Naaman the Leper
Naaman was an army leader in Syria. He had gained honor and fame by the victories he had helped Syria accomplish. Unfortunately, he was a leper. His Israelite slave girl told him to seek the prophet Elisha for healing. And the faith of that young girl inspired hope in Naaman.
So, he went to Israel, with gifts and a letter from Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, asking the king of Israel “Joram” to heal Naaman (2 Kings 5:1–6). But the king of Israel was troubled and said, “am I God” to heal (2 Kings 5:7). Instead of seeing in the request of Ben-hadad an opportunity for witnessing to the wonderful power of God, the king of Israel allowed fear to cease him and he feared that this may be a plot against him.
Then, the prophet Elisha heard of Syrian’ visit and request. What Joram the king of Israel looked upon as a calamity, the prophet regarded as an opportunity. Like the prophet, in times of affliction, we should remember that there is a God in heaven, who looks down in pity and mercy upon people (2 Kings 5:8). The army leader, then, came to Elisha’s house with his chariots, gifts, and servants.
But the prophet did not go to see the Syrian leader. Instead, he sent him a message to wash in the Jordan River seven times to be healed. But “Naaman was angry and went away, saying, ‘Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana 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” (2 Kings 5:11–12). The Syrian leader needed to let go of his pride.
Then, the Syrian leader’s servants convinced him to do what the prophet asked him to do. Finally, he complied and “his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy” (2 Kings 5:14). With great gratitude Naaman came back to Elisha and confessed his faith in the true God saying, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant” (verse 15). Elisha didn’t accept the gift for it was not through his own power that Syrian leader was healed but it was though the power of God.
Gehazi’s Greed and Punishment
But, Gehazi, filled with covetousness and greed, followed after the army leader and lied to him saying that his master is asking for a gift (2 Kings 5:22). So, the Syrian commander gave him what he requested (2 Kings 5:23). Then, Gehazi hid the gift and returned to his master’s home. But the Lord revealed to the prophet what Gehazi did and prophet rebuked his servant saying, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever” (verse 27). Gehazi’s heart should have been uplifted with praise for the miracle that took place that day but instead he thought only of his selfish desires (Titus 1:7).
Jesus used this story to illustrate the unbelief of Jews in contrast to the simple faith of the gentiles when He said, “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). Jesus came to clean all people regardless of race from the leprosy of sin (Romans 2:11). Only through faith in His merits and obedience to His commandment by His enabling grace, can people find favor with God (Revelation 14:12).
In His service,