Private Self vs. Public Self (2 Kings 5:1-19)

We are very happy to welcome back our Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Wing So. He will be preaching once a month in 2014 on the 4th Sundays of the month. This past Sunday he shared with us the story of Naaman and Elijah in 2 Kings 5:1-19. naaman1

Previously, bands of raiders had taken captive a young Israelite girl who became a servant of Naaman's wife. When this nameless servant girl heard of Naaman's leprosy, she knew that a prophet of God could cure him.

So Naaman did things the way the world would. He used his connections to get the king of Aram to send a letter to the king of Israel. He brought a huge sum of  money and possessions to pay for his healing.

But this isn't the way God was going to work. When the king of Israel read the letter sent by the king of Aram, he was distraught. The king of Israel knew that he didn't have the power to heal Naaman. The prophet of God, Elisha, saves the day by telling the king to send Naaman to him.

When Naaman arrives, Elisha doesn't even go to see him personally instead he sends a message: "Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed." (2 Kings 5:10).

Here again is a great paradox. Naaman is expecting Elisha to come out personally and do a mighty act of healing. But instead, he is told to wash himself in the muddy waters of the Jordan.

At first, Naaman is insulted and his pride is wounded. But his servants convince him to give it a try. And the seventh time he came out of the water, his flesh was restored. This was a dramatic transformation! Naaman makes a proclamation of faith, "Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel." (2 Kings 5:15)

This Christmas season shows us the great paradox of the ways of God. He sent us a King and Savior to rescue us, but He came humbly, born in a manger and died on a cross. But in Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection, the power of God was truly shown.

How may God's paradox be working in your life? 2 Corinthians 12:10 reminds us "For when I am weak, then I am strong." In this season may we be transformed by the wondrous power of God.