And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. — 2 Kings 5:3
Agnes Clasper was saved in 1911 when she was in her early teens and living in Scotland. Later she married, and she and her husband had a little girl who was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Agnes said, “We spent a fortune to try to get healing for our little one. Climates failed, medicine failed, nine physicians in Scotland had failed.” The child was given up to die by the doctors. Many times when Agnes was on the way to the doctor’s office, she would look up into the heavens and say, “Jesus, I know if You were on earth, You would heal my child.”
Agnes had a desire to come to America. Their family said they would bury their child at sea, but God brought them over seven thousand miles to Portland, Oregon. They contacted the best specialist in the city, and he treated the girl, but still she did not get well. Then one day Agnes met a godly woman and shared the story of her daughter. This woman said, “If you had only known to have brought her down to the Apostolic Faith Mission on Burnside Street, our people would have prayed, and God would have healed your child.”
When Agnes went to a service, God whispered to her soul, “These are the people you have prayed so long for.” She heard that there is power in the Blood of Jesus to heal all manner of diseases, and she promised to trust in that healing power. From that moment, the child began to improve, and God completely healed her body. The girl never had another trace of the disease and lived to marry and become a mother and later a grandmother.
“If only . . .” Another young lady centuries before had spoken those words to the wife of Naaman the Syrian, who was a leper. Both the maid captive in Naaman’s house and the woman whom Agnes Clasper met had confidence that God would heal. What marvelous faith and assurance! And both of these women used their confidence in God to reach out to others.
All around us are people who need the touch of God. Do we have that same confidence in our hearts so we can share the Good News of what God can do for them? God is the same today, and if we are serving Him, we can say with assurance that He can forgive sins, change hearts, and heal sick bodies.
Syria, the country northeast of Israel, commonly raided areas to the south and frequently took home captives. Ben-hadad was Syria’s king, and Naaman, the captain of the army. Naaman was a great warrior, and he was honored by his king and also the Syrian people.
Leprosy was a skin disease that took various forms. At its worst, it mutilated a person’s body and could be fatal. In Bible times no cure was known for leprosy. Some forms of the disease were contagious, and lepers in Israel were immediately removed from society. Syria’s laws did not quarantine victims, but the disease eventually would have rendered Naaman helpless and shortened his life.
Little is known about the maid who spoke the life-changing words recorded in today’s text. She was a captive from Israel; she served Naaman’s wife; she showed concern; and she had enough faith in God and Elisha to say confidently that healing was possible.
Jehoram, king of Israel, was astounded when Naaman arrived in Israel with a letter from Ben-hadad requesting healing for his warrior. The gift accompanying the request was large — the silver and gold were probably worth over two million dollars in today’s money, plus the ten sets of clothing.
Although healing was impossible by man’s ability, God used Elisha to perform a miracle that illustrated God’s power to both the Syrians and also the Israelites. Naaman nearly lost his opportunity to be healed because of his outrage over what he was told to do. The Abana river is called the Barada today, and it flows through Damascus. Bible scholars are unsure where the Pharpar was. It may have been the Nahr Taura (a tributary of the Barada) or a river about ten miles southwest of Damascus. In contrast to those, the Jordan was muddy and small.
Naaman was proud and expected to be treated in a way he thought was appropriate to his position. Following Elisha’s directions required humility and obedience. Yet, he was willing to listen to the entreaty and wisdom of his servants.
Not only Naaman’s skin was changed when he dipped in the Jordan; his heart was changed also. He recognized God as the only true God and wanted to take home some earth from the land of Israel to worship upon. Naaman knew that occasionally matters of state would necessitate that he assist his king in the temple of Rimmon, but he purposed to worship only God.
Elisha’s refusal of Naaman’s gifts indicated that miracles could not be acquired with money. Yet, Gehazi weakened that concept when he ran after Naaman, lied about a need, and took money. Consequently, Naaman’s leprosy came upon Gehazi.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah
B. Jehoram of Israel
3. The ministry of Elisha
e. The cleansing of Naaman (5:1-27)
(1) The leprosy of Naaman (5:1)
(2) The advice of the maid (5:2-4)
(3) The message to the king of Israel (5:5-7)
(4) The instructions of Elisha (5:8-14)
(5) The gratitude of Naaman (5:15-19)
(6) The sin of Gehazi (5:20-27)
Resolve today to have boldness and faith to declare to those in need the great power God has to make a difference in their lives.