Bible study timeeee!
Focus scripture: 2 Kings 5:1-19
(all scripture is quoted in the New King James Version and is italicised in this blog post, my comments are in bold)
“Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valour, but a leper.”
We all have a ‘BUT’ that clings to our great identity. The ‘but’ that we wish to hide from everyone. The ‘but’ that jeopardises our positive outlook of ourselves. The ‘but’ that says, I have it all, yet I lack something.
And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. “Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” And Naaman went in and told his master (King of Syria), saying, “Thus and thus said the girl who is from the land of Israel.””
Naaman was so desperate that he was even willing to listen to a servants suggestion of going to Israel to get rid of His leprosy.
“Then the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”
Read the King of Israel’s reaction…
“Then he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which said, Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy. And it happened, when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothesand said, “ Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.””
The tearing of clothes is a big sign of frustration, anger, ‘KMT x 1000’. The King probably received many requests, but probably never one as wild as this.
News of the King tearing his clothes spread. Then along came Elisha. An Esteemed Prophet in Israel. Mentee of Elijah. He essentially tells the King to calm down and send the leper to him.
“Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.”
Seems pretty simple. Right?
But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ “Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.”
When Naaman finally encountered Elisha with His entourage of men and gifts, he expected Elisha to simply wave his hands and call on the name of the Lord in a face-to face situation, to take away the leprosy.
Instead, Elisha asked him to do something that defied all logic, trashed his expectations and seemed ridiculous; which was to go and dunk himself seven times in the Jordan.
At first, Naaman refused to do what Elisha asked of him, but He finally did it after some encouragement from his men.
“And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”
So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
Wow! He was healed of the leprosy that plagued Him.
He was healed from the plight of statements like ‘He is such a great leader of men…BUT…he has leprosy’. He was completely healed from the ‘but’ in His life.
I read this and thought, this is absolutely incredible. Then as I was walking in the London Underground back from my post-grad lecture, Abba revealed another thing about this passage of scripture.
Naaman’s healing was not in the water – it was in his obedience.
Naaman’s healing was not in the drama of waving hands and calling out to God in one’s most holy voice. His healing was connected to his obedience.
Naaman was right (verse 12), He could in effect have dunked himself into any river and be healed…ONLY if that was what God instructed Him to do.
And here we have a beautiful revelation that our healing too can be received in our obedience to God, even when it defies our human logic and understanding. Even when we think it’ll make us look silly and smash our pride into smithereens.
God may have asked you to do something that seemed ridiculous. Maybe you asked God to do something in your life like Naaman, you asked God to removed the ‘but‘ that was attached to your beautiful identity…however, His response was not what you expected and you didn’t lay down your human intellect and humble yourself before God’s instruction.
Whenever we ask God to do something in our lives, we should never do it with an attitude or an expectation of exactly how (which method He uses) and when He should do it.
God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). We must fully trust Him to do what we’ve requested at the right time and in His own way, for He is perfect in all of His ways, whether or not it makes sense to us!
There’s a final message in the last few verses of this passage:
“And he [Naaman] returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.” But he [Elisha] said, “ As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused.”
Simple message: Glorify God and not the vessel. Always revert the glory and praise back to God.
I hope you enjoyed this passage as much as I did.
Share your thoughts with #2Kings5
With Love and Blessings,