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The Story of Naaman:

God’s Message Gets to Naaman

The Faith of a Young Slave Girl Results in the Healing of General Naaman.

The story of Naaman has humble beginnings about a young Israelite girl who was captured during a raid in Israel by General Naaman. She was made to serve Naaman’s wife in the household. Naaman had a skin disease, leprosy. The young girl wanted to help and approached her mistress to tell her of a man in Israel who could heal the general’s skin disease. The young slave girl showed great courage and faith in God to broach the subject with her enemy.

Because the girl stepped up, a long chain of events resulted that eventually led to Naaman’s healing. Let’s see how the story unfolds.

2 Kings 5: 1-19:
Naaman comes to Elisha

Verse 1 – "Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper."

Naaman was the king's general and chief military commander. During those days, Syria was a persistent enemy to both Israel and Judah. As recently as the days of Ahab and Jehoshaphat, Syria had fought and won against Israel (1 Kings 22:35-36).

Naaman had a lot going for him, but he had a skin disease, Leprosy. Leprosy was horrible and incurable. It would slowly result in his death.

Verses 2-3 -
The testimony from the servant girl

2 "And the Syrians had gone out on raids and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman's wife. 3 Then she said to her mistress, "If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his Leprosy."

This young girl was taken from her family during a raid in Israel. She had become the servant of General Naaman's wife. Yet, her attitude was to help even her enemy.

She told Naaman's wife that a prophet in Samaria could heal her husband's skin disease.

God used this young girl to reach Naaman.

She was probably raised in a godly home in Israel and taught to care for others. So instead of wishing harm to her enemy, she tried to help Naaman by suggesting to her mistress that Elisha could heal her husband.

This young girl was an outstanding witness in her current circumstances. She cared enough to speak up and had faith enough to believe that Elisha would heal him of his Leprosy.

Naaman seeks permission from the king of Syria to go to Samaria

Verses 4-7 - 4 "And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, 'Thus and thus said the girl who is from the land of Israel.'

5 Then the king of Syria said, "Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel."

So he departed and took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 Then he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which said, 

Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman, my servant, to you, that you may heal him of his Leprosy.

7 And it happened, when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, "Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his Leprosy?
Therefore, please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me."

The fact that the king of Syria was willing to allow Naaman to go to Israel seems strange. The nations were often at war. The Syrian king thought highly of Naaman and used unconventional means to get his general help for his Leprosy. Besides, a healed general could inflict more warfare on the nation of Israel.

The Syrian king wrote a letter to the king of Israel and provided ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. The estimated value by today's standards is $1.2 million. This significant gift is another indication of how desperate Naaman's condition was.

When the king of Israel, Jehoram--son of the wicked King Ahab--read the letter, he was upset. The king of Israel did not have the power to heal and assumed the king of Syria was starting a dispute with him. Jehoram had no relationship with God or Elisha.

The Story of Naaman and
Elisha's House

Verses 8-9 – 8 "So it was, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, 'Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.'

9 Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha's house."

Elisha gave a gentle rebuke to the king of Israel by asking, "Why have you torn your clothes?" Elisha was saying that the king did not have a relationship with God, but he did, and he could heal the leper.

Naaman's Anger at Elisha's Instructions

Verses 10-12 - 10 "And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean."

11 But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, "Indeed, I said to myself, 'He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.'

12 Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage."

General Naaman came to the home of Elisha, but Elisha refused to give him a personal audience. Instead, he simply sent a messenger with simple instructions. This action did not sit well with Naaman. He expected the customary royal treatment and ceremony.

Instead of providing a fancy royal ceremony for the general, Elisha sent word by messenger to Naaman to wash seven times in the river Jordan, and he would be healed.

Besides getting no royal ceremony or personal attention, he was to wash in the dirty Jordan River — why he had better rivers in Syria! This was humiliating to Naaman. And he refused to follow Elisha's instructions.

Naaman thought he had it all figured out. He had predetermined how God would work and was offended when God did not work as he expected. It would be Naaman's way, or he would have nothing to do with it.

This action by Naaman illustrates an example of pride standing in the way of receiving from God.

Advice from Naaman's Servants

Verse 13 – “And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when
he says to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?"

Only after Naaman's servants intervened did Naaman relent. The level-headed subordinates spoke up and encouraged Naaman to follow Elisha's instructions. The servants argued that if the prophet had given him complicated instructions, he would have done them. They obviously wanted the best for Naaman and wanted him to be healed.

Naaman Washes in the Jordan
and is healed

Verse 14 - 14 "So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean."

Naaman did precisely what Elisha told him to do.

Each dunk in the Jordan River was a step of faith, trusting God's word through His prophet.

Naaman's flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. Naaman's response of faith was generously rewarded. God responded to Naaman's faith with complete and miraculous healing.

His healing was obviously from God. Elisha was nowhere close to the river.

And Naaman understood that God was the healer.

Elisha Refuses Naaman's Gifts

Verses 15-16 – 15 "And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, 'Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.'

16 But he said, ‘As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing." And he urged him to take it, but he refused.’

Now we see Naaman's attitude completely change.

It is now a display of gratitude.

Like the ten lepers Jesus healed, only one returned to thank him (Luke 17:12-19). Instead, the deep-down character of Naaman shined, and he gave credit for his healing. Naaman came to Elisha where before he expected Elisha to come to him.

God changed his heart as well as healed his skin.

"Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel." Naaman gave God credit for his healing and cleansing. Naaman gave evidence that the God Elisha represented was
the true God in all the earth.

Then out of gratitude, Naaman offered the gifts to Elisha. But Elisha refused the gifts. Instead, he desired that God receive the credit.

The Story of Naaman:
Naaman's new faith in God

Verses 17-19 – 17 "So Naaman said, "Then, if not, please let your servant be given two mule-loads of earth; for your servant will no longer offer either burnt offering or sacrifice to other
gods, but to the LORD. 18 Yet in this thing may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand.

Naaman asked for two mule-loads of earth to carry back to Syria. He believed that if he took a piece of Israel back to Syria, he could better worship the God of Israel. Elisha agreed. He felt
that the available Israelite soil would remind Naaman of his cleansing and his relationship with God.

Naaman further asked for forgiveness for performing his duties with the king when they bow down in the temple of Rimmon. As an official of the government of Syria, Naaman was expected to participate in the worship of the Syrian gods.

Elisha indicated his understanding when he said, "Go in peace."

The story of Naaman is amazing in how God used a young slave girl to get the word to the general about a man of God that heals in her native country. Then God further uses the general's servants to encourage him to follow the simple instructions of the man of God.

Without these faithful servants, General Naaman would have slowly died of Leprosy.

It is also a story of a powerful individual who is humbled and agrees to follow simple instructions to receive God's healing. God does not always do as we expect Him to do. His ways are beyond our ways.

And we praise God that it is.