40 Days To Lasting Change By Kyle Idleman

Day 6 of 7 • This day’s reading


“Willing to Listen”

Sometimes a startling realization only takes place when someone else steps in with a healthy perspective.

Naaman was a brave, successful, high-ranking military official for the king of Aram. But he was afflicted with a horrible skin disease.

There was no cure for leprosy in that day, so Naaman didn’t have any options, until he heard about a prophet of Samaria could possibly cure him.

With the king’s blessing, he went to meet Elisha. He didn’t travel light, bringing “750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothes” (v. 5 MSG).

Naaman was ready for whatever the prophet would throw at him—except, of course, Elisha’s curveball response.

Elisha’s instructions were, “Go to the River Jordan and immerse yourself seven times. You skin will be healed and you’ll be as good as new” (v. 10 MSG).

It sounds simple enough, but Elisha had insulted Naaman with this message. When Naaman arrived, Elisha didn’t even come outside to greet him. Instead, he sent a messenger.

Naaman had expected the prophet to display some pomp and circumstance. On top of that, Naaman was not going to debase himself in an Israeli river.

Naaman sulked. He needed an AHA, or he wouldn’t be healed.

A servant approached the sulking commander and said, “Father, if the prophet had asked you to do something hard and heroic, wouldn’t you have done it? So why not this simple ‘wash and be clean’?” (v. 13).

The words came from a lowly source. Naaman could have kept up his arrogance, but he allowed himself to listen. Immediately, Naaman went down to the Jordan and washed seven times. God cleansed him of his disease.

Often we are the last ones to see the hard truth in our own lives. We all need someone in our life who can tell it like it is. But Namaan’s story reminds us that sometimes it takes humility to listen.

Sometimes the words of truth come from an unlikely source—or a “simpler” source.

Maybe it’s a child saying, “Daddy, can we play?”

Maybe it’s an employee saying, “Are you all right?”

Maybe it’s a spouse saying, “You were wrong.”

Regardless of the source, it takes humility to listen, especially when the truth is hard.

*Ask your spouse, closest friend, parent, or a trusted leader what blind spot needs some attention in your life.