Daily Thought for: 20th June

NAAMAN

2 Kings 5. 1-19

This time it was different. Our hero had celebrated many victories but now things have changed. Diagnosed as leprous Naaman knew this was a struggle in which he would be a loser. 

He cannot win this time. It all had one advantage, however. This very crisis would be used by divine providence to introduce this man to a knowledge of the God of Israel. How often God has employed physical sickness to spiritual advantage! 

But would the God of Israel show mercy to a Syrian? Here was a Gentile who had been aggressively engaged against the covenant people of Jehovah. The recovery of this Syrian proves beyond doubt the universal outreach of God’s mercy. 

Naaman was to discover that not only was God’s mercy wide as the ocean but that it was as free as the sunshine. Well stocked with gifts and garments he sets out for the land of Israel. Finding nothing at the palace but unbelief and suspicion he eventually makes his way to the prophet’s house. No ceremony there displayed; no gifts accepted; no bribes required. Only simple instructions with a guaranteed cure. 

God’s plan was hurtful to his pride. To have the great Syrian general disappear beneath the waters of the Jordan was not compatible with the status of Naaman. It provoked his anger. Eventually, the man who was himself accustomed to giving orders, obeyed orders and he enjoyed the blessing. The ‘great man’ of verse 1 becomes like the ‘little child’ of verse 14, not only clean in his skin but humble in his attitude. His cleansing is followed by a clear confession. The commander has become as a child; the leper has new life; the idolater has become a worshipper acknowledging, ‘there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel’. 

This golden chain of grace had a vital link. The one who first pointed the great man in the right direction was a little Jewish maid. Her clear, confident testimony was refreshing evidence of care for her master as well as confidence in her God. Placed in circumstances which naturally would have called for a hostile reaction she rose above her situation and is a shining example to us all. May God help us today, like her, to speak a word to put some spiritual leper on the path to cleansing. 

 

Daily Thoughts