Have you ever played that game as a kid where you sit around a circle and whisper a single sentence to a person and they on to the next, till it goes full circle? It’s a test to see if you believe everything you hear. Some of the interpretations when it finally reaches the end make you laugh out loud, some make you blush and some if they are bent enough make you want to cry …
Isn’t that just called life? Every day we are subjected to words and sentences, gossip and truth. How do you know who to listen to and what to take seriously? Or do you put blinders on and believe everything you hear?
YIKES! I should hope not!
I was reading 2 Kings 5:1-13 in my bible this morning.
“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 Kings 5:1 NIV version)
In my mind I see this strong, fierce leader who brought victory to his king. Then I learn he had leprosy. One little outward flaw. And something shifts … it triggers my compassion and my feelings are now involved.
The story continues on with a band of raiders from Aram that go out and capture a young girl who ends up being a servant to Naaman’s wife. This girl tells her mistress there is a prophet in Samaria that will cure her master of his leprosy.
Well I can only image! That wife was probably so excited she just couldn’t wait to tell her husband! Hearing this news Naaman then goes to the king of Aram to tell him what was said. (Kind of sounds like the game we just played above!)
The king of Aram writes Naaman a letter to take with him and gives his blessing to go. Naaman, beyond excited, rushes the letter to the king of Israel who of course can’t cure him. And the king of Israel tears his robes thinking the other king is trying to start a war. (Mixed messages!!)
Elisha the prophet, hearing word of the distress of Israel’s king, sends him a message telling him to forward Naaman to him. Now when Naaman arrives at Elisha’s door – he is met by a messenger – not the prophet. He is told, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” (2 Kings 5:10 NIV version)
Now lets back up. At the start we said how great and highly regarded this man was… He thought there would be a waving of hands over him and a calling on the name of the Lord. He was an important guy remember! He went away angry from Elisha’s door because he wasn’t personally attended by the prophet himself.
In his mind he was thinking, “what makes the Jordan better than the water in Damascus!?” He got bitter and twisted. His servants though convinced him to just suck it up and go do it anyway! Pretty much to get over himself. And God restored his flesh like that of a young boy. (my view)
The point to my ramblings? Never be to proud to listen to someone’s counsel. Did you notice how God used Naaman’s trusted servants to sway his mind. Sometimes it’s those nearest to us that can clearly see the full picture.
And can I say something else? Sometimes your feelings may cloud your judgement. It has been my experience that nothing good ever comes from making rash decisions. Take time to mull things over.
The saying goes, “Don’t believe everything you hear!” I believe taking time to meditate things over and seeking wise counsel is best.