Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Naaman


Bible 1
In the Old Testament, we read the story of Naaman, the commander-in-chief of the army of Syria.
Bible 2
Naaman was highly respected by his fellow men and he was known to be a personal friend of the king.
Bible 3
If being rich and having an important job had been all that was necessary to guarantee happiness, Naaman’s home would have been a wonderful place to live. But unfortunately, Naaman’s home was a place of sorrow. Naaman had leprosy, a dreaded sickness for which there was no cure.


Bible 4
Naaman’s wife, and the other members of his family, were very sad knowing that, day by day, Naaman was slowly dying.
Bible 5
Even the servants felt sorry for Naaman and his wife, and one of the servants in particular wondered if she could help.
Bible 6
She knew about the true and the living God, and about Elisha, the prophet of God that lived in the land of her childhood.


Bible 7
The servant girl felt sure that if Naaman went to the prophet, he could be cured of his leprosy.
Bible 8
So one day she gathered up her courage and told her mistress about the prophet who lived in Israel, and what she felt could be done about this sorrow in their home.
Bible 9
Naaman’s wife had never heard of God, and yet as she sat there and listened to the servant girl tell of the wonderful things that God could do, new hope came into her heart.


Bible 10
Naaman’s wife went to tell her husband of this news.
Bible 11
Naaman listened intently. He had captured this servant girl on one of his raids into Israel. Why was she trying to help him?
Bible 12
A God that could cure leprosy? Could such a thing be true? It was his only hope.


Bible 13
So Naaman agreed with his wife that he would have to go and try to find the prophet.
Bible 14
But he was a Syrian who had attacked people in Israel. How willing would they be to help an enemy? Perhaps the king of Syria could help.
Bible 15
The king of Syria had never heard of Elisha the prophet, but the king felt sure that the ruler of Israel would know, so he gave Naaman a letter…


Bible 16
… a letter of introduction for the captain of the Syrian army. And not only that …
Bible 17
... the king saw to it personally that a royal gift was prepared for whoever could cure Naaman of his dreaded disease.
Bible 18
The king did everything to show Naaman how much he thought of his commander-in-chief.


Bible 19
Then he set him off on the journey south into Israel with wishes for a speedy recovery.
Bible 20
It was a long journey, but finally Naaman arrived at the palace of King Jehoram, the ruler of the land of Israel. And before long ...
Bible 21
... Naaman was standing before the king. An important person like the captain of the Syrian army wasn’t someone to keep waiting.



Bible 22
The king opened the letter of introduction and started to read, ‘I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.’
Bible 23
Leprosy! Cure a man of leprosy! The ruler of Israel suddenly felt very afraid. His hands started to shake. And yet he knew he must not let these Syrians see his fear.
Bible 24
So the king asked for time to consult with his advisors on this matter of great importance.


Bible 25
But the moment the strangers had left the throne room, the king tore his clothes to show how upset he was, and he wailed and he moaned, and he cried out:
Bible 26
‘Am I God? Can I cure a man of his leprosy?’
Bible 27
The Syrians are trying to start a quarrel as an excuse to attack us!’ the king said. ‘That’s what this is all about.’


Bible 28
The wise men of the kingdom wondered what to do. But because the letter had failed to mention the prophet Elisha, and because the king and his advisors were not right with God, they did not have an answer.
Bible 29
Naaman was shown every courtesy while he was there. He was given the best of everything. But all of this delay puzzled Naaman.
Bible 30
Why was the king taking so long?


Bible 31
The king was still pondering the problem, when a servant came to the king with a message about Naaman from Elisha the prophet.
Bible 32
Elisha had heard about Naaman’s visit to the king. The message was a request that Naaman be sent to Elisha so that the Syrians would know there was a true and a living God.
Bible 33
The king, was very happy to be relieved of his problem. Naaman was directed to the home of the prophet Elisha at once.


Bible 34
The caravan left the royal palace, on the trip to the home of Elisha the prophet.
Bible 35
But when they arrived, they found themselves outside a very simple poor home, and that bothered Naaman.
Bible 36
He was also bothered by the fact that no one was outside to meet him. After all …


Bible 37
… he was the captain of the Syrian army!
Bible 38
Two of his men rode forward and shouted for someone to come out and meet their leader.
Bible 39
But inside the house, Elisha did not come to the door but gave his servant a message for Naaman.


Bible 40
The servant went out to tell Naaman that if he went to the river Jordan, and washed himself seven times, he would be completely healed of his leprosy.
Bible 41
The river Jordan? Was Elisha making fun of him? And why not the rivers of Syria which were more beautiful than the dirty, muddy Jordan?
Bible 42
They couldn’t insult the captain of the Syrian army like this.


Bible 43
He ordered his men to leave at once. But some of the men with Naaman tried to reason with him about it.
Bible 44
They reminded their leader that had he been told to do a difficult thing, he undoubtedly would have tried to do it. Why not do as the servant had said? Naaman knew in his heart that his men were right. If he was going to be helped by God, he must be willing to believe and obey.
Bible 45
So Naaman and his men travelled on to the river Jordan.


Bible 46
Naaman obediently waded into the water.
Bible 47
His men watched from the river bank. What was going to happen?
Bible 48
Six times Naaman went down into the water and his body remained the same.


Bible 49
When Naaman went down for the seventh time, the men on the bank moved forward. Was it possible for their captain to be healed? Was there a God who could do such a thing?
Bible 50
And when Naaman came up out of the water his shouts of excitement gave them their answer, ‘My leprosy! It’s gone!’
Bible 51
Naaman was overcome with joy. In spite of the weakness of his faith, God had healed his body!


Bible 52
It was a humble group of men that returned to the small house where Elisha lived with the many gifts they had brought.
Bible 53
But Elisha didn’t want their gifts. He didn’t want their gold. He wanted God to have all the glory for this miracle.
Bible 54
A wonderful miracle had taken place. Naaman had been cured of his leprosy through simple faith and obedience to the will of God.


Naaman
When a Syrian General, Naaman, has leprosy, a captured servant girl advises him to find help from God.
2 Kings 5:1-16

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