“Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant solider … ” 2 Kings 5:1 Naaman, was commander of the Syrian army; you could say, Naaman was a man who had everything: riches, prestige, power, and the king’s favor … It’s interesting to note, that the author of 2 Kings, tells us something that neither Naaman or his king knew: Naaman was indeed a valiant solider, but his success on his military victories were a result of God’s plan and Sovereignty:Naaman’s successful victories were God’s judgment on Israel, because of their sin. Israel was worshiping other “gods,” therefore, God was letting her enemies attack her. (Deuteronomy 28).
“But he had leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:1 Leprosy is a disease that slowly eats away at your skin and flesh…your skin turns white and has loose scurfy scales. There is no cure for leprosy, eventually you die. According to the Law in Leviticus, lepers couldn’t have any contact with others. In Syria it wasn’t that way. As gentiles, they didn’t observe or keep the Jewish Law. Therefore, even though Naaman was a leper, he continued to be the commander of the king’s army. But, slowly his skin was deteriorating…it was just a matter of time, until he died.
“Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife.” 2 Kings 5:2 The Syrians would raid Israel, and capture their men, women, and children and either sell them, or make them their slaves. It was precisely in one of those raids, that we “meet” a young, Jewish girl. She was taken captive and she served Naaman’s wife: “She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:3 It’s interesting, that we are not given this Jewish girl’s name, but her story is written in the Bible as a guide and inspiration to all of us; to put into practice our faith, wherever we find ourselves. In Psalms 105, we are given a glimpse of how Joseph was taken captive: “Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons … ” Psalms105:17,18 Maybe, this young Jewish girl, was treated the same way. We can only imagine the fear and loneliness that she had to endure, but: she shined her light!
It would have been so easy for her to think: “He deserves what he’s going through! He’s the enemy of my people! I was snatched away from my parents, and now I’m a slave!” It’s also incredible, that she doesn’t try to strike up a deal with Naaman: “Give me my freedom, and I’ll tell you how you can be cured.” No, she desires the best for her “master.” Her faith is incredible…she has FAITH that if Naaman goes to see the Prophet Elisha, he will be healed. She doesn’t say: “well, maybe, you’ll be healed.” NO! Healed! Now, was it a coincidence that this young captive girl wound up in Naaman’s house? No! God used the Syrians, that captured this young girl from her home, to take her to Naaman’s house, so that Naaman wouldknow the God of this young girl!
“Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said.” 2 Kings 5:4I want us to look at something very important: the fact that Naaman believed this young Jewish girl, that there was a prophet in Israel that could heal him and he’s going to see him: he’s admitting that his “gods” can NOT heal him! “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied . I will send a letter to the king of Israel … ” 2 Kings 5:5 How does a commander of the Syrian army, enemy of Israel, ask an Israeli prophet to heal him? The Syrians had attacked Israel, taking prisoners. How then, can he go to Israel and ask for help? To avoid “diplomatic problems” between Syria and Israel, he goes to his king, and asks permission to go to Israel. The king encourages him to go. The king also recognizes that his“gods” cannot heal Naaman.
“ … So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing.” 2 Kings 5:5 We get the impression that he’s trying to “buy” his healing. The Jewish girl, never mentioned money, or that his healing could be bought. She said the prophet could heal him…never mentioned healing him for a price. The king sends a letter to the king of Israel: “The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:6 How do you think the king of Israel is going to respond?…
“As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.” 2 Kings 5:7 The king of Israel didn’t particular care for the king of Syria’s letter. He thinks the king of Syria is trying to start a war with him, because, how can he cure leprosy? “Am I God”? …it’s interesting to note, that the king of Israel, knows that for someone to be healed from leprosy: it has to be God to heal him! It’s sad topoint out, that instead of using Naaman’s illness, to show God’s power, he’s only thinking of the possibility of war.
“When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 2 Kings 5:8 If Elisha hadn’t send a message to the king, Naaman would have returned to Syria a leper. We see God’s hand: God not only wants to heal Naaman from his leprosy, but also his heart and relationship with Him: “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.” 2 Kings 5:9-10 It must have been spectacular Naaman arriving at Elisha’s house with his horses and chariots, a man of prestige and power however, … the one that wasn’t impressed was the Prophet Elisha. Because he didn’t even bother to come out and greet him. He simply sent a servant to tell him to go to the Jordan River and wash himself 7 times, with the promise: that his flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.
Now, why didn’t the Prophet Elisha come out and heal him? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but maybe because: 1) The Mosaic Law prohibited Elisha from having any contact with anyone who had leprosy. See Leviticus 13. 2) Could be, Elisha was trying to teach him humility. Naaman arrives with lots of money, horses, chariots, and his servants. Arrives like a VIP! Expecting Elisha to personally come out and greet him, as the commander of the Syrian army … and, only a servant talks to him. 3) By not coming out, Elisha is showing Naaman that the power belongs to God, only Him. Elishawants there to be no doubt, that it was God who was going to heal him. God uses a Jewish girl to get Naaman to Elisha’s house, and now He uses Elisha, telling Naaman what he has to do to be cured; but the power of his healing, belongs to God…not to Elisha.
