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Naaman is healed when he obeys God's command through His prophet.
 

Naaman is healed when he obeys God's command through His prophet.

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Because Naaman heeded the word of the Lord, he was healed.

Because Naaman heeded the word of the Lord, he was healed.

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    Naaman is healed when he obeys God's command through His prophet. Naaman is healed when he obeys God's command through His prophet. Presentation Transcript

    •  There have been many brethren who have made parallels between Naaman and baptism.  I don’t deny those parallels exist.  Naaman was commanded to wash himself in the Jordan.  Elisha told him to “wash in the Jordan” (v 10).  It seems that this command involved immersion for Naaman “dipped seven times in the Jordan” (v 14).  Naaman was cleansed after he dipped.  We’re saved when, not after, we’re baptized.  However, Naaman received cleansing when he obeyed the Lord’s command through His prophet.
    •  There have been many brethren who have made parallels between Naaman and baptism.  I don’t deny those parallels exist.  However, I think it’s important to note that God (at least in my thinking) neither caused these events to take place nor inspired their telling in order to teach about baptism.  The main point of this narrative, in my view, is obedience to the command of God.  Obviously, there is a parallel to baptism at that point.
    •  The main reason this narrative is included in Scripture seems to be to demonstrate that God is God, not only of the Israelites, but of all nations.  The prevailing idea during this time was that a god only had power over a certain geographical area.  Thus, if you left Israel YHWH would no longer have power.  That seems to have been the main reason Jonah wanted to escape to Tarshish (the furthest seaport on the Mediterranean).  However, God is God of all people.
    •  Naaman was “commander of the army of the king of Syria.”  Naaman, therefore, is an important man in Syria.  By Naaman, the LORD had given victory to Syria.  As with Jephthah, YHWH is seen as the One who gives victory.  We aren’t told against whom Naaman had victory.
    •  It seems reasonable to think that (that at least some of) Naaman’s victory came against Israel.  Syria defeated Israel at Ramoth-gilead (1 Ki 22:29-36).  The Syrians would often raid Israel.  Their goal seems to have been to create political confusion and instability with these small-scale raids.  They would take hostages.  The slave girl who rescues Naaman was such a slave.  How ironic that she become Naaman’s savior!
    •  It really seems that Naaman has scorned his “savior.”  E.g., he had taken her from her homeland and from her family; she is not free to leave.  Are there ever times that we scorn our Savior?  How might we do so?  How can we show greater appreciation for all that God has done for us?
    •  Naaman was “a mighty man of valor.”  There seems to be here the idea that God works through people to accomplish His purpose.  Naaman was mighty in battle, yet the Lord gave him victory.  Do you think God ever uses human agents to accomplish His tasks?  Can you think of examples in Scripture?  How might God use human agents to carry out His work?
    •  Naaman was also a leper.  As you probably know, the Bible refers to a whole range of skin conditions as “leprosy,” not just what we know today as leprosy.  However, leprosy in the Old Testament era was a horrible disease.  It often led to isolation.  The need for isolation was that leprosy is a highly contagious disease.  The fact that Naaman was commander of the Syrian army might indicate that it hasn’t progressed very far (or that it’s a mild form of the disease).  In its worst forms leprosy would lead to death.
    •  The fact that Naaman was apparently living with his wife (v 2) and other members of his household (e.g., the slave girl) indicates that his leprosy was not as severe as was commonly the case.  However, without treatment Naaman would not be able to continue with his normal routine.  Do people sometimes see one sin as not as bad as another?  What is the truth about sin?  Fortunately for himself, Naaman understood the seriousness of his illness.
    •  The slave girl told her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.”  Something I don’t think I’d ever noticed until this reading was that the slave girl did not speak with Naaman himself.  Instead, the slave girl spoke with Naaman’s wife.  Instead of one “evangelist” in this text, we have two: the slave girl and Naaman’s wife.  Naaman’s wife apparently believed the slave girl.
    •  It seems reasonable (to me, at least) that Naaman and family treated this slave girl well.  Her statement sounds like a wish, rather than a simple statement.  Had she harbored ill feelings against Naaman or the Syrians in general, it seems unlikely that she would wish that her master was with the prophet in Samaria.  Why would Naaman treat a slave kindly?  What might Naaman’s possible kind treatment of a slave teach us about how we should treat people?
    •  For the slave girl to tell her mistress about the prophet in Samaria, she herself had to know about the prophet in Samaria.  How could this girl know about the prophet in Samaria?  Think of modern-day evangelism:  What are some things we need to know before we share with others?  How might we go about learning those things?
    •  This slave girl had faith in the prophet in Samaria.  Notice she said, “He would heal him of his leprosy.”  She accepts the healing as a foregone conclusion.  Why would she know that Naaman would be healed?  What are some things we need to know before we share truth with others?  What are some of the best ways to share truth with others?
    •  Also notice that this girl has a very humble position.  She is a slave, and her master is the commander- in-chief of the world’s superpower.  Yet, the girl is not afraid to speak what she knows to be truth.  How can we be more bold for the Lord?
