2 Kings 5: 5-14
Now Naaman was a commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents[b] of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, dip yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 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’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
Who was Naaman?
- a commander of the army of the king of Aram.
- The bible calls him a great man.
- He was highly regarded.
- The passage tells us that the Lord gave victory to Aram through Naaman.
- He is described as valiant or brave.
- then comes the BUT. “but he had leprosy.”
What is Leprosy?
Leprosy is a disease that effects the body’s largest organ, the skin. Today, leprosy is known as Hansen’s disease. It’s spread by airborne bacteria via respiratory droplets. Today, people who have contracted leprosy can receive 6 months worth of antibiotic treatments to cure leprosy and minimize longterm disability caused by the disease. In bible times, leprosy was viewed as a curse from God. (You can study how Miriam (Moses’ sister) was struck with leprosy by God for speaking against Moses as the chosen mouthpiece of God and leader of the Israelites.) Those with leprosy had to leave their homes and families and live on the outskirts of town where they wouldn’t pass their disease to others. Lepers also:
- had to scavenge for food.
- They were forbidden to have contact with other people.
- According to the law, lepers had to ring a bell and shout or declare, “Unclean!” if anyone approached them.
The Three Main Symptoms of Leprosy
Leprosy has a pattern of manifestation just like any other disease. It begins with muscle weakness, going on to impacting the peripheral nervous system, and finally disrupting vision even up to blindness (when facial nerves are affected) (cdc.gov).
A King’s Ransom for Complete Healing
As I was reading this passage today, the Lord told me to look at this passage in light of a sickness that is plaguing would-be christians today: spiritual leprosy. In the passage, Naaman, desperate for change in his condition, sent what in today’s time would be:
- $300,000 in silver
- approximately $3 million in gold
Add to that a complete wardrobe of 10 sets of clothes. What did Naaman do? He went to a king for something that only God (in this case, through a prophet) could do. What additional learning can we take away from his approach to the king?
Money (and the things of this world) wont buy your healing
It’s useless to go to man to fix what is a spiritual disease in you. You must accept God’s free gift of grace through Jesus Christ, repent, be cleansed of the disease of sin, and baptized so you can be restored.
Are you willing to do what it takes to be healed and cleansed?
Naaman was expecting a grandiose display of healing that he described as “waving his hands over the leprous area whilst calling out to God” on Naaman’s behalf. He scoffed at the idea of having to go the Jordan. The bible evens says that Naaman went out angry upon hearing the instructions from the man of God and delivers what some might label a victim’s rant. Naaman basically says, “aren’t the ways of mine (the rivers) better than the ways of the God of Israel (his river Jordan, where countless miracles have been performed btw.) It wasn’t until his servants reasoned with him (thank God for god-given alignments) by saying, “if God told you to do something BIG, you would have done it!” In other words, he’s making it easy for you! He instructed you with a small thing– dipping into the Jordan 7 times. Not bathing 7 times. Not 7 swims across the Jordan. Not swimming to the bottom of the Jordan 7 times. Just 7 dips! C’mon Man! (With all due respect, of course.)
The Disease of Spiritual Leprosy
God doesn’t always use grandiose. He’s just asking you to have faith to do the seemingly small thing he’s told you to do. Would you be like Naaman and scoff at God in your desperation? Or do exactly what he tells you to do, exactly as he tells you to do it?
The text, in verse 14 says, “So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan 7 times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”
It’s interesting that the text uses the words restored and cleansed- in that order. Let’s look at the biblical definition of those words according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary:
Restore: Returned; brought back; retrieved; recovered; cured; renewed; re-established.
Cleansed: Purified; made clean; purged; healed.
God is the God of everything, and especially patterns. Restoration happens when he brings you back to him. THEN, he heals you. He cleans you up. Then he cleans your life up. It’s really that simple. The holy spirit might even be using your spiritual disease, physical disease, and other circumstances to impress upon you the need for sovereign God to be just that- sovereign above your plans, your sickness, your lack, and anything else you might be facing right now.
What the Lord Spoke To Me About Some of His People
God has given you a specific formula, blueprint, or instructions, but He’s not going to do it your way. He’s not doing it according to the way you think it should look or how you think it should be executed. And he said, “Your rebellion against his instructions will only make your leprosy, your problem, spread and continue to inflict pain on your own life.” Spiritual leprosy is rooted in pride, saying that you know better than God how something should be done.
Here’s The Good News
Jesus came to clean you from the sin of spiritual leprosy. In Luke 5:13, “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ and immediately the leprosy left him.” Naaman was restored and cleansed. His skin became like that of a young boy. Why did the bible say it that way? Because a little boy’s skin is soft and not weathered like a commander in an army who has seen a lot of battles? Maybe. But I believe that not only was Naaman cleansed, but his faith was made like that of a child. A pure faith. A faith that absolutely unwaveringly believes in what it cannot see. That God is real, he is for you, he is the God of miracles, and he doesn’t just heal, he makes WHOLE.
Don’t scoff. Don’t doubt. Don’t hide in shame, thinking that this is for others but not for you. The restoring and cleansing power of the blood of Jesus is made available to you today. Don’t spend another second at the edge of the Jordan- run in and get your dip on.