Leadership: 4 Key Lessons from Naaman

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“So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.”‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭5:9-12‬

The story of Naaman is an amazing one that is full of great key lessons. You can read the full story here.

Naaman, one of the key people in 2 Kings, was the army commander for the Arameans (Syrian army). The bible says that “He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram.” 2 Kings 5:1

This commander that was obviously respected and revered, also had leprosy.

Lesson 1: Every one has a cross to bear

Even blessed as a great leader, Naaman had a disease that was incurable. We sometimes look at our leaders or persons that we perceive have greater blessings than ours and we envy them. But this story in the bible is a reminder that every one has a cross to bear.

You know the issues you may have. Stop envying others. Seek God’s wisdom and be patient… your time will come.

Lesson 2: Look beyond

The Arameans were hostile towards Israel. We know this because the story notes that the young girl who served Naaman’s wife was a captive from Israel.

We saw her compassion in v. 3 “She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

She lost everything when she was taken as a slave. Her home, family, friends and freedom. But her simple act of compassion and forgiveness made a change in the life of her master not only physically but spiritually as well.

When we feel trapped in situations (maybe in your home or your job), the pain or suffering sometimes forces us to maintain within our prison. Sometimes an act of kindness, compassion and love will allow our ‘masters/ controllers’ to not only see the God that we serve but also to start serving HIM.

I can only imagine the way the slave girls life would have changed once Naaman went back home.

Lesson 3: Humble yourself

Not only was the girl young, but she was a slave. Naaman, a great leader of thousands, chose to listen to the advice of one that would not have had much power or status.

He humbled himself.

And he had to humble himself even further when Elisha sent him a message (not deigning to even come and give it himself to this great leader) to dip seven times in the Jordan river (one of the most disgusting rivers… after all, Naaman felt he should have been told to dip in the nicer rivers – Abana and Pharpar). He didn’t want to do it.

But again, he humbled himself.

When things may be below your station/ status, humble yourself, you never know what miracle God has for you on the horizon.

Lesson 4: Look to Christ

Leprosy was a slow progressing, incurable skin disease that in the days of the Old Testament were believed to only be cured by a miracle.

What ‘incurable’ situation do you think you have in your life? What miracle are you waiting for? Are you depending on yourself to fix the problem or other persons?

Look on Christ. Feast your eyes on HIM and call out to HIM. Only God can fix your issue. Stop wasting time with trying to look for help elsewhere!

Food for thought: Proverbs 16:3 tells us to “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans”. Let’s commit our leadership and plans to the Lord.

Prayer: Holy God, compassionate and just. Forgive us when we look to find leadership training elsewhere but your Word. Thank you for the many stories and examples of sound leadership in the bible. May we be guided by stories such as Naaman and seek you first in all of our decisions. We pray for humility, strength, courage and wisdom. In Jesus name. Amen

May God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you.


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