Doing our part
1Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. 2Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. 3She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” 5And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”
So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”
8But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” 11But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. – 2 Kings 5:1-14
Naaman was the commander of Syria’s (Aram’s) army and well regarded as a military man, but he had leprosy. His Israelite servant girl suggested he go to Elisha to be healed. Naaman left for Israel, taking a large gift with him and a letter from Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, asking the king of Israel to heal Naaman (2 Kings 5:1–6). The king of Israel’s reaction was panic—how could anyone heal leprosy? The king of Israel thought Ben-hadad was trying to start a fight (2 Kings 5:7).
When the prophet Elisha heard of the king’s distress, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel” (2 Kings 5:8). Naaman then came to Elisha’s house with his chariots, gifts, and servants.
Elisha did not even come out to greet Naaman. Instead, he sent a message to wash in the Jordan River seven times to be healed.
11But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. – 2 Kings 5:11-12 ESV
Can you share about a time when you thought you were engaged and expectant of something, but only let down? Worse yet, let down by a respectful person or even the church or a family member?
What were your emotions? What was your attitude? What was the outcome?
What could have been done to prevent or alter the whole situation?
There is a clear contrast between the faith of the young servant girl, who knew of Elisha and believed in his power; and the distress of Israel’s king, who did not even think of Elisha and fretted over his own lack of power.
There is also another contrast between the arrogance of Naaman and the lowliness of Elisha. Naaman came to be healed carrying rich gifts in fine chariots; Elisha had no such finery, just the power of God. Naaman’s pride was almost his undoing: too proud and stubborn to follow the prophet’s simple instructions, he almost bypassed the blessing that God had in store. We, too, should obey the Word of God, even when God’s way does not make sense to us.
Has there been times when God has called you to do something that did not make sense? How did the situation transpire? What was the outcome?
Motivation to serve
Also, those who serve God do not do so for financial gain but out of love and simple obedience to the Lord. Elisha refused the princely gift offered to him. God is a giver, not a taker, and His gifts cannot be bought. Naaman’s healing from leprosy is a wonderful picture of our salvation from sin—freely bestowed by the grace of God in response to faith.
8God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. – Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT
Let us go out this week in awe and wonder. Many times we will have an idea of what may occur or some general idea what would be good, but let us not limit our God. When we get derailed because we are doing something that does not seem logical, or seems like the hard way, let us remember… it is not “our way” we should be following, but “his way”!
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.