Summary: The story of Naaman helps teach the Gospel. A short message for children & youth.
The lion was proud of his mastery of the animal kingdom. One day he decided to make sure all the other animals knew he was the king of the jungle. He was so confident that he by-passed the smaller animals and went straight to the bear. “Who is the king of the jungle?” the lion asked. The bear replied, “You are, of course.” The lion gave a mighty roar of approval. Next he asked the tiger, “Who is the king of the jungle?” The tiger quickly responded, “Everyone knows that you are, mighty lion.” Next on his list was the elephant. The lion faced the elephant and asked his question, “Who is the king of the jungle?” The elephant immediately grabbed the lion with his trunk, whirled him around in the air five or six times and slammed him into a tree, pounded him onto the ground several times, dunked him under water in a nearby lake, and finally dropped him in the dirt. The lion - beaten, bruised, and battered - struggled to his feet. He looked at the elephant with sad and bloodshot eyes and said, “Look, just because you don’t know the answer you don’t have to get all angry about it.”
Naaman was someone who thought he was ‘king of the jungle’!
He’d been a successful commander in the military.
A famous and powerful man.
A man who’d won many battles.
But there was one battle he just couldn’t win.
A battle with his own health.
A battle with a disease that was ruining his life.
It was a horrible skin disease.
His skin was really sore, itchy, and maybe even smelly.
His disease was ruining his life and he couldn’t find anything to make it better.
He’d been to all the doctors.
He’d tried all the cures.
He prayed to all the idol-gods.
But nothing had helped.
So Naaman was very sad.
Then one day it all changed.
There was a little girl in his house.
She was a servant. She’d been taken as a prisoner from Israel.
And now she worked as a maid for Mrs Naaman.
And one day she told Mrs Naaman that she knew someone who could cure her husband’s skin disease.
Well, she may have been little. She may have been a servant. But people listened to that little girl.
Sometimes people think that they’re not important cause they’re too young and that no-one will listen to them. But we better understand that God works through children and young people.
And Mrs Naaman told Naaman, and off he went to find this prophet who the little girl said could heal him.
Well, to cut a long story short, after many miles of travelling Naaman finally parked his chariot outside the prophet Elisha’s house.
Now, the prophet Elisha was a real prophet of the living God and everyone knew that.
And Naaman being a very famous and powerful man waited at the door, expecting to be received with great honour.
But instead, Elisha sent someone to tell Naaman, “Go and wash in the River Jordan 7 times and you will be cleansed.”
To say that Naaman was unhappy about not being met at the door and then being told to wash in a river is an understatement.
Naaman was fuming!
I’ve come all this way to be healed and he sends me to wash in a dirty old river?
The cheek of it!
I may as well have washed myself in the rivers back home. They’re much better!
I thought he’d come out and do some abracadabra stuff on me and wave his hands, pray a special prayer and say the magic words and bingo! I’d be healed.
Wash myself 7 times in that dirty stream?
I’m not doing it!
At this point Naaman’s servants tried to calm him down.
And they eventually persuaded him to do what Elisha said...
So Naaman swallowed his pride and went down into the water.
He washed himself once... nothing.
He washed himself twice... nothing.
He washed himself three times... nothing.
Four times... nothing.
Well, I’m sure Naaman nearly gave up at this point because his skin was just as sore and itchy and red and smelly as usual.
And then he washed himself the seventh time.
When he came up out of the water he couldn’t believe his eyes!
Cured! Cleansed! His skin was healed! It was perfect! The disease had all gone! It worked!
Naaman and all his friends ran back to thank Elisha.
And Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no god but the God of Israel!”
And from that moment on he started following and worshipping the living God.
We’re actually quite a lot like Naaman for 2 reasons...
First, the Bible tells us that we all suffer from a disease – a disease called sin.