Contrary: “opposite in nature or character; diametrically or mutually opposed; opposite in direction or position; unfavorable or adverse.”
There’s a lot of misunderstanding happening in this chapter. But there is one who knows.
Now the Arameans had gone out in bands and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy,” (4:15).
One little servant girl knows; so convinced of God’s power working through the prophet, Elisha, that she is not afraid to boldly proclaim this to her mistress. And Naaman and his wife must have thought it was at least worth a shot.
So, Naaman, a man highly respected, a man of integrity and ability in serving the king as captain of his army, seeks the king’s permission.
And the king of Aram decides that he will command the healing. After all, he was king, and that’s what kings do.
But there is One King, so different, so unlike any other, so opposite in nature and character to man, so diametrically opposed to the plots and schemes of man. He alone is God, there is no God in all the earth but Him; and He is So Contrary to Man.
“Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel…” (5:15).
Consider Him, So Contrary to Man
- So Contrary to Man: He alone needs nothing; He will not be bought.
- Then the king of Aram said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” He departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothes, (5:5).
- So Contrary to Man: He alone has control over life and death; He will not be controlled.
- He brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, “And now as this letter comes to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7 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 is sending word to me to cure a man of his leprosy?” (5:6-7).
- So Contrary to Man: He alone is above everything and everyone; He will not be impressed.
- So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots and stood at the doorway of the house of Elisha, (5:9).
- So Contrary to Man: His plan is exclusive; His provision is not up for debate.
- Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean,” (5:10).
- So Contrary to Man: His ways are not ours; He will be misunderstood.
- But Naaman was furious and went away and said, “Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.’ 12 Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” (5:11-12).
- So Contrary to Man: He is patient with the cynic; He restores even the doubter who responds in obedience and faith.
- Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean, (5:13-14).
- So Contrary to Man: He alone knows our hearts; He will not be deceived.
- But he went in and stood before his master. And Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant went nowhere.” 26 Then he said to him, “Did not my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you?…” (5:25-26).
How do we respond to Him, So Contrary to Man?
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts, (Isaiah 55:8-9).
I tend to reference this verse, a lot. But then I need reminding, a lot. Sometimes this world just does not make sense. And too often, I think He owes me some kind of explanation. Can you relate?
This story of Naaman is such a glorious reminder that He is So Contrary to Man… and that’s a good thing! Would you want to serve a God who is like you? I sure wouldn’t.
Let us take courage and comfort in revisiting this truth: He is So Contrary to Man. And we must also recognize this truth: sometimes that makes people angry. Because He acts in ways opposite of our own, some find His ways as “unfavorable or adverse.”
Naaman was not too happy with the instructions given by Elisha. Why? Well the Jordan River was muddy and unseemly for washing. This did not mesh with Naaman’s understanding of cleansing. And so it is today. Many often question, “How can God be so exclusive, as to only provide one way to Him? And how can the blood of Jesus be His way to healing and forgiveness?”
We don’t have to have all the answers to believe. Continued study of His Word will shed more and more light on His Way and His Truth.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” (John 14:6).
And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness, (Hebrews 9:22).
He has promised to turn to us with healing when we seek Him in humility and obedience.
“and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Naaman had to humble himself in obedience to the prophet’s command before he was healed. And it was through his obedience that his faith was strengthened.
When he returned to the man of God with all his company, and came and stood before him, he said, “Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel…” (4:15).
Let’s not miss that! Faith is strengthened through obedience, and obedience is a result of humility and surrender.
When life seems so contrary to His promises, let us seek Him in humility. May we daily surrender to Him in obedience, that our faith would be strengthened each and every day in Him, So Contrary to Man.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
And let us pray the Lord would so grow us, that we would also live So Contrary to Man, that others would be drawn to know the healing and hope we have in Jesus Christ.
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; (1 Peter 3:15).