A Lesson From Naaman
“Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable…also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.”
2 Kings 5:1 (KJV)
Let’s rehearse the story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5: Naaman was a respected, successful Commander of the King of Aram’s army, but he suffered from leprosy. The Israelite maid, who served Naaman’s wife, was concerned about Naaman’s leprosy and suggested that the prophet in Samaria could heal him. Although Naaman was a Commander, he was prepared to listen to the servant girl.
The King of Aram gave the trip his blessing and wrote a letter of introduction for Naaman to take to the King of Israel. Unfortunately, he thought it was a ploy to invade his territory again, but the prophet Elisha intervened and told the King to send Naaman to him.
Naaman and his horses and chariots made their way to Elisha’s house and waited outside the door. As an army Commander, Naaman was used to giving orders and having soldiers respond immediately to his commands, so he would have expected Elisha to be outside the door ready to welcome him, but there was no sign of him. Naaman, the Commander, wasn’t going to knock on Elisha’s door and say, “Excuse me. Is Elisha in? I’m Naaman. He’s expecting me.” He continued to wait and when Elisha eventually sent instructions to Naaman through a messenger to go and wash seven times in the Jordan river to be healed. Naaman lost his temper because he was expecting a big display from the prophet, of hand waving and calling on God for healing. He was ready to abandon the trip and head for home, but Naaman’s officers managed to persuade him to follow Elisha’s instructions of washing in the Jordan river and he was healed of the leprosy.
God was totally involved in Naaman’s healing, but He chose not to show that involvement through powerful displays or mighty acts. He chose to work through the servant girl, Naaman’s wife, two Kings, Elisha, Elisha’s messenger, Naaman’s officers and Naaman himself, by instructing him to wash in the Jordan river.
Naaman nearly lost out on his healing because, initially, he wasn’t prepared to follow simple instructions that came through a messenger. The lesson that we can learn from Naaman is that we should humbly obey God and accept that God does not always do things the way we think it should be done. Proverbs 1:5 tells us “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:” If God decides to help us in a similar way, by working through different people, we should be receptive, not angry, to sound and wise instructions or advice that we might be given.
Father, thank you for the help you give us through other people. In Jesus’ name.
Study by Diana Hall
Worldwide Church of God Southampton
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