Summary: From the life of Naaman - we can see that a makeover comes from the inside out.
* Most of us have watched, maybe with interest or intrigued, one of the shows which boast of giving an extreme makeover. I say ‘one’ of the shows because there are several and they makeover people’s bodies to people’s houses. It would seem that they can take a person, make them look really homey, and then transform them into this ravishing beauty ready for the red carpet. They can take a 57 year old and make her look 37. It reminds me of that old story of the Older Mountain man bringing his family to town for the first time. They walked into a sky-scrapper and were awed by the sight. Mom & the kids were taking in the sights, but dad kept watching this strange door which would open – people would get in, then close, and then open and the people would look different. He noticed an elderly woman on a walker go into this room, the door shut automatically, and when the doors opened about 5 minutes later a young & stunningly beautiful woman stepped out. About that time his oldest son came & asked, “Dad, what you doing just standing here?” Dad said, “Nothing, go get your mom.”
* Know what my mom told me? “Beauty is skin deep while ugly is to the bone.” To put that in modern day terms, it’s amazing what money can buy but it’s staggering what money cannot buy. We can buy a new nose, mouth, eyes, and other body parts, but who we are inside remains the same, UNLESS the remaking is done from the inside out. Let’s take a look at Naaman, see him for what he was & is.
1. A Needy Man – At first blush this man doesn’t appear to be needy (which is the norm for men today). We avoid admitting our need. However, Naaman was;
a. A man of distinction – Look at all the good words spoken about him. He was the ‘Commander of the King’s Army’ – in other words he was the general. In Biloxi, we had a General to visit worship on more than one occasion. When we went to his house to speak with him about his salvation & church membership, he assured us he knew the Lord, but stated that he really couldn’t join a church because he had to be seen at the base chapel on a regular basis. Being a General is a big deal. Look at all the superlative the text hangs on Naaman; a great man, highly regarded, victorious soldier, and a brave warrior. Naaman was probably the guest of notoriety at all the big dinners because he was well-known and well-thought of. He was the general every boy wanted to be like. He looked really good, from a distance. That is worth considering, ‘from a distance.’ Yet, he was also;
b. A man with a disease – The disease Naaman had-was a tough one. HCSB calls it a skin disease, but other translations call it leprosy. With respect to the Hebrew writers and the English translator, in recent days it has been discovered that while this hideous disease manifests itself on the skin, it is actually a disease of the peripheral nervous system. The impact of it is that your extremities lose their ability to feel. You don’t hurt, so you have no pain, and the results are devastating.
* If you can’t feel and a bone breaks, you don’t know it so you don’t know to get it looked at, so blood poisoning sets it and you finally realize something is wrong when you smell the flesh dying. If not treated, it’s deadly.
* Naaman had leprosy. Now compare leprosy to sin (one disease to another). Leprosy seems to be to the body what sin is to the soul. The more you sin, the less you ‘feel’ the guilt of sin. If sin is not treated, it is deadly. Naaman, with all his prestige, was a man just like you & me – he was needy because he had a disease that he couldn’t cure. He’s just like us, when he realized his dilemma, he became;
c. A man who was desperate – It is amazing what you’ll do if you are desperate.
* Picture the scene: It is in the recreation room of a Californian retirement facility. Four ladies are playing bridge and chatting and keeping an eye on the flow of people in and out of the area. Soon an elderly gentleman wanders into the room. They all recognize him for a newcomer and they all perk up. One of the ladies says, “Hello there. You’re new here, aren’t you?” He smiles and replies that he is, indeed. He had just moved in that morning. Another one of the ladies says, “Where did you live before you moved in?” He says, “I was just released from San Quentin, where I spent the last twenty years.” A third lady perks up at this and say, “Oh, is that so? What were you in for?” He says, “I murdered my wife.” The fourth lady sits up in her chair, smiles and say, “Oh, then you’re single?”