HAVE you ever been stubborn and refused to obey?— * Perhaps you watched a TV program that your mother or father said you shouldn’t watch. You may have thought about it later and were sorry you disobeyed. The name of one person who at first refused to obey is Naaman. Let’s see how he was helped not to be stubborn anymore.
Imagine we are living over 3,000 years ago. Naaman is an important Syrian military commander. He is used to telling his soldiers what to do, and they obey him. But Naaman gets a terrible skin disease called leprosy. It makes him look awful, and it probably hurts a lot too.
Naaman’s wife has a little servant girl from Israel. One day the girl tells her mistress about a man named Elisha back in her home country. She says that he can heal Naaman. When Naaman hears of this, right away he wants to go to Elisha. He takes many gifts and travels with his soldiers to Israel. He goes to the king of Israel to let him know why he has come.
Elisha hears about this and sends a message for the king to send Naaman to him. When Naaman arrives at Elisha’s house, Elisha simply sends a messenger out to tell Naaman to bathe seven times in the Jordan River. Elisha says doing this will make Naaman well. How do you think Naaman feels about this?—
He is angry. So he gets stubborn and refuses to obey God’s prophet. He tells his soldiers: ‘There are better rivers back home to bathe in.’ Naaman starts to leave. But do you know what his soldiers ask?— ‘Had it been a hard thing the prophet asked you to do, wouldn’t you have done it? So why not obey when he asks you to do such a simple thing?’
Naaman listens and does what his soldiers say. Six times he jumps in the river and out again. On coming out of the water the seventh time, Naaman is amazed—his skin disease has disappeared! He is well again! Right away he travels back to Elisha’s home some 30 miles (48 km) away to thank him. He wants to give Elisha expensive presents, but the prophet will not take anything.
So Naaman asks Elisha for something. Do you know what?— ‘Let me have two muleloads of soil to take home.’ Do you know why he wants that?— Naaman says that he wants to offer gifts of sacrifice to God on soil from the land of God’s people, Israel. Naaman then promises never again to worship any god except Jehovah! He is stubborn no more but is willing to obey the true God.
Can you see how you can be like Naaman?— If you are ever stubborn like he was, you can change. You can accept help and not be stubborn anymore.
^ par. 3 If you are reading with a child, the dash provides a reminder to pause and encourage the child to express himself.