Climb a Mountain, Swim a Sea, Fight a Dragon

Naaman did what so many of us did when we first heard of grace—we rejected it. But God did for Naaman what he did to so many of us—he pursued us and drew us back. He saved us and drew him in. He rescued us and drew him to himself. He did it all because he is a God of love, a God of mercy, and a God of grace.

It fascinates me how the most beautiful thing can also be the most offensive thing. The world knows nothing more beautiful than grace, than favor that is undeserved, unmerited, and freely granted. Yet so often the world responds to grace with spite and anger, with revulsion and unbelief.

There’s a great example of this in the book of 2 Kings. There we learn about the mighty and noble Naaman, commander of the army of Syria. This man is mighty and noble, he is respected and favored, he is a hero of his generation. But he is also a leper. Naaman learns that in Israel there is a prophet and he appeals to that prophet—to Elisha—for a cure. Elisha sends his servant to pass along a message: “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean” (2 Kings 5:10). Yet, surprisingly, Naaman responds to these words with fury. Why would he be so furious? Why would he reject this gracious offer of a cure?

On one level, I’m sure he was angry that he had been spoken to by a mere servant instead of a great prophet, something he would have received as a grave insult. But then I’m certain he was also angry that the solution was so unexpected, so simple, so gracious.

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