Summary: Go wash yourself in the Jordan


The story of Naaman the leper, recorded in 2 Kings 5, illustrates much about the work of God and our response to Him.

v1 Naaman, a Syrian, was supposedly an enemy of Israel in the sense that he was not a Jew. He was highly regarded by his master - note how the Lord had given victory to Aram through him. God is able to use all events and people to bring about the fulfillment of His word. Leprosy was seen by the ancient world as a sign of sin .

v2,3 Naaman heard about the possibility of being cured from a small girl of a lower class - even those despised by the standards of the world can bring others to a faith in God. By showing sympathy for the leper, she revealed that God’s love is for all.

v5 He was willing to pay any price just to achieve wholeness - how much are we similarly commited to Christ ?

v6, v7 Note that the king of Syria is commanding a cure, not asking for one. How much greater is the authority of God than the authority of kings. The king of Israel, having suffered much from Syrian raiders, regards the letter not as a diplomatic note, but as offensive in tone. How often it is that we become suspicious of other people’s motives.

v10 Jordan - represents the blood of Christ. Seven - symbol of completeness. Notice that Naaman did not have to perform some complicated ritual to be cleansed - the cure is simple enough - so it is with the Gospel.

v11,v12 Note Naamans anger when he realises that no magic is used. How often do we expect sensation as Christians, when God is perfectly capable of working through weakness and humility (1Cor 1:18) ? Rivers represent different theories on how to be saved. Only the blood of Jesus can achieve this salvation.

v13,v14 Naamans servants advised him to follow Elisha’s instructions, because, if they proved ineffective, it would be the prophet who would lose face. Contrast the faith of Naaman with the attitude of his servants. Note that God restored Naaman to full health. God’s salvation is not partial.

v16,v17 cf: Mt 10:8. Freely you have received, freely give. Because of his cure, Naaman wishes to follow God. As Christians we are to call people to God through our deeds as well as our words.

v18 Circumstances can sometimes pressure us to do those things we don’t want to. cf: Jn 17:15. Naaman must still offer formal worship to Rimmon (cf: 1 Kings 15:18), but this would appear to be different from true worship which comes from the heart.

v19a Elisha bids Naaman farewell. Consider the depth of meaning in this - a Jewish prophet wishing the best to an enemy commander.

v20-v27 The story of Gehazi. Note the opportunism and self interest of Gehazi, who saw no reason why he should not benefit from Naamans sense of indebtedness to Elisha. In his lie that Elisha had sent him, the story he concocted gave himself no appearance of astuteness and elicited a generous response. Gehazi was quite conscious of the fact that he was sinning, but in putting away the goods, he was trying to cover up his tracks, instead of confessing to the God who will forgive sin. Gehazi lied more than once and thus compounded his sin. His punishment reminds us that even when we are cured from sin, we are always in danger of falling back into it.

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