A great man with a great problem A little maid with a great God
(II Kings chapter 5)
1 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.
Naaman was the leader of the entire army of the powerful nation of Syria. The king honored him. He was a very brave man. But he also was a leper. Leprosy is a horrible disease that can destroy the body and eventually kill its victim. In the Bible, God often uses leprosy to symbolize sin. All of the great things in Naaman’s life were overshadowed by his great disease. So it is with us before we receive God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as our Saviour.
2 And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife.
The little maid was just the opposite of the Naaman. She had no honor, no record of great valour and victory. She was a captive. But what she did have was a great God. All of the things in this little maid’s life were overshadowed by her great God. So it is with us after we have received God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as our Saviour.
3 And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.
This little maid not only had a great God, but she had great faith - the great and simple faith of a child. She also had something else: she had the love of God within her. This love extended even to her captors. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Matthew 5:44
4 And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.
5 And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
There must have been something different about this little maid, because someone who heard her believed her enough to tell the king what she said, and the king believed her also. There is something else to see here: God is not limited by whom he can use…God often uses more than one person in our lives, and uses them in different ways, all to serve the same purpose of bringing us to him.
6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.
7 And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.
A captive maid, a person who heard the maid, and the king of an idolatrous nation were all being used of God to help Naaman and to bring him to God, but the king of Israel (supposedly God’s nation) somehow saw only a problem rather than a wonderful opportunity. In this world it is sometimes so: those who should be part of God’s plans somehow only see the problem.
8 And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
I thank God that God has those who know him and who are willing to become part of his plan.
9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.
Naaman had come to the right place, but he had come in his own strength. This is the wrong way to come to God and God had to humble him.
10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
Naaman expected to be treated in a manner that he considered fitting for a great man of a great nation. And he expected that his help would come in a form that would be worthy of such a man. Instead, he was treated like a common man coming into a foreign country. His help came in a simple form. It is so with everyone who comes to Christ.
13 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
In verse 13, we see that Naaman is at a pivotal point in his life: he is about to turn away from the help that will save his life. But once again, God uses other people in his life to help him understand that the only way to come to God is to come to him God's way. So it often is with the one who is near to salvation.
14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.
When God cured Naaman of his leprosy, Naaman gave God the honor that only God deserves. May God open up the hearts and minds of those whom he is drawing to himself so that they can be cured of their sin and honor his Son with the honor that only he deserves!