Summary: Namaan was a mighty man, a warrior, a commander and highly respected and honored by man, but he was leper. God’s view of greatness is different from that of the world. We need to be great in God’s eyes.
But He Was a Leper
By Pastor Jim May
Great men, they are all around us and in every walk of life. Looking back through history we can see a lot of great people. Abraham Lincoln was considered a great man because of the Emancipation Proclamation. George Washington was a great man, and the father of our country. Dr. Martin Luther King was a great man who gave his life for the Civil Rights Movement. History records the deeds, courage and accomplishments of Eisenhower, Patton and Bradley, military leaders that kept our country free during World War II. In the field of science and mathematics there were people like Jonas Salk who discovered the vaccine for polio; Alexander Graham Bell who is credited with the invention of that little scourge of humanity known as the telephone; Marconi who invented communication devices like the radio and telegraph; Madame Curie who discovered the use of radiology and nuclear medicine. The list could go on and on because the world has been filled with great people who accomplished great things for humanity.
The Bible is filled with great people as well, such as King David, Moses, Elijah, Paul, Mary and more.
But being great in the eyes of the world does not always mean that we are great in eyes of God for greatness must be measured, not only by our accomplishments, but in our commitment to God and our service to him. The world can call you great, but if you don’t know God, what good will that greatness do you in the end?
The Book of 2 Kings gives us the story of one of the great men of the Bible. His king and his nation looked upon him as a hero.
2 Kings 5:1 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valor, but he was a leper.
Namaan was truly a great man. He was a powerful military leader, honorable among his peers, and he was used to bring deliverance of Syria from its enemies. He was a man of courage and valor, but he was still a man locked in chains of sin and death.
The Bible often uses leprosy as a symbol of sin the heart of man. In those days there was no cure for this dread disease and once it was contracted, it was a sentence of death. it was a terrible disease, causing a rotting of the body and an eating away of flesh. Hideous disfigurement would be the result and often the leper would die alone for no one dared touch him.
Such is the terrible effect of sin in the life of a man. Sin brings the penalty of eternal death, but it seems so subtle. At first it’s almost unnoticeable, but soon the effects begin to surface and the suffering begins.
The body itself is greatly effected for it begins a long march to the grave from the moment we are born and nothing in this world can stop that inevitable day when we shall each face the grave. Sin kills! Sin destroys! Sin eats away at the body of flesh! But most of all, Sin destroys our relationship with God and condemns us to eternal punishment! We cannot rid ourselves of sin. We cannot do anything to cure it. Like leper, we live under the threat of dying without any hope of deliverance.
No amount of good works, strong personality, charity, good character will ever be enough to cure the grip of sin on your life. We may be good people by the world’s standards, but we are still a sinner in the eyes of God.
2 Kings 5:2 And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife.
This little girl was probably not even a teenage yet, but she found herself as a slave in Syria, taken from her home by force and then forced to wait upon this great man. She was one of God’s Chosen People.
A Child of God is often found in places where they are uncomfortable, forced to work in jobs that they don’t like and under circumstances where they wonder why God has put them there. God puts us in those places, not only for the benefit of those that we will influence, but for our own good as well, to test our faith and commitment, and to reveal the weaknesses in us so that we can begin to trust God and correct those things in our hearts that shouldn’t be there.
2 Kings 5:3 And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.