Wonder of God Meditations 13: Serves him right!
2 Kings 5:1c“He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.”
Following up on yesterday’s study, we said God uses bad people – but that doesn’t mean He approves them. For example Peter on the day of Pentecost preached about Jesus, “This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” (Acts 2:23) Evil mankind killed Jesus and needed to repent!!! Wrong people need to repent; they ARE wrong. And now we have a godless, pagan army commander who is against Israel and has been pillaging them.
So, OK, he was brave as well as tough, but he’s still the enemy of Israel (and therefore God) who takes slaves. We don’t feel nicely today towards people who make others their slaves. So he’s got leprosy, big deal, serves him right! Yes… well …. Satan turns up in heaven and demeans us (Job 1:11), sees us when we’re not our best and rightly accuses us (Zech 3:1,3). Just like we might do with Naaman or anyone like him, anyone who might cross our path who is highly questionable and who might receive the title, scumbag! After all the Lord hates sin doesn’t He! (Psa 11:1, Prov 6:16-) So illnesses come, it’s a fallen world, he deserves it! Fortunately for you and me that’s not how the Lord sees it; he’s out looking to seek and save the lost, that’s how we got here!
Ow! There’s a clash of kingdoms here and I don’t mean Israel and Aram, I mean the kingdom of God and the dominion of darkness. Hearing someone is suffering – or has just got it wrong in life – somehow brings out the worst in us, we want to go on a blame binge. The disciples did it with a blind man (see Jn 9:1-), James and John did it over someone who didn’t seem to be with them (Lk 9:54), the Pharisees did it continually in respect of the whole underclass of their society (Mt 9:10,11), and a Pharisee named Saul did it in respect of the embryonic Christian church (Acts 9:1).
There is a difficult path to follow when you seek to be righteous in our own life when you come across such people who are suffering apparently from sin or have just got it wrong in life, a path that on one side SHOULD say, “This behaviour is wrong,” but on the other should say it wrapped up in love, grace and mercy that looks for the best for that person and prays for them (Mt 5:44). So, here we are dissecting this brutal army commander. Is the leprosy he now has a judgement of God on him for attacking God’s people? We aren’t told and in heaven, I suspect, the attitude was the same one Jesus expressed on earth: “this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (Jn 9:3) We should bear this in mind.