Why is it that human nature is to think that we have a better way to do things? When someone suggests a resolution to a problem, it doesn’t matter how much of a professional they are in the field that relates to the issue. If it doesn’t make sense to us, we don’t want any part of the solution.
Pride is our biggest stumbling block. It’s a gateway to sin and the obstacle to receiving God’s blessings. It’s pride that comes before the fall. It pushes us over the edge.
Our pastor, Jon Porter, used 2 Kings 5:1-15 as the scripture for this message. I wasn’t familiar with this account, but Naaman, who was the commander of the king of Syria, was a highly decorated commander of the army. The problem is that he was a leper.
Now, Naaman helped bring victory to Syria. In one of their raids on Israel, the Syrians kidnapped a little girl who served Naaman’s wife. She suggested that Naaman should see the prophet who is in Samaria because he would be able to cure Naaman of his leprosy.
Naaman’s king gave him a letter to the King of Israel along with silver equal to $1.2 million. But the King of Israel, even though he was the King of God’s chosen people, did not know God. He didn’t even know there was a prophet in Israel that could do such a thing. He thought so much of himself, and in his pride, thought he was expected to cure Naaman. In his anxiousness, he tore his clothes because he was being expected to cure this man with leprosy.
Wow, talk about being full of yourself! He was upset because what he was being asked to do was outside of his power. Elisha, the prophet, wasn’t known to King Jehoram. But, Elisha after hearing of this went to him explaining that his crisis was unnecessary because he could have a relationship with this God.
So, Elisha sent word to Naaman to come to him. Elisha sent a messenger out to meet Naaman with this message. “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.”
I’m sure you can guess how a prideful man responded to those instructions. The Jordan being a muddy, murky, nasty shallow river was nothing compared to the beautiful freshly flowing sparkling rivers of Naaman’s homeland. Of course, it would be beneath him to immerse himself in that nasty water and how could that possibly cure him of leprosy?!
But, are we any different than Naaman? How many times have we felt like whatever we need to do to fix our problem is beneath us. The solution we seek seems crazy to us; it doesn’t make sense. So we turn away, refusing to follow the advice of the doctor, the counselor, or whoever is offering help. The solution may have been so undignified that it hurt our pride.
Pride can cause us to leave blessings on the table because we don’t like the package they were delivered in. Maybe we needed to forgive, but we walk away. Maybe we feel like there is no possible solution for us because we’re too far away from God. Are we too prideful tho bend a knee and pray the prayer that could bring us closer to a Father that loves us and only wants the best for us?
Pride will keep us from growing. Pride keeps us from restoring ourselves or getting the healing or grace that God gives us.
Naaman finally went to the Jordan River at the urging of his servants. He dipped himself seven times in the river and his flesh was restored. He was clean.
Naaman humbled himself and he was healed. His heart began to be transformed on the first dip, but he wasn’t healed until the seventh dip. He had to complete the instructions given to him.
Naaman submits to his wife’s servant, Elisha’s servant, and finally to his own servants. He humbled himself. That’s how we find grace…by humbling ourselves. If we let pride keep us from listening to those who offer help, thinking that we know better how God should love or come to us, we may very well walk away from the grace that can heal us.
Jon’s final words: Don’t refuse the grace you need because it’s not the river you wanted!
Is pride keeping you from reaching out to God? Bend your knee and say the prayer you need to pray, asking Him to forgive and restore your heart to Him.