2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c
5:1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy.
5:2 Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife.
5:3 She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
5:7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.”
5:8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.”
5:9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house.
5:10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.”
5:11 But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy!
5:12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage.
5:13 But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”
5:14 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
5:15c Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel.”
Whenever we pray, there are times when we can become a little demanding of God. Naaman wanted so desperately to be healed and yet when given the opportunity do so, He complained about it. The scenario in which God had provided for him through Elijah was not what he had played out in his head. Perhaps it did not make sense, perhaps it demanded more work for his part, or perhaps he just simply did not like this method and wanted a quick, easy healing according to our own plan.
This passage not only focuses on Naaman’s demanding attitude but it also puts God’s awesome and glorious power on display. Here we see the almighty hand of God at work and a miracle taking place that can only be done through God alone. This story of Naaman is to increase our faith that God knows exactly what He’s doing even when we do not understand it and think that we have a better solution. To Naaman it would have been easier if he just suddenly woke up one morning and was healed.
The reason why God allows for us to go through what we might think is an extended process is because He wants to teach us to fully trust in Him. God has never with-held anything good from us. However, He did not promise that the road to get there was going to be easy. Our faith at times needs to be stretched in order to prove that our love for God is genuine. When a hard circumstance arises, our response is what shows that we truly love and trust that God is sovereign and in complete control.
Naaman was not given a very hard task. Even his servants in verse 13 said to him that he was not asked to do a hard thing. He was simply asked to go wash and then he would be made clean. Even in the simplest of circumstances we can find reason to complain. However, we can learn from Naaman’s story that God’s Grace is mercifully not dependent on our actions but on His unconditional love for His children. His love never fails and so should our faith and trust in Him always remain strong.
Two serious lessons can be drawn from this passage. 1) obey God if you want the blessings of the Lord and 2) learn to be humble.
- First, sometimes God will require things of us that seems bit strange. Bathe 7 times? Seems a bit odd. Yet, those instructions brought about healing. Jesus also gave us some difficult commands.
- Love our enemies.
- Give up everything to follow Him.
- Pray for those who abuse you.
- If someone strikes you, turn the other cheek.
- Without humility we cannot follow the commands of God. On of the things that makes it hard to follow Jesus is that we think we know better. Our conventional wisdom makes more sense to us than the words of Jesus, so we go on doing our own thing. But this will lead to death, not life.
The way of Jesus is narrow and few walk it’s path. But only one who can get over themselves and their own glory will be able to walk the path. For, Jesus expects us to leave our own desires at the gate when we enter. Do not be like Naaman who expected the prophet to honor him. Honor goes to the Lord.
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