    •  Naaman told the king of Syria what the slave girl had said and the king sent Naaman with gold, silver, and ten changes of clothing.  The Syrian king also sent the Israelite king a letter.  The Israelite king is not mentioned by name in this text.  He is likely Jehoram (3:1), but we do not know this for absolute certain.  The king isn’t mentioned, likely because the author seeks to draw attention to Elisha.
    •  Notice the message to the king of Israel (v 6).  It appears that there is an uneasy peace between Israel and Syria when this takes place.  That uneasy peace is the likely reason for this letter.
    •  Notice that the letter calls on the king to heal Naaman.  It appears to me that somewhere the communication got “fuzzy”--the slave girl said that Elisha (the prophet in Samaria) could heal.  Only after Elisha hears of the king’s grief does he send word to have Naaman brought to him (v 8).  What happens when communication gets “fuzzy”?  How can we communicate more effectively?
    •  The king tore his clothing.  The tearing of clothing signified great distress/grief in the ancient world.  Job 1:20-21.  Matt 26:65.  When a king tore his clothes, the symbolism was magnified.  The idea was that the entire nation was in mourning/distress.  What are some things that we do when we experience distress/grief?  Are there things that we need to do?
    •  The king, in his distress, says, “Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy?”  The king understands that God has great power.  Does God have the power to kill?  What are some examples of God’s using His power to kill?  Why would a loving and merciful God use His great power to kill?  Does God have the power to make alive?  What are some examples of God’s using His great power to make alive?  Do we trust God’s power to make alive as we ought?  How might we better trust God’s power?
    •  The king, in his distress, says, “Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy?”  The king understands that God has great power.  The king believes that the king of Syria has sent Naaman to start another war.  The king of Syria could say, “I sent him to you to heal, and you refused to do so,” and war would break out.  The king of Israel was suspicious of his rival’s motives.  Why?  Is it wise to be suspicious of people’s motives (Matt 7:1-5; 15-20)?
    •  When Elisha heard of the king’s distress, he sent word for the king to send Naaman to him.  It would be interesting--to me, at least--to know the time frame between Naaman’s coming to the king and Elisha getting word to the king.  I would guess that the length of time wasn’t all that great.  However, the king’s anxiety would likely have been great during that time, especially considering his chief rival’s commander-in-chief was present.
    •  Notice that Elisha wants Naaman to know “that there is a prophet in Israel.”  I think Elisha was far more interesting in Naaman knowing the position rather than the person.  The position of a prophet was to be respected.  His function was to speak for the Most High God.  2 Ki 2:23-25.  Are there positions that are to be respected today?  How do we show proper respect?  Why would Naaman--and the rest of the Syrians--need to know that there was a prophet in Israel?
    •  When Naaman stands at the door of Elisha’s house, he went a messenger to tell him to wash in the Jodan seven times.  Why did Elisha not go out to meet Naaman?  Can you think of other healings where the sick person did not come into physical contact with the healer?  What might be the lesson?  The Word of God is powerful.  How powerful is the Word of God?  Able to save (Rom 1:16).  Created the universe (Heb 11:3).
    •  Notice also that a messenger goes out to instruct Naaman.  The little slave girl had carried hope of healing to Naaman (through his wife).  Now a messenger carries the word of the Lord to Naaman.  God used these two “evangelists” to share His word with Naaman.  How can we allow God to use us to spread His truth?
    •  Naaman was to wash in the Jordan seven times, and his flesh would be restored.  There were rituals in Mesopotamia where one would one would dip seven times in the river facing upstream and seven times facing downstream.  The flowing water was believed to carry impurities to the netherworld.  It’s interesting that the method God gave Elisha was one common in the ancient world.  Naaman would be familiar with and understand what was called for.  Is it not interesting that God would take something common to Naaman and use it for His glory?
    •  However, God, through His prophet, changes the magical, pagan ritual just enough to demonstrate conclusively that the healing came from YHWH.  Naaman was to wash in the Jordan.  The trip to the Jordan would have been about 40 miles (provided that Elisha was in Samria, which seems likely).  There was no direct route from Samaria to the Jordan.  It would have been a long and arduous journey.
    •  Why would God command Naaman to wash in the Jordan?  What would have occurred if Naaman has washed in another river?  What does that teach us about God?  How seriously should we take the word of God?  Why should we take God’s word so seriously?
    •  Naaman is quite furious.  He expected Elisha to come out of his house and perform some magical ritual.  Why would Naaman expect Elisha to perform some ritual over him?  Why would Elisha refuse to perform such a ritual?  He expects that the rivers of Damascus are better than the Jordan.  It’s almost as if patriotism gets in Naaman’s way.  “The rivers of my country are better than the rivers of your country.”  Do we ever let patriotism get in our way of service to God and people?  How can we keep patriotism from doing what is right?
    •  Naaman is quite upset with Elisha (and God?) because he does not act as expected.  Does God always act the way we think He should?  Why doesn’t God always do what I think He should?
    •  His servants came and urged Naaman to follow Elisha’s instructions.  How brave these servants must have been!  Don’t we all need people around us who urge us to do the right thing?  How can we gather people around us who will help us do right?  Naaman obeyed the word of the Lord, and he was cleansed.  A major principle running through Scripture is that God blesses obedience.