Scripture for Week of March 2-8

2 Kings 5:1-13 (NIV)

1 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.

2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”

8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

11 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. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “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’!”


2 replies
  1. Doug Barclay
    Doug Barclay says:

    Naaman was a revered commander from Aram, an enemy of Israel. During one of the raids on Isreal, a young girl was taken captive and now served in Naaman’s household. We don’t know her name, how old she was or any other details about her family – but she knew that Naaman could find healing from leprosy through the prophet in Samaria (Elisha). Upon hearing of a potential cure, Naaman was willing to go to Israel and find this man of God. Ironically, Naaman’s only hope of healing came from Israel. He was willing to seek help from his despised enemies to be cured. And he took a large amount of resources (750 lbs. of silver plus 150 lbs. of gold) to ensure his health care coverage was in good standing.

    As a powerful man who had great favor from his king, Naaman had access to the best help available. However, Naaman’s status and position did not exclude him from one of the most feared and deadly diseases of his era. We see once again that disease (sin) plays no favorites – young/old, rich/poor, educated/unschooled, faithful/pagan, none of us are immune to the repercussions of “the fall”.

    As a military commander of the Syrian army, Naaman took two important steps of faith:
    1) He listened to a young Jewish slave girl. He believed her and did as she advised.
    2) He listened to his servants following his disappointing visit to Elisha’s house. He accepted their advice and correction and humbled himself to go to the Jordan River for healing. Although he expected Elisha to meet him in person and perform some type of healing ceremony, he was taken back that he didn’t receive the type of royal treatment he felt he may have deserved. Through humility and surrender, Naaman found God’s provision. An important lesson we can learn from this passage: Simple obedience is important to God. A quote from Hudson Taylor sums up this point quite clearly: “A small thing is a small thing, but faithfulness with a small thing is a big thing.”

  2. Marc McDermott
    Marc McDermott says:

    This week’s sermon has some similarities to last Sunday’s message; another situation where some great and important figure is in need of some sound advice and reproof! It is also an example of how we can let pride and arrogance can get in our way, even when we are trying to get something for ourselves we desperately want or need. Why is it that powerful men (or all men and women for that matter) have so much difficulty recognizing the truth? The story tells us that the truth was easily recognized by his lowly servants. What does that say?

    It is also about the “buts” we find in scripture that apply to man. Naaman was a great and mighty man of valor, but…”. “But King Solomon loved many foreign women…” . “But Peter stood afar off…”. We all have “buts” attached to ourselves. Some of ours are bigger than others. Some of us are more of one than others! But we all have them in one way or another. And they too end up getting in our way.

    Some verses that would apply are Prov. 14:12, 12:15, & 16:2.

    And pride always gets in the way. It’s on the top of God’s list of bad behavior (Prov. 6:16).

    And then there are the “but….” excuses we use to excuse our poor decision making:

    “But I’ve never done that before”
    “But I don’t have the necessary skills”
    “But I’m too old”
    “But I’m too busy”

    Or “I am willing to do whatever God wants me to do, but not that!” This by the way is exactly what Naaman said after Elisha told him what to do to solve his problem. Elisha told him exactly how to remove the “but” from his name and title, but Naaman did not want to do it that way. Had he not finally obeyed, the “but” attached to him would have forever remained.

    But…..we can also be extremely grateful for the “buts” In scripture that start with “but God…”. Some of the ones that come to mind are Rom. 5:6-8, Eph. 2:5, and I Pet. 2:10. There are many of them (66?) and they are all God’s merciful and gracious response to our failures and sinfulness. But for the “but God…”s in the Bible we would all be undone.

    God offers a cure for all our maladies. Like Naaman’s, our flesh is also in like manner leprous and diseased. “Come let us reason together saith the Lord…”. Naaman finally listened, and reasoned, and obeyed, and was instantly made whole. We just have to do it God’s way. No buts. His way works. Every time. Ours only gets in the way.

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