But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! 2 Kings 5:11 (NLT)
Naaman. A mighty warrior. He demanded respect where ever he went. He went for help with enough money to buy favor from anyone. Except God.
When Elisha only sent word instead of addressing him face to face, he nearly lost the opportunity to be healed. His pride was in control and because of it, he almost missed out. However, the true council of his friends got him to refocus and he gave in to Elisha’s request.
He went to the Jordan River to dip seven times. He dipped and dipped and dipped. At the seventh time God showed up. Do you think as he was dipping he was thinking to himself that this was ridiculous? He already said they had perfectly fine rivers in Damascus. Do you think his mind was reeling with the thought that if this didn’t work he was going to kill Elisha? He was an accomplished warrior after all. Was this guy trying to make him look foolish? Do you think Elisha told him to dip seven times because God knew it would take seven times before his prickled pride was eased?
After the seventh time, Naaman was healed. The Bible says his skin was as healthy as a child’s. And as he rose from the river the seventh time, he surrendered. He understood who God was and where his heart belonged. After he was healed, he went back to Elisha still trying to pay for God’s grace but Elijah refused. God’s grace is free.
How do we know Naaman’s heart was where it belonged? Because the Bible says in 1 Kings 17-18:
Then Naaman said, “All right, but please allow me to load two of my mules with earth from this place, and I will take it back home with me. From now on I will never again offer burnt offerings or sacrifices to any other god except the Lord. However, may the Lord pardon me in this one thing: When my master the king goes into the temple of the god Rimmon to worship there and leans on my arm, may the Lord pardon me when I bow, too.”
He was so concerned about God’s feelings that he wanted him to understand when he bowed with his king, he was only doing it because the king was leaning on his arm not because his heart was in it.
Naaman came full of pride to receive something from God but, he could not. God could not help Naaman until Naaman got out of the way. It’s the same with us. God can’t sit on the throne of our hearts if it’s already occupied (with us or any other god we put there). In order for God to work in our lives, we have to remove ourselves from the seat of power and give that position to him.