2 Kings 5:1-14
Naaman // an army commander, a great man with king’s favor, a mighty warrior, had leprosy
Young Girl // an Israeli taken captive during war, maidservant of Naaman’s wife, a believer in the prophet
Mistress // Naaman’s wife
King of Aram // wrote letter to the king of Israel on Naaman’s behalf, sought prophet for Naaman’s healing
King of Israel // tore his clothes and grieved while reading the king’s letter, angry for not being able to heal, mistook the letter as a threat for war, failed to realized Elisha’s power
Elisha // a man of God and prophet, instructed Naaman to bathe in Jordan River to heal his body
LOCATION // Aram (present-day Syria)
Verse 1: As an army commander and mighty warrior, I imagine Naaman to be the epitome of a soldier: tall and athletic with tanned skin from countless hours spent in the desert sun; very muscular; and, dirty from training exercises or the battlefield. Naaman suffered from leprosy, a skin disease that causes disfiguration and red, oozing blisters. I assume the dirty conditions and intense heat from living in a dry, barren desert only intensified Naaman’s pain.
Verse 3: A young girl from Israel is taken captive from the Syrian army during a raid but I think it is God’s strategic planning that puts her in the right place at the right time. She is going to play a pivotal role in Naaman’s healing because she believes in the power of the prophet in Israel (Elisha).
Verse 10: Elisha sends a messenger with instructions for Naaman – to wash in the Jordan River and be restored.
Verse 11: Naaman is angry, presumably because he expected an immediate quick-fix solution. He wanted instant results without working for it himself.
Verse 13: Naaman’s servants boldly approach him and encourage him to obey the prophet. They help him realize how easy it is to accept God’s healing – just bathe in the river seven times!
Verse 14: Naaman obeys and, when he came out of the water, his skin was as clear as a newborn baby’s. He had been washed clean – physically and spiritually.
Naaman means pleasant, agreeable, and beautiful – a stark contrast to his skin (blisters and sores from leprosy) and reaction to Elisha (anger and resistance).
Even though people with leprosy were outcast members of society, God pays more attention to the condition of our hearts than he does our physical appearance, and he can create that anew too!
Out of Naaman’s obedience, God offered more than physical cleanliness and healing … he gave Naaman complete restoration in body, mind, and soul. His tanned, weathered, blistered skin was brand new – like a newborn baby!
Naaman receives compassion from the captive Israeli girl, who could have been bitter, but her faith allowed her to see others with a lens of grace – offering discipleship and healing from the One True God. God invites us to partner with him to bring unbelievers into his kingdom – we never know when ordinary people will be called to do extraordinary things for his glory!
Naaman was eager for healing but his pride and impatience almost cost him total restoration. Too often we want to be in control and make our own decisions, but we must surrender our desires, plans, and expectations to God’s perfect purposes.
God is not in the “quick fix” business. Faith in Him requires effort and work – to believe and receive God’s blessings and to choose humility and obedience. God could have snapped his fingers or waved his hands to heal Naaman, but he didn’t. If we are willing to obey and act accordingly, God rewards our obedience.
What am I holding onto that God wants to restore and make new again? Identify something in your life that you are expecting a “quick fix” instead of putting forth effort. Like Naaman, our bodies can become dirty with physical sores and spiritual disobedience but it takes several washings in God’s waters to make us clean.
I recently cleaned out a closet in the guest bedroom and made a huge mess. There was stuff everywhere! But out of the chaos came organization. Perhaps I need to do a little “closet cleaning” for my physical and spiritual health. God doesn’t want to merely heal us, He wants to completely restore us and make in us a new creation. That’s a hallelujah moment!
Who in your life is strategically placed to make an impact on you? Are you a spiritual influence to someone else?
Gracious and loving God, I am really good at making messes. Too often, my selfish desires, pride, and stubbornness get in the way of experiencing joy that comes from you. Help me remember that you are God and I am not.
Lord, I want to be obedient. I invite you to take the wheel and lead me towards complete restoration instead of a temporary “quick fix” solution.
Thank you for the spiritual mentors you’ve strategically placed in my life to guide and encourage me. I pray for better listening ears too, so that I will hear and respond according to your purpose. I believe in you and I receive everything you freely offer. Please give me the confidence of the Israeli girl and Naaman’s servants, who boldly shared their faith by simply offering love, kindness, and compassion to someone in need. Amen.