God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
At a time when Elishah was prophet in Israel Naaman, a proud general of the Assyrian Empire, was afflicted with leprosy. A young Israelite girl in the service of his wife told him about the prophet in Israel that could heal him. This must have been hard to hear for this proud general for the Assyrians looked down at Israel and what seemed to them their backward religion, so. If that was not enough, Naaman also had to ask permission from his enemy, the King of Israel, before approaching Elishah.
Naaman desperately sought healing so he decided to give it a try. He took with him monies and rewards and set himself to visit the prophet in Israel. To the general's great humiliation, Elisha did not even come and see him but sent Gehazi his servant to talk to him. Here is the transcript of the story,
Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean." But Naaman was angry and went away, 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' (2 Kings 5: 10–12)?
Somehow it seems that Naaman's leprosy was related to his pride. What leprosy does to the flesh, pride certainly does to virtue. The story continues and says,
So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to 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'?" So he went down and dipped himself seven times in 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 (2 Kings 5:12–14).'
What a miracle! But the greatest miracle of all is that Naaman 'returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, "Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel (2 (Kings 5:15)."
God always seems to get good mileage out of things, and these are just a few 'miles' He got associated with that event. Hashem did heal the general of his sickness, He addressed the pride issue that created the disease, and he got the Naaman to recognize the God of Israel.
That, my friend, is complete healing!
P. Gabriel Lumbroso
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