Good News Welcomed

Scripture: 2 Kings 5:1, 9-17

Goods News Welcomed

From death to life. That was what the cleansing of Naaman’s skin disease was like. 2 Kings 5 invites us to consider Naaman, a mighty commander of a foreign army. He likely would have been on the cover of magazines as a rising star and leader among his people. All of life seemed like his for the taking. Except he had this skin disease. This disease which would have made his body look more like it was passing to death then rising to life. It was a tragic pronouncement to an otherwise promising life.

Yet Naaman hears from an Israeli servant girl his people captured that there is hope for cleansing through a Hebrew prophet. The commander and the people he represents are at odds with the Hebrews. Tensions run high. It might have been akin to a North Korean official going to South Korea for a special surgery.
The king of Aram and the king of Israel both miss that the Divine cleansing offered comes through the prophet Elisha, not through political maneuvering or financial negotiating. These leaders of power seemingly only understand hope through power, and the machinations and institutions they have set up to secure it.

Eventually, Elisha is visited and Naaman, though initially reluctant, surrenders to the nonsensical directions given to him by the prophet Elisha. Naaman is also a man of power, and cannot initially see God’s Power being offered through such weak and unconventional means. It is here again, that the decisive help comes from servants. Naaman’s servants help him to see Divine strength offered through weakness, and God’s power in seemingly powerlessness. All that is left for Naaman to do, is to humbly surrender himself.

It would seem certain messages are better seen and spoken from those who have the eyes to see hope in hopelessness and God at work where others cannot. Such was the characteristic of Naaman’s servants in this story. Not all servants show such selflessness. Beyond our story is an example of how Elisha’s own servant began to see God as a means to gain conventional power.

This whole story is an example of finding God and responsiveness to god at work in strange places. The king of Israel does not see God at work nor does Elisha’s servant. It is the foreign commander and his servants who open their lives up to welcoming this good news.

Christopher Mack