Wednesday, July 15
The Healing of Naaman
Read 2 Kings 5:11-14. What does this account teach us about Naaman and some of the lesson he had to learn? What can we take form this for ourselves as well?
Had the prophet Elisha personally met his prominent guest Naaman and employed exorcising gestures accompanied by magic formula and other ritual so common in pagan religion, Naaman might not have hesitated. But two aspects of his reception insulted him. Not only did the prophet not personally come out of his house to meet Naaman, but he also directed him to the Jordan River as the place to get his leprosy cured.
From the viewpoint of protocol, Naaman was right. Elisha should have left his house to greet him. And the rivers in Damascus were undoubtedly better, since their water was clearer than the muddy Jordan’s. However, through Elisha, God directed Naaman to the Jordan, a river in Israel. The entire cure process was designed to demonstrate, first, that there was a prophet of the true God in Israel and, second, that God rewarded believing compliance.
Naaman’s retinue convinced him to submit to his new, divine “commander” and at least give it a try. Their argument, that if the suggested cure had been complicated he would have endured it, persuaded him. It must have been hard for Naaman to swallow his pride at having to listen to a slave girl, a foreign prophet who showed him little deference, and, finally, to his own servants. He was, though, desperate for healing.
“So he went downs 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” (2 Kings 5:14, NIV).
The initial requirements for Naaman’s healing were belief and compliance. As soon as he conquered his pride and complied with God’s expressed will by bathing seven times in the muddy Jordan, he was cured.
Read Romans 6:4-11. How does the story of Naaman here reflect some of the principles taught in these verse? In what ways have you experiences the reality of a “new life” in Christ?