Summary: Naaman cured of leprosy.
The Cured Commander
If you could have seen his office you would have been impressed. On his office door was the sign "Commander of the Army of Aram." And on his grand desk was the nameplate "Commander Naaman". On the walls that made up the room and on the shelves that held his belongings, you would have seen his medals, plaques, awards, trophies, letters and memorabilia that indicated what this man had accomplished.
On the walls and on the shelves were not 2nd and 3rd place prizes; in the framed letters were not signatures one did not recognize. Everything in this man’s office, every piece of paper, every plaque, every polished trophy spoke of his accomplishments, his position, his popularity, his prestige and his power. To walk into his office and to see that which others had surrounded him with was to know that this man had accomplished much as Commander of the Army of Aram.
But - but to see the man. To actually view the man. To lay your eyes on Naaman was to see something that his position, popularity and prestige were unable to have any power over. Naaman had leprosy, a disease that cared not the least bit about his high position, his wide popularity or his immense power. In fact though Naaman had so many other qualities to be known by, qualities that granted him much favor, this one thing, this one condition was all that Naaman was thinking about. He wanted to be cured (4x - v. 3, 6, 7, and 11)
For a person to have accomplished what Naaman did was remarkable. For a person to be in his position while being leprous was almost a miracle. For no diseased and socially dirty person could be in his shoes having the King’s favor if it were not for another factor in his life, the Lord. Though Naaman knew it not, recognized it not, and gave no thought of it, "the Lord" verse 1 tells us "had given victory to Aram." The Lord, like he does with each of us, was at work in his life in ways Naaman never knew and never asked for.
While most saw Naaman as the man who triumphed in war, while most viewed him as the poster boy of accomplishment and hard work, the truth of the matter was, the Lord was behind it all. The Lord had his hand on his life. And even in his leprous condition, though others would not come near him, though he was a social outcast, God’s hand was still there. For God would use this tragedy to transform this mighty man into a man of God, if Naaman was willing.
But this road, this journey would be one foreign to him. Along the way, it would be costly:
Costing him his position.
Stripping him of his possessions and his pride.
Until it was just him - him and his leprosy alone before God and not all the stuff
that made him look better than he really was.
As I have thought about this text all week, there is a bit of Naaman in each of us. Though none here are 5 star generals nor are we on speaking terms with the President, nonetheless we too like Naaman, do our best to downplay our faults, our short comings as we hide behind things that we think give us value and prove our worth. We assert ourselves, looking our best trying to mask the things that eat us up inside. We hide under make-up and fancy hair, behind steering wheels and nice homes. While inside, there are parts of us that need healing, that need cured.
Naaman’s journey toward health began not in his lovely office, not with a visit to one of his doctors, but in his home, with a young female POW - whom he had taken captive in a recent battle in order to be of help to his wife.
We aren’t told her name - only about her belief. This female POW believes that Naaman can be cured. She believes in something that Naaman has been powerless to believe and powerless to achieve on his own.
"There is a prophet. My Master should go and see him. He would cure him of his leprosy." (v. 3b)
And crazily enough, this 5 star general begins to walk on this healing journey by listening to this surprising voice.
Naaman listens to the nameless one.
This powerful man listens to this powerless one.
This desperate man takes orders from this devoted One of God, who points him, steers him, guides him toward God.
If it is true that there is a bit of Naaman in each of us, not only does this mean that we do our best to promote what is good about us and downplay the bad but something else is true as well.