Bible Passage: 2 Kings 5: 1 - 9
The story of the healing of Naaman – 2 Kings 5: 1-19
1. Naaman was the commander in chief of the King of Aram’s army. He was a very successful
man, but he had a serious problem – he was a leper. One of the little girls that had been taken
captive was serving Naaman’s wife and told Naaman’s wife that the prophet in Samaria, the
capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, could cure him of his disease.
So Naaman asked permission of the King of Aram to go and consult with the Prophet. However,
the King of Aram sent Naaman to the wrong person, the King of Israel, for healing and not the
prophet. The King of Israel (being the weaker king) was terrified. “How can I cure people.”
Isn’t it interesting that when we have a severe problem, we don’t stop to talk to God first?
When Elisha the prophet heard about it, he said to the King of Israel: “Send Naaman to me.”
So Naaman sets off to find the Prophet, with all his horses and chariots. So Naaman goes to
the Prophet and comes to the front door where Elisha’s servant Gehazi tells Naaman:
“Sorry, bruh, the Prophet won’t see you now. He says: ‘Just go and wash in the Jordan seven
times and you will be healed.’”
Naaman is none too pleased to be palmed off like this and fumes: You’ve gotta be kidding,
who does this nut think he is! I expected him to come out to me and call upon the Name of His
God and I would be healed.
Anyway, that filthy -dirty stream is nothing to the two mighty rivers of Aram, the Abana and
However, his servants argued with him: “If the prophet had asked you to do something
spectacular you would have done it. Well, all he has said is wash in the Jordan seven times.
What have you got to lose?” Naaman then goes to the Jordan and puts his foot into the water:
I wonder what Naaman thought as he went six times down in the water, and nothing happened.
But on the seventh time: Bingo, presto chango: He was healed.
Naaman went back to the Prophet and said: Now I know that there is no God in all the world
except in Israel. He is so grateful that he offers the offers the prophet a gift, but the prophet
refuses to take it: “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve I will not accept it.”
Naaman then asks to take two mule loads of earth so that he can offer sacrifice to the God of
Israel and none other. He wants to start a new life serving God. However, his job requires him to
bow down at times to the false god Rimmon, and so he asks for an exemption:
“When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down, and he is leaning on my arm and
I bow there also- when I bow down in the Temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your
servant for this.”
“Go in peace,” Elisha said.
You see when Naaman experienced the hand of God on him.
IT CHANGED HIM FOREVER
1. So, who was Naaman?
He was a Syrian military man who was a very rich and successful man; he had servants and
slaves. He was the Commander-in-chief of the King of Aram’s army and was probably also the
Prime Minister. He was not one of God’s people Israel, yet we read in v. one that through him, God
had given victory to Aram.
2. How did Naaman find out about Elisha?
Interestingly it was a little girl to whom Naaman and his wife listened. For her, there wasn’t
anything God could not do. Although there were no precedents, she really believed God would
Jesus in Luke 4:27 says: And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the
prophet yet not one of them was cleansed – only Naaman the Syrian.”
We as Christians can stand by faith. As Paul puts it: “I can do all things in Him who strengthens
me” (Phil. 4:2)
It has always struck me as strange that this powerful general would even listen to her, instead
of patting her on the head and saying: “Silly little girl, what do you know about real life”. Or
“yes, yes dear, I’m quite sure your prophet can do it” and then conveniently have forgotten
Something in her life must have made her believable. Don’t underestimate what God can do
with our witness, even if we think we are insignificant in the wolrd’s eyes. We aren’t in God’s.
3. God is not only interested in “churchgoers”
In Jesus day, the Israelites were the church of that day. They went regularly into the synagogue
or the Temple in Jerusalem to worship God and they thought that they alone were loved and
cared for by God.
And they became very arrogant about it.
There were many Israelites with leprosy in the time of Elisha yet not one of them was cleansed
– only Naaman the Syrian.
You may feel that you don’t deserve God’s mercy, well Naaman shows that God will show
on any one he wishes to.
4. The reaction of the King of Israel
What do we do when we have problems? Are we like the King of Israel who despaired – or do
we take it to God in prayer. He didn’t think to pray, yet God in his mercy sent Elisha to get him
out of a pickle.
5. God requires us to do exactly – not kinda – what he says
We see a change in the attitude of Naaman:
5.1. We first see him as arrogant (9-12)
5.2. However, his problem has no other cure and so he swallows his pride to try God’s way
5.3. Once he is healed, he is thankful and is prepared to change his ways (15-19)
5.1 Naaman was arrogant – Contrarian
Not a Phillipian, Corithian, Galatian, Clossian,
The Psalms tell us that God “resist the proud”
I think this is the reason that Elisha simply sent Naaman a message rather than coming in
person. There was no place for Naaman to argue because Elisha wasn’t there to be told what
to do. Naaman’s feelings were hurt, but it was the beginning of his cure.
Sometimes you do not need to face your foe.
5.2. He was prepared to try God’s way.
If Naaman had refused to go to the Jordan river and had decided to bath seven times in the
Abana or the Pharphar, he would not have been healed.
If Naaman had only gone down six times he would not have been healed. But he went down
the seventh time as the prophet said he came up healed. Are you prepared to do exactly what
God tells you to do?
5.3. Naaman was thankful to God and this led to him changing his ways
Naaman’s gratefulness for his cure led him to give up worshipping other gods. We all have our
gods that we worship – God wants us to give these up and follow him.
Naaman determined never to sacrifice to the false gods again.
This is the challenge to us, if we are going to follow God, we have to change.You see God will
instantly save us when we turn to him – we call that salvation. He will change us with our cooperation over a lifetime – we call this sanctification.
For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is
the gift of God- not by works so no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in
Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
6. Naaman’s strange request.
Naaman’s request for an exemption to his commitment to only serve the God of Israel is at first
I think when he had to go into the House of Rimmon it was for “Occasions of State” political.
His request implies that his heart was NOT in worshipping the false god but he was not ready
yet to give up his position. In other words, his motivation was to honour his king.
Why did Elisha agree? Once we become saved, we are not changed and made perfect
overnight. Indeed it takes a lifetime for God to change us and I think that this would have been
too much for Naaman to bear – as a new convert.
And so I guess the prophet realised this and therefore told Naaman to go in peace.
Let us beware to putting too heavy a burden on young and old Christians!