“Naaman's servants went to him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, “Wash and be cleansed” '!" - 2 Kings 5:13 Naaman was a powerful man, the commander of the king’s army in Syria. He was honorable, respected, powerful and looked upon as a man of valor. “But,” the Old Testament narrative says, “he was a leper.”
Leprosy was a dreaded, contagious, and incurable disease whose victims became social outcasts and suffered disfigurement and death.
It is often used as an allegory for sin in the Old Testament.
So the phrase, “but he was a leper,” completely undermines Naaman’s list of achievements and accolades.
Naaman’s wife had a young, Israelite servant girl. The girl told her mistress about a prophet from Samaria who could heal Naaman of his leprosy. Eventually, through a letter to the king of Israel, Naaman was invited to visit this renowned prophet, Elisha.
And what did Elisha do with this man of great importance?
He sent his servant out to him with a simple message: “Go and wash in the Jordan [river] seven times and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be clean.”
Naaman was furious.
Not only did this so-called prophet fail to greet him personally, but he gave him these ridiculous instructions. Naaman went away complaining to himself, and anyone who would listen, I thought he would at least come out and greet me. I thought he would call on the name of the Lord and wave his hand over me and heal my leprosy.
Naaman was trapped in a mental wrestling match.
He questioned the instructions, afraid of looking foolish. His pride was wounded. After all, he thought, why the muddy Jordan River? The whole thing didn’t make sense. Aren’t there better rivers I could wash in and be clean?
“He turned and went away in a rage,” the Scripture says. He came perilously close to missing the blessing God had for him, because his mind was stuck on, “I thought.”
Finally, one of his servants came to him and tried to reason.
“Hey, what have you got to lose? If the prophet had asked you to do something great, would you not have done it? Why not try this one simple thing?”
So Naaman, a desperate man, finally gave in.
I can imagine the mental turmoil churning through him with each dip in the water. An intense spiritual battle was being waged in his mind. He fought humiliation and no doubt the urge to get up and forget this foolishness. Finally, when he was done, after the seventh plunge, he came up and “his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
What was his first public declaration?
“Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel.” (2 Kings 5: 15).
How angry Satan must have been! Naaman was healed, and he came to know the One True God.
Just think how close he had come to allowing one thought to bar him from a miracle. One thought almost shut the gates of healing. One thought almost kept him from the goodness God. Yet, one thought of obedience led to the release of God’s miraculous power in his life.
[Photo: Jesse Weiler, CreationSwap]