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January 31, 2015

MOTIVATION = the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior.

In this blog I will share the story as found in 2 Kings 5 of Naaman the leper who was a valiant captain in the Syrian army, cherished by the king of Syria for his many successful military campaigns and was willing and motivated to go to a place where he knew he would be stigmatized for his leprosy to be healed.

During one of his military campaigns, a captive brought out of the land of Israel was a young maid who was given to Naaman’s wife as a servant. This maiden told her mistress about Elisha the healing prophet who resided in Samaria. Her words were relayed to the king who then sent Naaman to the king of Israel with a letter telling him to heal Naaman of his leprosy. When Jehoram the king of Israel read the letter he became distraught because he knew he was powerless to heal; however, the news of this event reached Elisha, and he told Jehoram to send Naaman to him.

When Naaman arrived at Elisha’s home, Elisha did not come out and greet Naaman, but sent these directions to him, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.” Naaman became angry because of the lack of reception and the manner in which he received direction from Elisha. He also felt if he was to wash and be clean the Abana and Pharpar Rivers of Damascus were better to wash in than all the waters of Israel.

Rejecting the instructions, a furious Naaman was leaving to return home when one of his servant’s said to him, “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” This question had a positive effect on Naaman for he went down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, and his flesh came like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

Naaman was so thankful he returned to Elisha’s home, met face to face with Elisha and declared, “Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.” Naaman had brought with him the following gifts: ten talents of silver, six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. However, Elisha adamantly refused to receive anything. Naaman, because of this miracle, became a believer of God and pledged his allegiance to God. He requested earth from Samaria to take back to Syria as a symbol of conversion and belief.  He also asked God’s forgiveness ahead of time for having to bow with his master when he accompanied him into the house of Rimmon (a false god) to worship. After hearing Naaman’s declaration, Elisha sent Naaman home in peace.

Naaman’s motivation to be healed sent him on a long journey on the word of a young girl. He did not know if this child was telling the truth, but he was willing to see, for back then, unlike today, there was no curable treatment for leprosy. Leprosy was a contagious disease that affected the mucous membranes, skin, and nerves, causing lumps on the skin, discoloration and, in severe cases, deformities and disfigurement. The scriptures do not reveal the extent of this disease in Naaman, but it was troubling enough for him to want to be rid of it.

It is important to note that in Israel as instructed by God, people that had leprosy were isolated from the general public. No doubt this was the reason Elisha did not come out the first time Naaman came to his house. In other nations, this isolation apparently was not enforced.  Therefore Naaman was insulted when Elisha did not go out and address him.

Naaman had to make an attitude adjustment to receive his miracle. Naaman had to get over his frustration and anger at Elisha. He had to humble himself and do the unthinkable (dip in the nasty Jordan River), but the results brought him immediate success. Also, his religious convictions motivated him to carry earth back home because he wanted to do what was right in the sight of God.

Naaman is an excellent example for us. Are we motivated to go to a place to receive the benefits of God? Are we motivated enough to make an attitude adjustment when necessary? Are we motivated and willing to humble ourselves when given instructions we don’t like? Are we motivated to carry a load for a distance to honor God? Naaman’s motivation and actions brought him success; I pray that yours is doing the same.

From → Test Series

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