The Story Of Naaman And Elisha

Why would Naaman, an Aram army commander, and his story make it onto the pages of the Bible? He not only invaded the land of Israel, but he also suffered from an incurable disease.

The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy. 2 Kings 5:1

At the time of this story, the Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel. Of course, they plundered what they could and also took captives.

One of the captured was a young Jewish girl who became a maid to Naaman’s wife. We can credit the story of Naaman making it into the Bible because of this nameless girl.

One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:3

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The ears in Naaman’s household must have perked up when a word of hope surfaced in his hopeless situation. You see, along with being incurable, leprosy was contagious as well.

Naaman told the king what the girl from Israel had said, and then the story took an unusual twist. He asked his king’s permission to go to the people the Arameans had raided.

Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Aram told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing. 2 Kings 5:5

A Threatening Letter?

We must understand one thing about people who don’t serve God. They understand nothing about God. They have a concept of a higher power, not a personal Savior.

They question why God doesn’t do this or doesn’t do that. The king of Aram didn’t understand God. The letter he sent to the king of Israel sounded like a threat instead of a plea for help.

The letter Naaman carried to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:6

This story of Naaman contains two significant misunderstandings. The first occurred in the letter written by one king and its interpretation by the other king.

When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? Why is this man asking me to heal someone with leprosy? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me.” 2 Kings 5:7

Guess who came to the King’s rescue? Elisha heard that the king tore his clothes in dismay. So, he sent a messenger to him with the following message.

“Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.” 2 Kings 5:8

As the story unfolded, Naaman and his horses and chariots went to Elisha’s house and waited at the door. Elisha, however, didn’t come out. He never even answered the door.

But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:10

Naaman Story

Naaman Almost Ended His Story Unhealed

When Elisha didn’t come out of the house, the second misunderstanding in the story occurred because Naaman felt disrespected. Plus, he definitely didn’t want to swim in the Jordan River.

Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! 2 Kings 5:11

He compared the rivers in his own country with the Jordan. He asked, “Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” His officers, though, tried to reason with him. They asked him;

“Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” 2 Kings 5:13

Many years ago I heard a sermon called Seven Ducks in a Muddy River. I loved that title so much that I used it to preach a similar sermon years later.

So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed! 2 Kings 5:14

He obediently not only went to the river, but he went into its water. By faith, he began to duck down under the water. The first couple of times, he might have thought, “What’s the use.” But he continued.

He lifted his head out of the water the sixth time. Then, a sense of anticipation came upon him as he lowered it one last time. It also filled his entire company standing along the river bank.

The Application

Naaman had predetermined how he should receive a healing but was mistaken. God put an exclamation point at the end of this story because of the obedience and faith of Naaman.

The focus of this story always falls on Naaman, but let’s turn it around for a moment towards Elisha. He didn’t arbitrarily send this man to the river. He had to have heard from God.

Just think if Naaman would have come out of that river still covered with leprosy. His horses and chariots could have returned to make things difficult for Elisha.

This story has two applications, one from Naaman and the other from Elisha. Like Naaman, God wants us to trust Him by obeying Him and putting our faith in Him.

What can we learn from Elisha? When or if God uses you to speak into another person’s life, make sure you have heard from Him. The last thing you want to do is to lead someone astray.

Lord, thank you for sharing this story of Naaman and Elisha. Like Naaman, we always want to obey and trust you. Like Elisha, lead us by the Holy Spirit, especially when ministering to others.

Check out these related posts on healing.



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