Summary: Today, a lot of Christians demand miracles, and expect them on their own terms, not God's.


(2 Kings 5:1-19)

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II Kings 5:1-19

1 Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, {but he was} a leper.

2 Now the Arameans had gone out in bands, and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel; and she waited on Naaman's wife.

3 And she said to her mistress, "I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy."

4 And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, "Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel."

5 Then the king of Aram said, "Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel." And he departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand {shekels} of gold and ten changes of clothes.

6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, "And now as this letter comes to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy."

7 And it came about when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, "Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending {word} to me to cure a man of his leprosy? But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me."

8 And it happened when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent {word} to the king, saying, "Why have you torn your clothes? Now let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel."

9 So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots, and stood at the doorway of the house of Elisha.

10 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."

11 But Naaman was furious and went away and said, "Behold, I thought, '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 cure the leper.'

12 "Are not Abanah and 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.

13 Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, "My father, had the prophet told you {to do some} great thing, would you not have done {it} How much more {then,} when he says to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?"

14 So he went down and dipped {himself} seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

15 When he returned to the man of God with all his company, and came and stood before him, he said, "Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel; so please take a present from your servant now."

16 But he said, "As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will take nothing." And he urged him to take {it,} but he refused.

17 And Naaman said, "If not, please let your servant at least be given two mules' load of earth; for your servant will no more offer burnt offering nor will he sacrifice to other gods, but to the LORD.

18 "In this matter may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon your servant in this matter."

19 And he said to him, "Go in peace." So he departed from him some distance. (NAS)

The Bible tells us in 2 Kings chapter 5, that Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army. We are told in those verses that he was a "great and honorable man in the eyes of his master [Ben-Hadad, king of Syria]... but he was a leper". Naaman would later be cured of this disease by the prophet Elisha, but not until he followed divine instructions rather than insisting on a cure that was on his own terms. Leprosy was a socially-despised disease in Syria back then, just as it was in Israel, with one exception. Those in Syria that suffered from this dreaded disease were not isolated and treated like outcasts.

It was during one of Syria's many raids against Israel that a young Jewish girl was captured. This girl later became the servant to Naaman's wife. She told her mistress about a prophet named Elisha, who she said could heal Naaman of his leprosy. The Syrian King Ben-Hadad then sent a letter about Naaman to the king of Israel, King Joram. However, the Israelite King was fearful when he got the letter, thinking it was some kind of a Syrian trick to start a war. Elisha assured the King of Israel that Naaman should be sent to see the prophet.

To show Naaman that God was going to perform the healing miracle, so that a man (Elisha) did not get the glory for it, Elisha would not personally meet with Naaman. Instead, the prophet sent a message to the Syrian commander, instructing him to dip himself seven times in the Jordan River.

Naaman at first took this personally and considered such treatment an insult. He was angry and remarked that the two Syrian rivers, the Abana and the Pharpar, would do just as well. However, his servants convinced him that he should obey Elisha's instructions. Naaman finally did, and then was healed of his leprosy.

Naaman then wanted to give valuable gifts to Elisha, but the prophet wouldn't accept a thing. However, Elisha's servant, Gehazi, coveted many of the riches that had been offered to his master. Gehazi hastened after Naaman and asked, in his master Elisha's name, for a portion of the riches. Naaman responded by granting him more than he had asked (5:2-23).

Naaman was so grateful that he became a worshiper of God. Because he lived in the heathen land of Syria, Naaman took two mule-loads of Israelite soil back to Syria with him, so that he could worship Jehovah "on Israelite soil." Before he left for Damascus, Naaman also asked for Elisha's understanding and forgiveness for having bowed down to idols in the past when he visited the temple of Rimmon with King Ben-Hadad of Aram (2 Kings 5:18). Elisha responded by telling him to "go in peace" (v. 19), in this way allowing Naaman to go back and serve his master, the King of Aram.

Only three people in the Old Testament are mentioned as being cured of leprosy. These are Moses, Miriam, and Naaman. In all three cases, God performed a miracle to heal these persons. The Jews knew that there was no cure for leprosy unless God directly intervened and healed it miraculously (2 Kings 5:7). This is why Jesus, on one occasion when he healed a man of leprosy, told him to go and show himself in the temple to the high priests. The priests should have recognized from this that Jesus was God, the Messiah, since only God could heal leprosy.

1. they knew the man personally;

2. they knew he had leprosy;

3. they knew only God could cure leprosy;

4. they knew Jesus healed the man.

Nevertheless, they rejected this proof and refused to believe.


ELISHA KEEPS A LOW PROFILE in the healing of Naaman. He doesn't make himself the center of attention. GOD GETS THE GLORY for the miracle. Elisha isn't even there when it happens.

ELISHA DOESN'T ASK FOR MONEY OR GIFTS. He refuses even when these are offered and he is pressured to take them.


Today's so-called "healers" are ALWAYS THE CENTER OF ATTENTION and always get the primary credit. "Jesus" name is invoked in a blasphemous way like a magic incantation, merely to excite the crowd, not to give God the glory.

These "heals" not only accept money and gifts, but they ACTIVELY PRESSURE PEOPLE FOR OFFERINGS. Such hucksters get wealthy from doing this. They make the giving of money a requirement for getting God's healing and other blessings in your life.


Christians should be cautious about basing Church doctrine upon statements and events in the Gospels and Acts. Such teachings must be viewed in their proper Biblical context against the rest of Scripture, particularly in relation to the New Testament Epistles to the Church. Many pastors and Bible teachers pick and choose verses out of context in an attempt to support their personal religious viewpoints. They often pull verses from the Gospels and Acts to teach doctrines that pertained to Israel and not the Church. This is also done to support practices that are no longer required or needed now that the Church Age has begun and the Bible has been completed.

We can protect ourselves as believers by remembering some principles:

1. The CHURCH AGE BEGAN ON PENTECOST, not with the birth of Jesus Christ when the New Testament began.

2. The EVENTS IN THE GOSPELS OCCURRED DURING THE AGE OF ISRAEL, when believers were still required to follow Old Testament rituals and laws.

3. The BOOK OF ACTS COVERS A UNIQUE, TRANSITIONAL PERIOD OF TIME. It consists of believers who lived in both dispensations, the Age Of Israel and the Church Age.

4. The BIBLE, GOD'S WRITTEN WORD TO MAN, WAS NOT YET COMPLETE. God performed miracles as confirmation that Jesus was God, and that the apostles taught God's word after Jesus departed.


Like Naaman initially did in 2 Kings 5 when told to wash in the Jordan to be healed of his leprosy, many believers reject doing things God's way. God's instructions have been given to us in written form, in the Scriptures. Instead, a lot of Christians demand miracles, and expect them on their own terms, not God's. Not until Naaman showed faith and obedience to God's word, only then did a true miracle from God occur. This miracle not only cured Naaman of his leprosy, but became a written testimony in the Old Testament, to help believers today as we struggle with our own physical and spiritual infirmities.

Copyright (c) 2000, Frank J. Gallagher

Abiding In The Word

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