04 Aug Recap | Miracles of the Old Testament | Naaman’s Leprosy
In 2 Kings 5 we see that Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army, was an extremely wealthy, influential, and important man; but, he was also slowly dying from leprosy. So when a servant girl in his home, captured in a Syrian raid on Israel, spoke of a prophet in Samaria who could cure Naaman from leprosy, he immediately prepared for travel. Naaman took with him vast amounts of gold and silver, ten changes of clothing, and a letter from the king of Syria demanding that he be cured. But when Naaman arrived in Israel and presented the letter, the king tore his clothes in anguish, sure that Syria was seeking quarrel with him by asking him to perform a task only God could accomplish.
When Elisha the man of God heard of the king’s actions, he sent for Naaman, and in all his pomp and circumstance, Naaman traveled to Elisha’s door. Yet, instead of being met by the man of God himself, a servant was sent to the door and instructed Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan River. Despite the good news he received, the Syrian commander was infuriated by the lack of ceremony he received and stormed away. It wasn’t until a servant gently prodded Naaman to wash in the river that he relented, and he was cured of his leprosy. Then he returned to Elisha and proclaimed his faith in the God of Israel.
Naaman set out from Syria with the intent to leverage his power, wealth, and prestige to save his own life. Like Naaman, we too barter with God in the hopes that He will return our good works with His good favor. We let ourselves believe that things like money, location, security, status, reputation, title, power, authority, and influence can keep our own little world running. Yet, the reality is that none of these things were able to deliver Naaman from worry or fear or death. And none of them will be able to deliver us either.
When Naaman travels to Israel, he takes comfort in his status and the spectacle of his arrival. And when he is not met with the kind of welcome he feels he deserves from Elisha, his pride is almost the source of his defeat. Rather than accept the good news that he can be healed, Naaman is horrified at the thought of bathing in the filthy Jordan River. He is faced with three choices: he can die from leprosy, he can choose to look elsewhere for help, or he can humble himself and accept the healing that is offered to him.
The account of Naaman begins and ends with faith. In the beginning, it is the simple faith of a servant girl, whose life was left in ruins after she was captured from her home and separated from her family, that first offers hope to Naaman. Though this leper was responsible for her terrible situation, she looks past her own suffering to reach out to him in sympathy. In the end, Naaman is able to find faith in the God of Israel by humbling himself and accepting healing.
“While true forgiveness is free to the recipient, it is always very costly to the one that gives it. The forgiver bears the scars.” The little slave girl in Naaman’s house bore the scars of forgiving the Syrian commander. And she points toward the Great Suffering Servant who bears the scars of our forgiveness. “Only He can absorb the sickness we all have.” We all face the same choice that Naaman had. We can die with a diseased heart, we can look to some other source to try to get us through, or we can humble ourselves and accept Jesus’ healing.
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Worship Songs from the Weekend
- Love Shines: 1 Corinthians 12:4-8, Matthew 27:45-46, 1 Corinthians 15:54-57, 1 John 4:8-9
- Whole Again: John 6:53-54, Mark 14:24, Ephesians 1:7, 1 John 1:7
- Only the Blood: John 6:53-54, Mark 14:24, Ephesians 1:7, 1 John 1:7
- Came to My Rescue: Psalm 17:6, Psalm 81:7
- Seas of Crimson: Isaiah 53:4-5, Matthew 26:28, Revelation 12:11
- You Never Fail: Psalm 73:26, Psalm 27:1, 2 Samuel 7:22