I have found Pride to be the root of all evil. It will stand up and command other feelings to be shut off and others to raise up. For instance, if you were embarrassed you might find that pride shuts the door on reason only to invoke angry and alert all defense mechanisms to arise and then command you to strike out at the person or situation that first provoked the outrage. Can you think of such a time in your life when pride has taken you into its possession? Let us look at Naaman in 2 kings Chapter 5 verses 1-15. (The scripture is quoted at the end of this study and I highlighted the points covered).
First Naaman was the captain of the army in Syria and he “was a great and exalted man with his master”. He was also a mighty man of valour, but he had leprosy.
When Elisha heard that the King of Israel rent or tore his clothes, he asked the King, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him now come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel”.
When Naaman shows up at the door of Elisha’s home in his chariot with all his greatness and position of being a great commander and an exalted man of the Syrian army, what do you think he expected? Elisha a great prophet and the man of God to greet him. But he doesn’t even get that he gets a servant, as if to say he is at the same level as a servant, and not even a servant of Syria but a servant of another nation. And what did Elisha’s servant tell him to do? “And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall come to you, and you shall be clean.”
I would like to point out several things that might have went through his mind:
- First, He is greeted by a servant he must have been reduced from a man of valour to a servant in stature.
- Second, he is told to wash in a dirty river, when Syria had more beautiful and clean rivers.
- Third, he expected the man of God to perform the miracle in his sight this would also provide verification of the miracle.
- Fourth, he was with a company of men. He was the commander. He was used to giving the commands. Now some foreign servant is telling me what to do?
Just these thoughts could raise up pride to shut down the heart and cause anger to begin to boil over; and this is just what happens listen to his response. “But Naaman was angry, and went away. And he said, Behold, I said within myself, He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean? And he turned and went away in a rage.”
He said within himself He will surely come. He was expecting Elisha the prophet a man of the most high God. This would be the level in which a man of my stature deserves, equal to the man of GOD. And not only that but he should call on the most high God in my presence. I am worthy to be in God’s presence. He also expected Elisha with a wave of his hand over the infected areas to heal him instantly, so he could go home healed with dignity and honor. But now he was supposed to go to a filthy river and most likely be seen and mocked at by those who may be at the river getting water or maybe even washing their clothes. Can you hear them calling out. Look he is unclean! UNCLEAN! And those who did not see him would hear the screams of UNCLEAN! And would join in yelling, UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN! How embarrassing would that be? But that’s not all that went through his mind he thought of the rivers in his precious homeland, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean?” Did you notice he believed the rivers in his homeland were better than the rivers in Israel? He was full of pride and angry and rage took over to the point he turned away from the blessing of God.
We do the same thing today when Pride raises up and shuts the door on the Holy Spirit’s still small voice and we miss the blessings of God. Pride can grieve the Holy Spirit or even worse quench the Holy Spirit. When we grieve the Holy Spirit we are actually making God sad. Don’t you grieve at a funeral or when your child or someone you love does not listen to you than gets hurt in some way or disappoints you in their decisions. The list can go on…
Naaman had a type of inner voice as we have with the Holy Spirit. His servant was there to bring him some much needed council. “And his servants came near and spoke to him and said, My father, if the prophet had told you to do a great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather then, when he says to you, Wash and be clean?” Naaman had to make a decision, he was at a fork in the road, and may have thought, should I stand firm on my own pride or listen to words of reason? I think Naaman’s leprosy made him humble enough to listen to his servant. His condition may have been the only thing that saved him from his prideful nature. So, “he went down and dipped seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God. And his flesh came again like the flesh of a little boy, and he was clean.” Can you image going through a tragedy that places you in a position of being less than normal person in today’s society? A reject. UNCLEAN! …
And now you were normal, but you would still have to live with some skeptics. Didn’t you use to have leprosy? Didn’t you go to prison? Aren’t you divorced? Did you lose your job? How would you deal with it? Would you go into a corner until you die or stand up, start over and give God the glory for turning your life around? Would you be thankful or bitter? Naaman was thankful and gave glory to God. “And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company. And he came and stood before him. And he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel. And now please take a blessing from your servant.” He was going to give the only blessing he knew how to give Elisha, material things.
When we listen to the Holy Spirit and not to pride we can begin to eradicate the roots of pride. First identify pride for what it is, a weed! Yes it is like a weed in your heart that can take over the precious garden which the Holy Spirit is trying to nurture and to help you bring forth the fruit and abundant life God so wants you to have. When pride raises its ugly head cut it off. Listen to the Holy Spirit and walk into the blessings God has for you. After all if Naaman would have listened to his prideful nature, he would have gone back to Syria in a diseased condition lonely, isolated from society and quarantined from the things he may love.
Which path will you choose? Put the world behind you and the cross before. Don’t be deceived by pride. Name it and eradicate it. After all as children of God we are more the conquerors. Stake a claim in God’s word and live in it and by it.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 NKJV)
Listen to God’s still small voice and be overcomers.
And Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and exalted man with his master, because the LORD had given deliverance to Syria by him. He was also a mighty man, but a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and captured a little girl out of the land of Israel. And she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said to her mistress, I wish my lord were with the prophet in Samaria! For he would recover him from his leprosy. And one went in and told his lord, saying, This and this said the girl from the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said, Go, go in and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. And he departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand of gold, and ten changes of clothing. And he came in with the letter to the king of Israel, saying, And now when this letter has come to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you. And you shall recover him of his leprosy. And it happened when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends to me to recover a man from his leprosy? For consider now, and see, for he is coiling himself toward me. And it happened when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, Why have you torn your clothes? Let him now come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. And Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall come to you, and you shall be clean. But Naaman was angry, and went away. And he said, Behold, I said within myself, He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean? And he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near and spoke to him and said, My father, if the prophet had told you to do a great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather then, when he says to you, Wash and be clean? And he went down and dipped seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God. And his flesh came again like the flesh of a little boy, and he was clean. And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company. And he came and stood before him. And he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel. And now please take a blessing from your servant. (2 Kings 5:1-15 MKJV)