Explore the Bible: Humility in Healing

The Explore the Bible Lesson for July 24 focuses on 2 Kings 5:1-14.

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  • The Explore the Bible Lesson for July 24 focuses on 2 Kings 5:1-14.

No one likes to be sick. During the COVID-19global pandemic, many people became very ill. Sadly, many died. This experience with COVID-19 has allowed me to be more sympathetic to those who become ill and appreciate all that goes into recovery from illness.

When we get sick, we need help. It can be a humbling experience to be at the mercy of a caring nurse, a mom or a loving spouse. But if we are going to get better, we need prayer, help from others, medication and, most importantly, rest. Healing from illness comes from humbling ourselves enough to receive the care our bodies need. Sometimes that can be hard. Pride can get in the way of healing. Denial of sickness or not wanting to take the time out of a busy schedule to rest and get better can also be a form of pride that derails healing. Humility and healing, surprisingly, are very compatible.

In this week’s Scripture, Naaman is a powerful Syrian general suffering from a skin disease, which most scholars agree could have been the beginning stages of leprosy. He is desperate for healing. So, when the Israelite servant of his wife informs him of a prophet who could heal him, he embarks on a mission to receive miraculous healing guided by the prophet Elisha. Naaman, however, will have to overcome some personal prideful feelings to experience this healing.

Desperation (2 Kings 5:1-6)

Successful people are successful for a reason. Most are disciplined individuals who have achieved recognition for being good at what they do. For Naaman, his fame was earned for his skill as a brave warrior and competent leader. Yet, Scripture states his success had come from the Lord directly. It is understandable why Naaman, crucial to the Aram army’s success, wanted to take care of this skin disease as quickly as possible. Naaman did not have time to deal with this skin disease, since he was in such a demanding position.

One can understand the desperate situation Naaman faced when he took the advice of a captured Israelite young girl, who informed his wife of a prophet in Samaria who could heal him. Hastily, Naaman takes the information about the prophet to the king, risking ridicule and embarrassment since the information came from a young girl. Even so, Naaman is desperate enough to take the risk. The king is also desperate enough to get his warrior leader healed and also risks the information from a young girl by allowing Naaman to find the prophet and adds gifts and a letter to provide safe passage through Israel.

Misunderstanding (2 Kings 5:7-10)

When the king of Israel read the letter Naaman was carrying, he thought it was a trick and became emotional enough to rip his clothes. In his emotional outrage, King Joram misunderstands the letter and states he was not God to perform a miracle of healing a man’s skin.  Thankfully, Elisha hears of the king’s emotional outrage and asks why the king is so troubled. Elisha sends word to have Naaman to come see him. The sad reality is the king’s misunderstanding of the letter stems from a lack of faith in God and a lack of respect for Elisha as God’s prophet. For King Joram, the prophet Elisha never was an option to perform Naaman’s healing. This is why Elisha states, “He will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” Elisha is possibly referencing Naaman and the king here, since both needed to be aware of Elisha’s role.

Naaman appeared at Elisha’s door with an entourage of strength and power. Elisha was not impressed with the show of pride and force. He sends a messenger to inform Naaman to wash in the Jordan River seven times, and the healing will come.

Disappointment turns to Healing (2 Kings 5:11-14)

Naaman had a reality check. In his hometown, he was “kind of a big deal,” but Elisha is meeting Naaman at his point of pride. Elisha did not meet the expectation Naaman thought would happen regarding how his healing would play out.  It was time for a reckoning. Naaman has a choice to make, pride over humility. Humility will bring healing; pride will keep him desperate. The Jordan River, in comparison to the rivers in his country, was vastly different, and he almost missed out on healing because of his personal and national pride.

It took a servant to give Naaman a dose of reality and convinces Naaman to follow through with Elisha’s instructions. Let us pause here and thank the Lord for the people who speak into our lives in moments we need clarity and better judgment.

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Naaman calms down and humbly follows through with the instructions for healing. After washing for the seventh time, Naaman receives the healing he was desperate for. God healed Naaman completely, and this healing proved there was a prophet in Israel who spoke for God. What healing do we humbling need to receive today?

Dr. Joe Rangel is the associate dean of the School of Christian Studies and teaches Christian ministry at Wayland Baptist University.

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