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. 2 Kings 5:11
We read this story and smile at Naaman’s foolishness but we only do it because we know the outcome of the story. We’ve read it numerous times and ask, “why didn’t he just do what the prophet told him? It’s fairly straightforward.” And as I’ve written elsewhere, if we were Naaman we’d do exactly what he did.
How do I know that?
Have you ever broken even one of the Ten Commandments? Of course we have. In our hearts (as the New Testament teaches) we’ve broken most of them. Even after we knew what they were (and memorized them) we broke them. God knows the outcome of breaking those commandments: destruction, sin, nasty thoughts, hatred. We see it all around us. We experience it every day. And yet we continue to commit those acts as well. I could even make a case that we are one step worse than Naaman because we know the outcome of our actions; Naaman didn’t. My point isn’t to try to increase our guilt, but for us to take a look at the Bible and its characters in a totally different way.
When we read Scriptures, try to walk a mile in the sandals of the people you’re reading about. Naaman was an Army commander. A prophet he probably had never met told him to dip himself in the Jordan seven times. That was laughable, especially if you didn’t know the other side of the story. What would you have done if you didn’t know the “rest of the story?” Naaman eventually dipped himself in the Jordan seven times and was healed. But he first had to be convinced it was a reasonable plan. And when God healed him, I’m certain Naaman had a “I should’ve known all along” moment.
Are we really any different?