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!
Learning Lessons From Naaman The Leper (#2)
This article continues our study of II Kings 5:1-14. Last time, we learned that it was Naaman’s slave girl who told him what he could do to be healed of leprosy (II Kings 5:2-3). She shows us that young people can understand God’s will. Naaman would not have been cleansed were it not for the actions of this young Israelite slave girl (II Kings 5:2). She did not hold a grudge against Naaman, nor display hatred. She certainly is a good example for all young people today.
Another lesson we need to learn is that one cannot buy favor with God. II Kings 5:5 says Naaman was sent to Israel with “ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.” Yet, this did nothing to heal him. Read II Kings 5:1-16 carefully and see that this is true. His money could not purchase his physical healing.
In like manner, spiritually, one cannot buy his/her salvation. It is just not possible. Peter said, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pet. 1:18-19). A man’s financial standing means nothing to God. What matters is whether or not this one will lovingly and willingly obey the Father (Jn. 14:15). Money was not expected, nor demanded of Naaman. What was demanded was submission to the will of God (II Kings 5:10). In like manner, this is what is expected of us! If we will be cleansed of sin, it requires our faith in Christ (Jn. 8:24), repentance (Lk. 13:3), confession of our faith (Matt. 10:32), and being baptized for the remission of sin (I Pet. 3:21).
Learning Lessons From Naaman The Leper
Beginning with this article, I intend to write a series of articles concerning lessons we can learn and apply from Naaman the leper. II Kings 5:1-14 records this event and teaches many lessons which can be applied to us today. In context, we see that a man named Naaman, captain of the army of Syria (Aram), had leprosy. His slave girl told his wife that the prophet in Samaria could heal him (v. 2-3). In this account, we see that he went to the king of Israel first before finally going to the right man, Elisha the prophet. Elisha’s servant told Naaman to go and wash in the Jordan River seven times in order to be healed (v. 10). He refused, and went away very angry. He thought he should have been healed in another way (v. 11-12). Naaman’s servant finally calmed him down and spoke reasonably that if he was told to do a “great thing,” he would have done it; why not wash and be clean (v. 13)? Naaman consented, and when he did as he had been told, he was cleansed of his leprosy (v. 14). What lessons can we learn from this account?
One thing we learn is that young people can understand God’s will. Remember, Naaman would not have been cleansed were it not for the actions of this young Israelite slave girl (II Kings 5:2). She is a good example for us, for she displays no hatred toward her master, but concern for his illness. She has the attitude of such people as Joseph, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who served God in captivity. She not only didn’t hold a grudge, but she knew who could heal Naaman, and wasn’t afraid to speak. This young girl spoke openly about the prophet of God. Syria (Aram) had their own gods and prophets, yet she didn’t tell Naaman to go to them! He was to go to Elisha, the prophet of God in Samaria, to be cleansed of his leprosy! Young people, are you listening?