Wednesday, August 15, 2012
NAAMAN & The SERVANT GIRL
Naaman Healed of Leprosy
2 Kings 5:1-19
07222012 9am message video from Community Fellowship Church on Vimeo.
Naaman: (attending to his Garden/Plants while whistling or humming, Naaman realizes that he is no longer alone)
Oh … hello. My wife mentioned that we might have some guests stopping by for a bit. Welcome … to our Garden. Well it is hardly a garden. Honestly, I’m not much of a gardener – never really was – in fact my life today is far different than the life that I once knew.
O where’s my manners? I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Naaman. I am the Commander of the King’s Army in Syria. The King’s Champion. I worked very hard to be a great leader for my men, and gained their respect as a valiant warrior. My men would follow me anywhere – especially into battle because I knew we would be Victorious. I often felt something supernatural was with me as we went into battle, and my army was continually victorious.
So this is my garden. It may be hard for you to see but this plot of dirt is really the primary reason why I come out to this garden. I don’t grow anything in it … But it is very special to me. Would you like to hear the story of how this Dirt came to me and in now in my Garden?
Well … let’s see … yes,
It all started when I was leading a company of my men, and we were given orders to raid a small village in Israel. We followed our battle plan perfectly and completely crushed them. As I rode around the village surveying our grand victory ---
I saw a little girl. I looked into her big brown eyes, - There was something… different about her. Something captivating. She did not shy away but rather look straight into my eyes. I did something a rarely do. I thought of my wife while I was on the battlefield. She so longed for a little girl to be in our home. And so I brought This little girl home to her and she served my wife and family well.
Sometime later, I developed a skin disorder which became progressively worse and turned into Leprosy! I was completely devastated! Do you know about Leprosy? It is a horrible skin disease that damages nerves and skin. It causes sores and terrible deformities that would eventually lead to my death … and the worst part was that there is no cure for leprosy.
I couldn’t believe that it had happened to me. Leprosy? I was the King’s Champion! I was powerful and Strong – a Valliant Warrior, Commander of the Army, a Man of Position and Status.
Leprosy? My life was over!
I was about to lose everything.
· Trust of my King
· Respect of my men
· My Position Status
· rugged Good looks – become this gross hideous thing
· Friendships with the Elite of Society
· Even the relationships with my Wife and Family would never be the same.
There was NO Hope! I went to more doctors than I could count. I tried all kinds of crazy ointments and lotions, but my disease was only getting worse.
I remember the day when we could no longer keep it a secret. My wife was taking it particularly bad – we all were. The little servant girl for Israel was attending to my wife, she cared so deeply for me and my wife and wished that I could go see the prophet who lived in Samaria. She said that God’s prophet could heal me. The very fact that this young servant girl wanted me to be healed was amazing and it revealed the true nature of her heart. Amazing love. It also showed that she wasn’t bitter and full of resentment for what I did to her home. Otherwise, she would have jumped up and down with glee and hoped that I would spread his leprosy to all of Syria. But she was not like that … she was a true servant. She was dedicated to serving her master in any way that she could. Truly a Compassionate little girl.
The truth is…I needed a miracle! There were no other options. None of my gods could cure me. But I was willing to try anything or anyone’s god for that matter. Perhaps this little servant girl’s God could actually heal me? And maybe for the first time, I realized what that “special something” was that that Little Girl’s had. It was strength, courage, Faith in her God. She Cared so deeply for me and my wife.
My wife was astonished at what the little girl said, and wasted no time repeating the servant girl's words to me. A cure had been found.
So I went to the my King and repeated the young girl's message. My king was so eager to get his Champion back that he said “Go Now! And I will write a letter to the King of Israel.”
I took the letter and put together the gifts as payment for the miracle. WE loaded up the Mules camels and chariots with a lot Silver Gold and sets of Clothes. Let’s just say it was a lot! 2-3 million dollars your money today.
Once we had everything packed up … we hit the road. We were going to see the King of Israel. It was quite a caravan. Mule after mule after mule loaded down with gold and silver. Surrounding the mules are the horses and chariots and my men from the King’s army. The king of Syria is not going to take any chances of having an enemy capture all that gold. Behind them are the supply wagons carrying the food and supplies necessary to feed all those men and animals.
WE met with the King of Israel. But it didn’t go so well. The King of Israel read the letter and tore his royal robes. He could not believe what he had just read. He grew more and more angry.
There was obviously no cure for leprosy and the King of Israel was very much aware of that fact. Only God could cure leprosy and the King of Israel was not God. He was convinced that we were trying to provoke a war and kicked us out of the palace.
