God started this whole journey with mankind by creating us in His image and likeness so that we can think like Him and do things like Him. We are still in God’s image but have lost the likeness in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve went over the line. Consequent upon losing the likeness, we became ignorant of the Heavenly governance and protocol and ultimately the thoughts of God became separate and different from ours. Our judgements became flawed.
Intelligence is no protection and despite wisdom and objectivity, we have developed into people with areas of subjectivity and sentimentality that keep distorting our ways of thinking. Our experiences have not helped and even advice from friends or warnings from experts become an exercise in futility. Something is missing and until we find the missing link, we will always wallow in our foolishness.
Although outside the Garden, we have channelled our commitments to living as though we are still in the Garden of Eden. We have chosen to make life work now rather than look for God because we feel a sense of inadequacy and loss. We have started to use God to fill the emptiness and in fact we want to use him to improve our present standard of living. We have become unaware of the fact that we have a Maker, we have refused to find out what is in the mind of this Maker and we are no more committed to finding His purpose for our lives.
The story of Naaman readily comes to mind as we look deeply into this subject of how God thinks knowing that His thoughts are far above our thoughts and His ways above our ways.
2 Kings 5
Naaman was a man who was second only to King Benhadad. He was the commander of the armies of Benhadad II in the time of Joram, the King of Israel. By the power of Naaman, Syria became the dominant nation of the time. Naaman was not only a great man; he was also honourable; his soldiers had respect for him, even his servants. More significant is the fact that the inspired record says “by him Jehovah had given victory to Syria. In order words he was God-blessed, God-guided and God-used. He was great and highly respected.
The Bible describes him as a mighty man of valour – meaning, in his person he was courageous and strong. He was the kind of person or man who would have been elected to be the president of our day, a minister, a governor et al. He was any man’s dream in all ramifications of the word. He was a leader par excellence, one worth emulating. He became the dream of many men.
Looking at all the tributes, accolades and the great praises said about Naaman, there was a BUT in his life: with all that was said about him, the bible halts the accolades with a “comma” and a “but” and not a “full stop”. He was a Leper.
All that was said about this great man now melts into nothingness and gives a sense of oblivion because his attention would be channelled to how he can get out of being a Leper, delivered from leprosy. Everything he was would mean nothing to him. The fact that he was a great general, the fact that he was courageous, honourable, highly respected and esteemed by his own King and even the fact that God had led him to accomplish great victories is completely muffled and stifled now, because he is soon doomed to die. He is a leper.
There was a little girl who had been captured in one of the many predatory incursions of the Syrians on the northern border of Israel. The little girl was snatched from her home, she witnessed the death of her parents and became a servant to Naaman’s wife. She must have found herself in a difficult situation, being in a foreign land, having to face new people and being exposed to a strange and new language. She didn’t find things easy. Was she captured because of Naaman?
She knew about Naaman’s sickness, the same one that made her what she is now, but her reaction to Naaman is worth giving attention to. Instead of hatred, her reaction to her master’s wife was amazing. She had a right to hate; she had a right to retaliate and instead of thinking “well that’s good for him”, she had a feeling of concern, she had sympathy without resentment, a desire to help and eventually she told them about Elisha. She didn’t have to!!!
Little did Naaman know that what he was looking for was right in his house: the girl was there and I am sure that would be the last person that Naaman would look to for a cure / help; an insignificant slave girl. What can she be good for? God had a different idea and way to restore Naaman. His ways will not always be our ways and His thoughts will always be different from ours. In those days, slaves were not allowed to have access to their masters; all they could do was to carry out tasks assigned to them (Joseph was not allowed to defend himself when he had an allegation against him from Potiphar’s wife because he was an ordinary slave). Slaves were not even allowed to have ideas. What could bring a total cleansing and deliverance to Naaman was so close to him but yet it seemed far from him because he could not see.
How far do we look, sometimes, for solutions we have so much craved for, only to find out that the solutions do not depend on how far we look but on what we look at. Naaman like any other human being would have given up because there was nothing around him that could have proffered a solution to his problem.
This insignificant girl knew she could not advise her master so, she told his wife about Elisha, who in turn told a servant that now told the King. The King wrote a letter to the King of Israel who felt he was being set up for war. One can then say that the words of this insignificant girl has become so viral, that Kings were beginning to speak and take actions about them.
Eventually, Elisha was reached and he sent for Naaman. He gave instructions to Naaman to go wash in the river Jordan seven times, which Naaman struggled with. But eventually, he did go and wash and the Bible records that his skin became like that of a little baby.
At the end of this ordeal, 2Kings 5:1 can then be written as thus:
Now Naaman, captain of the host of the King of Syria was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man of valor. It will stop there making him a complete person without a “BUT” in his life.
Sometimes we might see the people or the things around us as insignificant all because of our limited cognitive ability, but God sees those things differently and as such He (God) can use them for and to His glory.
Nothing should be deemed insignificant around us.