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Naaman in Israel
Bible Passage 2 Kings 5:1-15
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & books 2 Kings, Genesis, Luke.

Naaman in Israel

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached February 3, 2023

SCRIPTURE 📖
1 Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man in the opinion of his master. He was highly favored, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. Though he was a mighty and valiant man, he was suffering from leprosy.

2 On one of their raids to the territory of Israel, Aram had taken captive a young girl when she was an infant, who had eventually become an attendant to Naaman’s wife.

3 She mentioned to her mistress, “If only my master were to visit the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

4 Later, Naaman went to inform his master and told him something like this: “Thus and so spoke the young woman from the territory of Israel.”

5 The king of Aram replied, “Go now, and I’ll send a letter to the king of Israel.” So he left and took with him ten talents of silver and 6,000 units of gold, along with ten sets of clothing.

6 He also brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read as follows: “…and now as this letter finds its way to you, look! I’ve sent my servant Naaman to you so you may heal him of his leprosy.”

7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he ripped his clothes and cried out, “Am I God? Can I kill and give life? Is this man sending me a request to heal a man’s leprosy? Let’s think about this—he’s looking for a reason to start a fight with me!”

8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king and asked, “Why did you tear your clothes? Please, let the man come visit me and he will learn that there is a prophet in Israel!”

9 So Naaman arrived with his horses and chariots and stood in front of the door to Elisha’s house.

10 Elisha sent a messenger out to him, who told him, “Go bathe in the Jordan River seven times. Your flesh will be restored for you. Now stay clean!”

11 But Naaman flew into a rage and left, telling himself, “Look! I thought ‘He’s surely going to come out to me, stand still, call out in the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the infection, and cure the leprosy!’

12 Aren’t the Abana and Pharpar rivers in Damascus better than all of the water in Israel? Couldn’t I just bathe in them and become clean?” So he turned away and left, filled with anger.

13 But then his servants approached him and spoke with him. They said, “My father, had the prophet only asked of you something great, you would have done it, wouldn’t you? Yet he told you, ‘Bathe, and be clean…!’”

14 So he went down and plunged himself into the Jordan River seven times, just as the man of God had said, and his flesh rejuvenated like the flesh of a newborn child. And he was clean.

15 Naaman went back to the man of God, along with his entire entourage, and stood before him. “Please look!” he said. “I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel! So please, take a present from your servant.”

BACKGROUND
Syria (Aram) was Israel’s most powerful neighbour during Elisha’s lifetime and was a constant source of trouble around Israel’s borders. When the Syrian army commander Naaman approached the king of Israel with a request to be treated for leprosy, the king of Israel interpreted this as a trick by Syria aimed at creating war.

Naaman was an important man who led a powerful army and had success in many battles. The king of Syria had benefited greatly from Naaman’s skill. But the author is careful to remind us that Naaman’s success was not merely the result of human effort. Naaman was successful because the Lord gave him that success. At that time, Naaman did not know the Lord, but the Lord was using him to bring about his (the Lord’s) purposes.

The great success of Naaman in battle could not keep him in good health. He had leprosy. Probably he had paid doctors and priests and magicians to cure him but they all had no success. Naaman was still ill and desperate to find someone who could cure him.

The girl in verse 3 was one of the people whom Naaman’s soldiers had taken from Israel. She was just a slave in a foreign country. But like Joseph (Genesis chapter 39), she carried out her duties in a responsible manner. So she became a maid for Naaman’s wife. And, like Joseph, she did not forget God. She told Naaman’s wife about the prophet Elisha. And the girl had faith that God would use Elisha to cure her master.

Naaman and his wife agreed and Naaman obtained permission from the king. The king of Syria wrote a letter to the king of Israel that Naaman carried along.

When Naaman produced the letter, the king of Israel was in a desperate state. He thought that the king of Syria was trying to start a war. The king of Israel had no power over what God did. The king of Israel did not even worship the real God. So it was clearly impossible for the king of *Israel to help Naaman. But the king of Syria would be very angry if the king of Israel refused to help Naaman. So the king of Israel tore his clothes. People used to do that when they felt very sad or desperate about something.

Elisha, however, saw it as an opportunity to reveal God’s power to the military commander whom God was preserving to lead Syria against Israel.

Naaman’s knowledge of the one true God was still imperfect, but at least he had a more sincere faith than many of the Israelites ( compare Luke 4:27).

Naaman expected that Elisha would show his power. He thought that Elisha would cure him in public. Naaman thought that he deserved a great ceremony. He intended to pay well for it. He was a proud man who commanded a great army. So he wanted Elisha to give him honour.

Elisha was dealing with Naaman’s proud attitude. Naaman could give commands to his soldiers and servants. But nobody can give orders to God. God only accepts people who are humble. So in order to become well, Naaman would have to obey a mere servant. He would have to bathe in a river that seemed unimportant to him. He would have to wash 7 times. The Bible often uses the number 7 as a word picture of something that is complete. So Naaman would have to be completely humble in front of God. And if Naaman was completely humble, God would cure him.

Elisha had refused payment for the healing, as he was God’s servant, not a wonder worker looking for money (see v. 15). But most of the prophets lived in poverty, and Gehazi could not resist the temptation to seek some financial benefit from the miracle.

 

LESSONS✍🏽
🔷 God still uses people who don’t know Him and grants them success for a reason

🔷 The God of Israel requires great humility and simplicity in order to

🔷 Our hunger and poverty should never make us yell for things that do not belong to us

PRAYER POINTS🙏🏽
💥 Pray that you’re able to obey the instructions of God
💥 Ask for God’s healing power to visit you

CONCLUSION📙
The ways and plans of God are mysterious to human beings. When we obey His instructions and His word, He will deal with our problems and help us in all.
AMEN

In series Bright Morning Reflections