Sunday, 13 October 2013

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

Hello All,
Last week we focused on and examined ‘Naaman’s Humility’ (2 Kings 5:8-14).
Today, we will be looking at ‘Naaman’s Resolution’ (2 Kings 5:15-17).
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 Resolution
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

Then he returned to the great prophet with his men
'There is no God in all the earth but in this land
Please accept now this humble gift from your servant'
But Elisha refused to receive the present

After much urging, Elisha did not relent
He refused to take the glory and the present
For it was his God and not him who healed Naaman
He was just God’s appointed prophet and servant

Then Naaman requested for two mule loads of earth
He vowed to forsake other gods which had no worth
And to worship only the LORD God of this land
Who cleansed, healed and redeemed him with his mighty hands 

Like Naaman, do you take pride in your achievements?
Is your identity based on accomplishments?
Do you exalt your talents and abilities?
Are your hopes placed in your intellect and money?

The successes of this life are temporary
Worshipping them would just leave you feeling empty
Cast away your worthless idols and selfish pride
Commit your life to Jesus and in him abide


Points for Reflection:
·         Elisha the great prophet was truly virtuous for he did not take the glory for Naaman’s healing. It was actually very tempting for him to just soak in the praises of men but he chose to honour God.
·         Are you tempted at times to take pride in yourself rather than giving glory to God? What areas of your life do you tend to be proud of?
One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. (Proverbs 29:23)
He [God] leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. (Psalm 25:9)
·         Naaman had been worshipping the gods of his land who could never hear or answer his prayers. For those idols were carved out by the hands of mere men. But he found the one true God who had not only heard and answered his prayers but had made him realized that he is a sovereign God. He forsook all his idols and made a resolution to follow this one true God wholeheartedly. God had not only brought him through a journey of recovery and humility but he ultimately led him to a journey of salvation. What I find most beautiful about this story is not the fact that a leper was healed of leprosy but that a pagan commander came to put his trust in the one true God.
·         Have you put your trust in Jesus Christ? Have you forsaken all your idols to follow him? What are the idols of your heart that you are still clinging on to?
Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. (Jonah 2:8)
The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. (Psalm 135:15-17)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

For I [Apostle Paul] am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)