Naaman: “Doing it My Way”

Picture189Do we seek the glory of God? Do we trust in His words, and promises? Or, do we want to work things out for ourselves? Whenever we attempt to do things by our own efforts, our faith is not in God – but in ourselves.  When ever we stick to “Plan A,” we are seeking our glory not His.

Naaman in 2 Kings 5 is a great example of this.  

“Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy (verse 1).”

This was a man of reputation, skill, and of worldly importance. Yet, he also had a fatal problem – disease.

When he hears that there is a prophet and healer in Israel, he decides that this is his chance to overcome his illness.  Okay, some trust, but to what level?

“Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking [a great amount of treasure and] The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy (verses 4-6).”

This is an incredible problem for Israel. as is evident from the king’s response,

“As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me (verse 7)!”

Notice, the king looked at the situation with a human perspective. He felt put on the spot by an “impossible” request. But,

“When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel (verse 8).” 

The king may have been well aware of his own human limitations, but the man of God saw the bigger picture.

Fair enough, God was in control, not any man. Yet, even in his act of faith of coming to Samaria (Israel), Naaman in his self-importance and human resumptions was not ready for what came next

“So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house.  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. But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.  Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage (verses 9 – 12).”

Naaman wanted some “respect.” He didn’t want to be given a task by a servant.  He didn’t expect such a simple instruction.  He wanted “show.” He wanted something earth-shattering (as if healing leprosy is mundane). So,

“Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “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’!” 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 (vs 13- 14).”

God’s power came not in elaborate rituals, or shows of a “mighty man,” but in simple obedience. No human effort was shown by the prophet. Nor did the prophet show the doubt and fear of his king. He sought God’s way, and God’s glory. The result:

“Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel (verse 15).”

God’s glory was manifested. Naaman found humility as well as physical healing. The means may have defied human expectations (whether in the means [Naaman’s perception problem], or in the outcome [the king’s perception problem]. It was in the end simple faith and obedience that triumphed on the day.

Do we seek the glory of God? Do we trust in His words, and promises? Or, do we want to work things out for ourselves? Do we attempt to do things by our own efforts? Is our faith in God – or in ourselves?  Do we stick to “Plan A,” or Plan “Him?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s