Summary: God actions graciously in the life of a foreigner, Naaman, and heals him.
2 Kings 5:1-15a “Foreigners”
When meeting new people, it doesn’t take too long before we know what work they are (or were) involved in and what they have accomplished. If their golf handicap is below fifteen, we probably know that, too. It’s the way of the world. We are judged and judge ourselves by what we do; by the mark we have made in life.
Naaman certainly had an impressive resume. He was the friend of the king, and a general with several successfully military campaigns. He was also a man who had a serious skin disease—leprosy.
Namaan’s story, as he seeks to be healed from his leprosy, is a lesson a life of faith (though reluctantly) and a contrast between the world’s values and God’s. In other words, Naaman demonstrates to us what it is to be a saint.
Even though Naaman is a powerful figure, life has gotten out of control. Naaman eventually realizes that life is not in his control, but rather it is in God’s control.
Naaman comes to realize that he experiences grace in surprising places. It comes to him from servant girls, slaves and a dirty river.
Naaman realizes that he needs other people. He is a general who needs soldiers in order to win battles. He is a man who needs the help of strangers in order to be healed.
Eventually, Naaman encounters God and realizes that God is a powerful and loving God—a God who loves him.
HELP FROM SURPRISING PLACES
The king cannot help Naaman, the best he can do is to write a letter of recommendation. Neither can the king of Israel help Naaman.
A servant girl who was enslaved after a military victory was one of the people who could help Naaman.
When Naaman became angry because his instructions for healing were insulting to him, another servant reasons with him and convinces him to wash in the river.
Like Naaman, we realize over and over again our need for others. If we are critically in, strangers in the medical field help us to return to health and wholeness. Friends pitch in and help when needed. The Lord even uses children in our lives to communicate much needed messages.
Naaman demonstrates to us the importance of obedience. If he had not obeyed Elisha and washed in the Jordan River, he never would have been healed. He did something that on the surface appeared to be nonsensical. God used Naaman’s obedience, though, to heal him.
As fellow saints it is important for us to be obedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Often following the leading of the Spirit seems counterintuitive. It appears foolish or simple, or too difficult.
It is in loving the unlovable, forgiving the unforgiveable, sharing our blessings and serving others that God’s love and grace is communicated and experiences. Obedience changes us and changes the people around us.
When the story closes, Naaman has taken two bags of dirt with him so that he can worship the Lord even though he is in idol territory.
Acknowledging who we are, we step into places where other God’s are worshiped so that we might serve others as God’s children and saints.