From Pride to Humility
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.1 Peter 5:5-6
Let’s look at the story of Naaman, a powerful commander of the Syrian army, and how he went from pride to humility through his encounter with the prophet Elisha.
Naaman was a man of great wealth, power, and influence. He was respected and admired by many, but he had a problem. He was a leper. Despite his wealth and status, he was unable to find a cure for his disease. However, one day, a young Israelite girl who had been captured and taken as a slave to Syria told Naaman’s wife about a prophet in Israel who could heal him.
Naaman was eager to receive this healing and traveled to Israel with his chariots, horses, and had a letter from the king of Syria to the king of Israel. When the king of Israel received the letter, he was afraid, thinking that the king of Syria was looking for an excuse to start a war. But Elisha, the prophet of God, heard about Naaman’s request for healing and sent a message to the king, telling him to send Naaman to him.
Naaman arrived at Elisha’s house with great pomp and circumstance, expecting to be treated with honor and respect. But Elisha didn’t even come out to greet him. Instead, he sent a message telling Naaman to go and dip himself seven times in the Jordan River. Naaman was insulted and angry. He thought that Elisha would at least come out and wave his hand over him and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal him.
But Naaman’s servants encouraged him to do as the prophet had instructed him. They said, “If the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” (2 Kings 5:13). Naaman eventually humbled himself and went to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as Elisha had instructed him. And the Bible says that his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
In Luke 4:27, Jesus speaks of Naaman as an example of God’s grace extending beyond Israel to include the Gentiles. He says, “And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” This shows that God’s grace is not limited to a particular race or nationality but is available to all who have faith and obedience like Naaman.
This scripture reinforces the message of Naaman’s story, which is that humility and obedience to God’s commands are essential to receiving His blessings. Naaman’s healing was not due to his own merit or status but was a result of his willingness to trust and obey God’s word through the prophet Elisha. Like Naaman, we too must learn to submit to God’s will and trust in His grace, regardless of our background or circumstances.
This story teaches us a valuable lesson about pride and humility. Naaman was proud and thought that he deserved special treatment because of his wealth and status. But God doesn’t show favoritism, and He doesn’t care about our wealth, status, or achievements. He cares about our hearts and our willingness to obey Him.
Jesus said, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). Naaman’s pride almost prevented him from receiving his healing. But when he humbled himself and obeyed God’s command, he received not only physical healing but also spiritual healing. He recognized that there was only one true God, and he declared, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel” (2 Kings 5:15).
We should learn from Naaman’s story and be willing to humble ourselves before God. We should not allow pride to stand in the way of our healing and spiritual growth. But we should trust in God’s wisdom and guidance, even when His ways seem foolish to us. And let us always remember that true greatness comes not from wealth, status, or achievements, but from a heart that is humble and obedient to God.