So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s, and he was healed! 2 Kings 5:14
Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom …. The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and furthermore he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him” …. Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you’ …. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children …. Then Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. He put the maids and their children in front, and Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. Genesis 32:3, 6, 9, 11; 33:1-4
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Ephesians 4:1-7
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Up to this point Naaman’s desire to prevail overshadows his desire to be healed. The drive to win obscures the reality of the situation and causes him to set aside the provision for healing that has been offered to him. For the moment, things that shouldn’t matter, matter too much. The dynamic here would be similar to a teenage son wanting to borrow his father’s car for the prom but when an older family car is the only one he is allowed to borrow, he stomps off while spouting out that he just won’t go then. Going to the prom should matter much more to the son than how he gets there. Essentially, both the teenage son and Naaman have thrown tantrums in reaction to what has been offered them. It could be that resorting to a tantrum is a last ditch effort to prevail or win. In the case of Naaman, fortunately, he comes to his senses after the appeal of his officers. He makes the shift to viewing his expectations and plans for how to be healed as not mattering as much as actually being healed. Naaman then yields to the prophet and the instructions that were originally given and the result is Divine healing.
Yielding did not come easily to Naaman. Perhaps if he had had the opportunity to read the example of Jacob yielding to his brother Esau in the Genesis passage above, it would have helped him with his struggle with yielding. It is certainly a great example for us. When it is coupled with the admonition of the Ephesian passage above, where the apostle Paul makes a thorough appeal to believers everywhere to be ones who are truly characterized by a spirit of humility and grace, we have ample encouragement for devoting ourselves to the pursuit of being ones who become more yielding in our relationships with other people.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, why do I allow things that shouldn’t matter, to matter too much and things that should matter, to matter too little? Help me to follow Jacob’s example of bowing low to his brother in my relationships with others. Help me to have a spirit of humility and grace so that I really become a more yielding person. Lord, I bow to you in worship and surrender. Amen!