I remembered what the little servant Girl had said. It was NOT the King but the Prophet of God who could cure me. It wasn’t too long after that that the Prophet Elisha heard what had happened in the King’s thrown room. And He sent word to the King to send us to his house near the River Jordan.
When we arrived, I waited for the prophet to come outside. My expectations were high, and could barely keep it together. What will the prophet do? What will he say? Will he be flashy and glittery with a fancy expensive haircut slicked back like the faith healers back home? Will he put on a show to awe us with his power? The Door started to open. Ready! Lights! Cameras! Action! I could hardly wait.
Elisha never came outside. He sent his messenger. Can you believe that? No show, no spectacle, no prophet, no flowing robes, just a servant. Worse yet, it was a servant with a message to go wash seven times in a muddy Jordan river. The door closed leaving me speechless.
I was in shock and beyond disappointed. I was furious! All I wanted was to be healed, I needed a Miracle! Instead I was accused of wanting to start a war and now I was shown utter disrespect by this prophet. What kind of Prophet is this? Didn’t He know who I WAS!!?!
I remember thinking “How dare Elisha send a servant out to tell me to wash in that filthy river!” What was wrong with the clean rivers back home? I deserved better treatment than that! I deserve to be cured my way!
I completely worked myself into a rage and left Elisha's house. Even the powerless shamans back home at least knew how to put on a good show. I felt cheated. Worse than that I felt defeated, and that was something I didn’t like and wasn't used to feeling.
Why wash seven times in a filthy muddy river when I could get cleaner by just washing once in the waters at home? I thought the whole trip had been a complete waste of time.
I was going Home and in that awkward … Angry … Silence, (have you ever been there?) and I began thinking … about my wife, our little servant Girl and that I was still a Leper … When I heard a voice. It was my closest attendant. He spoke with great clarity. “Master, If the prophet had asked you to do something great, you would have done it, right? So why not do something simple like wash in a muddy river and be cured of your leprosy? What could be easier?” Hmm, he was right.
I took a deep breath and I swallowed my Pride. What did I have to lose? I only had everything to gain. So I decided to trust this Prophet and His God.
When I reached the banks of the river and my men all watched as I humbly got down out of my chariot and waded into the muddy water. God must have been smiling as I began to dip under the water. You know, Something Amazing started to happen,- with each dip in the water my pride, arrogance and anger were literally washing away downstream.
6 times I went into the water and When I came up out of the water on the seventh time, It was GONE! The leprosy was GONE!! I was clean, totally and completely healed. My flesh had been restored like the flesh of a little child. Splashing like a fool! And dragging my men in that wonderful muddy water!
I ran back to the Prophet Elisha's house! What a Glorious Day! What a Wonderful God! I have to admit that I ran right up to Elisha and gave a Big Ol’ Undignified HUG … In front of my men even, boldly proclaimed, “I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel” Then I offered Elisha all the gifts we brought. – Silver, Gold and Clothing! But He wouldn’t take them. Not one coin - Nothing!
We were about ready to load up and head home, when I had an idea. I ask to Elisha, Could I take some dirt? As much as 2 Mules could carry? I wanted it As a reminder of what just happened to me (How God miraculously Healed me in the muddy waters of the Jordan river) but more importantly so that I could have a place at home where I can meet with One True God and worship Him.
So this is it … My plot of Dirt … (Grab a hand full. Smell it!) I come here every day to worship The One God who:
· Used a little Servant Girl and her Huge Faith and to Boldly showed me How Great and Mighty and Awesome He really is.
· Heals in the simplest and most profound ways. From the inside out. I am a different man today.
· Gives Second chances to people like me – Angry, Stubborn, Selfish, Arrogant, people. So that we can experience the true power of Grace, Mercy, and Humility.
This is why this small plot of dirt is so precious to me. It’s where I meet with my God!
Would you Stand and Join me by removing your sandals to worship the One True God on this Sacred Ground?
“Almighty God, maker of Heaven and Earth, hear your humble servant. In Your Mighty Power you used a little servant Girl and an absent prophet to humble this Proud Man. O Lord, I am so grateful that you chose Me. You chose to pour out your love and Grace over me. You changed my life and restored me to LIFE! “
You are Truly a Wonderful GOD!
SING: Wonderful God and You Never Let Go
Come to the Cross:
There is no God in all the earth but the One True God and sent His Son Jesus Christ to this earth to restore you to Life! Is God doing something in your heart? Come to the Cross and meet with God this morning in prayer. There will be people to pray with you and encourage you this morning!
Before Naaman left for Home, Elisha spoke these final Words of blessing, “Go in Peace!”
Now … Go in Peace!