2 Kings 5 tells the story of an unlikely hero – the Syrian military commander, Naaman. Some pretty amazing things are said about this unsaved heathen man whose army had wrought substantial destruction on the Israelites. Naaman is described as a “great man,” honorable, and mighty in valor. But…he was a leper. Leprosy was a highly contagious disease that was feared in ancient Bible days. Its long term effects were debilitating, causing loss of important feelings (such as pain). When pain receptors don’t alert to bodily injuries (cuts, etc.), infection can quickly set in, and these infections can become deadly. There was no cure for leprosy and, unless a miracle took place, Naaman’s remaining days as the leader of the Syrian military were very few.
The lessons in 2 Kings 5 are many, but I will draw your attention to the following four:
The absence of problems in our lives tends to make us proud and self-sufficient.
When Naaman had everything going his way, he felt no need to seek out a relationship with God. So, in God’s great love and mercy toward us, the Lord allows adversity to come into our lives to keep us in sight of our constant need of His help. Do you look at your problems this way? None of us enjoy pain and difficulty – but could it be that the Lord has a greater purpose in the present suffering you are experiencing?
True servants have a much easier time understanding the Lord, because the kingdom of God is founded upon servanthood.
Three times Naaman needed the assistance / help of slaves. Initially, it was the little Israelite slave girl who told him of the prophet of God. Next, Elisha’s servant was used of God to tell Naaman to go wash in the Jordan. Finally, Naaman’s own servants cared enough about him (and took a great risk in doing so) to confront him about his pride. Servants have a lowliness that the rich and powerful cannot comprehend. Are you a true servant? By definition, servants have given up all rights and are at the complete service of their master. Remember, Jesus came not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45).
God’s ways are different than our ways.
Naaman was given a simple command / solution to his problem. “Wash and be cleansed.” However, our pride often wants us to do something ourselves to earn what we want from God. The reality is that the Lord often uses our trials are to bring about needed humility in our lives as we learn to depend upon the Him and not ourselves
When the Lord allows a person to be humbled in some way, it is always His desire that he come to a deeper / greater knowledge of Jesus.
Naaman’s seven dunkings in the Jordan (in front of his entire entourage) is a great picture of how the Lord helps people come down. Each time he went under, he came that much closer to a knowledge of God. It took seven times to fully humble him so he could get an accurate view of the Holy, Lowly One. This probably would not have been possible without these repeated (seven) humiliations.
Not only did Naaman find healing from his leprosy, more importantly, he found healing for his soul. As I read 2 Kings 5, I think the evidence is very clear that this “great man” became a saved man as he met the Great Physician in the Jordan River.
As I mentioned above, there are so many great lessons in the sing chapter of 2 Kings 5. What other lessons do you see as you read this account of Naaman’s healing?
Pastor Steve Williams