise-driven and He who has given the promise is faithful. And so, the good news is, Faith will always conquer.

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Michelle Chikonde

April 14, 2023

“ With faith, we have to learn to be open and vulnerable with God”.

This reading encouraged me to be OPEN! Thankyou.

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Lauretta

May 25, 2023

I’m glad it did! Thank you Michelle for your time.

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Joshua Kats

April 15, 2023

Amen. May we give God an opportunity to work in us according to how He sees fit.

Thank you for sharing

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Lauretta

May 25, 2023

Amen. Thanks for your time, Allan!

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