Sunday, 6 October 2013

Counterfeit Gods: Part 5 - The Seduction of Success: Naaman’s Humility

Hello All,
Last week we focused on and examined ‘Naaman’s Pride’ (2 Kings 5:1-7).
Today, we will be looking at ‘Naaman’s Humility’ (2 Kings 5:8-14).
The part of the poem that we will be emphasizing on today is highlighted in blue.

Counterfeit Gods: Part 5 - The Seduction of Success: Naaman’s Humility
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (18th July 2013)

There once was a man named Naaman, the commander
Of the army of Syria who found great favour
With his master for he was a man of valour
Who won many battles but he was a leper

He could not rejoice or bask in his achievements
For his disease found no cure in any treatments
His body was wasting away as time went by
He was like a walking dead man who would soon die

Naaman's wife had a little slave girl who was captured
During a raid in Israel and placed under her
The girl's compassion for her enemy was pure
She told Naaman's wife about a potential cure

'There is a mighty prophet of God from my land
Who could heal my Lord's leprosy with healing hands'
Naaman eagerly made this known to his master
'Go now and I'll send to Israel's king a letter'

So Naaman brought gifts of clothing, gold and silver
And he delivered them with his master's letter
To the king of Israel as goodwill offerings
In exchange for Naaman's miraculous healing

The king of Israel received and read the letter
He tore his robes in despair for he couldn't offer
Miraculous healing for Naaman's leprosy
So he viewed this as a threat from his enemy

Elisha heard of the king's great predicament
He passed a message to the king through his servant
'Why do you tear your clothes, why does your courage fail?
Let him come now to me, a prophet of Israel'

With his horses and chariots, Naaman came swiftly
He reached the prophet's house with great expectancies
But instead of Elisha it was his servant
Who met him at the door, the prophet was absent

'Go and wash seven times in the Jordan River
Then your flesh shall be restored, you shall recover
And you shall be clean' the servant passed the message
To Naaman who went away from the house in rage

'Behold, I thought that the prophet would come to me
And call upon his God to cure me instantly!
Are not the rivers of Damascus better than
All the waters and seas of this Israelite land?!'

But Naaman's servants urged him to reconsider
The great healing that Elisha had to offer
'The prophet has spoken a mighty word, my Lord,
'Wash and be clean', so that your illness may be cured'

So he dipped himself seven times in the river
His flesh was restored, he had never felt better
His flesh had become like that of a little child
For the first time in so long, he finally smiled


Points for Reflection:
·         Naaman’s pride was badly bruised. He expected Elisha, the prophet of Israel, to personally meet him at the door and heal him but Elisha passed his message through his servant. To further add salt to his hurting ego, the message conveyed by the servant was a humiliating one for a man of standing. It was embarrassing for a great commander to perform a simple and seemingly foolish act of dipping himself seven times in the Jordan River. At this point of the story, I used to scold Naaman for being such a proud fool by pushing away such a good healing opportunity. But I realized that pride actually makes us do foolish things and there are times when I am guilty of that.
·         Have you been subconsciously feeding on your pride and ego? How could you learn humility from our Lord Jesus Christ?
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)
·         But God was kind and merciful to Naaman for he used his own servants to persuade him to change his mind. Naaman listened to the good advice of his men and humbled himself by washing himself in the Jordan River.
·         Could you recall the times when the wise counsel of people has prevented you from acting foolishly? Why don’t you take some time thanking God for such people?
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. (Proverbs 19:20-21)
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14)
·         God had not only brought him on a journey to recovery but a journey of humility. This incident made Naaman realize that his healing had to be done on God’s terms and not his. He realized that he did not have as much control as he thought had but God was fully in control of everything.
·         How could you be more dependent on God than on yourself?

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you (1 Peter 5:6)