Sermons

Summary: The witness of a seemingly insignifiant little girl has significant consequences

NR 12-02-06

The story of the healing of Naaman –

2 Kings 5: 1-15

The Old Testament is full of wonderful stories of how God intervened in the lives of people.

And not just God’s chosen people.

For me, the story of Naaman the leper is one of the most fascinating of these Old Testament stories.

1. Let’s just recap the Story because I think it’s worth telling a second time:

Naaman was the commander in chief of the King of Syria’s (or Aram’s) army.

He was a very rich and successful man. He had made it – in the world’s eyes

He had a wife and servants and slaves.

Being the Commander-in-chief of the King of

Aram’s army he was probably also the Prime Minister.

Josephus, the Jewish historian writing at the end of the first century AD, tells us that he was the anonymous Syrian archer who shot the arrow that killed King Ahab of Israel.

But Naaman had a serious problem - he was a leper. And in those days – that made you a social outcast.

The next character introduced in the story is a little girl who had been taken captive on a Syrian raid.

She was serving Naaman’s wife and told Naaman’s wife that the solution to Naaman’s problem was to go and find the prophet in Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Strange isn’t it that the mighty Commander of the King of Aram’s army LISTENED to what a little girl

Let’s just park that for the time being!

So Naaman asks permission of the King of Aram to go and be cleansed by the Prophet in Samaraia.

As a result the King of Aram sends Naaman to the King of Israel, for healing - and not the prophet.

The King of Israel (being the weaker king) was terrified.

"How can I cure people."

And then thinks the worst – obviously the King of Aram is looking for a reason to invade.

The king of Israel’s response is interesting.

Although he had a famous prophet, Elisha – on his doorstep – he didn’t think to consult him as God’s spokesman.

Instead he worried about it and looked to solve the problem IN HIS OWN STRENGTH

However, when Elisha the prophet heard about it, he said to the King of Israel: "Send Naaman to me".

So Naaman sets off to find the Prophet, with all his horses and chariots.

When Naaman comes to the Prophet’s front door, he meets with Elisha’s servant Gehazi who tells Naaman:

“Sorry, mate the Prophet won’t see you now. He just sent me to tell you: ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times and you will be healed’.”

The proud Naaman isn’t exactly impressed and fumes:

“You’ve gotta be kidding. Who does this bozo think he is! I expected him to come out to me and call upon the Name of His God and I would be healed. Anyway, that filthy Jordan river is nothing compared to the two mighty rivers of Aram, the Abana and Pharphar.”

You’ll recognise that I have taken some liberties with my translation here – but I think you see my point.

However Naaman’s servants argued with him:

“If the prophet had asked you to do something spectacular you would have done it. What have you got to lose. Why not go and do as he says and wash in the Jordan seven times.

And they persuade him to wah in the Jordan

I wonder what Naaman thought as he went six times down in the water and nothing happened.

But on the seventh time: HE WAS HEALED.

It was ONLY when Naaman humbled himself and obeyed the word of God that God healed him

And Naaman experienced the hand of God on him , AND IT CHANGED HIM FOREVER.

It seems - on the face of it such an incredible story - that you might think it must be a fable

But Jesus himself attests to the veracity of the story .

In Luke 4, Jesus says: And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet yet not one of them was cleansed - only Naaman the Syrian." (Luke 4:27)

2. The Little girl

Of all the characters in this story, I am fascinated by the anonymous little girl to whom Naaman and his wife listened.

For me she is the heroine of this story.

There are three fascinating things that strike me about this little girl

2. 1. Firstly, she wasn’t bitter that she had been enslaved by the Syrians.

It could have been so easy to be bitter and say –

“Serves the devil right. He’s an enemy of our nation and he’s got what’s coming to him!”

But she reacts quite the opposite.

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