“And 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.”
Those who have good hearts and seek after the truth as the deer pants for streams of water will go forward as the shining light of truth and receive God’s blessing like Naaman. According to the Bible, not everybody received blessings in Jesus’ times or at the times when the prophets performed great works of power.
That’s why Jesus said in Luke 4:27, “And 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.” Jesus intended to let us know what kind of person could receive God’s blessing.
Then, what kind of person was Naaman and with what kind of goodness was he healed instantly?
- Who was Naaman?
At Naaman’s time Israel was divided into Northern kingdom Judah and Southern Kingdom Israel. Ahaziah sat on the throne of the King after Ahab and Israel had a strong neighboring country called Aram. Naaman was the commander of the army of Aram, but was stricken with leprosy (2 Kings 5:1).
Leprosy is incurable. There was no medical or surgical cure in the past nor is there one today. Naaman must have received every imaginable treatment because he had power, and abundant wealth and fame. He took all the medicications that were said to be effective, and relied on all famous doctors. He even asked his gods to heal him. But every effort was in vain. In addition to being victims of incurable diseases including leprosy, people, living on the earth, face problems that are impossible to solve with human ability.
But with God there is no limit and nothing is impossible with His power (Mark 9:23).
When we spread and testify to this fact, many do not believe it but good-hearted people like Naaman open their hearts and believe in God.
- What kind of goodness did Naaman have?
First, Naaman had such a humble heart that he heard anyone who might preach the good news.
In the house of Naaman there was a young maidservant who had been taken captive from Israel. One day she said to the wife of Naaman, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” These words of hers were told to Naaman, and he did not reject her words at that time. Although he had a very high position next to the king, he was so humble that he would not even neglect the word of a lowly maidservant.
The words of the maidservant were the good news. Likewise when we listen to the good news, no matter who might preach it, God deems our hearts to be good. If Naaman had been wicked and stubborn, he would have neglected her words saying, “You are only a maidservant, why do you interfere?” or he might have gotten angry saying, “Why do you such an absurd thing!”
Today many people will not listen when we evangelize them saying, “God is alive. He can answer anything you desire if you come to Him with faith.” As they come to hold higher positions and have greater possessions, they will not listen to the preachers and they tend to rely on the world more and more. Naaman was in a very high position, but he listened to the blessed words of a little maidservant, and believed them.
Secondly, he did not just hear and accept the gospel but he showed his faith with his deeds as well.
When Naaman heard about the prophet of Israel from the maidservant, he didn’t send his servants to bring the prophet to him and he didn’t send a letter asking the prophet to pray for him. He himself went to the prophet. He also prepared for offerings as said in 2 Kings 5:5, ” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing.”
When Naaman went to the prophet of God, he did not expect that he would reap what he had not sown nor did he expect more than what he had sown. Instead, he prepared offerings with sincerity and earnest hope for his healing.
When Naaman prepared and took sincere offerings and himself went with his diseased body to visit the prophet, Elisha, something totally unexpected happened. The prophet did not show himself personally, but sent his servant to tell Naaman , “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
Naaman felt offended and complained, ” 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.” When Elisha’s servant told him to go wash himself seven times in the Jordan to be healed, he could not believe it with just his own thinking.
Naaman had expected the prophet to come out and lay his hands on the spot, but the prophet just sent his servant out to speak words from the prophet without appearing to Naaman personally. So, Naaman felt offended and got angry. He thought he went to Elisha with faith, but because Naaman had fleshly limitations, he could not believe the words of the prophet but rather felt as if he had been mistreated. He was just about to return to his own country.
But, the following deeds of his tell us how good and humble he was. In 2 Kings 5:13 his servants told him, ” My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”
Although he was the second in power in his country and he was the commander of the army, surprisingly the servants called Naaman, “My father.” It is still more amazing that they could still call Naaman “My father” and give him advice when he was furious. This tells us what kind of person he was. He did not neglect the words of his servants but listened to them. He was so broadminded that he could accept whatever was right and good. That’s why his servants could advise him with love.
Naaman was so humble and good that he was able to turn his thinking around and he obeyed his servants’ advice to him. He dipped himself in the Jordan River seven times as instructed by the prophet Elisha.
Number “7” spiritually refers to the perfection, and the Jordan symbolizes the word of God.
So, his dipping himself in the Jordan seven times meant he fully obeyed the word of God.
He did not give up although he was not healed the third or fourth time. He fully obeyed God’s command and dipped himself in the river seven times, in that way he fully experienced the work of God.
He followed the good will of God and obeyed the word to the very last even though it was not consistent with his own thought. When Naaman believed the word of the prophet and fully obeyed it, God accepted it joyfully and healed him of his leprosy ( 2 Kings 5:14). Similarly, w hen we trust and obey a man of God, God considers we have trusted and obeyed Him, and deems us to be good (2 Chronicles 20:20).
Thirdly, he had an unchanging heart to repay His grace without forsaking it.
When Jesus healed ten lepers of their diseases, one of them came back and thanked Jesus. Then, Jesus asked in Luke 17:17, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”
Today when many people pray to God that He may heal them or give them the desires of their heart, they confess they will be faithful to the point of death after healing or vow something to receive God’s answer. But, with the passing of time, many of them do not keep the words they vowed but forget them.
It was not so to Naaman. It says in 2 Kings 5:15, ” Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.'” He did not depart for his own country after he was healed but went back to Elisha with all his servants and thanked him. Naaman immediately accepted God and determined to worship God alone from then on (2 Kings 5:17).
Likewise, Naaman had such a good heart that he was grateful for God’s grace and would never betray the true God he had experienced. For this reason God chose Naaman instead of choosing one among the many Israelites who were stricken with leprosy and was glorified through him.
Dear brothers and sisters,
The measure of the goodness in your heart determines how much and how fast you will receive blessing from God. Therefore, may all of you have a good heart and make it perfect with deeds so that you can please God and receive all the desires of your heart and glorify God, in the name of the Lord I pray!