Perhaps my favorite Star Wars character is Yoda.
In the second Star Wars movie, Luke travels to the Daygobah System, in search of a wise Jedi Master to train him in the ways of the force. He encounters a strange, meddlesome little creature, who ransacks his camp, bangs on his droid and tries his patience.
But then, this small alien reveals he knows Yoda, the one Luke is seeking. And indeed he does. The first big reveal in “The Empire Strikes Back” is that the finest Jedi Master in the universe is a wizened little green-skinned alien, centuries-old, who hobbles slowly about with a cane.
Luke immediately humbles himself and treats the little alien with great honor and respect. If he had not, if he had continued to be distracted by Yoda’s weak, fragile appearance, Luke would have never become a full-fledged Jedi Knight. Yes, Yoda accepts him as a Jedi trainee, but just as important, Luke has to choose to submit himself to his new Master. To resolve to do whatever Yoda says.
Judging People Wrongly
Like Luke, we Christians often judge a person’s inner worth by their outward appearance.
This is foolish, because the Holy Spirit delights to speak truth through unlikely people. For example, look at the story in 2 Kings 5.
Naaman, commander of the king of Aram’s army, has contracted leprosy.
- A Jewish slave girl tells her mistress—Naaman’s wife—about a prophet in Israel who can heal her master’s leprosy.
- Naaman brings gold and silver with him into Israel in order to “buy” his miracle.
- The prophet shuns him, refusing even to speak to this wealthy, powerful general.
- Instead, a lowly messenger delivers Elisha’s ridiculous “cure” for Naaman’s leprosy.
10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” 2 Kings 5:10 NIV)
- Naaman, bitterly disappointed, leaves in a rage and starts to return home.
- His servants talk him into doing the simple thing the prophet told him to do. Their attitude is, “What have you got to lose?”
- Naaman finally dips himself seven times in the river and the seventh time he comes up out of the water healed.
A slave girl, a common messenger, a handful of devoted servants—from a social standpoint, none of these people were worth listening to. But God cured Naaman’s leprosy because he listened to these seemingly insignificant people.
If he hadn’t obeyed God’s instructions, he would have died a leper.
Today the Lord still speaks to us using surly teenagers, very young children, shabby strangers—maybe even a donkey or two.
Unfortunately, the problem with pride is that it stops up our ears.
Ears to Hear
Do you remember when Jesus ended some of his parables with the words,
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Mark 4:9 NIV)
Maybe because He dressed in a poor man’s clothes and lacked any scholarship. With rough, working man’s hands and former fishermen following Him about, was it any wonder that the proud and rich religious leaders had difficulty claiming Him as their Master?
Had God chosen to have Jesus born into a priest’s or scribe’s household, maybe the Pharisees would have been able to receive His teachings more easily.
But that’s kind of the point—do you recognize when God is speaking to you or not?
The True Spiritual Problem
Eventually, I read Ezekiel 12 and realized that the true hindrance wasn’t spiritually blind eyes or plugged ears. Instead, those who couldn’t receive God’s truth had a bad heart problem.
12 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people. (Ezekiel 12:1-2 NIV)
But if you’re humble enough, God will speak wisdom and correction to you using anyone. That’s a great place to be.
Naaman is a good example. He didn’t pay attention to his servants’ lowly station in life—or his own lofty social standing. Instead, he chose to respond to the truth in their words:
“My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” (2 Kings 5:13 NIV)
Naaman’s soul had a certain amount of humility. It would have been so easy for the general of Aram’s armies to say, “Shut up, you fools, we’re leaving!” Instead, he yielded to the wise counsel of his socially inferior servants—because he knew they were right.
I love the end of Naaman’s story.
14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. (2 Kings 5:14 NIV)
Naaman returned to the prophet Elisha, who would not accept any money, even when strongly urged.
17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. 18 But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”
19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said. (2 Kings 5:17-19 NIV)
How often do you reject God’s message because it comes from an unacceptable source?
Secondly, how many blessings do you forfeit, because of pride?
All images were downloaded from Pixabay.com.