NAAMAN – Winning in Spite of (Part 1)
“Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:1, NIV)
Naaman was a great warrior, an expert in combat, highly regarded and honored by the king of Syria. He was captain of the king’s army, a high-ranking military official and a man of high social and economic standing. He was a good and brave man who God had given courage and victory over his enemies.
Sounds like Naaman had a perfect life, right? This great man, who conquered his enemies and won wars, dealt with a terrible problem. Every day when Naaman got up, he had to face and live a battle he could not win. Though he was successful on the battlefield and it appeared he had everything going in his favor, Naaman had a skin disease hiding underneath his armor. Naaman suffered this loathsome disorder that could not be defeated. No matter how many combats he won or how many victories he celebrated. No matter how many awards he received, Naaman still could not overcome his defect because he had leprosy.
Leprosy comes from a root meaning “to become diseased in the skin.” It’s a severe skin disorder. According to Leviticus (ch. 13), the individual who was thought to have leprosy was brought to Aaron the priest, and if his skin was indeed infected, that person would be pronounced unclean. A man pronounced unclean by the priest then began a terrible separation. He would dwell alone; away from the camp (2 King 7:3), which was actually a living death. He was cut off from spiritual fellowship with (Israel) the covenant people, and in a real sense would be without hope and without God in the world. (King James Study Bible, 2013, p. 186).
Leprosy is an example of what sin does. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate that forbidden fruit, they sinned. Sin entered the world. They were immediately UNCLEAN and separated from the Creator, which is why they felt the need to hide. Their sin disconnected their fellowship and intimacy with God, thus feeling hopeless. And for their rebellion, God kicked them out of paradise. Sin divides and separates us from God and leaves us feeling alone, abandoned, and hopeless.
Eventually, you and I will have to deal with our sins. We’re either going to turn to God, ask Him to forgive us and make us clean. Or we’re going to procrastinate until it’s too late. By then, our lives will end, and we’re standing before the judgment throne of God.
ONE OF THE THINGS I LIKE ABOUT NAAMAN
Naaman made no excuses about his illness; instead, he got up and did what he had to do every morning. Every day he had a winning attitude and was committed to his assignment. Naaman did not let his disability, his suffering from the skin disease hinder him from doing his job well. Naaman, the Bible says, was honorable and courageous. He did not allow his afflictions with leprosy scare or hold him back from being great. It didn’t stop him from getting up every day to fulfill his purpose. Leprosy didn’t break his spirit nor beat him down. Naaman got up every morning, determined to accomplish his day… no matter what!
We must be like Naaman, in that regard. No matter what we’re dealing with, we still must have a made-up mind believing that today is a great day! Things may not be going the way we want them to go but thank God because it could be worse. Despite our issues, our flaws or whatever we’re facing, we have to find the strength to say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Ps. 113:1-4). We may have hell on our jobs, low pay, overworked, passed over, taken for granted and not getting the position we applied for. Nevertheless, we must be determined to do our job with excellence and integrity. I know that may be extremely hard to do. No matter what the situation may be, God commands us in Colossians 3:
23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. 25 But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites. (Col. 3:23-24, NLT)
When we read Naaman’s story at the beginning of chapter 5 of 2 Kings, we get the impression that he is a success story. I think he is. Despite this incurable disease, it appears that Naaman is content with his life. He and his wife are prosperous, living their best years and winning without a care in the world. On paper, Naaman is the warrior. He’s a winner! He’s loved and respected by his peers. His king honors him. He’s wealthy and God helps him triumph over his enemies. But like everyone, Naaman wants to be healed. Who wouldn’t? After hearing about the possibility of a cure for leprosy (2 King 5:2-3), Naaman makes his way to Israel to search for the Prophet Elisha to heal him (v. 3). (Next time we’ll talk about their encounter.)
Beloved, for today and as you go through your week, let Naaman’s winning attitude to encourage you to do three things:
Despite life challenges, be committed to get up and do the job God has assigned to you (Prov. 16:3; Lk. 9:62, 2 Tim. 4:7). No matter what, you still win.
Whatever you do work at it with all your heart. Remember, we are serving the Lord (Col. 3:23-25).
Today is the day we deal with that hidden sin. Ask God to reveal that hidden sin or the sin you are unaware of (Jam. 5:15). Ask for forgiveness and allow Him to wipe the slate clean (1 John 1:9; Is. 43:25). Then, recommit your life to Christ and begin walking in freedom with the Savior (Acts 3:19).
My sister, let’s walk in freedom together and impact our world!
It’s Wednesday, Hump Day! Here’s our biblical principle to help us get over the hump.
23 Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others. 24 For we know that we will receive a reward, an inheritance from the Lord, as we serve the Lord Yahweh, the Anointed One! 25 A disciple will be repaid for what he has learned and followed, for God pays no attention to the titles or prestige of men.
Encouraging You to Walk in Freedom! ™
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