It was some weeks ago, but man it had been a week for bombshells. One of America’s most revered military leaders, and then the head of the super-secret CIA, resigned because of an admitted affair. For all the secrets of his agency, his personal secret exploded into headlines around the world.
I just groaned when I heard about the sordid revelations. Well, sadly, it doesn’t take me long to remember other “generals” whose secrets have blown their world apart, including high-powered politicians and you know, sadly, even preachers. With the scandal spotlight turned on military leaders, my mind raced to another general who had a dark secret. And even though his exploits were in a different time, his story is the story of too many of us guys.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Generals With Secrets.”
Now, according to the Biblical history in our word for today from the Word of God, 2 Kings 5:1, Naaman was a “commander of the army” of the king of Syria. A “great man and highly regarded…a valiant soldier.” But Naaman was a general with a secret; something that, in spite of all his conquests, he could not conquer. Like most men’s secrets: Whether it’s an addiction, or an affair, a collapsing marriage, a raging temper, a pattern of deceit, or that ticking emotional time bomb just behind all their smiles and their bravado.
Well, for General Naaman, it was a killer disease – leprosy; that medical monster that eats away fingers and feet and faces, and ultimately life itself. I can only imagine the general’s disbelief the morning he saw that first telltale spot as he bathed. The man who had won so many victories was powerless against this one. That’s a feeling many of us men know when we face our inner monster.
Well, General Naaman organized a convoy to accompany him to seek out a prophet in Israel who reportedly could help. Of course, champions don’t go to country preachers. Oh, no! Naaman went to the king! Who responded, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life?” So General Naaman had no choice but to lead his whole convoy out to the “boonies” where the prophet Elisha lived.
Now, he tried to buy a cure with the fortune he brought with him, but no deal. Elisha was a prophet who had a non-profit ministry. And the prescription he gave this military icon infuriated him. Like most guys, Naaman wanted to do something big to solve his problem. But the prophet told him to go dunk himself seven times in the dirty, stinkin’ Jordan River. And even though Naaman was dying from his disease, his reply was simple, “Ain’t gonna happen, Rev.!”
Naaman’s servants convinced him to give it a try, and what a scene it must have been. One of the Middle East’s greatest and proudest, stripped down, holding his nose, walking into a repulsively muddy river. Strange thing about God; He doesn’t heal the proud. He heals us when we finally humble ourselves and do it His way.
And the Bible reports the outcome: “So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times…and his flesh was restored and it became clean like that of a young man.” And General Naaman announced for all to hear, “I will never again make sacrifices to any other god but the Lord.” Wow!
You know, for so many “generals” – “make it happen” guys like me and you maybe – the problem isn’t leprosy. It’s cancer. Spiritual cancer. That’s what drives all the dark things that we hate, but we still do. Things that hurt the people we love – the searing words, the anger; the marital betrayal. Secret or not, our “disease” is no secret to us, and it’s no secret to God.
But, thank God, Jesus tells us where to find the cure. And he tells us that God saves us “not by works so no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:9). So much for my pride. He points, not to a dirty river, but a bloody cross where Jesus “carried our sins in His body” and “freed us from our sins by His blood” (1 Peter 2:24, Revelation 1:5). That can happen for you today if you are willing to say, “Jesus, I cannot save myself. I’m coming to You. I’m asking you right now to be my Savior from my sin.”
If you go to our website you’ll find out how to begin this relationship for sure. It’s ANewStory.com. This is the day the man you have been becomes a new creation in Christ.