“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.” 2 Kings 5:11 Naaman left angry, because he expected Elisha to at least come outside and cure him. Naaman comes from a pagan country, where his “prophets” made quite a spectacle when they healed the sick. According to the Bible Commentaries, they raised their hands in the air, and shouted for the sick to be healed. And … Elisha simply tells him to go wash himself in the Jordan River 7 times … no “show” whatsoever, like Naaman was used to. Elisha’s solution, was way to easy for Naaman: to wash himself seven times in the Jordan and he will be healed.
I want us to look carefully at this verse: Naaman has his ideas how he should be cured. “I thought” the prophet would come out and receive me personally … remember, he’s the commander of the Syrian army and a friend of his king. He’s used to being “fussed over” and Elisha didn’t even “give him the time of day!” Why? Because Elisha wants to teach him, that his healing doesn’t revolve around him; it revolves around God! Can we identify with Naaman? Many times we think the way Naaman did: I think…” instead of waiting and trusting on God’s will, and let Him do things His way, not the way we think they should be done…
“Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?…” 2 Kings 5:12 Again, he wants to do things, HIS way, not God’s way or Elisha’s way: “So he turned and went off in a rage. Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, “Wash and be cleaned!” 2 Kings 5:12,13 …aha, Naaman’s pride. Furious, he wants to return to Syria, instead of obeying the Prophet Elisha. But, his servants convince him to obey Elisha and wash himself in the Jordan: “if the Prophet had told you do something great, you’d do it” then obey him and go and wash yourself and be cleansed.” They have faith, that if he obeys Elisha … he will be cleansed.
“So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” 2 Kings 5:14 Naaman obeys and he dipped himself in the Jordan. I can imagine, Naaman dipping once … and still have leprosy. Dipping 2,3,4,5,6 times and nothing. But when he dipped 7 times…he washealed! Brethren, his skin was clean like that of a young boy. Did the Jordan River have some magical powers? NO! Naaman needed to humble himself and obey to be cured. Because Naaman not only had to be healed from his leprosy, but his heart also had to be healed. His pride wouldn’t allow him to obey Elisha, he was furious and ready to go back home, but once he obeyed, God healed him. Naaman realized, that his healing didn’t revolve around him…but in God!
“Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all of theworld except in Israel … ” 2 Kings 5:15 When Naaman goes back to Elisha’s house – he’s a changed man! He doesn’t return, prideful, rather humble, thankful and recognizing that there is no God in all of the worldexcept in Israel: “ …Please accept now a gift from your servant. The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing. And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.” 2 Kings5:16 With a grateful heart, Naaman wants to give Elisha a gift, his way of saying, thank you! for what God had done in his life. But Elisha says no. Why? I think, because Elisha wanted Naaman to know: that God’s salvation and healing are free, they can’t be bought.
“If you will not, said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to anyother god but the Lord.” 2 Kings 5:17 Naaman is a changed man! Before he didn’t want to wash in the Jordan River, because the waters of Damascus, were better than any of the waters of Israel, and now he wants to take dirt from Israel. The Bible Commentaries say: he wants to take dirt because God’s presence was in Israel, so how could he worship God in Syria? His solution was to take Israeli dirt with him. We also see a change in his heart: in his country, they worshiped many “gods,” but he knows that only the God in Israel is worthy of his adoration, and he doesn’t want to make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord.
“But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I bow there also-when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for his.” 2 Lings 5:18 He asks God to forgive him, when he has to bow to other “gods” because of his obligation to the king. What a testimony for the Isralites. They started worshiping idols instead of the one true God. And this gentile, knows it’s a sin to bow down to any other “god” that isn’t the God of Israel: “Those who cling to worthless idols, forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” Jonah 2:8 …that’s why the Syrians and other nations were attacking Israel, and taking them captives. Because of their disobedience.
It all started with the faith of a young Jewish girl, who said: “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” Naaman went, but he wanted to do things his way. It wasn’t until he obeyed, that he was healed, and that’s when he knew that his “gods” weren’t worthy of his adoration: only God. Naaman was healed of leprosy, and, he found God … and just like God touched and healed Naaman’s life, He’ll do the same for us. We don’t have to go to the Jordan River, we simply have to go to Jesus Christ, and ask Him to forgive us of our sins, and we too can be healed and cleansed like Naaman. Jesus died on the cross for your sins and mine. His blood cleanses us from our sins … Naaman’s servants encouraged Naaman to obey Elisha … I too would encourage you to obey God’s Word, that says that there is no salvation, except through Jesus Christ: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Who gave himself as a ransom for all men…” 1 Timothy2:5,6 Then, you’ll be able to say: I know that there is no other God in the whole world…
…If you would like to talk or know more abut Jesus, and his gift of salvation, contact either me, or my husband Steve. We would be happy to talk to you.