Monday, June 24, 2013

Naaman, the Leper God Loved

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, June 23, 2013:  II Kings 4:18-5:27

Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper. II Kings 5:1 (NKJV)

In the pages of Scripture, occasionally we come across an individual who appears only once in a few verses.  Yet this person speaks a message that resounds with the Good News that is the foundation of all that we believe.  Such a person is Naaman, the commander of a foreign army.  He was actually part of a nation that had warred against God's people.  Yet, God still loved him and sought to reach him. 

The Man

Naaman had much going for him.  His name means "delightful, pleasant, beautiful, well-formed."  He was in many ways a successful man.  He looked good.  He had an important position.  He was liked by those around him.  However, he had one major problem:  HE WAS A LEPER.

He represents MAN APART FROM GOD.  He represents you and me.  He was in many ways a good person, but he had a problem.  Here's the principle:  Every great person has a point of weakness.  Everyone, no matter how good they are, is in need of a Savior.

The Ministry

It is important to note that Naaman was a Gentile.  The focus of the Bible is THE NATIONS.  God is always reaching out to the heathen, the pagan, the "reprobate."  And he will use anyone who is available to reach the lost.

He even used a little Jewish girl.  She had been captured in one of the battles between Syria and Israel.  She was a slave.  Could God use such a tragic thing as ensalvement to send out His Good News?  In this case, yes!

This young girl told her master about a prophet who could bring divine healing.  That's what we do today.  None of us are powerful in ourselves.  Instead we bring news that there is Someone who can meet the deepest needs of men.

When Naaman arrived at Elisha's door, he expected dramatic fanfare.  He expected treatment comparable to his elevated status.  Instead, the prophet sent word to him to go jump in the river Jordan -- seven times!  This offended Naaman and nearly robbed him of his healing.

God's ministry to us will usually require that we humble ourselves.

The Message

The message of Naaman's story is simple yet profound.  There is not a person you meet that God does not want to save, heal, and deliver.  It is our job to point them toward the Master.  It was the great Ceylonese evangelist, D.T. Niles, who said, "Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread." 

Paul told us "For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord." (II Cor. 4:5)  May God open our eyes to see the Naaman's around us now.  They may appear strong and self-sufficient.  But they need the Lord!

One of the most exciting moments of life is when you watch a person plagued with spiritual sickness dip into the river of God's grace, and come up clean!  There is nothing this side of heaven that compares!

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