In Syria there is a great military leader named Naaman who is a leper. Though he is powerful and wealthy, he can find no solution to his ailment. Material success means very little when one’s health is in jeopardy. In fact, there have been plenty of wealthy individuals who on their death beds would gladly trade their fortunes for just a little more time. Naaman has reached this point and is desperate to be healed.
There is a young Israeli woman serving in his household that tells of the power of God to heal through the profit. Hearing this Naaman negotiates entering Israeli territory to present himself before this profit of God. When he arrives at Elisha’s home, he is loaded down with treasures to trade for his healing.
Naaman has expectations of how things are going to take place. He doesn’t understand the power or heart of God, but he is about to. When Elisha hears of Naaman’s request, he tells him by way of messenger to dip himself in the Jordan river seven times in order to be healed. This is not how Naaman thought things should be done, after all he is a very important man and he has traveled a great distance. He is offended that Elisha does not speak to him directly and also complains that the Jordan is not nearly as clean as the rivers in Syria. (The Jordan river is very murky and filled with silt.)
Remember that Naaman had an expectation of how things were going to go and when they didn’t, he was quite put out. How many times do we have a preconceived notion of how God should work things out? We have a plan, but God does it in a way that doesn’t make since to us.
Naaman is so offended that he allows his pride to turn him around and head home still leprous. Do we ever allow our pride to rule our decision making? Luckily Naaman has some advisors who step in and convince him to follow Elisha’s instructions.
He will get to see the power of God as he goes down to the muddy banks of the Jordan. Naaman dips one time, no change; two times, no change, but on the seventh time he comes up with perfect flawless skin. Understanding who the one true God is, he returns to Elisha in order to give him payment for the miracle.
Now Naaman will get to see the heart of God as Elisha refuses to take anything and sends him on his way. This delivers a strong message of what God’s motivation is to this powerful Syrian.
Unfortunately humanity is going to muddy these waters as Elisha’s assistant Gehazi chases down Naaman. He sees the potential of personal gain and seizes the opportunity. He lies to Naaman telling him that Elisha had sent him to get some of the treasure.
Note that Naaman is still convinced of God’s power, but God’s heart is no longer as clear as it once was.
The greed of Gehazi tarnishes the testimony of God. Have we ever allowed our personal agenda to affect how the Lord is represented? Gehazi hides his new found wealth and returns to Elisha who confronts him with his treachery as soon as he gets back. Elisha informs Gehazi that because of his deceit and greed, the leprosy that was removed from Naaman will now be placed upon him as well as his family.
It’s so important to remember that as Christians all of our decisions good and bad affect how the Lord is seen in the eyes of others. Let’s represent the King in honesty, kindness and character. You see, they judge Him by watching us.
2 Kings 5