Have you ever watched children playing a game, maybe even a simple game, when one of them announces “You aren’t playing it right. This is MY game, and you either play it MY way, or you don’t play it at all“. Demanding our own way isn’t limited to just childhood games, we see it everywhere we turn.
My father was very domineering and demanding. I heard “MY way or the highway!” or a variation of that as I was growing up. That, and his wicked temper were two things I didn’t want to emulate when I got married and became a father. I still got some of his temper, but not the short-fuse that went with it. I never threatened to send my wife packing, although my father threatened mom several times.
Naaman Healed of Leprosy
5 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents[b] of silver, six thousand shekels[c] of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house.
10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. (2 Kings 5:1-14)
b) 2 Kings 5:5 That is, about 750 pounds or about 340 kilograms
c) 2 Kings 5:5 That is, about 150 pounds or about 69 kilograms
Naaman had a serious problem. Although he was rich, powerful and famous, he had an incurable disease. “Leprosy” is used generically throughout the Bible for a wide variety of skin-diseases, so we don’t really know any details. If anyone had been able to cure him, he certainly had the resources to reward them generously. When Naaman was told that the Prophet in Samaria might be able to cure him, he made sure that he took ample “reward” with him. At the USA price of $35.00 per gram for gold, he took about 2.4 million dollars worth of gold, and at the USA price of $480.00 per kilogram, he took about 163 thousand dollars worth of silver. What were ten sets of clothes worth, considering that all clothing was hand-made?
Imagine walking into the finest hospital in the world, handing the registrar a certified check for 2.6 million dollars, and saying “Cure me“. That should buy a private suite and the best doctors, ie VIP treatment. Naaman expected VIP treatment, but he never even got the see the Prophet, and boy was he pissed! Not only didn’t he get to see the prophet, but he was told to take a bath in the nastiest river in the region. He was expecting the Prophet to roll out the red-carpet for him and personally cure him of his problem, but the Prophet “snubbed” him. Naaman wanted HIS WAY, but he didn’t get it.
Naaman got healed, but not before he checked his ego at the door. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can be a LOT like Naaman. If you haven’t figured it out already, I can be pretty self-centered, and sometimes I have an ego the size of Texas. As God worked on Naaman, He is also working on me. Sometimes He has to show me a bill-board-size picture of my self-centered egotistical self to get my attention and get me to check my ego at the door – AGAIN. I may yet “get-it” before I take my last breath, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I am still a work in progress, like the painting that is never quite finished. Only after I take my last breath will God’s masterpiece be revealed.