Archive for April 13th, 2017
Naaman was the Commander of the army of King Ben Hadad 11 of Syria (Aram) and by all accounts was much admired, for we read that “he was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram.” Furthermore we are told that he was a “valiant” soldier. Valiant is an expressive word meaning brave, courageous, dauntless, undismayed, intrepid, powerful, fearless etc. One would be impressed to meet such a man with all those attributes. However, in spite of his fame, abilities and powerful position he was a leper!
Naaman’s wife had a young maid servant who had been taken captive from Israel. Perhaps she discerned that her mistress was worried about Naaman for she speaks to her suggesting that Naaman visit Elisha, the prophet in Samaria saying that – “He would cure him of his leprosy!” V.3 King Ben Hadad allows Naaman to visit Israel, but it would have been foolish to allow the famous commander to ride into Israel without permission, so the King sends a letter to Joram the King of Israel warning him of Naaman’s impending visit. Joram is very frightened on receiving the letter because he misunderstands Ben Hadad’s request.
It is easy to understand Naaman’s anger at being received by Gehazi, Elisha’s servant rather than the prophet himself, and his offence at being instructed to bathe in the filthy rivers of Arbana and Pharpar. Elisha’s instruction was not that difficult, but Naaman’s pride was offended. His own servants however persuade him to change his mind and as he emerged from the river water for the seventh time, he discovered that he was healed! He had humbled himself and obeyed God’s prophet, was healed and restored. D.L. Moody once said of Naaman, “He lost his temper; then he lost his pride; then he lost his leprosy!”
God’s Word has much to say about pride and anger and how our relationships can be spoiled through them. Proverbs 10:3 says: “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice”, and James 1:20 advises, “For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” It is important to ask for God’s perspective in all our interactions with each other, family and friends. We should also be vigilant as we wait to hear God speaking to us, and then ensure we obey him.
Dear Father God, Thank you for Naaman and his example to us. Please help me to listen carefully to your voice, and I pray for strength and determination to obey you, whatever you ask of me. For the glory of Jesus, Amen.