My way ∙

My way

So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. – Psalms 78:7

2 Kings 5:1-15

 1 The king of Syria had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the LORD had given Syria great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy.

 2 At this time Syrian raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid.

 3 One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.”

 4 So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said.

 5 “Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Syria told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing.

 6 The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter, I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.”

 7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “This man sends me a leper to heal! Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me.”

 8 But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.”

 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house.

10 But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”

 11 But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the LORD his God and heal me!

 12 . . .. So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.

 13 But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’”

 14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s, and he was healed!

 15 Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.”

Paul Anka wrote the lyrics for “My Way” in 1968. He gave the song to Frank Sinatra, who recorded it on December 30, 1968. It became an instant classic and the signature song for Frank Sinatra. Some lyrics are below.

My Way

And now, the end is near

And so I face the final curtain

My friend, I’ll say it clear

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full

I traveled each and every highway

And more, much more than this, I did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got?

If not himself, then he has naught

To say the things he truly feels

And not the words of one who kneels

The record shows

I took the blows

And did it my way

A word about leprosy. During Old Testament times, leprosy was an incurable disease. Lepers were frequently outcasts and doomed to die ignominious deaths. In Israel, lepers were condemned as unclean and considered untouchable. They were in perpetual lockdown and had to abide by endless social distancing. They had to live in separate locations apart from the communities of the “clean.”

Of course, there were exceptions, Naaman was such an exception. He was the commander of the army of Syria and second in command only to the king, Ben-Hadad II. Through his leadership, the Syrian army won many victories. Naaman had prestige, wealth, and great power and authority. His uniform must have been magnificent, but underneath, his body was blemished with leprosy (2 Kings 5:11).

A young Hebrew woman was captured and became a servant of Naaman’s wife. There are no coincidences in the kingdom of God. The Father was setting the stage for what was to come. She becomes aware of Naaman’s leprosy and knew that Elisha the prophet was the solution. She decided to share. But as a mere servant girl, she was totally lacking in status. She is referred to as a little maiden (na’ara qetanna), Naaman is a great man (‘is gadol). How could she communicate wisely without stirring up a fuss?

Perhaps she simply uttered a sigh and spoke discreetly to her mistress, Naaman’s wife. “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.” Her words were soft. Her suggestion was passed on to Naaman. No doubt Naaman had tried many “cures” without success. Now he was ready and willing to take a chance with the Father’s prophet in Israel. But before Naaman could depart, he had to get permission from the king.

Ben-Hadad, the Syrian king highly valued Naaman. He fully supported Naaman’s attempt to find a cure. He wrote a letter of introduction to the king of Israel. Everything was set and Naaman departed with a large hoard of gold, silver, royal apparel, and bolts of cloth as payment for his expected healing. But there was a slight hitch. Naaman being a proud man, wanted to do it his way.

REFLECT & PRAY

“God does not require us to understand His will, just obey it, even if it seems unreasonable. And obedience always brings blessing” (Stanley).

Father may I be pliable and release my expectations and simply obey You without knowing the why’s. Besides, if I knew why, would it make any difference?

INSIGHT

Naaman arrives in Israel. Elisha sends for him and Naaman comes and stands outside Elisha’s door with his entire entourage. What do you suppose Naaman was expecting? Elisha is initially rather cool towards him. He does not even come out to see him, but rather sends a messenger to him (2 Kings 5:10). Naaman was put off and got upset. Surely, he is thinking something like, “I am a great man and I can pay my own way, and this prophet does not have the common decency to come to the door and talk to me.” Naaman was offended. Due to his anger, he was about to lose all that he came for.

But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. – 2 Kings 5:11-12

Elisha was intentionally provoking him. The Father had already revealed His game plan to Elisha. He knew in advance Naaman’s next move. The Father’s plan was pretty simple and straightforward. Naaman was to learn that the God of Israel is the only true God. Further, Elisha “is a true prophet” (2 Kings 5:8).

This becomes a teachable moment for us as well. We often come to the Father with our own expectations. We want to set the agenda. The Father is not bound by human expectations. When people’s expectations are not met, they get angry. They take their ball and go home. But fortunately, Naaman had some wise and loyal advisors.

2 Kings 5:13-14

 13 But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’”

 14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s, and he was healed!

“We sometimes want God to make a great show of His work; He usually prefers to do His work quietly and without a lot of fanfare. Yet it is His work nonetheless” (Stanley).

Name got healed but more importantly, Naaman got the message.

2 Kings 5:15 “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.”

¯\_()_/¯ 12-27-18

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