Learning Lessons From Naaman The Leper (#7)
For the past few days, we have studied II Kings 5:1-14 in connection with the healing of the leper, Naaman. What applications can we make from this account?
From the young maid (II Kings 5:2-3), let us learn that God’s word is understandable, and can be obeyed by the young as well as the old. God’s word is just as understandable today as it was in the days of Naaman (Eph. 3:4, 5:17).
Let us learn that only God can save us, and His salvation is not for sale (II Kings 5:5, 15-16; I Pet. 1:18-19). Just as Naaman was cleansed on God’s terms (II Kings 5:10, 14), we will be saved on God’s terms, or not at all (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38).
We need to realize that we are known by what we do (II Kings 5:8). Our words only go so far. If we are a Christian, or are wicked, our actions will show it (Matt. 7:12, 21; I Jn. 3:18).
Instead of fighting against the Lord (II Kings 5:11-12), let us willingly obey God. Naaman was the first on record to suggest that cleansing power was in the water. It was not true then, nor is it true today when someone cries “water salvation” when we teach baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 22:16; I Pet. 3:21).
Finally, let us learn that we will be blessed by God only when we submit completely to the will of the Lord, just as Naaman did (II Kings 5:14; Rev. 22:14)! Are we obedient to the Lord? (Jas. 2:24, 26)
Learning Lessons From Naaman The Leper (#6)
The account of the leper Naaman is found in II Kings 5:1-14. We have learned that a young Israelite slave girl was the key to Naaman’s cleansing. We learned that it was neither his money nor his going to the king for help that cleansed Naaman; it was Elisha giving him the divine prescription (v. 10). Naaman’s response was one of anger, of assumption, and substitution of God’s will for his. However, none of these things healed him. Only when Naaman had a change of heart and obeyed was he cleansed.
We read of Naaman’s change in II Kings 5:13-14. Naaman’s servants told him “if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith unto thee, Wash, and be clean” (v. 13). At this, Naaman submitted to God’s command and “dipped himself seven times in Jordan ... and he was clean” (v. 14). Based on the Scriptures, we know it took complete submission (dip seven times in Jordan, v. 10) for Naaman to be clean. As Paul said in Romans 15:4, let us learn a lesson from Naaman and offer nothing but our complete submission to the God of Heaven! It is not a matter of doing what we want to do, but let us “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12:28).
It was after his healing that Naaman understood, “There is no God in all the earth, but in Israel” (II Kings 5:15). What started with a slave-girl concerned for her master’s health (v. 3), ended with a man recognizing the one true God (v. 15)!
Learning Lessons From Naaman The Leper (#5)
As we study about Naaman in II Kings 5:1-14, we have learned that the key to Naaman’s cleansing was the young Israelite slave girl who told Naaman’s wife about Elisha. We also learned that it was not money that would cleanse Naaman, nor was he cleansed of his leprosy when he went to the king rather than Elisha. We learned that Naaman would “know there is a prophet in Israel” after Elisha told him what to do to be cleansed. What was Naaman told to do? He was told, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times ... and you shall be clean” (II Kings 5:10).
Unfortunately, Naaman responded in anger (v. 11, 12). He was angry because this was not what he wanted to do. Naaman said, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and cure the leper.” Further, Naaman tried to offer a substitution to God’s commands saying, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” (v. 12). Regardless of Naaman’s responses, God’s command still stood: “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times ... and you shall be clean”.
Man’s response to God’s word has not changed. When men don’t like what God has said, they will get mad (many times at the preacher!); they will try to follow their assumption, or offer a substitution. This happens often -- just look at the religious division today! This is the result of men not wanting to accept God’s word. Rather than becoming mad, following assumptions, or substituting our will for God’s, let us simply do as God says. In so doing, we will be accepted with Him (Acts 10:34-35).
Learning Lessons From Naaman The Leper (#4)
As we study II Kings 5:1-14, let us remember that the key to Naaman’s cleansing was a young girl who told Naaman’s wife about Elisha. We have learned that it was not money that cleansed Naaman, nor was he cleansed of his leprosy when he went to the king rather than Elisha. Unfortunately, people today will try to calm their souls through worldly pursuits, and inevitably fail (I Pet. 1:18-19; I Tim. 6:10). Others will try to involve themselves in denominational organizations rather than the Lord’s church. This too fails because the Lord established only one church. We are not allowed by God to “choose” the church we like the best (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:16).
In II Kings 5:8, Elisha sends for Naaman. The reason: “Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” How would Naaman know? Would he know merely because Elisha introduced himself as a prophet? No! Naaman would know there is a prophet in Israel because Elisha was going to heal him. Elisha was a man of action!
In like manner, friends, let us understand that we are known by what we do. Men can “say” many things, but it is in their behavior that we see what one truly is! Our behavior and speech are a direct reflection of what is in our minds (Prov. 4:23; Matt. 15:18-20). Are you a godly person or not? One can say “Yes,” but the truth is seen in how one conducts him/herself daily! This determines whether or not one is godly. Are we acting in a way that pleases God? What do people see when they observe how we act and speak (Matt. 7:16-20)? Do our actions match our speech? Are we hypocrites? Friend, you are known by what you do!
Learning Lessons From Naaman The Leper (#3)
The text for our study in the last two articles has been II Kings 5:1-14. In previous articles, we have seen that a young girl was the key to Naaman’s cleansing. Without her, Naaman would never have known what to do. We also saw that money did not purchase Naaman’s cleansing. Money could not purchase what God would give him free. By way of application, we see that young people today can still know and obey the word of God, and that nothing can purchase the most precious gift -- the salvation of our souls (I Pet. 1:18-19; Acts 2:38).
As we study II Kings 5, we see that when Naaman went to the wrong source, he was not cleansed of leprosy. In II Kings 5:5-7, he went to the King of Israel rather than Elisha, as the young girl had said (v. 3). Thankfully, the king recognized his inability to help on this occasion. He was not so filled with pride that he tried to be a “god” before Naaman. Yet, Naaman was not cleansed.
In like manner, when we turn to denominational organizations, family traditions, self interests, personal theories, etc., rather than to the Bible, we are turning to the wrong sources. It is within the gospel that we find the “power of God unto salvation” and nowhere else (Rom. 1:16). It is the gospel that reveals what to do to be spiritually cleansed (Acts 22:16). It is the gospel that reveals the Lord’s church (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:16). It is the divinely inspired Scriptures that “thoroughly” furnish (thoroughly equip) us “unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16-17). To turn to anything else is to turn to the wrong source of authority!