Summary: We see God reaching out to a foreigner and leading him to faith in Himself. This is the goodness and grace of God. It cannot be earned or be bought.
God’s grace goes international. Let’s read 2 Kings 5:1-19.
God remembers His own and cares for His own, but His own does not mean only the people of Israel.
• It refers ultimately to everyone who is willing to acknowledge God, believe and worship Him, as the one and only true God.
• So God’s grace is not going to be confined within the borders of Israel. God wants to bring the world back to Himself, starting with Israel.
We see here the grace of God extending to a foreigner, an Aramean commander of the Syrian army.
• Naaman had everything – position, status, fame, success – and leprosy.
• The last one spoilt everything. With leprosy, the rest matters little. He has a need that is beyond him.
The author wanted us to see this. Look at the words he used to describe his good life – a great man in the sight of his master (King), highly regarded, gained many victories in battles, and a valiant soldier.
• He is a great man, with great reputation, great capability, great courage, great accomplishments, AND a great sickness.
• The author ended the trail of accolades with “and he had leprosy”.
He needs God. At the end of the day, what we really need isn’t what this world can offer us.
• Naaman needs a miraculous cure for his leprosy. He needs God to heal him.
• So the story goes, he went seeking for God’s help, through a prophet of Israel.
That’s at first glance. A casual reading give us this picture of a man seeking God.
• But on closer reading, it is more accurate to say, God is reaching out to him.
• The author says God has been giving him victories in battles.
• 5:1 “He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, BECAUSE through him the Lord had given victory to Aram.” (5:1)
• His reputation was given by the God, because his successes were given BY God. This is the GRACE of God. God showed him favour.
And then we see another of God’s sovereign act. A young Israelite girl was captured in one of those Aramean raids and ended up as a servant for Naaman’s wife (5:2).
• This girl became the critical bridge for Naaman to be introduced to the prophet of God in Samaria. Ultimately, to God Himself.
• The whole story hangs on the role she played and the words she said, and we do not even know her name.
• You don’t need a name to serve God or doing something significant. And I hope we don’t serve God for a name too.
• Be amazed at how God works to fulfil His will. He can surprise us. This young servant girl’s words were brought before the King!
• Naaman used her words to ask for permission to go seek for this prophet. The King and the commander of the army took up the girl’s suggestion!
The King gave him an official letter to see the King of Israel. They might have thought that such a great prophet must be working in the King’s court.
• The King of Israel was taken aback and read this as a possible excuse for the Syrians to start a war, for failing to heal their commander.
• The plan almost back-fired until Elisha heard of the outburst and sent a message. The King did not look for the prophet. He doesn’t know what to do next.
• Again we see the providence of God. God works at every step of this story to make this encounter possible.
Naaman was re-directed to see the prophet, with his entourage of horses and chariots (5:9). We can imagine the grandeur of this visit.
• But when he arrived at the door of Elisha’s house, a messenger came out and gave him a blunt order: “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” (5:10).
• It was a test of faith moment. But this was unacceptable to a reputable man. Elisha did not even greet him when he was already at his door.
5:11-12 “But Naaman went away angry and said, "I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn't I wash in them and be cleansed?" So he turned and went off in a rage.
• Naaman had certain expectations. He had already written God’s script for Him: “This is what you should do and how you should do it.”