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Arrogant Warrior

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,

And to heed than the fat of rams.

I Samuel 15:22

Partial obedience is disobedience.

Do you sometimes wonder about your level of obedience? You approach the topic sincerely and very logically: “God loves me unconditionally. I believe that with all my heart. I also believe that there isn’t anything I can do to make Him love me more or anything that I can do to make Him love me less. What part does my obedience play in His plan for my life when I believe in His unconditional love for me?”

Do you remember the story of Naaman (II Kings 5)? He was highly respected, he was a mighty warrior, he was the commander of King Aram’s army, he was a great man in the sight of his master and . . . he was a leper. Nothing had ever come into Naaman’s life that he could not handle. Until now.

Naaman’s wife had a little Israeli slave girl who loved enough (I don’t know who she loved, but she could not remain silent) to suggest that her master, Naaman, go see a prophet, Elijah. “He could cure him of his leprosy,” she said. A suggestion from a mere child? A slave? Yes. When we get desperate, we grab at the slightest hint of hope.

So Naaman went to Israel and sought out Elijah. The prophet didn’t even do the mighty hero the honor of coming to the door: “Gehazi, answer the door, please.” Naaman was infuriated!

“Who does he think he is? Does he know who I am? who I represent?” And when the servant Gehazi gave him Elijah’s instructions, telling him to go and dip seven times in the muddy Jordan River, Naaman was even more frustrated. Unthinkable! “They have beautiful rivers back in Syria. Why should I humiliate myself by bathing in this mudhole? I will not!”

But there was one man in Naaman’s group who dared to approach the arrogant warrior–was it love that drove him? respect?”Oh, please, Sir! You are here. Why not at least try what the prophet has told you to do? What do you have to lose?” I wonder how much courage that took? if his heart was thumping and how sweaty his palms were? “All right, all right! I’ll try it, but it is utterly and absolutely ridiculous. Ridiculous!”

Searching the prophet out and telling him the problem was not enough. Hearing the prophet’s instructions was painful–it hurt his pride to think of doing something so demeaning. Naaman did not believe, but he was desperate. He did not understand the prophet’s remedy, but he was hurting. He merely humbled himself and obeyed, that’s all. He obeyed and that obedience brought healing. His life was rerouted–changed forever!

And you and me? We must allow God to be our God–we must submit to Him before we can submit to His plan for our life, before we can be all that He has planned for us to be. Obedience paves the way for His way–the only way. His way may be humiliating, embarrassing, something you would never dream of doing, something that seems absolutely ridiculous to you. But I have the courage to say to you, “Oh, please! You are here. Why not at least try what the Lord has told you to do?”

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.